May 2021: Not much has changed on the planet of remote workers. We’re still using the kitchen table as an office while hoping to replace the virtual coffee breaks with water-cooler conversations in the office.
We got used to remote work, and when you adapt to something, you get creative with it. The freedom to make shortcuts and eventually save yourself some time – some call it #lifehacks, but we’ll stick to “useful business tools”.
A business tool can be any software solution that supports an organization’s processes to enhance productivity, collaboration, communication, and other operations. They function digitally, and aside from making everyone’s work life easier, they also give Return on Investment (ROI).
We know that sharing is caring, and that’s why we’ve prepared a list of this year’s best business tools – read on to make your life easier. We’ve picked tools for different business needs, so there’s something for everyone.
We’re kicking off today’s list with one of those apps that you didn’t know you needed until you found it. It’s not a coincidence that we’re starting with Toggl – an online business tool that tracks and reports on time spent working. Overworking has been one of the bumps in the road for remote workers, and that’s exactly what this business tool is designed to help with.
Toggl tracks your daily activities across platforms (and devices!), and acts as a nice reminder that quality is over quantity, or as they go about it, “better work, not overwork”. It’s not a scary tool that reports on the actual time you work to your manager – it only informes you on the time you spend on projects.
To create a digital Holy Trinity, Toggl adds two more tools next to Toggl Track: a project management tool, Toggle Plan, and a hiring tool – Toggl Hire. All of them have a sleek design for both desktop and smartphone.
In case you’re wondering how this business tool can help with the latter, and while we’re still on the topic of time: Toggl Hire provides skills tests to help employers find the best matches for job positions while saving up to 80% of the time spent on candidate screening. It’s also great for individual use, and is available for a free trial – what more can you wish for, really?
Toggl Track: for effortless time tracking and reporting
Toggl Plan: to plan projects and keep teams on track
Toggl Hire: to screen and hire candidates with Smart Skills Tests
To those in (frequent) need of customer support – LiveAgent is here for you. They’re a dedicated team of tech savvies with a mission to reach customers on the channels they use the most.
LiveAgent is a customer service help-desk solution that combines live chat, a built-in call center, automation, and ticketing systems to support their clients. With over 180 features and more than 40 integrations (including Slack, Shopify, PayPal, Asana, Salesforce, Jira, and most Google apps), LiveAgent is a robust solution that applies to all business sizes, without it pretending to be a one-size-fits-all solution. You get 14 days to try it out for free, no credit card details required.
And before you ask – yes, LiveAgent is multilingual, offers customer support 24/7, and has a mobile version.
Don’t worry – we’re not listing all 180!
Ticketing: sorts an organization's communication into tickets
Time tracking: tracks an organization's agent’s work time for each ticket
Service level agreement (SLA): an arrangement to meet targets for replying to customers
Agent collision detection: prevents multiple agents from working on the same ticket
Contact form: helps to make yourself accessible by utilizing built-in contact forms
Search tool: makes it easy to search for a string in every incoming message and replace it
Feedback and suggestions: allows customers to send feedback and suggestions
Forum: an online customer community
Powerful analytics: analyse usage, statistics, and evaluate performance reports
Social media help desk
CMS: manage content within LiveAgent’s dashboard and WYSIWYG editor
CRM: see who you’re communicating with and add fields to each contact to store custom data
Multilingual base and widgets to set up widgets in your language
Mobile app to be in touch with your customers even if you are on the go
Back to the topic of time management – seems like a hot one nowadays, so we’re going back to it. Hubstaff is a time-tracking online business tool that monitors employee activity to support managers of distributed teams and freelancers. Speaking of freelancers, Hubstaff’s Talent feature lets you search for them internationally. But it doesn’t stop there: Hubstaff Field gets your on-site crews covered by monitoring their location and clocking them in and out accordingly, for the most accurate payroll. Fans of agile project management can use Hubstaff’s Task feature to check the status of different projects.
Hubstaff boosts productivity by automating team management. It has both a mobile and a desktop version and integrates with Slack, Asana, Trello, and many other third-party tools that your organization might already be using.
Hubstaff Time: tracks and reports on employee productivity
Hubstaff Desk: provides time data for every project
Hubstaff Field: reports on the location, tracks travel time and clocks in and out on-site employees
Hubstaff Tasks: for agile project management
Hubstaff Talent: to hire freelancers internationally
There’s a reason people associate the word “paperwork” with something annoying – it’s messy. When it comes to organizations, the process of managing paperwork can be quite a headache, especially nowadays, when new hires start positions remotely and employers are hiring talent internationally.
The #lifehack: HelloSign. This platform saves you the fuss around printing and scanning just to sign a document by letting you digitally place your signature. You can also request other people’s signatures. Once everyone has signed the document, they will get a copy sent to their inbox. In the meantime, HelloSign will send you notifications to keep you up-to-date as the signing progresses.
Notifications and reminders: track responses, get notifications for emails, and send automatic email reminders to recipients
Multilingual service: you can use HelloSign in 22 different languages
Signature fields: simply drag-and-drop signature blocks, text fields, checkboxes and dates onto a document
Mobile signing to sign documents from any mobile device
Social media peeps, this one’s your new best friend. Buffer is a business tool that helps brands grow their social media by providing a platform to plan, schedule, and publish posts across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media from one unified platform.
The secret to social media success is engagement, and at Buffer, they know that – that’s why they developed an engagement feature that lets you instantly respond to comments from your desktop. To make sure you don’t miss anything, notifications alert you about comments, questions, or concerns under each post.
The growth process is supported by many different features, that help with hashtag, story, and strategy planning. To monitor your social media scaling journey, Buffer provides powerful analytics to report on content performance. It goes a step further than other social media scheduling tools and lets your brand tell its story in its own, unique way.
Buffer Engagement: notifies you about first comments, questions and concerns and lets you respond to comments right from your desktop
Publishing: to coordinate campaigns, and visually plan and schedule social media campaigns
Powerful analytics: to measure and report on content performance
Stories planner: plan and schedule Instagram stories on web or mobile
Hashtag planner: helps to create, save and organize hashtags to use in Instagram posts
Shop grid: easily connect "link in bio" to several URLs viewed on a shoppable page
Instagram tagging: add locations and user tags when scheduling posts on Instagram
Custom reports: quickly build custom reports and easily share them with your team
Hive's business tool lets your teams decide what works best for them in terms of project management and screening for the highest productivity. Some teams prefer placing their tasks onto a calendar, while for others it is Gantt, Kanban, or Table that work best. To embody productivity itself, Hive has integrations with Google Workspace, Slack, Outlook, Dropbox, Hubspot, and many more. Like the rest of the business tools on today’s list, this one is also backed up with analytics to report on projects in real-time. Next to the analytic tool, Hive adds several key features such as planning, chat, document and form sharing to help boost productivity.
Project management templates: choose how to visualize a project board
Powerful analytics to track progress and proactively spot risks
Chat tool to streamline communication
Business tool 7: Happeo
Happeo combines a social intranet, an enterprise social network, and a digital workplace – all in one. Designed to make work a happier place, Happeo is the platform where communication meets collaboration. It’s powered by Google Workspace, so it integrates seamlessly with each Google app. It has both nativer integrations with other online business tools like Slack and AODocs, and also offers an API to connect to Asana and...well, any tool you can imagine, really.
Happeo’s centralized hub helps workforces connect and engage from anywhere, at any time. Pages provide employees with static information while Channels is the place for a dynamic, two-way conversation to happen. Fast communication is carried through Slack – thanks to our deep integration with the chat tool, employees can get notified every time someone posts on Happeo.
Last, but not least, Happeo is designed with the user in mind: intuitive to use for employees and highly customizable for employers – from logo and colors to email digests. Its features make this intranet a recommended business tool.
Pages with static information
Channels for dynamic communication
Open API to connect everything you need to your Happeo platform
People directory to easily find colleagues and connect with them
Advanced analytics to measure employee engagement
Universal search for quick and easy access to all the resources you need
Full branding add-on: from your logo and colors, to your email digest
Custom HR, Project Management, Sales, and IT widgets to fulfill the unique needs of your departments