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What are Productivity Apps?
Productivity apps ( applications) are tools that provide you with a digital workspace. Productivity apps help businesses and teams organise their workload, plan projects and communicate with each other.
It’s useful to make a distinction between productivity apps meant for businesses and those meant for individuals. These apps are not just to-do lists. They include many of the features you’d find in individual productivity apps and many more.
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Planning & Scheduling
Productivity apps give you a lot more than just a calendar. You can set deadlines, delegate individual tasks and track progress. You can structure a team’s workflow, share documents and communicate using messenger features. Some productivity apps also enable you to plan resources, track time and produce reports.
Productivity apps don’t include staff payroll, but they do help you establish and track project budget. With some apps you can create invoices for clients, produce time and expense reports for individual items in a project. Certain productivity apps will integrate with your bookkeeping software and synchronise with your business bank account.
Collaboration tools are what productivity apps are known for. By establishing a platform where everyone on your team can see what everyone else is doing, these apps make it much easier to make sure everyone stays on the same page. You can share files, delegate tasks, set workflows and set-up group chats for sharing updates.
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What features do productivity apps have?
Productivity apps are essentially your digital workplace. It’s possible to plan your entire business using one.
Here’s some of the features you’ll find.
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Productivity Apps FAQs
Here’s some simple, jargon-free answers.
Proper organisation is one of the biggest factors in whether or not a project succeeds or fails.
While it’s possible to organise everything offline – they did it before computers! – living in the 21st century means it’s much easier to organise teams digitally than otherwise.
Rather than reams of messy paperwork or endless meetings, your team can have a single website they visit to get a refresher on what they need to get done.
Automatic reminders can keep everyone to schedule, for no extra effort.
Productivity apps also promote remote work, which is only going to become more and more popular.
Apps like Basecamp or Paymo can serve as a virtual office where your team meets, chats, plans and works together, even if they’re living in different cities or countries.
Like most modern business software, productivity apps usually work off of a monthly subscription model.
These models are split into different ‘tiers’, which entail different levels of features and support. Once you pick a tier, payment will happen automatically every month.
A quirk to be aware of is that the pricing will often be determined by the size of your team.
Monday.com’s basic plan, for example, charges £7 per person per month.
While this generally works out to a reasonable price for the productivity gained, it might cause you to only purchase enough licenses for certain subsets of your workforce.
Of course, this isn’t universal.
Basecamp has a much higher monthly fee, at nearly a hundred dollars, but makes up for it by having no per-user charge.
You can use it just as well for five people as for five hundred.
This makes it an attractive choice for particularly large teams.
It’s also worth noting that many apps, in addition to a trial mode, offer a stripped-down free version with basic functionality.
For small teams, this might be more than enough, so don’t put down money for a full version unless you’re sure you need it.
There’s a lot of factors that go into finding the right productivity app for you and your team.
While price is the most obvious consideration, don’t let it be the only thing you think about.
This software will likely be the digital backbone of your company, so there’s no sense in cheaping out. Think of it as an investment for gained productivity down the line.
Because of that, reliability is a big factor.
You likely can’t afford for your business’s plans and projects to go offline randomly, so read around for user testimonials to make sure your app has a good track record for staying up.
Closely related to reliability is security.
Even as an average user, putting your data online isn’t something to take lightly, and with confidential business documents it’s even more important.
Make sure your productivity software offers encryption, and preferably two-factor authentication.
This next point is a little abstract, but crucial: workflow.
Will the software be easy for your team to use?
Some apps are better for different kinds of industries and projects, so check out free trials or demo videos to see if it’s going to fit your team’s workstyle.
You should also always check what integrations the app supports.
If your company has used a specific marketing dashboard or payroll system for years, but the app doesn’t support it, it might be worth moving on to the next option.
It goes without saying that every app is different. But because they all try to make project management easier, there’s some common ground between them all.
Once you sign up for one of these apps, you’ll begin by creating ‘teams’, which you then add employees to—this could be a team for, say, the entire marketing department, or one just for the people working a specific project.
Most apps let you place people on multiple teams.
The other half of the equation is to make projects.
This will closely mirror how you plan out projects in real life: names, clients, deadlines, requirements. There are often templates for common projects to make things easier.
Once you’ve added all the necessary details for the project, you can then break it down into smaller ‘tasks’ which get assigned to individual people.
There might be other steps mixed in with these. For example, Monday.com has the concept of ‘boards’, which contain projects.
But whatever app you choose, just keep in mind the basic idea of creating teams and projects, and everything else will fall into place.
As a sidenote, don’t forget to check out the app’s website.
They have a vested interest in making their product easy to use, so there are always detailed tutorials on getting started.
Usually, yes. Almost all productivity apps are built on the web, which means you can use them with any device that can access the internet, including desktop computers and smartphones.
In addition, many apps have dedicated mobile versions that your team can download.
This allows them to get notifications, check updates and even work on projects on the go.
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Top 5 Productivity Apps
Asana is widely used and incredibly popular. It’s one of the best productivity apps for businesses.
- Free plan
- Excellent project management integrations
- Great for team collaboration
- Workload tools for managers
- Initial set-up may seem tricky
Asana is viewed as being one of the best productivity apps. You can use it to manage teams and projects as well as making use of the many integrations it provides.
One of the leading team communication tools.
- Free trial
- Easy to use once you’re familiar
- Can become expensive
- Other apps have better project management tools
Recently acquired by Salesforce, Slack is one of the most used productivity apps for businesses globally. Whilst it doesn’t quite replace the need for email – as it claims – it’s a good communication tool for teams.
The productivity app that makes working from home easy.
- Excellent user reviews
- Free trial
- Excellent for teams
- Easy set-up
- Limited reporting
With great user reviews and easy-to-use features, Basecamp is a popular and highly recommended productivity app for remote teams. It’s project management features help to keep things on track, although advanced reporting may be limited.
Monday.com provides everything you need to manage teams and workflows.
- In-app automation
- Confusing pricing
- Free trial only 14 days
Whilst it’s pricing plans may be confusing, Monday.com is a good tool for managing your teams and workloads. Similar to Asana in features, although Asana is viewed as the stronger of the two.
A powerful productivity app for businesses.
- Excellent free plan
- CRM features
- Mobile app
- Can be difficult to use
Bitrix24 is one of the most comprehensive productivity apps for business. It can be used as a CRM solution as well as a team management app. It’s free plan caters for up to 12 users, making it one of the best around.