With the proliferation of smartphone use, and the decision by many employers to adopt “bring your own device” policies which allow employees to use their personal mobile devices to increase productivity during the workday, there has been a fairly recent explosion in productivity-based mobile device apps. Since high speed internet is available in most workplaces, it only seems fair to encourage employees to take advantage of any tools that can help to make them more efficient on the job. Are productivity apps the real deal or just the hype?
As with any other type of app, there are plenty of productivity apps that make promises they simply can’t keep. Does this mean that there aren’t any apps available which really do make a positive difference in productivity?
Far from it, as a bit of digging can unearth a number of useful, time saving apps that will streamline tedious tasks and leave you with more time in which to do the more important, interesting tasks related to your job.
The Risks and Benefits of Productivity Apps
Though many people will swear by this app or that one as a way to improve their work habits, there is still a large contingent who think that productivity apps aren’t helping at all.
The reason for this is more related to the “bring your own device” initiative than the apps themselves, in truth. Just as people feared — correctly, in many cases — that the advent of internet connections in the workplace would diminish productivity by allowing for too many distractions, those same people fear that allowing employees to use personal devices at work will lead to more goofing around and less work completed.
There is certainly an element of truth to that concern, just as there was when internet connections started becoming more common in the workplace. With internet connections, however, it quickly became apparent that people could complete far more work in a short period, even if internet availability inevitably led to more distractions.
When it comes to productivity apps, the same concept applies. Sure, employees may be more likely to take a social media or gaming app break, but the overall time saved still works out dramatically to the positive.
The bottom line is that employees will be using apps at work, whether you permit them to or not. So you are better off trying to get the most out of productivity apps, instead of discouraging device use altogether. Productivity apps can make planning easier, streamline tedious tasks, allow for quick, efficient research and allow employees to take more effective notes, among a host of other things. Permitting employees to use productivity apps also gives them a feeling of empowerment and allows for added critical thinking and creative problem solving.
Common Types of Productivity Apps
- Some of the most popular productivity apps available are made to streamline scheduling tasks. One example is a program that allows you to send a list of potential meeting times to all people who are expected to attend, allowing attendees to indicate the times during which they’ll be available. When the results come back, you can use them to schedule your meeting with maximum attendance in mind, all while avoiding those never-ending email chains that often come with scheduling.
- Intelligent magazine apps can make research a breeze. As you use the app to find and consume content, the app will tailor future featured articles directly to your browsing patterns. When you have to do research on industry-specific information, or you want to keep up on the latest news in your industry, an intelligent magazine app will provide a one-stop shop that often limits time spent search. As a bonus, these apps can also be used for browsing material that you choose for pleasure.
- There are many apps that allow you to take notes and clear out mental clutter in creative, effective ways. These apps will allow you to spend more time getting important work done, and less time remembering what needs to be done, or how to do it.
The examples listed above comprise a small group of the many useful productivity apps available. Overall, productivity apps are certainly making a positive difference in the work life of many employees. The key to success with productivity apps is efficient use, strong background knowledge of what the app has to offer, and the critical thinking ability to get the most out of each app.
So, haw have productivity apps worked for you by far? Share your experiences with these kind of apps below.