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Finding Mobile Apps Employees Want to Use

In a culture dominated by smartphones, “mobile” has had an enormous impact on the workplace. For instance, more and more of today’s workers are not tied to a single location.

In fact, Google estimates that 80 percent of the modern workforce are doing mobile or “deskless” work. This means that modern workers need mobile apps to help them complete daily tasks on the go.

What to look for in an app

  • Collaboration tools. A study by Nexsan revealed 98 percent of workers require collaboration tools as part of their daily work routine to stay productive. This included everything from remote document access to cloud-based project management tools and more. Why? More and more employees are electing and/or required to work remotely. They need to access files, documents and data while they are out of the office.
  • Streamlined communication. Maintaining an effective workforce requires a seamless and constant flow of communication—especially when collaborating on projects in real time. This can be anything from a chat or instant messaging tool to a cloud-based project management solution.
  • Speed and ease of use. This may seem like an obvious need, but nothing slows productivity down like an app that is always freezing or has an overly complex learning curve. Any app worth its weight in code is built with simplicity in mind. The big idea here is to eliminate any roadblocks to greater efficiency.

Do apps really increase productivity?

The short answer is yes, they absolutely can. A study by Harvard Business Review details that employees can achieve productivity gains of up to 40 percent with the strategic use of mobile apps.

The longer answer is that an app can equally help and/or hurt productivity based on how well managers listen to their teams. What are their biggest pain points? Are they having trouble meeting their deadlines? What are their roadblocks to success at work? Is a mobile app going to solve that problem? Or is there something bigger that needs to be addressed within the team?

There are many things to explore when it comes to employee productivity. In many cases, the right suite of mobile technology can help.

In general, there are three major ways mobile apps improve productivity:

  1. Flexibility. Employees can use mobile apps to complete complex and/or simple work tasks from virtually any location.
  2. Accessibility. Employees can access business-critical information in real time.
  3. Communication. Employees can communicate and collaborate seamlessly with any member of their team, as long as they have access to a wireless network.

Getting employee buy-in for a new mobile app

The best offense is a good defense, especially when getting employees to buy into using a new mobile app at work. Again, the key to gaining across-the-board acceptance from employees is fully understanding their needs and how technology addresses those needs.

Ground rules for gaining employee buy-in for a new app

Rule #1: Know the People Using the App. No two companies are the same. What works for one organization may not work for everyone. Conduct a survey internally to get a feel for what employees may need from an app and get feedback on specific apps or solutions to investigate.

Rule #2: Be patient. Unfortunately, apps are not implemented overnight. In fact, there may be some pushback from various team members. Instead of forcing the team to use something they don’t want, try to get the majority of the team onboard. Be patient and don’t be discouraged if employees don’t take to a new app right away.

Rule #3: Act, test, repeat. The great thing about data is that it doesn’t lie. Once there is employee buy-in, monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to see just how effective the mobile solution is at boosting productivity. Continually evaluate how the use of mobile apps within the organization is affecting employee performance.

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