2020 has been an interesting year in terms of how Australians have shifted the way they work during the coronavirus pandemic. With many companies adapting to the norm of working from home, it goes to show that employees in this economy have had to adapt to this change quite quickly to mitigate the effects of the virus.
Companies have either been reluctant or receptive to the change of telecommuting but it certainly has been effective in terms of flattening the curve and keeping cases of COVID-19 reasonably low in Australia.
Interestingly enough, a survey was conducted back in March this year by OnePoll and out of 1,000 respondents who have been self-isolating and working remotely, majority (80%) believe that this way of working will be more common post-pandemic.
It's also been reported that 70% from the survey have mentioned that their productivity levels have surged when working from home.
With that being said, it's important to acknowledge that working from home is the norm right now and in the foreseeable future. As many Australians transition back to the office, companies may have granted employees to be able to mix in working from home days into their schedule.
This means the need to be flexible and organised is a must and you may be on the lookout on how to best manage your time and workflow. This is where productivity apps come in.
SkillsTalk have rounded up the apps that can help boost your productivity for the daily tasks you need to accomplish for work.
Trello is an app that is designed to help you work more collaboratively and keep track of tasks, ensuring that you get things done. It allows you to create boards, lists and cards to organise and prioritise the projects you're working on in a fun and flexible way.
This is a great tool if you do a lot of project management for your role and it helps maintain the ease of workflow when it comes to collaborating with others. You may work with freelancers and other stakeholders who play an integral part of certain projects so Trello could help you get things done easily with them.
The highlighting features of Trello is that it has a built-in workflow automation so it removes the grunt work when it comes to your to-do lists with calendar and due date commands and the ability to also add comments and attachments on boards so you have information at your fingertips.
The app is available for free. However, if you want to utilise the premium features, there are plans available with different pricing tiers available that can be paid on a monthly or annually basis.
Trello is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
Have a hard time focusing on a certain task and tend to reach out for your smartphone? Forest is an app that encourages you to stop picking up your phone and get on with your priorities by "gamifying" the way you focus. If you're passionate about the environment, this is an app for you.
If you consider yourself addicted to your phone and can't help scrolling through Facebook and Instagram in-between tasks, Forest encourages you to not pick up your phone so you can grow your own virtual forest. When you want to stay focused, you plant a tree and for the time you focus on your work, it grows.
Forest has partnered up with organisation Trees For The Future so when users of the app earn credits by not using their phone, they can plant real trees around the world with the credits. By disconnecting from your phone, you can get so much done while also keeping our environment green. If you're a well-renowned procrastinator, then Forest is well-worth the try if you need the extra push to be more productive.
Forest is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
3. Easy Voice Recorder.
Do you find yourself trying to remember what was said in a meeting? This is where a voice recorder comes in handy and Easy Voice Recorder can be an app you can rely on when it comes to recording information via audio.
With most businesses still working from home, this is ideal to use when you have back-to-back Zoom meetings and want to capture what was said between you and your stakeholders. The Pro version of the app allows you to upload new recordings automatically to Google Drive or Dropbox, record using a Bluetooth microphone and edit out sections you don't need.
Easy Voice Recorder is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
4. Google Tasks.
If you like the satisfaction of crossing off a task from your to-do list, Google Tasks is an app that works seamlessly to do just that. One of the benefits of this app is you can quickly document your tasks, as well as view, edit and manage them while on-the-go. They can be integrated with both Gmail and Google Calendar, which works great if you rely on those heavily for your job. You also get notifications on when things are due and you can break your tasks into subtasks, which can be handy if you have things that fall under the same category.
Google Tasks is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
5. Your Phone Companion - Link to Windows.
Your Phone Companion is a great app that links your phone and PC into one. This is helpful if you're working from home and prefer having all your notifications to be in one place. Your Phone Companion allows you to make/receive calls from your PC and you can manage your phone notifications as well.
You also have direct access to your phone's photos and apps and you can reply to messages that you receive. On a busy workday, this is beneficial if you don't want to divide your attention on both your phone and computer. This can help streamline all your communications into one place, which can save you time and focus more.
Your Phone Companion is available on Google Play.
6. Google Assistant.
Google Assistant is an app that can help busy professionals on-the-go through voice automation. One of the great things about Google Assistant is that you can do hands-free calls, texts and emails, as well as ask for quick directions when it comes to restaurants, businesses and car parks. You can also set reminders for yourself, which can be useful if you want to stay on top of your work and personal priorities.
Plus, you can do a Google search if you need a quick answer for something in particular. If you're always out and about for your job, Google Assistant helps you stay on track and all it needs is your voice.
Google Assistant is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
7. Google Keep.
Google Keep is another useful note taking, to-do list app but one of the great features about it is you can easily collaborate and plug in your thoughts with your team. You can also colour coordinate your to-do lists and notes and can even do audio notes and have it automatically transcribed.
Google Keep is great to use for work but can also be used in your personal life, keeping you on track when it comes to groceries or personal appointments. You can even have time-based reminders, which work well if you're working with tight deadlines.
Google Keep is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
No one likes an email with spelling and grammar mistakes so having Grammarly installed on your computer can help you write professionally without having to worry about errors that may crop up.
One of the benefits of Grammarly is that you can add it as an extension to the web browser Google Chrome and it highlights not just your spelling and grammar mistakes but the tone of voice you use. For instance, you may not know how you come across when sending emails but Grammarly helps detect your tone and the intentions behind what you write.
Plus, Grammarly can be used across applications you normally use such as LinkedIn, Gmail, Slack and more. It is free to download as a Google Chrome extension, however, there are plans available for both individuals and businesses who want to take advantage of its premium features.
Grammarly is available on the Chrome Web Store.
Improve your productivity with an online course
If you're looking for ways to re-engage with your role, consider studying an online course with Upskilled. With a range of qualifications in some of Australia's in-demand industries, having the ability to study online can help you upskill without having to leave the home.
As most courses have a duration of 12 months, you could walk away with a qualification that can help boost your employment prospects or further highlight your expertise in your industry. Get in touch with the Upskilled team on 1300 009 924 to learn more.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2018. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.