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8 Tools for Building an Effective Team

8 Tools for Building an Effective Team

When it comes to getting projects completed, you need to have a great team working on them. Before you can work on projects, you need to put that team together.

There is a lot more to building an effective team than just getting a bunch of employees together to work on a project. You need to use the right tools that are going to help the team to be as productive and effective as possible.

Here are some of the tools that you should be using.

1. Work(etc)

work-etc

    Here is an all-in-one project management, CRM, and collaboration tool that is a must-have for effective teams. It is basically a software solution for your whole business, and then some.

    You can use the cloud-based mobile and web apps to manage your business from anywhere, so you don’t have to be tied to a desk in the office. This is going to mean a huge increase in productivity and efficiency, with the best practices in place.

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    2. Campfire

    campfire

      This is another messaging tool, but it is specifically for group usage. You can use it to share files, text, and code in real time, and of course, save transcripts so you don’t forget anything.

      This is a web-based group chat tool that lets users set up chatrooms that are password protected, in just a few seconds. There is nothing to install, and it is easy to use from any device.

      3. Six Disciplines

      six-disciplines

        Employees can use this tool to track and update the progress of everything they are doing, including plans, goals, and performance results.

        Performance management solutions by Six Disciplines can be used at any time, and from any device, and it makes setting up multi-rater feedback for employees easy for managers to do. With this tool, team management and coaching is team and employee oriented.

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        4. Bitrix24

        bitrix24

          Here is a free collaboration suite with more than 35 awesome tools. It is an all-in-one suite for collaboration, communication, and management tools, and in addition to the free plan, you can also upgrade to paid plans for even more benefits.

          You can even use the self-hosted version to run your server, and you have total control over data and source code access. There is even a help desk, as well as e-learning.

          5. Zoom

          zoom

            This is the number one video conferencing and web conferencing service, and you can sign up for free. It can be used on all devices, so you can use it while you are on the go and no one will ever miss an important meeting again.

            More than 350,000 companies all over the world use this tool. In addition to the free basic service, you can also choose from a variety of paid plans that offer even more great benefits, and none cost more than $20 per month.

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            6. Slack

            slack

              This is a messaging app that teams need in order to be able to stay in contact with each other whenever they need to be.

              You have various options for communicating, including open channels for team conversations, private channels for smaller or one-on-one conversations, and direct messages that let you reach colleagues directly.

              7. Redbooth

              redbooth

                Busy teams should be using this tool for tasks and project management. You can manage all projects, as well as day-to-day work, with all of your chat, email, and file storage apps in one convenient location.

                The software is easy to use and offers an intuitive, user-friendly design that even inexperienced users can enjoy.

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                8. Zoomshift

                zshift

                  Make scheduling easy with this tool that will make your life a whole lot easier. You never have to worry about schedule changes again, because you will always have instant access to it on any device.

                  You can see all employee schedules, make changes, and use the Time Clock app. There are shift reminders, notification settings, mobile notifications, and many other features that make this an indispensable tool for any business.

                  Featured photo credit: Nick Karvounis via unsplash.com

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                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                  How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                  How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                  We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                  So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                  While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                  Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                  What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                  How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                  But what does being productive actually entail?

                  Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                  Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                  It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                  Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                  9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                  1. Avoid Multitasking

                  Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                  Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                  If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                  2. Turn off Notifications

                  According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                  Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                  The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                  Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                  3. Manage Interruptions

                  There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                  Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                  If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                  By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                  4. Eat the Frog

                  Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                  “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                  What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                  We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                  Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                  5. Cut Down on Meetings

                  Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                  You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                  The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                  But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                  If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                  6. Utilize Tools

                  Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                  If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                  And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                  Some examples of tools that could be used:

                  Communication
                  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                  • Samepage for video conference software.
                  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                  Task Management
                  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                  • Wekan for an open source option.
                  Database Management
                  Time Tracking
                  • Clockify for a free tracker.
                  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                  You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                  7. Declutter and Organize

                  Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                  Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                  Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                  Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                  8. Take Breaks

                  Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                  As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                  Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                  Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                  9. Drink Water

                  Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                  Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                  Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                  A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                  If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                  You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                  The Bottom Line

                  The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                  After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                  In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                  A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                  Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                  More About Boosting Productivity

                  Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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