I’m not kidding when I tell people that I don’t know how I would work without a smart phone. I think back to my first job, or two or three, out of college, and I cringe at all the fumbling through emails and flash drives and the countless hours wasted on my morning commutes on Chicago’s L train where I wasn’t working because the tools simply weren’t available.
In today’s business landscape, there’s simply no excuse. With all the increasingly powerful (and affordable) mobile apps on the market, you almost have to try to be unproductive. That’s why this month I’m sharing my favorite business apps, without which I’d be completely lost.
You cannot consider yourself of the Digital Era until you’ve used Slack to collaborate with colleagues on a project. It is the app for the modern workplace (and I mean that in the physical and nonphysical sense). While it’s widely regarded as a collaboration tool, it’s so much more than that. It can make even the most widely dispersed team feel like they’re co-located. The concept is simple: Someone (a team lead, perhaps) creates a Slack channel (for free, mind you) and invites team members to sign up. From there, you have a lobby where everyone can see general messages, and then you have channels where groups of users collaborate on specific projects. You can share files —huge ones—and privately message other Slack users. A paid version adds features like group calling and higher storage capacity, and the company is working on an enterprise version. No wonder it saw a nearly $4 billion valuation before its third birthday.
Available for: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows Linux
Cost: Free, with premium versions starting at $6.67 per user, per month
Developer: Slack Technologies, Inc.
As soon as you download and start using Wunderlist, you’ll scoff any time someone suggests making a pen-and-paper to-do list. It can help in the household by allowing users to collaborate on things like grocery lists and travel plans, but its real value lies in its business use. Create teams, assign tasks, manage billing, share files and get reminders on due dates. If you’re someone who thrives on checking off tasks, you need Wunderlist.
Available for: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows
Cost: Free. Pro version starting at $4.99 per month, per user
Developer: 6 Wunderkinder
If you need to save receipts for expense reports or if you need to sign, scan and send documents quickly, this app could be your best friend. Simply take a photo, adjust the margins, and Genius Scan turns it into a PDF. You can then use the app to send or save the PDF with another app like Box, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive or practically any email app. When I’m traveling for work, I no longer need to worry about tracking down misplaced receipts. Every time I make a work-related purchase, I snap a photo and save it to Genius Scan.
Available for: iOS, Android
Developer: Grizzly Labs
Looking to keep track of your employees’ time (or your own, for that matter)? Toggl makes it ridiculously easy. It’s the punch clock for our mobile world. And now that the Department of Labor is requiring businesses to pay overtime to anyone making less than $47,476 (see page 12), it’s going to be critical for employers to keep accurate time records. Toggl’s added benefit is its in-depth reporting that gives users a view of how they’re spending their time—and how to improve their time management. Because it’s cloud-based, users can access their data from their desktop, laptop or mobile device.
Available for: iOS / Android / Mac / Windows
Cost: Free for individuals with paid team versions starting at $9 per user, per month