Tools & Apps Articles

The latest tools and apps for employee communication, video messaging, employee engagement, recruiting, onboarding, retention, and more.


Hot New Tools and Apps for Businesses Everywhere

16 October 2018
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Tools and Apps. Everyone knows what the word “app” means. It hasn’t been around since the beginning of time as we know it, but it’s been in use far longer than many realize. According to an article by Thom Holwerda for OS News, the term was initially used in job postings for programmers starting in 1981. The abbreviated form of “applications” was utilized in employee communication and recruiting simply because job postings cost money. The higher the word count, the more expensive the ad. And programmers knew what “apps” stood for.

Everywhere You Look…

Today, tools and apps abound. The world of business has radically changed from what the model was prior to the start of the 21st century. Explosive growth has been front and center with employees who telecommute. A report by Flexjobs and Global Workforce Analytics entitled The 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce has gathered some extremely interesting statistics about today’s employees.

  • 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005 (a 115 percent increase).
  • The average telecommuter is 46 years of age or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker.
  • Roughly the same population of women and men telecommute.
  • Telecommuting is more common among employees over 35 years of age and most common among Baby Boomers.
  • In more than half of the top U.S. metro areas telecommuting exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice. It has grown far faster than any other commute mode.

In the arena of work/life balance, millennials are leading the charge for a greater percentage of telecommuting work time. So what does this point to? A wider array of tools and apps use, especially in employee communications and productivity. And who are some of the best people to review and even test these new apps? The HR department. HR has its finger on the pulse of its company, knowing the nature of the business, its structure and its pros and cons better than anybody else.

Top Tools and Apps for Increased Productivity

The first thing to understand is that cloud technology is the cornerstone of the app world. The cloud is the place, on either an actual or virtual network, that stores information, information technology and applications. Systems like Google Apps, which includes Gmail (email), Calendar, GChat, Docs, Drive and Sites are cloud-based. After reading this article, you can access each apps’ home to take a closer look.

So what are the top productivity apps presently on the market, and what do they offer? Here’s five to consider, as presented by Hackernoon, a very popular website about software for the people who use it. Their top 5 is actually Top 10, and every single one goes mobile.

  • Doodle: an online scheduling system that gets meetings, events and appointments together in a snap.
  • Box provides secure cloud services to build a company’s custom apps.
  • The smooth-running and efficient BlueJeans is a premier tool to keep in constant contact with one’s clientele.
  • Slack: probably the best-known app for providing communication and collaboration tools to meet the need of tech- and non-tech savvy people.
  • Evernote: besides being a wonderful tool that employees can use in a face-to-face meeting, it will synchronize with an employee’s workstation, so that no information is lost.

Top Tools and Apps for Improved Employee Communications

Are there equally exciting apps for communications, both internal and external? Yes. In addition to Flimp Communications’ video communication and decision-support software, which help managers track and communicate with employees, there is a wide variety of ways that distributed offices can keep in touch and work together. So what are the top five? In his article for Business.com, Scott Gerber lays out the results of conversing with the Young Entrepreneurs Council. He came away with five top options for improved employee communication:

  • HipChat was considered the go-to choice by many, but Slack absorbed it, so we’ll look at Redbooth. Redbooth is a one-stop shop for increased productivity and communications. It’s designed to help teams manage tasks both large and small.
  • Slack: whether it’s mobile or computer-based, Slack is one of the top-end tools for communications and more. Wikipedia defines its name as an acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.” It’s easy to learn, so dig in!
  • Campfire: Basecamp folded Campfire into itself, so it’s no longer available as a standalone. Basecamp 3 is used for team communications and work, including making software, discussing ideas, planning marketing and sales campaigns, and much more. Campfire is a real-time group chat. Now everything’s in one place.
  • Wrike: Wrike sets out the steps to start every project in its management programs. It’s very straightforward: build a path, set a timeline, prioritize and visualize, check the outcome, and analyze the results. And the very first step is to create an email welcoming new users to the program.
  • Microsoft Teams: this is not the first time Teams has appeared in an article. But this time we’re looking at it as a real-time tool for messaging and chats. It’s a good option for team communications.

There’s a lot going on in the world of apps. It’s likely, a year from now, that some will cease to be, other will be absorbed by a bigger app parent, and ghosts will wander the halls of app machines. So for a pre-Halloween treat, get some apps for your company. It will be almost as good as chocolate.

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Joetta L. Wagner

Joetta L. Wagner is a researcher, writer and editor extraordinaire with over 20 years' experience. She absorbs information like a sponge absorbs water, and has been known to dazzle cocktail party patrons with an endless array of collected factoids. Her ruthlessness as an editor is an acquired skill.

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