7 Tools to Increase Productivity and Efficiency Whatever you think your organization needs, it comes down to getting more done with what you have.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Today's businesses are driven by productivity and collaboration. But how do you achieve both in a way that benefits everyone on your team? How do you avoid the inevitable obstacles: priority management, strategy alignment, and transparency?
Luckily, the small business community has noticed a recent uptick in productivity and collaboration. Why? Many newer online tools have made it easier for teams to communicate clearly, prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, and hold themselves (and each other) accountable. From there, it's just a matter of finding out which tool is right for your business. Check out these seven tools for increasing productivity and efficiency to see which ones meet your needs.
There's an app for that -- and your business! With Connecteam, you create your own branded employee app with which to communicate, clock in, and more. This tool is valuable for businesses with large numbers of remote workers who may not enjoy the same in-office privileges that other employees have. Via your customized app, those remote employees can view and create project checklists, upload files, view work schedules, create informational libraries, and even train for new positions. The app can be created in just over an hour. However, for employees who aren't used to company apps, there may be a bit of a learning curve.
Want 626 hours of time back? On average, that's how much time WorkflowMax saves its clients -- along with $22,000 a year. This tool is perfect for businesses and freelancers who provide a service and bill based on time. Without much effort at all, employees can track time spent on various tasks and remain accountable for their work. WorkflowMax allows users to create professional, instant quotes for potential clients, then invoice them later on with equally professional-looking forms. Users can even build timelines for special projects and view productivity analytics within the program. For a low monthly price, it's never been easier for service-based businesses to stay organized.
No matter how good you are at avoiding procrastination, you're bound to come across irresistible articles and videos somewhere on the Internet while you're working. But wait—not clicking on it now doesn't mean you'll never be able to see it. Pocket lets you save distracting links and useful articles for later with a simple button, which is installed via extension onto your web browser. Whether it's the link to a client's website, a PDF that needs to be edited, or an infographic you'd like to someday share on social media, you can put it in your Pocket. Too many items saved already? You can tag your links and docs for organizational purposes, so nothing will get lost.
Cyfe lets you organize what would otherwise be indecipherable data. The program acts as your business's data dashboard, where site visitors, adwords metrics, keyword rankings, and social media success can be accessed altogether. Pre-built widgets from MailChimp, Shopify, and many more let you customize your dashboard to view the information you want to see. With all your data in one place, it's easy for the whole team to keep track of the big picture.
Some people use Trello for grocery lists, and some people use it for their high-growth businesses. Some people use it for both—it's that intuitive. You set up boards, which can be assigned different tasks. Those tasks are easily moved around, tagged with other users' names for delegation purposes, and checked off once completed. It's an ultra-fluid to-do list, and it's perfect for those who prefer to keep track of tasks the easy way.
Stop using your mother's maiden name or your childhood nickname as your password. It's understandable—you're worried you'll forget your password, so you make it super simple—but you're practically inviting scammers and hackers to your virtual doorstep. Instead, go ahead and generate an uber-complex password and save it with 1Password. This little tool lends you peace of mind and extra time at once by storing your passwords securely and auto-entering them for you on selected sites and programs. With 1Password Teams, administrators can grant and revoke access to shared vaults, as well as save time solving company phishing scams. No matter the size of your business, it can probably benefit from 1Password.
7. Office 365
Most of the above products are developed and managed by startups or small to mid-size businesses. Of course, Office 365 is the product of Microsoft: one of the biggest companies on the planet. This means it has an incredible array of powerful features surrounding email management, file sharing, and online meetings. OneDrive provides an excellent cloud storage solution for businesses, while Skype for Business makes web communication a breeze. Start small with Office 365's Business Essentials package, or shoot straight to Premium for added amenities, like the Microsoft Office suite and HD video conferencing.
In the end, it's all about what exactly your organization needs, but odds are it can benefit from a bit of added productivity and efficiency. These tools will help you get your teams on the same track, prioritize major projects, and delegate tasks until you've achieved just that.