The success of smartphones and tablets over the last five years or so has been helped in no small part by the huge number of apps available to users. These handy little add-ons make life easier; there are apps for grocery shopping, banking, social networks and pretty much anything you can think of.

The thing is, how many of these apps are actually productive? Do they enable you to perform your job better? Does it give you the ability to work on the move in a way that hasn’t been possible since, well, ever?

Take advantage of modern technology to increase your effectiveness in, and outside, the office.  Here’s five apps which have been proven to increase the productiveness of people at all levels of business.

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

Cost: Free

More info: www.wunderlist.com

Wunderlist is a fantastic app for every area of your life.  As the name suggests, its main function is making lists which may sound simple but it’s incredibly useful.

So what’s so great about Wunderlist? Well first, it’s free (although they do have paid options) and it’s extremely easy to use. You can create as many separate lists as you want, and file them accordingly to ensure your life remains organized. The iPhone app is nicely designed and easy to use, whilst they also have apps for iPad, Mac, Windows, Android and the web.  However, there are perhaps two fundamental reasons why Wunderlist stands out from the crowd.

Wunderlist allows you access your lists from anywhere and on any device. Once you are signed up, any lists you make are saved in the cloud. So you can make a list on your computer at lunchtime and access it on your iPhone screen when you get to the supermarket in the evening.

This leads me to second main reason why Wunderlist impresses me so much – the ability to share with multiple users, which I frequently use at work.  For example, you can create a list of to-dos for a certain project, then if you’re out of the office you can assign tasks to other members of the team from your phone. You can then set a due date for that task and request a reminder to be sent if the task has yet not been ticked off.

“Wunderlist is a fantastic tool, as well as being a useful, but standard, list making tool, it can also function as a piece of project planning and management software – not bad for something that costs nothing!” – Mark Hughes, Electric Dialogue

Keeper

keeper

Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

Cost: Free

More info: www.keepersecurity.com

Ever had one of those days when you can’t remember your passwords? Have you had to wait until the IT department gets back to you with a replacement? Or do you just go straight for the reset button? Well this app takes that onus off your shoulders, so you can deal with the things that really matter.

One of the great things about Keeper is its ability to synch across devices, which means you don’t have the frustration of repeatedly entering in the wrong password and locking your accounts or having to reset them. It keeps everything behind a single ‘master’ password that wipes your secrets if a hack is attempted.

If your office has a number passwords for various tools, programs, accounts etc (as I’d expect) Keeper also has a group option. Group administrators manage the accounts and users to control what goes to whom. There’ll be no more asking around the office for the password or post it notes with passwords scrawled on stuck to computer screens.

All in all this app enables you to work hard without having to take involuntary breaks you hunt down missing passwords.

“When our office was broken into eighteen months ago and my desktop was stolen I panicked. Everything I owned was accessible from that note list on it. My mortgages, my shares, my savings accounts; someone could basically have accessed each and every part of my life and my business.

I decided something more secure was needed because I’d got too used to the simplicity of having everything in one place. Keeper was the answer to my prayers!” – Scott Seaman-Digby, Hawtrey Dene

Speek

Speek

Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

Cost: Free (data roaming fees may apply as an internet connection is required)

More info: www.speek.com

Conference calling is an important part of how most businesses operate. It enables teams, and individuals, working in different offices around the world to brainstorm, plan and discuss. But it’s such a fiddly process isn’t it?

Fortunately, there is an app for that! Speek is a specialist conference calling app that cuts out the fuss and lets you get on with the work.

All you have to do is pick a personal link which takes the place of the traditional PIN or phone numbers. Then send it to the other callers, when when want to join the call all they have to do is click that link from their tablet, smartphone, desktop etc to join in – it’s that simple.

There are no third parties involved, hold music or dodgy lines. So next time you’re turning your desk upside looking for the dial-in PIN or struggling to interpret the crackling voices on the other lines, remember it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s an app that every modern business needs; and to top it all off, did I mention it was free?

“Being able to share information with our team, often when we are out on the road, is a crucial part of our business.  So Speek allows us to do that with minimum fuss” - Lorraine Barker, Workfish

Highrise

tour-contact-redesign

Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

Cost: Free

More info: www.highrisehq.com

Highrise is a CRM app that helps you to manage your tasks and objectives as well as those of your team. It integrates with all of your email accounts and calendars as well as tracking all of your leads and proposals. This means with you can pull in a whole wealth of information and updates wherever you are and on any device.

A simple feature we like is the ability to link photos to our clients’ profiles as well as any LinkedIn or twitter accounts they may have – it builds up a personality of each person, rather than just a load of statistics.

You can also custom tag companies and individuals within the system for quick and easy grouping of contacts. As we can work remotely from one another the app allows us a very quick and simple way of staying connected.

Although the basic plan is free there are paid plans which enable you to add more users to your account, increased storage and thousands of extra contacts.

“The Highrise app is indispensable for us as a business – it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing at night.  It allows us to get a near instant snapshot of our company activity and helps ensure that we do not fall behind with our client management.  

It’s a vital finger-on-the-pulse of the organisation that we rely on in order to best serve our staff and customers alike.” – Michael Miller, Edison Red

Shoeboxed

Organize-Receipts-Shoeboxed-Scan-Email-or-Mail-Receipts-1

Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

Cost: Free

More info: www.shoeboxed.com

Claiming expenses can be a time consuming process, all those forms to fill out and keeping track of those receipts. Let’s just say it’s not a task for the faint-hearted.

That’s where Shoeboxed proves its worth. This free app (a running theme I know) is great for people who frequently find themselves out and about in the name of business. It enables you to scan your receipts into your phone as you go, it then collates and organises these receipts for you.

That’s pretty great in its self but when the time comes to generate an expenses report Shoeboxed comes into its own. It does all the work for you; all you have to do is send it – which you can, of course, do straight from the app.

There’s also a handy feature on the app if you find yourself with countless business cards after that out of town conference. Much like the receipt function, you just scan the business card with your phone and voila, the information is pulled from the image and then stored in a personal contact list. Impressive, is probably the word you’re looking for.

“Shoeboxed is an app that businesses of any size should be using. I don’t have to hold on to endless amounts of receipts when I’m away on business anymore or spend time putting an expenses report together when I’m back – Shoeboxed does it all for me.” Andrew Strain, No.1 Traveller

Round-Up

The apps on this list are generally fairly simple. Nothing extravagant or overwhelmingly complicated, they just make time consuming or inefficient tasks quicker.

It is their usability as well as functionality that set these five apps apart from the rest of the market.

Choosing which applications to download may be daunting so this list should help you narrow down your choices. 20 Killer Productivity Apps for Mac You Should Have in 2013

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