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Best Productivity Tools of 2019: How To Increase Employee & Work Productivity At Your Office

Wrike: No. 1 Project Management Tool

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What are the best productivity tools of 2019? Though each year seems to witness the launch of another application looking to cut down on our propensity to set off on unofficial duties, the ones we have are already good at what they do in this department. We will most likely set time to review the newcomers, but for now here’s our own selection of the best productivity tools in the market:

Best Productivity Tools

Distractions are a source of grief at the personal and professional levels. The real world has plenty of them already, but the virtual world offers an unprecedented greater number of them. And if your interests are as varied and aplenty as the proverbial grain of sand, it could mean a host of extraneous tabs on your browser or any number of games beckoning and competing with your attention while attending to a job-related task. What to do? How to increase productivity under the circumstances?

If you’re a project manager working on tight deadlines, then you have more reasons to look for ways to address this affliction of the times affecting your people at the workplace. Fortunately, the solutions are also close at hand, through a plethora of tools, applications that you could install on your desktop or mobile devices, or even browsers in the form of extensions for your employees to be more guarded of their productivity.

And the best productivity tools target multiple things: from business productivity and employee productivity tools at the business and workplace end of the market, to more personal productivity tools. The best productivity tools can range from simple time monitoring tools, online productivity tools, to enterprise productivity solutions. In the following sections, we’ll look at some of the best productivity apps available in the market that you as a project manager could have running to monitor how your staff use their time.

CRM Tools

CRM tools could very well be the ultimate productivity tool in your organization, able to work and integrate with multiple third-party integrations and devices with customers involved in the conversation. The biggest draw of CRM software is that it allows you to categorize customers according to their expectations.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Process and analyze customer information.
  2. Associate disconnected data.
  3. Depict opportunities.
  4. Create sales funnels.
  5. Carry out loyalty campaigns.
  6. Devote attention to high-value buyers.

Example of a CRM software: HubSpot

To boost your productivity, HubSpot CRM will help you easily create beautiful contact and company profiles, neatly organizing every single detail from your customers’ communication with you. It assigns and tracks your deals, controls the performance of your agents, and offers a single, detailed dashboard where all team members can keep track of the company’s activities. This app is available for free when you sign up for HubSpot CRM here.

HubSpot CRM gives you all the essential CRM features but without the often confusing complexity many other CRM platforms have. If you’re a beginner or mid-market company, you will appreciate the fact that HubSpot CRM is currently a certified premier Google partner.

HubSpot is one of the best-integrated CRM platforms on the market—no other free CRM solution can offer the same level of integration. Some of the popular apps it integrates with are Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Zapier, Shopify and many other tools.

Time Tracking Tools

Since productivity tools are ultimately about lost time and their equivalent in gold, we will look at the best productivity software for time monitoring first. The simplest definition of time tracking tools are those programs that inform you where your time has gone.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Measure and document the hours worked
  2. Ensure accurate data for payroll, promotion, your overall status in the company
  3. Give businesses the best metric on how to measure productivity
  4. Implement productivity management in a company-wide setting

Example of a time tracking software: TMetric

TMetric Time Tracker is an employee productivity tool that tracks employees’ working hours, breaks, attendances, and leaves. For an employer, the application helps ensure that you pay your employees accurately and empower them to become efficient and productive assets to your company or organization. If you wish to try its features at no cost you can easily sign up for a TMetric Time Tracker free trial here.

If you’re a freelancer, TMetric Time Tracker provides you with versatile billable rates and transparent and detailed reporting to help you spot areas of improvement and more opportunities to optimize your processes and workflows.

When it is critical for your project to have an estimate and a budget, TMetric also lets you set an estimated number of hours per project or team member as well as specific monetary amounts as project budget. The software then helps you track how money is spent via reports. TMetric sends out email notifications every time a purchase has been made, helping you to follow project expenses and prevent going over budgets.

Project Management Tools

Among office productivity tools, a project management tool allows you to commit to project delivery and make it more efficient. Project management software usually offers visual enhancers such as Gantt Charts and Kanban boards as well as time and resource tracking tools.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Set more realistic milestones and deadlines
  2. Tie up and automate interdependent assignments
  3. Keep all of your team’s members focused on your deliverables

Example of a project management software: Wrike

Wrike seamlessly allocates resources to tasks and projects, checks and forecasts the team’s workload, resolves schedule conflicts and reorganizes assignments with a few clicks. Once those are done, you may then build reports to visualize project and team performance in an easily digestible format. You can use its features for free when you sign up for a Wrike free trial here.

The flexibility provided by Wrike enables multifunctional groups from anywhere to collaborate and get things done effectively from a single hub. The service allows you to schedule, prioritize, discuss, and keep track of both work and progress in real time—all with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Wrike conveniently breaks projects into small easily manageable tasks. Subtasks can be further broken down into specific activities, with each activity to be marked as complete or incomplete as needed, giving you an accurate picture of unresolved tasks. This makes it easy to manage and focus on smaller subtasks, identify bottlenecks that hold up a project’s progress. There’s a task timeline to help you prioritize important tasks. If you need to clarify a task, you can attach files, show pictures or tables, and crosslink to other tasks. In short, subtasks give you a clear idea of how much work needs to be done, by whom, and by when.

General Organizers

Let’s face it: the world is a complex place with equally complex ways to make you lose track of something you meant to do or just plain remember. You probably saw an article about the latest recipe to get you in the mood to be in the kitchen again, or a new tool that you deem handy to make your work at the office easier—and forget them all. Enter those note organizers or document management tools that you could run on multiple devices— contributing to improving work productivity.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Clip contents or save notes (audio and text)
  2. Organize photos
  3. Set reminders
  4. Upload attachments
  5. Sync files and data across your various desktop and mobile devices

Example of a general organizer software: Evernote

Evernote captures a note or memo in any format (web clip of a product or service review for reference, a photo of a business receipt, audio file, or text meeting or handwritten notes) and makes it accessible and searchable on virtually any mobile device, on the web, or laptop. Evernote also allows multiple people to collaborate on shared notebooks, with similar multiple accessibility.

Evernote is an easy-to-use, flexible tool used to help people share information and collaborate on various projects, create a business workflow around processes, digitize important files, capture image-centric brainstorms, monitor finances, among others.

Evernote dramatically transforms the way you work. The company designs products that drive inspiration for your projects and tasks, from beginning to finish. With Evernote, you can collect and organize material that efficiently molds your work. Easily look for everything when you need it, ranging from handwritten notes to photos. Turn notes into efficient and beautiful presentations you can then display using a screen-friendly format.

Team Communication Tools

The importance of communication tools among teams in project development cannot be overemphasized: employee efficiency is improved by communication tools. In the best scenario, this productivity improvement could mean more fabulous projects, perks, packages for employees and upper hierarchies. In the worst scenario, it could mean a job bust-up and people back on the streets looking for their next job.

The state of team communication software nowadays is such that every minute detail of project could be track, scrutinized, and reviewed down to the smallest detail, allowing for the least bit of mistakes and putting your team just on top of the competition.

Popular communication software types are messaging apps, live chat systems, FTPs (file transfer protocols), VoIP, and email providers which make it possible to communicate at low to no cost.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Makes it possible for team members to exchange data and discuss corporate operations in real time
  2. Ensure everything is running seamlessly and effectively as they should
  3. You can use it to transmit information from one system to another
  4. Exchange files in various formats
  5. Discuss sensitive corporate data in a protected, internal environment

Example of a team communication tool: Slack

Slack is a messaging app that brings all your communication together in one place. It offers real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams. You can have all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go.

Slack integrates with dozens of external services, and the app keeps adding more all the time. It offers built-in internal and external sharing options to ensure you can get and share files with anyone. The app has advanced search, filters and sorting that make it simple to get the right files. You can filter results by recent type, relevance or file type to find exactly what you need.

Slack offers fully native apps for iOS and Android to give you full functionality wherever you go. Another feature is read state synchronization: when you read something on your phone, your laptop will know about it and automatically mark those messages as read.

Email Management Tools

As a productivity tool, email management tools helps your team get on top of large volumes of inbound email. To provide customer support via email response, your email manager conveniently includes a ticketing system that assigns reference numbers to email queries. This helps agents to track and respond to email requests more easily.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Your email manager should easily issue email receipt in order to minimize spam
  2. It also provides data enhancement, presenting details about an email’s author and intelligence analysis which helps readers to understand the content of an email
  3. Your email management solution should easily dispense with archiving and quick retrieval

Example of an email management tool: Front

Front allows you to bring all communication under the same roof by gathering internal and external messages into a consolidated inbox—from sales and support emails, SMS, chat and notifications from Twitter and Facebook Messenger. The single inbox experience will allow you to improve internal team cooperation, which is an efficient way to improve your customer satisfaction and communication with your clients in general.

Front allows assigning internal dialog around external communication, which the customers cannot see. It can be integrated with a number of existing software ranging from Github to Salesforce, making the communication more organized, timely and responsive. Front messages can be assigned to team members both automatically and manually. People familiar with other email clients such as Gmail and Outlook find the new platform very easy to use as it has also been built like other email clients, but with a lot of extra features and a better UI.

Collaboration Tools

Many would love to make the case that productivity is all about collaboration tools and why not: collaboration tools enable the sharing, processing and management of documents, files and other types of data among several users and systems, allowing two or more remote users to collaborate on different activities and projects. In more concrete terms: employees who are engaged are known to be more productive.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Collaboration packages generally consist of tools for effective communication, document exchange, conferencing, and real-time assistance which diminish collaboration obstacles in remote and decentralized teams
  2. Companies can keep all of their employees on the same page, save time and money
  3. Identify problems at an early stage

Example of a collaboration software: Asana

Asana is one of the most popular productivity tools available on the market, ably facilitating team communication and collaboration. You can use Asana to create projects and tasks within the projects, and follow the progress of those tasks from various browser and devices. You can then add your team members to the projects and tasks, share files, and communicate with them.

Once set up, Asana eliminates the need to use email and third-party apps for corporate communication. Sharing notes, uploading several formats of attachments, and organizing tasks is made easy, and eventually reflects on streamlined workflows and time-efficient delivery. As soon as a change is made or a task is assigned, Asana users receive notifications in their inbox, and are invited to check, follow, like, or comment the update. You can even draw the attention of a particular user by simply mentioning him/her in task comments to make sure they’re in the loop. The same process applies for each project-related activity, as this is the essential mechanism Asana uses to balance between prompt project delivery and adequate communication.

For advanced features, Asana enables you to suggest task relating, following and searching public tasks, prioritizing completion, and change management. Asana lets you manage your employees’ working space, prioritize and organize tasks the way they deem necessary, upload files, delegate duties, and finally report in a clean and accurate way.

Employee Monitoring Tools

Why do we open a tab if we are not to have a go at them? So whispers our little brains jestingly and the war is on for our attention as we struggle to complete tasks for the day in the office. We all have been there, from business owners, top executives, rank and file employees.

You sit down at the computer meaning to stick to the task at hand and be productive. Next thing you know it’s two hours before the close of business. You’ve checked your email, updated your Facebook status, blown through 200 pages of Reddit, read every article in your Twitter feed, looked up your favorite band on Wikipedia, vanity googled yourself, cyber-stalked your ex, browsed through all your high-school crushes’ Instagram feeds, and lost a week’s pay playing online poker.

What you haven’t done is WORK. What your business needs are employee monitoring tools.

The good news is that there online productivity tools out there to address this modern malady, and some that are really good and going for the jugular.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Not only does it show the sites or apps being used, but how they’re being used.
  2. Employee activity can be given context if it’s productive or wasteful to your operation. Is your collaboration app being used to push a project or to chat about the latest work gossip?
  3. It allows you to spot idle employees.

Example of an employee monitoring tool: StayFocusd

StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. It is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.

It’s highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).

File Sharing Tools

File sharing tools is an essential tool for improving productivity at any personal or business level. Your choice of brand will be determined by the the channels, speed, and security of the delivery. File sharing tools today support multiple file formats including text documents, videos, and images. It is commonly used to download and share media files with other people.

File sharing software normally use the following types for storage, transmission, and distribution: distributed peer-to-peer networking, localized servers on computer networks, online-stationed hyperlinked documents, and manual sharing of movable media, engage prospects and customers on social media networks.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Employees can use business networks to distribute and share project documents.
  2. The software can be used to track inbound and outbound brand mentions, social marketing campaigns, and the effectiveness of social media presence
  3. Basic SMMS software enables a company to combine multiple social media accounts, and track and analyze conversations using a single dashboard
  4. Web-based SMMS solutions enable automated and real time posting to multiple channels, and you can post the same content on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook with a few clicks
  5. These platforms allow companies to monitor social media chatter and learn about the preferences of customers.

Example of a file sharing tool: ShareFile

Sporting an easy-to-use interface, ShareFile offers a variety of advanced file sharing features covered by strong security features to ensure the integrity of your files, including multi-level access authentication, granular permissions and SSL/TLS 256-bit encryption so your corporate data won’t end up lost or in the wrong hands. Your document archive will also be internally monitored and password-protected, and the extended customization will allow you to manage security settings and access yourself.

To vastly improve productivity, ShareFile gives you automated workflows that you can customize and control. It allows you to give real-time feedback, request approvals, co-edit—even get legally binding e-signatures seamlessly—on any device. You also get real-time tracking, to know exactly where things stand. ShareFile is an easy access, send and sync program without requiring you to learn the esoteric language of FTPs or the dino aga CDs or physical storage devices.

Social Management Tools

While social networks lets you engage prospects and customers on social media networks, working with multiple accounts could very well take a big chunk of your time. As a productivity tool, a social media management tools allows you to track inbound and outbound brand mentions, social marketing campaigns, and the effectiveness of social media presence.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Basic plans should enable you to combine multiple social media accounts and track and analyze conversations using a single dashboard
  2. It should enable automated and real-time posting to multiple channels, and you can post the same content on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook with a few clicks
  3. These platforms allow companies to monitor social media chatter and learn about the preferences of customers.

Example of a social management software: Hootsuite

Hootsuite allows you to execute amazing social media strategies and activities across their organizations. It enables you to manage multiple social media accounts in one place, taking out those extra time you spend switching among social media accounts. You do not have to remember pesky passwords any more or need to go to each individual site to check. You don’t have to sign in to each individual social site as Hootsuite empowers you to manage your marketing campaigns across multiple social profiles from this one system.

It allows you to post updates, connect with your client base, and review responses on more than thirty-five popular social networks including: Twitter, LinkedIn (including Pages, Profiles, and Groups), Foursquare, Facebook (including Events, Groups, Profiles, and Fan Pages). Google+, and WordPress blogs.

Hootsuite also connects you with several other platforms using third party apps. These include: Vimeo, Via.me, Instagram, Evernote, MailChimp, Storify, Edocr, Slideshare, Flickr, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and Reddit.

Help Desk Tools

Help desk tools help you deliver top quality customer support to clients using tools that multiply agent productivity and improve analytic operation. It’s the tool of choice to respond to customers’ questions and technical inquiries.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. It lets your support team track and address issues in reasonable time, while recording customer conversations, messages, transactions, and other information that could be relevant in the future.
  2. The best help desk systems act as centralized portals for inquiries coming from all communication channels, including your email addresses, phone numbers, live chat programs, and social networks.
  3. Some of them even include metrics and insights that help you evaluate customers’ and agents’ performance.

Example of help desk software: Freshdesk

As a productivity tool, Freshdesk gives you standard and advanced features such as help desk ticketing, knowledge base, and community platform. It turns your support emails into tickets that you can track for rapid and accurate response. It gives you the flexibility to link forum questions to a ticket and vice-versa, allowing you to create a more streamlined set of answers and replies. You can easily sign up for a Freshdesk free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

Freshdesk integrates Live Chat, Phone Support, and Game Mechanics. It works with legacy productivity tools and your CRM when you need to pull out customer information. Likewise, it works with popular help desk and multimedia apps, such as Google Apps, YouTube, Slideshare and other widgets that can spice up your knowledge base.

Freshdesk has apps for Android and iOS so you can take your help desk anywhere you go.

Learning Management Systems – LMS

How else to improve the productivity of people in your organization but through conducting knowledge campaigns through real-life classrooms or virtual ones? This is where LMS tools come into play. LMSs involve educational institutions and corporations that train large and decentralized teams with a single objective in mind: make everybody as productive as they can be.

How it helps increase productivity

  1. Facilitate continuing education delivered through network-enabled transfer applications for web-based learning.
  2. Offer training and workshop courses.
  3. Evaluate learning performance with metrics and skill gap analytics.

Example of an LMS: Litmos

Litmos LMS allows you to create interactive courses—both directly on the dashboard and by importing third-party content—and implement leaderboards, badges, points, and other gamification features to motivate and help your team raise their productivity. The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features. You can sign up for the Litmos LMS free trial here.

Litmos is easily customizable, allowing you to tailor learning paths end-to-end, tailor employees’ curricula in line with the course sequence, and report on any course, module, or even separate task. Outside the course shell, Litmos LMS offers an inviting base of reference docs and learning materials users will have access to from any device or location.

This learning productivity tool is hassle-free and less cluttered than standard admin dashboards, with a central chart that compiles user logins, completed tasks, and links to the admin’s activities.

Category: B2B News

2 Comments »

  • Avatar Royce says:

    Great lists, thanks! Did not know about quite a few of the tools from the list. Would also definitely put start.me there, it saves my team and I a lot of time browsing the web and organising the information and web tools we have. We also use Zendesk instead of Freshdesk but I don’t know if there is a big difference.

  • Avatar Irene says:

    Very insightful list, I never taught of some of the tools on the list, thank you for posting

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