What to Look for in Productivity Software

With so many choices of productivity software to adopt, how do you know which one is right for your team?
December 20, 2021
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What’s the key to a successful work environment? Productivity.

Although not necessarily the only quality you need on your team, it’s certainly a critical one. Without it, teams won’t be able to turn around positive results fast. 

That’s why so many businesses are investing in productivity software. Choices for tools to improve efficiency abound. They include popular software like:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Asana
  • Evernote
  • Flock
  • G Suite
  • Grammarly
  • OpenOffice
  • Slack
  • Todoist
  • Toggl
  • Trello
  • Zapier

With so many choices of software to adopt at your organization — including custom-built or modified options — how do you know which one is right for your team? Here’s what to look for.

What Is Productivity Software?

Productivity software is a broad term describing technology that enhances individual or team productivity. There are many different categories within it, allowing you to better organize, track data, schedule tasks, collaborate, communicate, and more.

This software has personal and professional applications. For example, individuals can use it to keep track of and organize their commitments while businesses can streamline workflows and assign responsibilities.

Ultimately, productivity software is supposed to make your life and the lives of your team members easier, allowing you to get more done more quickly and achieve your goals.

Types of Productivity Software

There is a wide array of different types of productivity software. Categories include:

  • Business intelligence (BI)
  • Calendars
  • Checklists
  • Communications
  • Database management
  • Presentation
  • Project management
  • Resource management
  • Spreadsheets
  • Task management
  • Time tracking
  • Word processing

What to Look for in Productivity Software

Reputation

It goes without saying that the software you invest in should be of high quality. But how can you tell if you haven’t tried it out for yourself?

Some providers may offer you a free trial before you subscribe. That seems ideal, yet it’s still important to look into the reputation of the brand and product, too. Read reviews and ask other leaders and trusted colleagues.

If you’re working with an outsourcing partner to augment existing productivity software or build a new tool from scratch, make sure you study your prospective partner’s portfolio, ask for referrals, and review client testimonials. You should look for evidence that they have experience in your field, as well as a background in building productivity software specifically.

Cross-Platform and Device Capabilities

Your team members will be accessing these important tools at various points throughout the day and from a range of devices, including desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets. The platform should be accessible from these devices without restriction, so no one has trouble logging in regardless of context. 

That’s because employees may need to access critical data from home via their phone, from their computers at work, and even on the go — such as when they’re waiting for an appointment or at the grocery store.

Compatibility

You already have systems, software, and programs in place as part of your office infrastructure. You need your productivity software to fit into the bigger picture seamlessly. The point of the tool is to make your life easier, not disrupt your workflow. But if your new tool isn’t compatible with your existing software, it will make your work environment more chaotic, not less.

Take stock of your current platforms. If you’re working with a provider, then you can ask them to do an inventory and ensure that your systems are compatible with one another. 

You also want to avoid forcing employees to turn to multiple systems for the same purpose. This will detract from your productivity and cause confusion. The point is to store your critical tools in one, accessible system.

Collaboration Features

Productivity software should facilitate stronger collaboration and communication among your team members. Depending on the purpose of the tool — and your needs as a business — that might include file sharing, real-time editing capabilities, and more.

Before you commit to a specific productivity platform, make sure the tool has the specific collaboration features you need to keep your team members engaged.

Ease of Use

You want a productivity tool that’s easy for you and your team members to use. There shouldn’t be a steep learning curve when it comes to software that is supposed to help you and streamline your workflow. If you’re having trouble using it, chances are others will, too.

A simple interface is a good starting point. You want to be able to see a clear, organized layout that gives you the big picture upfront, without you having to poke around. The platform should also be easy to navigate and offer information in a way that makes sense. If the tool is too hard to follow and manipulate, then none of your employees will want to use it — and the whole point of the software is for everyone to invest in it together to achieve their goals.

Cloud Storage

These days, team members could be working from a variety of locations. Cloud capabilities allow people to access productivity tools and the information they store no matter where they are, just as long as they have an internet connection.

Whether you’re sharing files or tracking progress, cloud storage means you’ll be able to see important information from practically any location. Plus, the cloud means strong security, so even when you’re working remotely, you’ll feel rest assured that your data is safe and protected.

Productivity software will change your organization for the better, enabling you to monitor dates and deadlines, track progress, and facilitate strong collaboration. But without buy-in from employees and stakeholders, you won’t be able to maximize the value of your product. Ensuring the productivity platform has these critical features is a start for getting everyone on board — and making your business more productive and efficient.

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