It’s nearly impossible to run a business in today’s climate without using up-to-date technology. This doesn’t necessarily mean procuring the best computers. Instead, it means you should utilize the most current software and programs to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Even if you’ve been in business for years, it can be difficult to figure out what programs and websites will help you stay ahead of the pack. One of the biggest concerns that has plagued businesses lately is productivity. It can be difficult to ensure your employees are staying productive, especially if your business is operating at least partly remotely. Luckily, many apps, websites, and services within Microsoft 365 are designed to boost productivity in the workplace, if you use them correctly.
It can be difficult to figure out which apps and websites will work best for your business, so we have created a list of the best apps that boost employee productivity.
Microsoft Teams and Calendars
If you have certain employees who aren’t always in the office, how do you communicate with each other? Using e-mail can become tedious, and e-mails are frequently missed. Texting is also not the best option for business communications. That’s where Teams comes in.
Teams is a collaborative workspace that streamlines meetings, group or 1:1 chats, and document sharing. This program will keep employees up-to-date on recent developments within the company. You can also create specific groups if you need to get a message out to a specific team or group of people. Teams has been a lifesaver for many companies during the pandemic, especially because it comes with video meetings built in.
Teams also makes it easy to schedule meetings. The calendar-sharing feature in Microsoft 365 allows you to see everyone’s schedule so you can plan meetings when everyone is free — and the invitation automatically includes a link to the video session.
A lot of time is spent in meetings getting status updates and assigning tasks. Planner gives team leaders a way to assign action items with deadlines, include links to the relevant briefing documents, and monitor progress. This app, which integrates directly with Teams groups, can view projects as a board with categories, task cards and color-coded details, or in a chart form, or viewed as a calendar. Discussion about tasks occur in the cards themselves, keeping everything neatly tracked in one place. Individual team members can also filter their view to only show what’s assigned to them, even across multiple projects, with reminder notifications sent to their inbox.
Filesharing and Co-authoring
Nothing slows down work like looking for the right version of a document. Microsoft 365 integrates a SharePoint file system as part of Teams, so all relevant documents are stored securely in the cloud. Files can be shared as links in Teams chats or email, with access controlled for viewing, comment-only or full edits allowed. You can also have multiple people working on the same document (or spreadsheet or presentation) at the same time. Pair that with a Teams video meeting, and you’re collaborating in real-time from anywhere. You don’t get much more productive than that.
This handy Microsoft app can sometimes be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Not all information can be neatly organized in a Word doc or PowerPoint. OneNote lets you set up virtual notebooks associated with specific teams or projects, and create unstructured notes within them. You can capture ideas, images, audio recordings, and dictate thoughts or even draw directly into the note. Set up notes for Teams meetings as well to keep everyone on the same page, even after the meeting ends.
A more powerful tool is this app that summarizes your Microsoft 365 data— emails, meetings, calls, and chats—to provides personalized recommendations to improve productivity. Viva Insights helps build better work habits, such as following through on commitments you’ve made, and can help build a weekly plan to protect time for uninterrupted, individual work. One of the best features: the ability to set working hours and schedule email delivery to match your working hours.
This tool is not part of the Microsoft 365 suite, but it’s useful productivity app that does integrate with Teams. TimeCamp is able to track how much time your team is spending on any given project. It will provide a breakdown, showing specific apps and websites, so you can see where most of their time was spent. You’ll also get analytics so you can determine how they are performing. TimeCamp will even assist with keeping your budget in check to ensure that no task or project goes over budget.
If clocking time has been an issue in your business, TimeCamp can help there too. This program can be used as an easy attendance-tracking tool, as it has functions for clocking in and out, tracking overtime, automating payroll and reporting leaves.
If you plan to grow your business until it’s considered elite, you must make the necessary technological adjustments. If you’re unsure about where to start, Microsoft 365 apps are a good choice that could really bolster your productivity.