by Tracy Vides | Featured Contributor
Citius. Altius. Fortius. Meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger” in Latin. These are the words that pretty much represent our everyday lives, not just the Olympic Games, anymore.
The quest for a quicker, more efficient way to get things done has led to a whole lot of interesting innovations. We’re familiar with apps that make our lives easier like Evernote or Flipboard. Here’s a selection of apps as well as gadgets that make for a more efficient and productive day at work – at the office, in a retail setup or even in home-offices.
Supermarket shelves that carry the price and unit price for each item are so passé. Smart shelves are all set to take over the boring old and extremely limited utility store shelves of the past. These smart shelves are not paper and plastic tags anymore. They’re electronic labels that allow retailers to update product prices instantly with no manual intervention at each shelf. The shelves notify store managers when a product is running low on stock or is out of stock so the store does not lose sales due to stock outs. Some of these shelves even come equipped with Apple’s iBeacon technology which allows them to send customized offers to users’ smartphones as they pass by the shelves in the store.
Projects typically require teamwork and inputs from various individuals at different stages of completion. Keeping track of individual pieces of the project, staying on top of who’s accountable for what and making sure that timelines are adhered to can all be real stressors with just email. A tool like Wrike takes the legwork out of project management by bringing together all members of the team on the same account where everyone can share their work freely with the rest of the team, team members can collaborate with ease on the same piece of work, one can even open up access to parts of the projects to outside vendors or clients as per the project manager’s discretion. Instead of a million emails back and forth regarding every aspect of the project, teams can store all their communication, files, comments and to-do lists in one place with Wrike.
America is a country of coffee drinkers. Why we even have coffee chains that claims that the nation ‘runs on’ its coffee. While coffee is indispensable to the average workplace, too many coffee breaks can definitely eat into your team’s overall productivity. So what do you do? You can’t obviously monitor or regulate coffee breaks. Any admonishments will definitely backfire and spoil your work environment. Why not approach the problem from a completely different point of view?
Invest in coffee mug warmers for your team. These devices as their name suggests, keep your coffee warm and piping even hours after your initial coffee run. You don’t have to worry about replacing batteries or finding a wall plug for this neat gizmo. With its standard USB port you can get your hot caffeine fix at your desk, on your couch or even outdoors. No more dillydallying at the coffee machine!
In spite of how modern and digitized life has become, a lot of things at a workplace are still based on paper filing and recording. Things like receipts, bills, agreements, business cards and more are all still largely paper based and can be a real pain to keep track of.
Enter NeatDesk. NeatDesk offers a high speed desktop scanner that converts all your paper documents, receipts, visiting cards and more into digital form. By digital form I don’t mean that it simply scans the documents. NeatDesk’s intelligent text recognition system understands what is written on your documents and transfers key data from the documents into digital files that can be edited or worked on at a later date. It also comes with free limited period cloud storage for your data to make life easier in terms of data accessibility.
Long hours of sitting have been proven to be bad for your body and for your mind. Efficiency drops and postures get affected when people sit for over two to three hours at a stretch at the same desk. Many offices have adopted standing desks or even adjustable sitting / standing desks for improving employee health and productivity. However, reports show that standing desks may not be all that they are vaunted to be.
A Walkstation is essentially a desk with a treadmill attached to it. Instead of making your employees spend the entire day sitting immobile at their desks, Walkstation is a good way to get them moving and healthy, without sacrificing their productive. You don’t have to convert every desk into a Walkstation obviously. However, consider installing a section in your office with four or five of these where employees can exercise and work at the same time. These Walkstation zones can turn into de facto meeting rooms with employees exercising their grey matter as well their bodies all in one place. The best part is that since Walkstations do not replace regular desks, they do not pose a threat to comfort and ease of work at the office.
According to Salary.com’s annual survey of workplace timewasters, 2014 saw 89% of all surveyed employees admitting to wasting time at the workplace. Time wasters typically included search and social media, with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn taking the top honors. Social media, online shopping, gaming and more offer employees the option goofing off while at work without even bothering to budge from their seats. The net result? Thousands of lost man-hours.
Focus Lock is an Android app that allows you to proactively lock time waster apps and get attention back to the long list of tasks at hand. This can prove to be a godsend for freelancers and work from home employees who don’t even have the office environment to regulate their productive hours. By selecting the apps that need to be locked away and choosing the duration for which they will be inaccessible, Focus Lock ensures that workers spend less time dawdling and more time being useful.
Near-perfect productivity is an elusive goal that every company chases but few are successful in attaining. While down-time is necessary for all employees it is a huge problem when the ratio between downtime and productive time is reversed. Keep a rein on how you and your coworkers spend time at work with some of these fun tech ideas and let us know how it goes!
Tracy Vides is a content marketer and social media consultant who works with small businesses and startups to increase their visibility. Although new to the digital marketing scene compared to her illustrious She Owns It counterparts, Tracy has started off well by building a good online reputation for herself. She’s now a “serial blogger” with posts featured on Sprout Content, Steamfeed, Soshable, and elsewhere.
Connect with her on Twitter @TracyVides for a chat any time!