People worldwide are experiencing an entirely different working environment in 2021 than they started with in 2020. A global pandemic transformed offices everywhere into remote workplaces, solidifying and accelerating a trend toward telecommuting that started years prior with the advent of cloud computing. In the post-pandemic environment, even physical office environments have shifted toward the cloud as other employees are asked to report to the office fewer days each week or month to reduce the number of people in a building at any given time and enhance social distancing efforts.
According to the Survey of Business Uncertainty, a study conducted by the Atlanta Federal Reserve and the University of Chicago, the share of working days spent at home is estimated to increase 400 percent over Pre-COVID19 levels – from 5 to 20 percent. In fact, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites only about 8 percent of all employees worked from home at least one day per week in 2018, Gallup indicates that number had increased to 33 percent by the end of 2020’s third quarter.
All that telecommuting only emphasizes the need for smooth collaboration and steady productivity. If workers aren’t physically together, what tools are available to boost teamwork? If employees are working at home, how can they ensure they remain productive in the face of countless distractions? Even companies operating on a business-as-usual standard can benefit from increased productivity, especially in the face of a recession.
What are the most effective ways for all companies, management, and workers to boost their productivity in 2021? Fortunately, there really is a solution for practically any problem.
Check out the 10 best productivity apps to use in 2021:
1. Miro for collaborative whiteboards
If you’re looking for an online platform to boost collaboration efforts, Miro provides essential online productivity tools to support remote teamwork. Miro users can take advantage of whiteboard software resources like both video and text-based chat features for transparent communication and brainstorming, presentation delivery, file sharing and task management to keep the entire team on track. One of the best productivity tools for business, the Miro app even offers a template library that can help customize their Miro experience for teams, workshops, classes and projects.
2. Adobe XD for integrated visual design
Designers of all skill levels have a plethora of tools at their disposal, but Adobe continues its decades-long reputation as a leader in visual design software. The vector-based Adobe XD design tools can be used for creating everything from wireframes and prototypes to components and plugins. It fits perfectly into Adobe’s suite of design products, supporting files originating from Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch and After Effects, while it promotes collaboration by connecting with platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
3. Monday.com for workflow creating and management
Monday.com’s visual platform makes it possible to plan, organize and track tasks for the entire team in a single location. The user-friendly and intuitive tool allows operators to create their ideal workflows from scratch or choose from more than 200 templates. Since changes and updates sync in real time, including status buttons and notifications, the whole team can stay on track while achieving peak productivity.
4. Appcues for increased customer engagement
Boost customer engagement while saving loads of time with Appcues customer experience software tools. The user-friendly, cloud-based product helps companies design and facilitate smooth, customized onboarding processes for their customers— no coding skills required. Appcues supports the creation of product tours, walkthroughs and in-app messages to welcome customers, including features like flow analytics, A/B testing and advanced behavioral targeting.
5. Beautiful.ai for professionally-designed presentations
How much time do teams waste on tweaking their visual presentations? Beautiful.ai’s free PowerPoint alternative enables even amateur designers to create presentations efficiently and effectively using the principles of good design recommended by the pros. By automating the design process, Beautiful.ai users can just add their content, and the presentation software automatically adjusts the design, optimizing each slide for the most professional appearance. The tool also promotes collaboration by allowing entire teams to edit and view updates in real time.
6. Apollo for improved project and contact management
The Apollo project and contact management software makes it simple to prioritize tasks and organize projects while keeping the entire team on the same page. The cloud-based tool lets users break projects into smaller tasks, set and track milestones, track time, communicate among the team, create Gantt charts, share calendars and a host of other features.
7. Figma for browser-based graphic design
One of the industry’s leading interface design apps, Figma, is a web-based tool that supports a variety of graphic design tasks, including wireframing websites, designing mobile app interfaces, prototyping designs and even creating social media posts. Because Figma operates on a web browser it’s ideal for teams who can access and design projects from any computer or platform without the need for multiple licenses.
8. Typeform for collecting customer data
Customer data is a valuable tool for any business, but collecting it can sometimes be easier said than done. People can grow wary of providing personal details, and countless hours can be wasted with little results. Typeform offers a solution on both fronts by collecting and sharing information in a conversational and comfortable manner. The web-based platform supports the creation of surveys and apps that ask one question at a time like a real conversation. Because they are visually attractive, fun and engaging to complete, surveys created with Typeform generally generate high completion rates.
9. Ten Percent Happier for improved mindfulness
Whether working remotely or braving the physical world in 2021, people are facing higher levels of stress, frustration and isolation. These negative states of mind can hinder not only our health but our overall focus and productivity, so it’s never been a better time to promote meditation in the workplace. Ten Percent Happier offers a variety of meditation guides, including a daily 5-minute meditation practice that the company says has been scientifically proven to increase and deepen focus at work.
10. Toggl for tracking time and managing project schedules
They say knowing is half the battle, and nothing can be truer when it comes to maximizing your time. It’s hard to know how to optimize productivity if you don’t first know how much time you’re spending on various tasks. Toggl can track your personal or a team’s collaborative time, so you can better manage a project and create a more effective schedule. It also offers detailed reports of time data, so you don’t have to be a professional analyst to understand your results.