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July 21, 2015

Top 5 productivity tools to get your workforce moving

Will Evernote, Yammer or an app from the left-field be the app to help solve your productivity problems?

By James Nunns

Productivity is a hot topic in the UK having been targeted by George Osborne during the summer budget.

Figures show that the UK has the lowest productivity rate out of the world’s richest nations, the lack of productivity (outside of London) is hurting the economy.

As ever, the tech industry has the answer with productivity tools. However, with so many claiming to be the greatest solution ever that’ll solve your productivity problems, do your work, wash the dog, it’s hard to know what to choose.

Worry no more reader, CBR is here with the top 5.

1. Evernote

This is one of the most frequently recommended apps around, for a good reason – it’s very good. You can use it for writing, collecting, finding and presenting your work.

You can keep track of everything you need, share and collaborate.

A free basic version will let you do most things that you could ever need to at work. But if that isn’t enough, then you can splash out on a premium version for £34.99 per year.

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The premium version allows you to turn notes into presentation, sync across phones and computers, annotate attached PDF’s and search in Office docs and attachments.

For the security conscious users, you can put a passcode lock on mobile apps.

It’s all about working smarter.

2. Yammer

If collaboration in your office is poor, or you are spread across multiple offices and find it difficult to communicate, then Yammer might be the solution for you.

The private social network is designed to help you and your teams to stay on top of the work-loads.

Users can collaborate on files and its integration into Office 365 will no doubt boost its usefulness.

Of course, you need to be careful with how you implement something like this, it needs to become part of the daily business activity and not just something your boss implements – it rarely works.

According to a report from Microsoft (which owns Yammer), the tool can break down information silos to help you work more effectively and diminish the time spent searching for information internally.

3. Google Calendar

If you have Gmail, then you probably already use the Google calendar, if not – you should.

Where Outlook’s calendar can be a little clunky and restrictive, Google’s calendar is clean and easy to use.

It cleverly alerts you across your devices which have a synced Gmail account to let you know of upcoming events and tasks.

You don’t even need to waste time uniquely into it, if you get an email about an event, flight, meeting or whatever, then it is added automatically.

So it doesn’t matter if you forgot about that email about a meeting, the calendar will alert you and it’s better than a diary.

4. Carrot

The app with attitude. If you need a little more encouragement to pull your finger out and actually get down to work then this prickly tool can be your best friend, or worst enemy, depending on how well you do.

Utilising gamification, the tool bases its mood on you ticking off tasks on your to do list. To encourage you to work the app will send you notifications to keep you on track.

If you don’t do your tasks then the app can and will become insulting and threatening, if you do your tasks then you are rewarded. Of course, you can choose to ignore all of that, but if you’ve failed miserably with other apps, then try this.

It is an "A.I. construct with a heart of weapons-grade plutonium."

5. Box

File sharing and management is an increasingly important part of your job. You often work from home or out of the office and you still need access to your files.

Box allows you to share and collaborate on files and your colleagues can leave comments on the latest updates, it’s all part of that collaborative productiveness.

This will integrate with Google docs, Salesforce and is now closely tied in with Microsoft Office, so tools and documents a-plenty are ready to hand.

The link with Microsoft will enable users to open, edit and save documents back to Box from directly within Office for iOS.

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