Struggling to coordinate everything you need to get done, in a timely manner, with the resources you need? Sometimes you just need more than what your company has. Most businesses have access to the the Microsoft or Google Suites of tools for productivity apps. These offer tons of helpful tools, tricks and conveniences. For example, Microsoft comes with OneNote, a note-taking software that will automatically store everything you type, and can be organized into checklists (check out the link to see more tips and tricks for OneNote). But there’s so many other neat apps that offer easy compatibility and are accessible online (or in app form). The next few resources we chose to highlight are because they are extremely adaptable and usable as an online and phone application. In fact, a few of our suggestions work best when you are using both simultaneously!

Productivity Apps: Stack, Slack, and Trello

Productivity, Seamlessly: Organize Easier

Stack: A Productivity App

Google has an app called Stack for Android devices. It was launched in March of 2021 as a new Google product. Stack is functionally similar to a Microsoft app called Lens, which was originally released for use with Windows phones, but has since found a home on the Play Store. As of right now, this app is not available on the Apple App store, but the other two apps we feature have downloads on both Apple and Android devices.

The purpose of the app is to help get (and keep) users organized.

You can scan your bills and receipts with the app, which automatically crops and sharpens them. Stack also uses text scanning capabilities that very much play to Google’s core strengths to single out important details like due dates and total amounts due. It can even categorize and organize your paperwork into similar groups called, predictably enough, stacks.

As with Google’s search engine, the Stack app’s organizational capabilities are impressive, but they’re not perfect. So the app will undoubtedly make a mistake here and there. Even given this, however, it’s a fantastic and free way you can keep your important papers organized, which will make things much easier when it comes time to file those annual taxes.

Even better, it’s got a backup function that’s tied to Google’s cloud drive service, so if you have an account, you won’t ever have to worry about losing track of your receipts. If they somehow vanish from your phone, you’ll be able to pull copies of what you need from your cloud drive.

Best of all, the little app is surprisingly secure. You can augment that even further by enabling biometric sign-in on the phone, so that no one can access your documents unless they scan your fingerprint in.

It’s a good app, and well worth downloading and experimenting with. Kudos to Google for offering up something genuinely useful, especially at this time of year when tax preparation efforts are giving a great many people heartburn and headaches. Download your copy from the Play Store today.

Slack, A Collaborative Chat (Or Teams)

A very underutilized tool, but one that can make collaboration a charm to do- use Slack (or Teams, if you have M365). A lot of organizations will already have access to a chat app to some degree, but quite a few do not use the tools they already have. If you are paying for Microsoft, Slack and Teams have almost identical usability, so go with a built-in app over an outside app if you have the option.

Slack is a great option for teams that do not have access to Teams, as both have the ability to create channels devoted to certain teams or projects and allow for document sharing and collaboration, as well as a slew of fun integrations that make work both more productive, and fun. Free to sign up, it only requires you to upgrade if you need to access to more than 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages.

Slack: A Productivity App

Stop Emailing About Projects- Create Channels for Open Communication

One of downsides to collaborative platforms (both for Teams and Slack, as well as other messaging apps, like Jabber by Skype) is that it is easy to set up collaborative space, but it is not easy to make employees and collaborators actually use the space. Most people have trained themselves to email, whether it is a single thought to a coworker, or a project plan for an upcoming project. It is hard to get out of the mindset hat everything needs to be communicated through email.

One way to address this is to look at how people are communicating. If you are using the Microsoft Suites, Microsoft put together a soft guide to relay how to use Teams, Sharepoint, and OneDrive, as navigating when to use what application can get confusing. But, this is often due to miscommunication as the apps are meant to work in tandem. When you create a new team or private channel in Microsoft Teams, a team site in SharePoint gets automatically created, and any documents uploaded are shared in your personal OneDrive and your team’s SharePoint. By directing teammates to share thoughts only in Teams, it will reduce confusion.

A second way to address this is to look at why people are communicating. Once your whole team has access to Slack or Teams, it is important to relay how and when to communicate via chat or by email. Just sharing a thought, comment or question with one person? Use the chat function for a quicker response than email! Microsoft explained that Teams is best for the back-and-forth you have with your teammates- anyone in your inner circle than you talk to more than once a day. Email is best for communication outside of your organization, or for targeted type communications. Check out this graphic below, and click the photo to learn more about how to use chat or email for communications.

Microsoft Teams: A Productivity App

Trello: Stack Tasks in Boards

The last (but certainly not least in terms of productivity) is Trello. Trello has been rising in popularity in the past few years with businesses because it is both a productivity task-tracking app, but also a collaborative one. Per Trello’s website, Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. The best way to imagine Trello is to picture a whiteboard with sticky notes that have been divided into different vertical tracks.

Trello is unique because of the collaborative way that teams can work on Boards together. Each item can have a title, description, due date, and people responsible for them. It is great for project planning sprints, where goals for multiple people can be tracked and commented on. The app is completely free to use, though, like Slack, they have paid parts of their platform that require upgrades to access.

For personal use, Trello is a great resource for organizing your to-do for the day, week, and month. For a team, Trello has a few different easy ways to collaborate including ways to manage your team, or inspire them.

Trello: A Productivity App

Getting Your Technology Set Up Correctly:

It is easy enough to want more productivity apps, it’s another thing to fully implement these- including signing up, sending invites to the team, creating collaborative spaces, ensuring people are using the programs (and correctly). You have a job to do and a business to run, instead leave those projects to a professional. KPInterface has been migrating technology for over 15 years, and we’ve seen it all. Learn how to fully invest in the technology you are already utilizing, or learn what new technology is cutting edge in your industry. Contact us today about projects or migration, we can handle what would take your team months of rollout. Fill out the form below to connect with our team (or chat us).