Boosting productivity in the workplace is a major goal for most business owners. Fortunately, there are many handy tools on the market to help you do just that. What’s more, lots of them are free or are available in free versions.
Not only do these free tools help to save your business money – although even the paid versions are pretty good value in most cases – if your team becomes more productive as a result, you could be saving more than you imagined! Hasib Howlader, owner of Howlader & Co Chartered Accountants, highlights all of the tools available to really boost productivity in the workplace.
Google Drive is Google’s productivity suite that provides storage as well as Docs, Sheets and Slides. One of its key strengths is collaboration. You can create documents online and invite team members to edit, suggest or comment, making it easy to produce group work or monitor new staff members.
It’s completely free to use if you have a Google account. However, if you to set up your team on a business G Suite account you’ll need to pay a monthly fee.
If you think you couldn’t manage without Microsoft Office, you may be interested to know that Airbus recently ditched Microsoft’s Office suite and moved to Google.
Could you make the switch? It depends what you need from your office software. Word and Excel are still much more powerful. But if, like Airbus, collaboration is more important than powerful features, G Suite could be ideal.
You can have all your work communications in once place when using Slack. It allows you to simplify communication, streamline workflow and share knowledge.
You’re in good company if you decide to go for one of their packages with businesses such as Airbnb, Capital One and Ticketmaster all using the organisation platform. They even do a free limited trial – great for small businesses.
If your company uses Gmail, Boomerang is essential. Gone are the days of forgetting to reply to that important email or being bombarded by untimely notifications. Boomerang allows you to take control of your email scheduling and clean up your inbox. Completely free and easy to use, it’s one of the best tools for boosting office efficiency.
One of the most important elements of running a successful business is being able to keep track of everything from the year’s goals to the minute everyday tasks.
Trello allows you to assign and manage tasks in your team and easily prioritise jobs. By creating specific boards and cards you can make it simple to navigate through what can often be a minefield of projects.
Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking apps and it can be used to store virtually anything. It enables you to save web pages in a few clicks, create audio notes, and store images and videos.
It also has a team chat feature to share notes with your colleagues. The free version might be a bit limiting for businesses, but it depends on the size of your company. Otherwise, the paid versions offer more flexibility and if you use it a lot it can be great value for money.
Can you use WhatsApp for your business? There’s no reason why not. The great thing about WhatsApp (apart from being free) is that most of your team will be familiar with it already.
As WhatsApp is used primarily for day to day life, it’s also more likely that employees will check the app regularly so it’s great for relaying urgent messages. You can easily set up a group chat for your team. Use it to share notes and ideas as well as keeping in touch when team members are travelling on business.
If you do a lot of social media marketing, Buffer can help you to manage it all more quickly. The free version allows you to program in a few updates every day so you can set up all your posts for the week across Facebook, Twitter and other networks, allowing you to get on with other tasks. With Buffer there’s no need to keep on updating your social feeds, which will save you and your team a lot of time.
While Dropbox is one of the best tools for file storage, Dropbox Paper is a way to create documents and collaborate with your team. You can add text, images, videos and more to documents. As the documents are available online, there’s no need to waste time sending emails back and forth for editing and reviewing. If you or your team members work remotely, Dropbox Paper is a great way to access your work from anywhere.
If you do a lot of writing, either for communicating with your clients or publishing content, Grammarly is a really useful app. The free version provides an excellent spelling and grammar checker and catches all those easy-to-miss mistakes we all make.
The premium version has more powerful features, including a detailed analysis of context and sentence structure – it even makes enhanced vocabulary suggestions. As much as the premium version is incredibly useful for writers and academics the free app is useful to add polish and precision to any business.
Get more done for less
Of course, there are plenty of other affordable apps that, while not free, can boost productivity in the workplace. Sometimes improving performance is not always about efficiency. It’s important not to forget the powers of wellbeing in the workplace. Apps like Headspace run free trials and can provide a welcome rejuvenation for stressed out staff.
If you’re reviewing how you can make your business more productive and don’t want to pay through the roof, consider how this list might be able to help your company.