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

Category: B2B News

Disengaged employees, disorganized teams, and cluttered file systems are among the many problems that modern workplaces face. This is why each year, we witness the launch of new applications looking to eliminate procrastination, streamline collaboration, and improve overall operations. The only question is, which ones are the best productivity tools for your company?

To help you pinpoint the essential applications for your workflow, we have listed down the most crucial types of programs for productivity. In addition, we will be discussing what makes them important, their main functions, and what they can do to help you improve productivity in your workplace. We’ve even included the top example for each type of solution so that starting your search for applications is easier.

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 competing for your attention while attending to a job-related task.

In fact, according to Atlassian, the average employee is interrupted 56 times daily at work. As you’ll see in the chart below, these work distractions include chatty coworkers, office noise, meetings, and changes in the workplace. Some even cited their smartphones and social media use to be obstacles to productivity.

Top Workplace Distractions in 2018

Chatty Coworkers

Office Noise

Smartphone

Changes in the Workplace

Meetings

Social Media

Source: 2018 Workplace Distraction Report

Designed by

With these said, you might want to consider leveraging technology to eliminate interruptions, streamline processes, and ultimately boost productivity. After all, there are plenty of solutions available on the market to choose from.

In this article, we have compiled the best productivity tools you can utilize for your operations, regardless of what industry you are in. Hopefully, this guide will allow you to understand what types of programs you need to support your processes as well as get an idea of what to expect from these types of applications.

Of course, if you find that you want an application that can provide the function of two or more of the tools we’ve mentioned, you can always take a look at these productivity suite solutions.

The Best Productivity Tools of 2019

CRM Tools

Customers are the backbone of every business. So, customer relationship management or CRM software could very well be the ultimate productivity tool in your organization. These are what would allow you to maximize your interactions with leads and existing clientele to yield better sales and increase retention.

Using these tools, you can treat each customer like a VIP as it organizes their details and even previous transactions in one hub. The biggest draw of CRM software is that it allows you to categorize customers according to their expectations. Plus, these are often able to work with multiple third-party integrations to ensure seamless interactions across channels. Moreover, by using CRM it is easier to:

  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

Top Example of a CRM software: HubSpot CRM

HubSpot communication with timeline dashboard

HubSpot CRM can boost productivity by streamlining customer interactions. It organizes client profiles and conversations in one repository so agents can seamlessly pick up where another agent left off. Moreover, as this gives you a detailed overview of your operational activities via custom dashboards, syncing your sales and marketing teams is easier than ever.

Like many other CRM tools, this platform lets you manage interactions and collect customer data on various channels. However, it is different because HubSpot CRM features are packaged in a no-fuss interface, making it great for those who don’t have time to implement software with steep learning curves. Plus, HubSpot CRM is one of the best-integrated platforms on the market, so it can easily blend in with your current software ecosystem.

In case you are interested in this platform, you may sign up for HubSpot CRM free trial here.

Project Management Tools

Project management software is one of the best productivity tools that you should have because, to put it plainly, a business is nothing but a series of projects to be met. More so if you manage projects for clients. It allows users to commit to project delivery and make it more efficient. So, this is especially important for companies that handle lengthy, time-sensitive projects for multiple clients such as construction firms and web development organizations.

Project management software often combines a handful of productivity tools such as time tracking, communication tools, scheduling, and document management. However, the one thing that it will always have would be visual enhancers. These include Gantt Charts, Kanban boards, and calendars through which users may map out their project timelines, active tasks, and assignment delegation. Using these, you can:

  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

Top Example of a Project Management software: monday.com

Monday.com Project Management dashboard sample

monday.com is an award-winning project management platform created for agile teams. Previously known as dapulse, this software solution syncs all project data ranging from task details to team discussions in one convenient interface. This way, it is easier to keep everyone on the same page.

Some monday.com features include personal and public boards for project organization. They can even create smart notifications for each task, tag team members when necessary, as well as set deadlines for time-sensitive assignments. Furthermore, the platform offers built-in communication tools as well as knowledge bases for better collaboration.

Should you want to try out this platform for yourself, you may easily sign up for monday.com free trial here.

Time Tracking Tools

Productivity tools are ultimately about lost time and their equivalent in gold. So, it makes sense to consider using time tracking tools for your operations.

In a nutshell, these applications will allow you to measure the number of minutes or hours that employees spend on particular tasks. This way, you can deter them from procrastinating as well as ensure that no productive time is wasted on unofficial tasks. In addition, it is great for when you need to:

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

Top Example of a Time Tracking Software: Wrike

Wrike 3-pane interface

Wrike offers a reliable time tracking module built into its project management system. With this, users may log the number of hours they spend on each task they undertake through manual input or the built-in timer. All users have to do is open the task they are working on to log hours and the platform will consolidate the finished tasks in a timesheet.

Another one of the many Wrike benefits is that as a project management tool, it can help you consolidate the logged tasks and productive hours of multiple employees to see how much time is spent on a single project. With this, you can simplify the billing process for clients as well as gain insight as to what aspects of your projects you can speed up.

For more information on what this product can offer, you may sign up for Wrike free trial here.

General Organizers

The world is a complex place with equally complex ways to make you lose track of something you meant to do. One minute you’re researching for a report at work; the next minute you’re looking at a cat video on YouTube. By the time you finish the video, you would have already lost momentum on your research and forgotten the information you’ve read.

Here’s where note organizers or document management platforms come in. Using these tools, you can take down notes as you go, wherever you may be, no matter what device you are using. So, there’s no more risk of forgetting what you’re working on. Plus, these tools allow you to:

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

Top Example of a General Organizer Software: PandaDoc

Panda document management dashboard

PandaDoc is a web-based document management platform created for freelancers and businesses of all sizes. It provides users with robust document builders, collaborative editing features, and approval tools in an easy-to-use interface. With this, users may deliver and share documents online as quickly and securely as possible.

In our PandaDoc overview, we also noted this platform’s ability to consolidate content. This is what makes it such a good general organizer. It comes with content and image libraries where users may store their documents. These may then be retrieved, forwarded, or locked as users see fit. Moreover, if you have digital documents that need signing, the platform supports eSignatures so you don’t need to print them any longer.

In case you are interested in this product, you may sign up for PandaDoc free trial here.

Team Communication Tools

Communication is the key to success. In fact, studies show that businesses can improve employee efficiency through effective communication.

This is why having communication programs at your disposal is crucial. With these tools, you can facilitate conversations among employees in a secure environment. It allows them to relay information faster as well as discuss work matters quicker.

Moreover, modern communication tools can support multiple channels, making it more convenient for coworkers to tap each other. Whether they want to use they want to talk through the phone, live chat, email, or video conferencing, these tools can surely support it. In addition, these tools can:

  1. Help team members exchange data and discuss corporate operations in real-time
  2. Ensure everything is running seamlessly and effectively as they should
  3. Transmit information from one system to another
  4. Exchange files in various formats
  5. Discuss sensitive corporate data in a protected, internal environment

Top Example of a Team Communication Tool: RingCentral

RingCentral inbox interface

RingCentral is a cloud phone system created for businesses of all sizes. It supports different communication options ranging from video conferencing and audio calls to business SMS and internet faxing. Moreover, RingCentral features include supplementary tools like auto-receptionists, call monitoring, call screening, and built-in directories so you don’t need separate systems for them.

Aside from its comprehensive set of functionalities, RingCentral is great for productivity is its accessibility. That is to say, as the platform is cloud-based, employees may be able to use it while working offsite. All they need is a stable WiFi connection and their smartphones as BYOD line extensions. After that, they’re ready to go.

To get a better understanding of what this platform offers, you may sign up for RingCentral free trial here.

Email Management Tools

Emailing is a staple communication channel in any workplace. After all, it is not only the most common form of correspondence among professionals. Email is also preferred by customers for getting product updates and sending inquiries.

With these said, you might want to have email management tools for your operations. These will allow your team to stay on top of large volumes of inbound email. It also helps agents track and respond to email requests so that no priority messages are overlooked. Furthermore, these tools will allow you to:

  1. Issue email receipts easily and consequently, minimize spam
  2. Provide data enhancement through intelligence analysis which helps in digging deeper in the email content.
  3. Quickly archive and retrieve emails.

Top Example of an Email Management Tool: Gmelius

Gmelius Gmail integration

Gmelius is a unique collaborative email management platform that seamlessly integrates with the Gmail interface. It comes with intuitive tools such as advanced email tracking, smart follow-ups, email delegation, as well as email sequence creation. With these, it is easier to organize incoming and outgoing emails as well as ensure that no message falls through the cracks.

In addition to the abovementioned, one of the many Gmelius benefits you can reap is its ability improve the collaborative emailing experience. It equips users with the tools they need for productivity. From shared inboxes to internal email note-taking, this platform has it all. It even comes with shareable email templates to ensure consistency across the organization.

To get a better idea of what this platform can do, you may choose to sign up for Gmelius free demo here.

Collaboration Tools

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. Small and big businesses alike take on many projects that require collaboration. Sometimes, even just simple tasks within the workplace may require the attention of two or more employees. So, to make sure that things go smoothly, having collaboration software at your disposal is a must.

These software solutions can simplify the sharing, processing, and management of shared documents. Moreover, using these can help team members keep track of their tasks and stay on the same page at all times. This means no more running around in circles finding resources and documents or asking coworkers about what’s happening with the projects at hand. In addition, these tools allow you to:

  1. Communicate more effectively
  2. Document exchanges of information
  3. Facilitate team meetings better
  4. Centralize all information for easier data retrieval across teams
  5. Diminish collaboration obstacles among remote teams
  6. Identify problems at an early stage

Top Example of a Collaboration Software: Asana

Asana collaboration dashboard

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 browsers and devices. These will even allow you to add and delegate team members to particular tasks and projects and communicate with them right within the platform.

Additionally, there are advanced Asana features that enable you to suggest related tasks, follow and search public tasks, prioritize completion, and manage workflow changes. This collaboration tool also lets users manage employee working spaces and organize tasks however they see fit for a more streamlined work process. Lastly, Asana comes with reporting tools that will allow you to understand any process bottlenecks as well as monitor performance metrics.

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 to top executives to 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, vanity googled yourself, and lost a week’s pay playing online poker. What you haven’t done is work.

To ensure that this proclivity to procrastinate is kept at bay, you might want to consider using employee monitoring platforms. These will allow you to get a better grasp of what employees are doing during productive hours and how they are using business resources. This not only deters employees who are thinking about veering away from their day’s tasks but also helpful for pinpointing productive workers.

Some other things that you can use these tools for are:

  1. Check the sites or apps being used and how they’re being used
  2. Give context to employee activity and see if these activities are productive or wasteful to your operations
  3. Spot idle employees

Top Example of an Employee Monitoring Tool: FlexiServer

FlexiServer main dashboard

FlexiServer is a productivity platform created by NCH software. It is built to track work hours and computer usage and help administrators oversee the activities of their employees.

As we’ve mentioned in our FlexiServer overview, this platform lets you know the programs and websites your team members are using as it logs the usage of the computer and takes screenshots at regular intervals. It can even detect any idle time by counting keystrokes and mouse clicks. What makes this even better is that it runs in the background so it doesn’t disrupt operations.

In addition, FlexiServer has an attendance management module where managers can monitor leaves and check the logged time of employees. These make it easy to account for billable hours–something that may also prove useful for HR departments.

File Sharing Tools

Documents, be it physical or digital, are part of anyone’s day-to-day job. Chances are, you have a bunch of them piled up on your desk or sitting in your desktop right now. The only question is after you’ve written what needs to be written, reviewed what needs to be reviewed, and signed what needs to be signed, what happens next?

Well, you’ll need a secure way to share and archive your files. This is where file sharing tools come in handy. These software solutions offer localized servers that support all sorts of file formats ranging from text documents and images to videos and audio recordings. This way, internal and select external parties may easily access the files they require on-demand. With these tools, you can:

  1. Distribute and share project documents more conveniently
  2. Compare and contrast document versions so it is simpler to pinpoint changes
  3. Ensure that employees have access to the latest versions of particular documents
  4. Store files of all types securely
  5. Make all important team files easily accessible

Top Example of a File Sharing Tool: eFileCabinet

eFileCabinet indexing structure

eFileCabinet is a unified document management system created for small to medium-sized businesses. Deployed on-premise or via the cloud, this mobile-ready platform comes with robust features for digital file storage and sharing. With this, users get access to tools such as automated file versioning, rapid file uploading, and simplified data migration. It also offers a built-in search feature for faster file retrieval.

One of the other eFileCabinet details worth mentioning is that it is known for its highly secure interface. It not only uses measures such as role-based permissions and two-factor authentication. Furthermore, the platform also comes with bank-grade encryption as well as a 24-hour backup system to make sure that your files are safe and sound.

In case you’d like to learn more about this platform’s functionalities, you may easily sign up for eFileCabinet free demo here.

Social Media Management Tools

Social media has been deeply ingrained in modern culture. It is what connects people from across the globe and allows them to share their thoughts. Most importantly, from a business perspective, social media can serve as a channel through which you can engage prospects and customers. However, working with multiple accounts could very well take a big chunk of your time.

To simplify the task, many companies utilize social media management programs. These are equipped with features that will allow you to consolidate accounts on different networks in one single hub. This way, you can conveniently track inbound and outbound brand mentions, execute social marketing campaigns, and measure the impact of your social media presence without leaving the platform.

In addition, these tools are most helpful for:

  1. Enabling automated and real-time posting to multiple channels
  2. Monitoring social media chatter and learning about the preferences of customers
  3. Consolidating interactions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other networks with a few clicks

Top Example of a Social Management Software: Zoho Social

Zoho Social collaboration space

Zoho Social is a powerful web-based social media management platform built for individuals, agencies, and businesses of all sizes. It consolidates multiple social channels in a centralized interface, making it easy to monitor your accounts. With this, you get access to post scheduling tools, brand mention tracking features, multi-channel marketing functionalities, as well as unified messaging options.

Another of the Zoho Social benefits you should know is that it can improve teamwork through supplementary tools for collaboration and reporting. For instance, it comes with easy sharing tools and built-in brainstorming workspaces for better teamwork. It can also track social media metrics so you can gain insight into your social marketing campaigns.

For more details on how this platform works and what it can do for your operations, be sure to sign up for Zoho Social free trial here.

Help Desk Tools

Delivering top-quality customer support to clients is not easy, especially in the 21st century. Modern consumers not only expect you to accommodate their concerns and answer their questions; they want you to respond to them as quickly as possible. What’s more is with the various communication channels available today, you’ll have to manage multiple platforms all at once.

This is why help desk software play a big role when it comes to business productivity. These will allow you to manage customer concerns more seamlessly by bringing together different channels in one interface. Moreover, these are equipped to help you prioritize tickets accordingly and queue incoming requests more efficiently. In addition, these tools can help you:

  1. Track and address issues in a reasonable time
  2. Record customer conversations, messages, transactions, and other information that could be relevant in the future.
  3. Create centralized portals for inquiries coming from all communication channels, including your email addresses, phone numbers, live chat programs, and social networks.
  4. Segment and organize incoming service requests and customer inquiries
  5. Automatically route customer calls and messages to the right agents
  6. Monitor metrics and insights that help you evaluate customers’ and agents’ performance.

Top Example of Help Desk Software: Freshdesk

Freshdesk ticket management

Freshdesk is a well-known help desk software offering tools for ticket management, multi-channel customer support, and customer self-service. It comes with unified inboxes as well as tools for agent collision detection and automated ticket routing to streamline customer support efforts, Furthermore, it leverages knowledge bases and FAQs to help you provide your customers with self-service options.

In addition to the Freshdesk features we’ve mentioned, this platform can also integrate with Live Chat, Phone Support, and Game Mechanics. It works with legacy productivity tools and your CRM when you need to pull out customer information. In a similar light, 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.

You can easily sign up for a Freshdesk free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

Learning Management Systems – LMS

Perseverance and hard work will allow you to achieve success. However, these can only go so far. You will need to keep learning the tricks of the trade and continually get professional training if you want to be more productive at work and go beyond your goals. What better way to do this than through learning and development initiatives?

This is where LMS software come into play. LMS or learning management systems are created to facilitate eLearning efforts. It comes with course builders, learner evaluation options, and other features that will help you create engaging training materials for employees. By using these, you can expand the expertise of your team members as well as encourage them to be more productive.

To add, you can use these tools to:

  1. Facilitate continuing education delivered through network-enabled transfer applications for web-based learning
  2. Offer training and workshop courses for employees, partners, and customers alike
  3. Fast-track onboarding and training processes
  4. Evaluate learning performance with metrics and skill gap analytics.

Top Example of an LMS: TalentLMS

TalentLMS home dashboard
TalentLMS is a web-based learning management software built to reinforce eLearning initiatives. This platform allows users to author courses that incorporate multiple learning materials ranging from text to videos. It also comes with various learner evaluation options and training metrics monitoring for easier progress measurement. To top it all off, this mobile-ready, device-agnostic software comes with gamification options to increase learner engagement.

Oftentimes, TalentLMS reviews also praise it for its convenience. The platform gives businesses the option to use the course marketplace in case they don’t have time to create courses from scratch. This way, they can buy ready-made courses and just modify them however they see fit before onboarding learners. On the flip side, you can also sell your courses on the marketplace for extra income.

Should you want to learn more about this product, you can sign up for TalentLMS free trial here.

How To Choose Productivity Tools

Aside from understanding the types of productivity tools you need, it is also crucial to know how to choose which applications to invest in. This way, you can get your money’s worth and yield results.

As a rule, you should research as much as you can about the products you are interested in. You can do this by checking out the vendor’s website but of course, you should also make sure to read up on user reviews as well as consult colleagues who are familiar with the platforms you want. In addition, here are some questions you might want to ask before you invest:

  1. Does it offer the features you need? Moreover, are the features you need part of the subscription plan you want to get?
  2. Is it easy to use? Can both the tech-averse and tech-savvy members of your team appreciate its interface?
  3. Is it scalable? Will it be able to adapt to the changing needs of your business?
  4. Is the program secure? Will it be able to protect your company data?
  5. Does it fall within your budget? Make sure you check not only the subscription rates but also possible installation fees and onboarding charges.
  6. Do they offer customer support? Is it available 24/7? Are there no additional fees for it?

By doing this, you can ensure that you are getting the best productivity tools for your operations. Moreover, this will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises like hidden charges, security breaches, and unavailable tech support.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to maximize your existing applications, you might want to check out this list of SaaS statistics. These should give you insight into how other companies are leveraging SaaS for their operations as well as what changes to expect in the industry.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

1 Comments »
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.

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