Productivity software: Choosing the best tools for your team

An employee working at her kitchen counter at home

Office productivity tools are an essential part of any co-located or virtual workplace environment. These kinds of tools can be used to help team members manage projects, track progress, and—most importantly—get work done. 

 

In today’s world, remote work is fast becoming the new normal. As a result, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to adapt their online toolkit to align with the need for remote teams to communicate and collaborate efficiently and effectively. 

 

There are many types of productivity software tools available for businesses, most with customized pricing models. From separate applications for project management and time tracking to unified solutions that offer an integrated approach to team productivity—there are plenty of choices. 

 

With so many tools at your fingertips, it can be challenging to choose the right one(s) for your business. In this article, we’ll offer some tips and guidance about how to choose the best productivity software to suit your team’s needs. 

 

We’ll cover:

While many businesses continue to share files through email, it’s becoming clear that it’s not the most sophisticated file sharing tool. Email attachments have upload limits in terms of file size and file storage and don’t make document collaboration easy. Plus, there’s no guarantee that your documents are safe. 

How productivity tools can improve remote collaboration

Maintaining productivity can be challenging. As employees increasingly work from home or other spaces outside the office, businesses need to look for new strategies to facilitate teamwork and communication. All while ensuring the personal productivity of employees. 

Whether you’re a freelancer, managing a small business remotely, or organizing international teams as part of a global enterprise, you can benefit from implementing productivity software into your business tech stack. Productivity tools and related software categories aim to automate workflows, improve teams’ time management, and keep them connected, no matter where they’re located.

Productivity apps that are collaborative and intuitive to use are crucial to keeping your team organized, on task, and satisfied. So, how exactly can productivity tools improve remote collaboration and help you reach your business goals? The following are just a few of the ways:

  • Better collaboration and workflows: With the right tools, remote teams can work together in the same way they would in an office environment. Perhaps, even more effectively! Real-time collaboration tools facilitate better teamwork and mitigate the challenges associated with working remotely. 
  • Improved communication: The best productivity tools combine communication channels with collaborative features to ensure teams can chat in real-time while working together on projects or tasks. Video conferencing and synchronous team chat tools improve teamwork by creating an online space where communication can happen instantaneously. That means no more sending emails back and forth, and waiting hours for a reply!
  • Increased flexibility and mobility: Productivity tools empower teams to work from anywhere. Increased flexibility to work from home, a co-working space, or anywhere else with an internet connection is a huge benefit for both businesses and employees. These tools automate workflows and increase mobility as information is stored in the cloud, rather than using local storage, so users can access information whenever, wherever.
  • Reduced overhead: Going remote is one of the biggest ways to save on business costs. Productivity tools facilitate smooth collaboration and connection among teams, without the need for and expenses associated with an office. Employees can work anywhere; all they need is an internet-enabled device. 
An employee working at her workstation in her bedroom

Key features of productivity software

The main aspects of productivity software focus on collaboration, communication, and project management.

These tools lend themselves to remote work, as no matter where an individual is physically located, they can access platforms to stay connected with their co-workers, manage their tasks, and collaborate in real-time. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of productivity software.

  1. Simple user interface

One of the first things you’ll be looking for is a productivity app with a simple, intuitive, and attractive interface. After all, you don’t want to complicate matters for your team before they even begin getting started.

A well-designed project management tool can make all the difference. The best web apps for productivity should feature a clean interface that makes it easy to track projects and tasks, access and collaborate on word processor documents and other files in real-time, and start a team chat or video call with a single click.

A great, easy-to-use productivity platform increases productivity while mitigating the challenges posed by chaotic and hard-to-follow workflows.

Another important factor to consider is that the software you choose is just as easy to use on a mobile app as it is on a desktop. Nowadays, people aren’t always working from their office, so they need to be sure they can access their productivity and team communications tools on the go.

Mobile apps with simple and robust user interfaces allow users to log in and collaborate with team members on the go. Whether they’re away on a business trip or checking their daily tasks on their commute, your team should be able to check in on team project progress, share a file, or send a message in the team chat app—whenever, wherever.

A manager making a call while sipping coffee at home

An all-in-one productivity app like Glip by RingCentral makes it simple to message, meet, and collaborate on tasks and team projects from its attractive unified platform. Glip’s workspace dashboard makes it easy to manage messaging conversations, track tasks, share files, and much more—without having to switch between project management software apps.

Glip stands out from other business productivity tools because users can switch seamlessly between web apps and mobile devices. Sometimes a face-to-face video call can be a more effective way of getting work done. With Glip, you can switch from a team chat to a video conference with the tap of a button. It’s that easy!

A team member starting a video call in the Product Team thread on Glip

  1. Cloud storage and file sharing

The cloud has changed the way business teams communicate and collaborate from a distance. With cloud storage and file sharing, users can access business files and documents from any internet-connected desktop or mobile device at any time.

Cloud storage is hosted and maintained by a third-party provider, which reduces the costs and risks associated with local storage. This provides enhanced security and ensures your team has access to their important files and documents whenever they need.

With online file sharing, teams can store, access, and collaborate on important business docs, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time, streamlining collaboration and improving teamwork. Many of the best project management systems feature built-in cloud storage. However, access to large amounts of storage space usually requires a premium plan. But that’s not always the case.

Glip’s productivity software for business teams offers unlimited collaboration, document creation, and file sharing in the cloud. Where most office productivity suites put a cap on how much you can store for free, Glip gives you unlimited storage from the get-go.

It doesn’t stop there, Glip allows you to upload and annotate documents directly within the chat app. What’s more, you can find the files you need in seconds via the chat search tool.

  1. Integrated team chat

Messaging apps are no longer just for keeping in touch with friends and family members. Team chat apps have become an integral part of business productivity software, particularly as remote work continues to grow in popularity.

Remote teams can benefit from instant messaging apps for business users that allow them to discuss projects, share updates, or just chat with coworkers. The best chat tools let you create multiple channels to separate projects, teams, departments, etc. 

Nowadays, business teams expect more than just the ability to chat in real-time from messaging apps. Instead, they expect to be able to communicate instantly, share files within the chat window, and collaborate on documents as a means of boosting productivity among remote teams. 

Glip offers everything you’d expect from a great chat app, and more! Glip allows you to chat, share, and collaborate without leaving the app. You can organize your teams’ work with dedicated threads for internal and external groups, assign and check off tasks, and customize messages—without leaving the app. Usually you’ll only get this functionality from paid apps. Glip offers it all—for free!

Video conferencing

In the world of remote work, video conferencing is a must-have feature for any great productivity app. As teams are dispersed across countries, continents, and time zones, where and how coworkers communicate is shifting.

High-definition video calling functionality allows teams to keep in touch in real-time. However, when it comes to improving collaboration, video calling isn’t enough to fully leverage your team's productivity.

Instead, look for solutions that offer a range of presentation tools like screen sharing annotation. This way, users can effectively discuss projects in real time, host online training, or conduct webinars with all the tools they need to enhance communication.

There are numerous video conferencing solutions out there, so choosing the best one for your business can be challenging. What if you could find a product suite that integrates video calls, chat, project management, and several additional productivity apps into a single software solution? We’ve got the answer: Glip.

A team having a fun video meeting on Glip

With Glip, you can enjoy presentation software and video calls backed by enterprise-grade security that gives the web host complete control over who can and can’t join. Glip’s video conferencing tool allows you to:

  • Conduct meetings with up to 100 participants and go from team chat to a video call in a single click. 
  • Enhance the calling experience further with smart noise-reduction automation features—so you can lower distracting background noise to make managing tasks much easier. 
  • Add virtual backgrounds for enhanced privacy when working from home or public environments.

  1. Task management

Task management is an essential part of any project management productivity app. Project management team leaders must have the tools they need to effectively delegate tasks and projects. Great task management tools allow you to assign, schedule, and manage tasks to team members quickly, resulting in saved time and more opportunities to get work done faster.

When it comes to a great task management platform, there are a few key features to look out for. These include:

  • Task planning: You should be able to split tasks up and effectively break them down. There should be options to color-code, organize, and prioritize tasks to make them more manageable and boost productivity among your team.
  • Task scheduling: A good productivity app with built in tasks management features should allow you to easily create and manage schedules for teams. Notifications and reminders help to keep team members on-task. 
  • Recurring tasks: When working on team projects, sometimes a task can be used again on multiple projects. This is where recurring tasks are useful as it allows you to schedule the same task on multiple days, so you can spend less time typing and assigning the same tasks over and over again. 
  • Time-management tools: When your team members time track their work, they’re more likely to remain productive and on task. That’s why any great task management platform should feature tools for tracking time and measuring how much is spent on each task and how it impacts the project, allocation of resources, and budget. Moreover, time tracking tools help to reduce the effect of distractions when working from home. 
  • Calendar: Task management software should feature a central calendar that’s simple to use and access. This way, you can organize and schedule tasks that work with business meetings and project timelines to ensure no task is left incomplete.

Glip’s unified productivity and communications app offers all of these task management tools and more. When you’ve got a million and one things going on, the last thing you want is to worry about managing your team’s tasks. You can add color to each task to make it simpler for you to track, organize, and reorganize project progress. 

What’s more, Glip’s task management is built-in to the team messaging platform, so you can better track your team’s progress and stay in sync, always. What’s more, if you need to follow up or check-in on a task you can send a message or start a video conference in a matter of seconds.

When you assign tasks with Glip, you can attach notes, files, and documents to provide your team with more context and ensure they know exactly what they need to do. If you have a recurring task, you can set it to show every week without wasting time manually planning and assigning it each time.

All open tasks and their assignees on the Glip task management pane

To-do lists

There are plenty of basic apps out there for creating and tracking to-do lists.

These lists allow us to monitor tasks and other relevant activities that come up during the day, helping us to stay organized and productive. The concept is simple. You write down your daily tasks, and cross them off once they’re completed. For remote workers, to-do lists are a great way to give structure to a day and ensure work-time doesn’t run into the hours you’re supposed to be off-the-clock. 

Sure, to-do lists are essential tools for staying on-track and ensuring you don’t miss a task, but what if a to-do list could be much more than just a tool to note down and tick off tasks? 

With Glip, you can assign tasks to yourself as well as to your teammates. This way, Glip’s task manager tool allows you to create your own personal to-do list within the app, and attach any relevant files or information for more context later on. 

In Glip, simply create a task as you normally would, and assign it to yourself, adding any relevant personal information as a reminder. It’ll appear in the task manager bar in the app so you can organize and update the things on your to-do list as you go about your day.

Notifications and reminders

Another important feature of any great productivity software is the ability to create notifications and reminders. This way, you can ensure important dates and deadlines aren’t missed.

Missing deadlines impacts not only your performance, but your whole team. If you’re working remotely as part of a software development team, for instance, and you’re late completing a task, it can put the whole team behind on project progress. It’s best to avoid this, which is where a robust notification and reminder system can help.

In Glip’s unified platform, your tasks are constantly visible to you as you work, using the app for better performance management. This means you’ll always know what’s coming up. You can check in on your teammates’ progress, follow up, and ensure deadlines are met every time.

Notifications and reminders

There are plenty of basic apps out there for creating and tracking to-do lists.

These lists allow us to monitor tasks and other relevant activities that come up during the day, helping us to stay organized and productive. The concept is simple. You write down your daily tasks, and cross them off once they’re completed. For remote workers, to-do lists are a great way to give structure to a day and ensure work-time doesn’t run into the hours you’re supposed to be off-the-clock. 

Sure, to-do lists are essential tools for staying on-track and ensuring you don’t miss a task, but what if a to-do list could be much more than just a tool to note down and tick off tasks? 

With Glip, you can assign tasks to yourself as well as to your teammates. This way, Glip’s task manager tool allows you to create your own personal to-do list within the app, and attach any relevant files or information for more context later on. 

In Glip, simply create a task as you normally would, and assign it to yourself, adding any relevant personal information as a reminder. It’ll appear in the task manager bar in the app so you can organize and update the things on your to-do list as you go about your day.

  1. Business app integrations

Most remote teams don’t just rely on a single tool to get work done. Perhaps your team is used to using Gantt charts and Kanban boards as project management templates, and they want to keep it that way. Or, maybe your software development team relies on certain development tools to get their work done.

If you’re looking for unified productivity software suites that allow your team to collaborate and communicate from a single platform, robust business app integrations are a must. You should be able to integrate the platform with a range of software category apps including:

  • CRM software
  • Word processors 
  • Spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel
  • Database management system software
  • Social media management tools
  • Email platforms like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.

Glip offers integrations with lots of useful business apps to streamline your workflows further. This way, you can integrate your Glip virtual office with all the business tools your team is used to using or requires to better carry out tasks. It means they can spend less time switching between apps, and more time getting work done. 

Glip has a huge list of potential integrations to offer. You can integrate with CRM software like Salesforce and Zoho, project management tools, file sharing apps like Google Drive and Dropbox, and word processing tools like Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) and Microsoft Office Suite. 

This way, your team has everything they need to collaborate smoothly and efficiently right at their fingertips.

An employee on an online meeting with colleagues on Glip while at home

  1. Accessible across platforms and devices

As business teams increasingly work from anywhere, it’s important to ensure that whichever tools you choose are available across operating systems and devices. If employees are using their own devices when working remotely or on-the-go, it’s likely that they’re not all logging on with the same operating system. 

It’s essential that tools function well, whether an individual is using a Mac OS, Windows, or Linux-operated desktop, or working on the move with an iOS or Android device.

Whichever productivity tool you use, your team should be able to access it on whichever internet-connected device they have at their fingertips. The work from anywhere lifestyle means that people are no longer only working when they’re in the office. Nowadays, they can work from the comfort of their own home using their personal laptop, from a coffee shop, or from their smartphone on-the-go. 

With Glip, you can do just that. Glip works on all common operating systems and features a robust mobile app that makes signing in on the go simple. Users can join a video conference or chat with teammates straight from their smartphone. Moreover, you can even collaborate on Word or Google Docs in real-time on the go and rest assured that all project progress is saved in a centralized cloud storage system.

  1. Security

Excellent security is a must-have for any productivity tool. After all, these tools are dealing with your businesses files and data, as well as the personal information of your employees. As more people start working remotely, security is becoming a factor that depends on third-party providers, rather than internal security systems. 

Beyond password managers, business apps need to have high-grade security systems in place to protect your sensitive business data. 

Glip’s protected by RingCentral’s seven layers of security. It’s enterprise-grade security means Glip is a solution you and your team can trust.

A group of IT professionals maintaining a secure data center

How to choose the best productivity tools for your team

Now that you know about all the essential features of unified productivity software, here are some tips to consider when choosing the best solution for your team.

Understand the needs of your team

Before beginning your search for the best productivity software, you’ll need to comprehensively understand the needs and requirements of your team. This means taking some time to analyze their workflows, how they communicate, and the tools they’re already familiar with. 

Consider how new productivity tools could solve problems and help to mitigate challenges. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What problems does productivity software need to solve for your team?
  • How could they be using their time more productively? 
  • What time-consuming tasks can the productivity app automate? 
  • Are your teams working remotely full time or is your business taking a hybrid approach to remote work?

Once you know  what your team needs, you can start looking for tools to empower them. You could even survey your team to better understand what they need or which challenges they’re coming up against when working online. Knowing these things will make choosing individual tools or a unified software solution much simpler.

A manager on a video conference with her team

Outline your budget

The next step is to outline your budget. Once you know the kinds of tools your team needs, you can begin looking for the best options within your price range.

Most productivity apps have multiple versions available with tiered pricing models. Some will grant you access to more features once you become a paying customer, whereas others will offer excellent functionality for free.

For example, Glip is offered as Glip Pro (free plan) and Glip Pro+ (paid plan at $11.99/month). With the free version, you’ll have access to unlimited cloud storage, team messaging, video conferencing, robust task management, and a whole host of other productivity-enhancing tools.

For a small price, Glip allows for video conferences with up to 200 participants, 10GB of cloud recording storage, and more. This way, you can start for free and scale with Glip as your business and your team grows, making it the perfect unified productivity tool for small businesses.

Define your selection criteria

Once you’ve outlined your budget, you can start defining your selection criteria and thinking about what you and your team expect from a great productivity tool. Consider the following:

  • Compatibility: First of all, the solution needs to be compatible with your business software, security standards, team equipment, etc.
  • Ease of use: Is it easy to implement? Will your team be able to start using it without weeks or training? Is there the possibility of testing it for free before you commit? What about training and support?
  • Security: Consider whether the option offers secure data storage and sharing, and if it features password managers for users.
  • Scalability: Can the solution scale as your business grows? Is it easy to add and onboard new users? Can external parties access the platform?
  • Reliability: Think about the company’s reputation, read customer reviews, and check out whether they have trustworthy security partners.

Every company will have different selection criteria that aligns with their business goals and the needs of their employees. Think about what would help your team be more productive.

A team collaboration meeting

  1. Choose your new productivity software!

At this stage, it’s time to make a decision. Try getting in touch with the company to see if you can try a free demo to see if the solution is right for you.

Once you’ve implemented the new software into your virtual workspace, you’ll start to see the results of more streamlined workflows, better employee time management, and improved communication in no time at all.

Get started with Glip productivity software

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Life is much easier when you don’t have to switch between various business apps to get work done. Glip unified productivity software allows you to manage all your remote teamwork needs from a single, easy-to-use platform. 

Keep in touch with video conferences and instant messaging, share and collaborate on documents within the team chat, and manage tasks and team projects—all without leaving the app. Want to enjoy hassle-free remote collaboration and keep your team productive?

Get started with Glip for free today.

A manager video chatting her team on Glip

Get started with Glip for free today.