The Best Chrome Extensions for Working from Home
You’ve got everything right to work from home: a dedicated workspace, decent router, and noise-canceling headphones. Still, there are distractions like your emails, shopping sites, crazy hours. You know how it goes. Here’s where some Chrome extensions can save you. If Chrome is your web browser of choice, get a little boost in focus and productivity, plus an occasional break to reset your train of thought, by adding the right extensions.
These software applications that live within Chrome can help you tailor your the internet experience. Some apps can help reduce aimless browsing or give you gentle mental health reminders. We’ve rounded up our favorite working from home extensions. See how they work for you.
When You Need To Focus
Avoid distractions and slow loading speeds with the Great Suspender. If you have a lot of tabs open, this extension automatically pauses sites when you haven’t visited recently. You can whitelist specific sites and different kinds of tabs (say, those that are playing audio or feature unfinished forms) to make sure important sites aren’t accidentally suspended, and you can set exactly how long before the Great Suspender leaps into action.
When you absolutely cannot let your mind wander, and the impulse to scroll social media is too great, Block Site is your best friend. Like a little virtual taskmaster, this extension prevents you from logging onto distracting websites during working hours. Create a list of sites, and set up the timeframe in which you want them blocked. If you end up caving and check a blocked site when you should be working, Block Site will load a funny photo in the tab instead. It can also sync across devices to ensure you stay focused whether you’re on desktop or mobile.
Whether you practice the Pomodoro Technique according to Lifehacker, breaking down work into small tasks and executing in brief intervals of time (aka “pomodoros”), or have never heard of the approach, this extension applies additional structure to your workday. With customizable timers for both work and break periods, Marinara alerts users to focus times, how long they have until their next break, and when they can relax. It will track your working rhythm over time, so you can see what sort of schedule (perhaps three pomodoros in a row serves you better than one) bolsters your productivity the best.
Working from home often means longer, more varied hours, which ultimately means more screen time. If you must spend extended periods of time in front of the computer, particularly at night, download Dark Reader to help relieve the strain on your eyes. This extension can apply “dark mode” to any website you visit and provides additional options for fine-tuning your reading experience, such as adjusting brightness, contrast, sepia level, and font. Your eyes (and your sleep schedule) will thank you.
When You Need To Get Organized
If you’re anxious to know if a message has reached its recipient, an email tracking extension, which adds “read” receipts to your emails, can alleviate some of your stress. In addition to notifying you when an email has been read, Mailtrack also logs how many times an email has been opened right in your Gmail inbox. When you don’t have the option of tracking someone in person, this extension will clue you in on exactly when you should circle back.
A major WFH woe is subpar internet speed, which can be exacerbated if multiple people are working or learning remotely on the same network. Rather than bemoan glitchy streaming and slow refreshing, use this extension to check your connection and its speed. Speedtest will determine with a single click how quickly your pages are loading, as well as your download, upload, and ping speeds. From there, you can give these tips to improving your Wi-Fi signal a try.
This extension allows users to log tasks and goals at a moment’s notice, without having to navigate elsewhere. You can prioritize your work by subtask, save pages to read later, create wishlists, and set up recurring reminders. In essence, Todoist provides you with a straightforward, highly personalized hub of everything that needs your attention during the day. This virtual assistant can integrate with common workplace apps like Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive.
Strengthen your writing style, tone, and overall skills with the help of this popular extension. Grammarly helps weed out objective errors in your writing, then offers suggestions for word choice and overall improvement. In the work from home era, this extension’s most exciting feature is the tone detector, which gauges how your writing will be received by your readers. It then provides you with tips to attain your desired tone. Anyone who’s had a joke get lost in translation over email can appreciate the value of this tool.
When You Need A Break
Open this extension when you want to jot down your personal thoughts or simply note how you’re feeling. Then opt to color-code your mood based on different coffee roasts. Charmingly simple with a cozy interface, Coffeelings is a great reminder to check in with yourself throughout the day.
This extension makes constantly clicking through emails actually enjoyable, and why wouldn’t it when it lets you make your cursor look like Shrek or a piece of pizza? There are over 100 different cursor designs to choose from. Make browsing through emails fun again.
It can be difficult to stay present when working from home, but Current can help you feel grounded and in-the-moment. Every time you open a new tab, this extension delivers a “moment of mindfulness” in the form of a relaxation tip, breathing exercise, or mini-meditation. They only take a minute, granting you a brief but welcome breather before returning to your work.
Whether you’re still getting used to working from home or you’re a WFH vet, there are always days where you just can’t seem to focus, let alone tackle everything on your to-do list. Still, you can have help staying on task and making your workdays run more smoothly.