Thursday 29 January 2015

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As we all know, there’s an app for everything nowadays, and workplaces in every industry are beginning to take advantage of their ability to enhance team productivity and output.
Apps in the workplace can provide a variety of benefits, such as easier work flow management; clearer communications between team members, and enhanced synchronisation for remote workers. But developers and decision makers are realising the importance of features like easy data entry; smooth navigation and quick access to essential functions, in order to blur the line between traditional consumer apps and business-oriented apps.
With this in mind, the right apps can provide a wonderful seamlessness between personal and business for every individual, even going as far as making workplace productivity a pleasure, not a chore.
Here are four essential apps that do just that.

#1. Slack

Slack is first a foremost a communicative app, changing the way your team communicates by not letting questions and queries disrupt each member’s workflow. When somebody on a team needs to ask a question, present an idea or give an update, other members can continue working ‘in the zone’ whilst still keeping up to date with others’ progress at regular intervals.
Slack logs and archives all conversations and provides a strong search feature that can be used to find members, projects and topics. Everything and everyone is reachable from one place, whether that be tablet, mobile or laptop, and all ‘channels’ (strings of conversation for each group or project) are clearly labelled.
Channels allow members to not just exchange thoughts or ideas, but also attach essential files, videos and images, with the option for others to comment inline. Questions can be dslack-mobileirected to those most equipped to handle them and the app provides fully customisable push notifications for each member.
The app has full service integration with the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox, Asana, Trello and GitHub – all existing tools that your workplace may already use. Slack compiles and presents all of the information on these services to keep everything in one place and right at hand. With its clean, lightweight design, device synchronisation and its impeccable attention to detail, the app is an invaluable asset to any working team.
Need further convincing? Slack is a sure favourite with some of the world’s biggest digital brands, including Soundcloud, About.Me, Rdio, Buzzfeed and Lonely Planet.

#2. Work+

From solitary freelancers who are bored of their home setting; to remote workers or teams working on group projects, Work+ is a delightful little must-have. This app suggests alternative places in your local area where you can work, based on various criteria such as preferences, transportation and purpose. For example, if you need a dog-friendly place that serves fresh coffee and offers free wi-fi, Work+ will attempt to find you such a
The other great thing about this little app is its intuitiveness. Work+ gives directions to your chosen location using Google Maps integration, and will automatically check you in on Foursquare when you arrive (if you have an account). Once you get there, it will start an automatic timer and stop it only when you leave. All of your work hours are then logged so you can be aware of your progress and work-rate.
Each worker that uses Work+ is invited to give a rating and leave a comment on their chosen hub, which will act as a guide to other workers that are also looking for a place to knuckle down.

#3. Evernote

Evernote is a wonderful organisation and planning tool for any project, be it solo or collaborative. Use it to create lists both short and long of your ideas, then let it help you follow those ideas through right from planning to completion.
In Evernote, all necessary clippings you need to back up your research – such as web links, photos, files, and even physical handwritten notes – can be attached to any idea or thought. Its joint, synced access makes it easy to collaborate on projects and share ideas and progress with others. Its powerful search feature means everything concerning your project is right at hand – from keywords, to topics, to lists – and yes, this even includes physical documents too.
Another fantastic feature of Evernote is that it makes presenting your ideas to a group or team a doddle. At just the click of a button, all of your notes and collected items can be translated into an attractive, screen-friendly layout, meaning there’s no need to enlist the help of additional slideshow software.

#4. Asana

If your workplace isn’t using Asana yet, then where have you been? Asana gives everybody the power to manage their own workflows effortlessly, as well as the workflow of their whole team. It allows users to add tasks to projects, along with additional details such as due date, specifications, and the person assigned to see it through. This way, everybody can see what needs to be done and when, and the handy calendar view allows every individual to see what’s on the agenda for the following week or month.
Tasks can be categorised using custom labels and colour-coded according to project. Team members can view their tasks for a given project, or simply go to ‘My Tasks’ to see all of their tasks over several projects. Asana’s handy drag-and-drop system makes it pleasantly smooth and almost fun to use, making it easy to organise and reprioritise tasks as needed. Every member can also view their colleagues’ tasks, so everyone is aware of one another’s workload.
The Asana mobile app is essentially a simplified version of the program, presenting its user with a list of your most important tasks and everything you’ve got on your plate for that day. Its available for both Apple and Android, and has full integration with other major services like Google Docs; Dropbox; Chrome; MailChimp; GitHub…and even Evernote and Slack.
With strong apps like these offering beautiful usability, function and full integration with established cloud services (as well as each other), there’s no reason not to welcome at least one into your working schedule.


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