8 Apps for Remote Workers Productivity and Success
Employee mobile apps improve productivity, real-time collaboration, and team communication. Explore the top apps at the cutting-edge of worktech.
Worktech is everywhere, from the traditional office to the remote home setup. And with all these new mobile work apps, the promise of productivity has never been greater. But with so many options to choose from – covering everything from real-time mind mapping to advanced project management to automatic time tracking — you need to choose carefully. A bad app eats time and kills creativity, leaving you wishing for the days of landline telephone calls and paperwork on real paper.
So, when it comes to communication, collaboration, and hitting deadlines, what are some of the best mobile productivity apps?
Slack is so popular the workplace messaging platform is already a verb, with people asking you to “slack them.” And with good reason. It’s quicker than email, more organized than texting, and offers more integrations than many other messaging platforms, helping you maximize productivity.
Slack’s interface has a user-friendly message board feel, making it easy to learn and use for anyone with any Internet experience. There’s real power in all those features that help you control and follow conversations. You can set up channels for specific topics, tag the people you want to include, and then break off into separate threads. Once the time for talking is over, you can share files, tag collaborators, assign tasks, and create checklists, all within a specific channel.
The problem with old-fashioned long-distance collaboration was how it was so sequential. You draft a report and send it to a colleague as an email attachment. They look it over, add some suggestions, and email it back. Whenever someone else is working on the file, you’re not, creating a lot of down time between drafts. And that’s when the process works perfectly. There’s always the chance you click the wrong email attachment, work on the wrong version.
Google Docs removes all those limitations by hosting one file that everyone can access at the same time. Now the whole team can make changes and add comments. Best of all, there’s only one current version of the document, so you don’t have to worry about people wasting time checking and fixing old work.
And because it’s Google, it easily integrates with all the other apps in the suite, like Google Drive and Google Calendar.
Ever end a meeting and think to yourself, “Yup. That should have been an email”?
Hypercontext is how you can make sure that this never happens again by combining setting up meetings and setting goals into one workflow. Now your team can work together to develop and fine-tune meeting agendas for one-on-ones, team, and even cross-department meetings. Head into every meeting knowing what you need to cover and why. With one spot dedicated to documenting decisions and tracking goals, you get the most out of all that face time, and that’s critical these days with the rise of the hybrid office. When you have people making the commute to the office specifically for in-person meetings, you need meetings that work. People used to be unhappy just walking back to their desk from the boardroom after an unproductive meeting. When you’re asking people to come back into the office a couple days a week, you need to deliver meetings that work for everyone.
Ever notice how back in school the most successful students tended to have the best notes?
It’s the same now that you’re in the workplace. Solid note-taking skills help you with everything from tracking decisions in a meeting to brainstorming ideas for a new project.
The good news is that thanks to Evernote you don’t have to rely on spiral notebooks and a bunch of pens and highlighters. Now you can capture not only text but also photos, files, and even to-do lists. Remember those old plastic tabs, the ones where you had to scribble subjects on little scraps of paper before carefully sliding them into place? With a built-in search function and tags, Evernote makes it easy to find the right notes, right away. And the sync function makes all your notes accessible from all your devices.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
And then there’s IFTTT, the one that lets you get more out of all the other productivity apps by helping you automate actions between apps, so that something happening in one carries over to another. The idea is to make everything play nice together, leveraging data from one source into usable information somewhere else.
So, if Google says it’s going to be hot tomorrow, you now get a reminder on your calendar app to bring sunscreen. Or every time NASA publishes a new pic, you can have it automatically added as your phone wallpaper. Workwise, you can control pics for cross-posting on social channels and when and where files get saved.
But no matter how good your apps are, they’re not going to help boost productivity if you’re constantly falling off track. What you need are apps that keep you focused and in the zone.
Forest is the answer to the new worktech version of that age-old question “If a project fails in the forest but no one is there to work on it, does it even make a sound?”
If you’re too distracted to work on projects, they’re not going to get done. Forest helps you resist the temptation of everything else out there on the Internet with three simple steps. When you want to focus, you plant a virtual seed. If you stay on tasks, that little seed grows into a tree, and that tree grows taller. As soon as you fall off task and quit the app, your tree dies. Over time, you can collect your trees into a forest, a little but powerful virtually living monument to your hard work.
The company has even partnered with Trees for the Future to help plant real trees.
Sure, you might have your favorite Spotify playlist for when you need to buckle down and really work, but just how scientific is it? What’s the research-backed proof that Parton’s “9 to 5” helps you work, well, from 9 to 5? When you need to take five minutes to unwind after a meeting, does rainy day coffee shop jazz make the most sense, or something more upbeat like Norwegian metal?
With Brain.fm, you get music specifically created to help you focus, meditate, and nap (not all at the same time, of course) in just 10 to 15 minutes. The company claims it “holds patents on technology to elicit strong neural phase locking—allowing populations of neurons to engage in various kinds of coordinated activity.” What that means is all you need to do is pick the headspace you want, and the app delivers the perfect soundtrack to get you there.
Every company has defined processes and practices. Unfortunately, not all of them have Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documentation. Zendesk acts as a hub for all of your company’s Q&A needs and SOP documents. If anyone has a question, you can point them to Zendesk where the answer has already been archived. And, if it’s a brand-new query, you can easily create an entry for future reference.
Zendesk has the added bonus of being both an internal and customer-facing piece of software. Use it as a workplace app for your day-to-day operations or create a tool that your customers can reference to streamline customer service.
Business cards are still the currency of the working world. If you’re in sales or networking, your old-school rolodex is likely chocked-full of cards. CamCard helps you digitize cards to ensure they’re always available to you in the cloud. Just snap a picture of the card and the software pulls out all of the details, creating a virtual rolodex for you to comb through, complete with pictures of the physical cards.
CamCard takes the stress out of trying to remember contacts and is great for workers on the go who need to tap into their network at any time. The app even allows you to make phone calls, send emails or access your contact’s social media with a tap of the finger.
Expense situations arise all the time and are usually accompanied by a tedious documentation process. Expensify is a must-have mobile employee app for tracking and cataloging expenses in real time.
When a purchase is made, an employee simply enters the nature of the purchase, the amount and any other pertinent information. Then, they can take a picture of the receipt with their smartphone. Expenses can then be exported individually or in bulk for processing and reimbursement. This app cuts down on the headaches and pitfalls that come with expense reporting and minimizes processing time for quicker reimbursement.
Employee Mobile Apps to Increase Productivity
With smart technology always in our pockets, workplace apps are now more than ever integrated into everyday business operations. The right app in the right hands can drastically improve your ability to get work done quickly and correctly. Team members can stay focused and complete tasks with better time management.
Whether it’s workplace communication or expense reporting, ultimately, everyone benefits. Explore the above app options to see how they can improve your workplace operations and increase employee productivity.