I use technology every day at work in order to increase productivity in our office. Though it assists us everyday, we use it in conjunction with face-to-face communication – not instead of face-to-face communication. Technology has streamlined our processes and allowed us to spend more time focusing on brainstorming and creativity.
Our Graphics & Marketing office has gone through many changes over the last four years. We’ve gone from not having a graphics request form to carbon copy forms, to paper forms, and now we’re digital. We’ve increased the number of graphic request forms by 8% and the number of projects we created by 44% in the last fiscal year alone. These apps are not solely responsible for these increases in productivity, but they have been an instrumental component. Here are just a few of the tools we are currently utilizing in our office to help with productivity. I should mention that we are avid iPad users and lovers!
iAnnotate: As I mentioned, we’ve gone from paper graphics forms to digital forms. We developed a .pdf check sheet for any graphics project requested from our office. When a client needs a project, we sit down and fill out the request form on my iPad. Using iAnnotate, we are able to mark up the .pdf with all of the customer specifications. We do require everyone in our organization to set up a meeting prior to filling out a graphic request form. This helps us establish buy-in and makes the department feel more invested in their marketing efforts. (This is the only app we pay for)
Downside to iAnnotate: No spell check
Trello: (I absolutely LOVE this.) After a client and I fill out the form, I take a screenshot and upload it from my iPad into our project management system, Trello. Each student has their own “slot” in the program and we can add “cards” that contain all of the information needed to complete the project. We can assign the project to multiple people, pass “cards” back and forth, and upload documents and revisions to Trello. When students have a draft for me to view they can put the card (with the draft) in my “slot” and I can make comments and return it to them. It saves an enormous amount of time, energy, and confusion for our students.
Upside to Trello: FREE apps!
Evernote: I realize this has been around for a while however, I love how easy it is to use. I no longer have to carry around notebooks or file information. I can take notes, minutes, and photos and easily organize them in one area. You can also integrate PenUltimate with Evernote so you can write notes and incorporate them into your Evernote notebooks.
Easy Note: This is a great to-do list app. I can write down all of the different things I need to get done and carry them with me all day. You can setup different lists for personal, professional, departmental, etc. It is very easy to use and keeps me very organized.
Dropbox: If you’re not using dropbox, sign up now! It is so easy to use and allows for easy document storage and updating. I can access files on my phone, computer, and through the website. Plus, you get additional storage the more you share the program. We use Dropbox to pass large files back and forth between clients and our office to ensure no one is getting upset that their inbox is constantly full.
As I mentioned before, technology assists us in our daily tasks, but it doesn’t replace face-to-face communication. We still meet regularly as a staff to build relationships, brainstorm ideas, and discuss projects. These apps are just tools to help keep us organized. Nothing takes the place of good conversation and relationship building.
I hope you found some of these apps helpful! As I mentioned, we use a great number of apps in our office, but these are the ones that have been instrumental in our solving some of productivity and communication challenges. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments section!