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Remember the days of working with your team in-office or huddling around a conference table to video chat with team members in other locations? Well, the workplace is now shifting, and it’s shifting quickly. In fact, working from home has significantly increased over the last decade, with record growth of 159%! And the adoption levels for project management software have significantly spiked in usage as well. But how do you know that the features of productivity applications are truly what you need?
The good news is there are new, powerful options to keep your team members engaged, save time, and increase team productivity. The key features of productivity applications that are built for next-generation work and designed for remote, in-person, or hybrid team collaboration can now be found in dynamic, all-in-one solutions.
Effective Productivity Goals for Collaborative Remote Teams
The primary goal of most productivity applications is to improve your team’s overall time management without any hassles along the way.
Your collaborative software should be intuitive and simple to use on a daily basis. Even if you or your remote team members aren’t tech-savvy, you should enjoy using your productivity applications without the added stress of what will happen if or when your team grows. An easy-to-use interface that’s not too simple and not too complex is crucial—one that strikes a perfect balance of all the key features you and your team need.
12 Key Features of Effective Productivity Applications
Productivity is a business’s bread and butter. Whether you have project managers working on intense assignments or campaign managers collaborating on marketing content, these 12 key features of effective productivity applications will ensure you have the functionality you need for project success.
1. Customizable Views
An organized, customizable view into your projects, timelines, files, Kanban boards, and calendar will enable you to prioritize projects you’re working on. The ability to search and filter will help you review projects by status, start date, or end date. This also ensures that you can track tasks that are overdue, have missing deadlines, or are unassigned.
2. Visual Projects
The ability to view a project by individual team members or across teams, as well as by timeline, enables successful progress tracking along with maintaining high-level, calendar, or list views of initiatives. You should be able to view by days, weeks, or projects.
3. Internal Chat Tool
An internal chat tool enables teams and individuals to share updates in private, group, or company-wide messages. In chat, you can create separate channels for teams and project groups, as well as enable your team members to send direct messages.
4. Recurring Tasks
Recurring tasks ensure you and your team have the ability to set ongoing daily, weekly, or monthly tasks according to your deadlines. You don’t have to manually recreate tasks that are managed on a regular basis. And you can create tasks that recur and repeat by assigning start and due dates and how regularly they happen.
5. Add Tasks via Email
You should be able to create tasks by email in a matter of seconds using a simple process. Some platforms offer an easy way to accomplish this by sending an email to a specific address with the email subject becoming the tasks’ title and the body of the message acting as a task comment. Tasks you send via email are automatically added to your tasks.
6. Set Reminders
Reminders are crucial so that you and your team members never miss an important timeline and information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.The ability to customize notifications in your project management platform will make missed due dates a thing of the past.
7. Mute Notifications and Chat Channels for Better Focus
Sometimes, when you need to focus, it helps to have the option to mute notifications and chat channels so you can dive deep into important projects without interruption.
8. Private Projects and Tasks
A great program will offer the ability to control project privacy to ensure your task or project is private and open for view by invitation only.
9. Single Sign-on with Google or Microsoft
Your productivity application should enable you to efficiently and easily set up a profile with your existing Google or Microsoft accounts. This allows for a simple, one-step login experience and quick access to your projects.
10. Speed of App
The speed of your productivity app is important, too. Using a collaborative project management tool with quick access will speed up the learning curve and save time for important projects. A fast-access application enables quicker connections for remote, in-house, and distributed teams, as well.
11. Secure File-Sharing Integration
Secure cloud-based file and document sharing reduces information silos. And with the right, secure application, your team will be able to use not only file sharing but file hosting and storage services as well. Everything should be accessible through one application, without ever compromising data security.
12. Beautiful Design that creates an Inspiring Workspace
It’s refreshing to access a beautifully-designed project management tool that is a simple, aesthetically-pleasing, single solution for the ongoing expansion of your teams. An intuitive and attractive dashboard with project visibility, recurring tasks, and the ability to adjust views as needed, enables increased team productivity and reduces frustrating and chaotic workflow experiences.
These 12 key features of productivity applications can help you manage tasks more seamlessly while ensuring the greatest productivity on projects. A project management system that supports your work style and simplifies your team’s workload will help make the virtual workplace somewhere everyone will want to be.
Implementing Your Best Productivity Platform
The days of having to report to the office in-person are changing. When you’re managing a remote and distributed team, and you require a system with all of the features your team needs to manage valuable client and team projects, an all-in-one solution is the answer.
After all, as work-from-home, distributed teams, and even hybrid work teams have gained ground, so has project management software helping users to work remotely. So, why not work with an all-in-one productivity application that shifts you into growth mode rather than one with limited potential? With Flow, you will progress swiftly, streamlining your day-to-day workflow, ensuring flexible task management and valuable insight at first glance.
Let’s face it, bottlenecks are a common problem for highly collaborative projects where productivity is key. Inefficient or congested project management systems can be the cause of lost revenue, unhappy customers, and disgruntled team members.
Eliminating bottlenecks is key to seamlessly managing your remote teams so that everyone can be productive and enjoy a smooth project workflow. But what if you don’t know where to begin when you’re considering the right solution for project management and collaboration? And how do you integrate intelligent functionality into your day-to-day workflow without purchasing separate software programs and apps?
Here are some of our favorite tips for automating workflow, streamlining organization, and managing remote teams’ workloads to eliminate chaos and revitalize productivity.
7 Tips for Managing Remote Teams
There are a number of crucial strategies that can help teams streamline project management and day-to-day processes. It starts with an all-in-one solution where team members have diverse tools within reach to automate and optimize workflow.
1. Offer Tools for Task Management, Organization, and Communication
- Built-in chat features that allow your team to comment on specific tasks
- Separate chat channels for project or team-based conversations
- The ability to add followers and subscribers to tasks to enable real-time notifications and reduce the frustration of sorting through email updates
- @mentions to call the attention of specific project members in a task
- Personalized communication settings to ensure you get priority notifications first
- The option to mute notifications and eliminate unnecessary noise and distractions
- Easy file sharing to keep things organized in tasks, direct messages, or other chat channels
2. Build from a Flexible Workspace
- Multiple workflow options that support diverse work styles and preferences, such as to-do-lists or Kanban boards
- Feature-rich task options to help remote team members organize files, conversations, due dates, and notes for greater productivity and collaboration—no matter the time zone
3. Establish Clear Expectations
- Project dashboards that beautifully track tasks and broader initiatives with a customizable view
- Calendar and timeline viewing by day, week, project, or assigned team members
4. Track Progress
- A customizable solution that enables themes, colors, and individual task attributes, as well as custom views so team members can maximize their productivity and accountability
- A home tab that shows everything at a glance, including general task activity such as comments, tasks in progress, tasks completed, and upcoming tasks
5. Support Productive Communication
- Integrate with your favorite apps and tools such as Dropbox, Harvest, Google Drive, Slack, and Zapier
- Encourage file sharing and organization within your platform
- Make comments and notes directly on tasks
6. Promote Collaborative Opportunities
- Powerful chat capabilities allowing one-to-one messaging, group chats, team or project channels, in-task conversations, and personalized notifications
- Team calendars enabling remote collaboration in a single space so you can view tasks, project timelines, and team workloads
7. Minimize the Learning Curve
The goal is to increase productivity! A steep learning curve with project management software could become a time-waster and introduce new bottlenecks. You need a simple, intuitive solution.
Seamlessly managing remote teams with a comprehensive, collaborative, and intuitive project management solution will help prevent problems that could slow your team down, and allow you to manage projects more effectively.
Successful Remote Team Management Practices
Managing remote teams requires a centralized solution that combines the most effective project management features and capabilities for orchestrating projects, teams, and resources.
- Streamline management of your remote teams’ workflows with a task management app to prioritize day-to-day responsibilities in a single dashboard
- Enable accessibility where project members and managers can log in remotely, interact on projects in real-time, and collaborate from anywhere
- Draft templates and automate tasks so you can save time, maximize collaborative productivity, and maintain consistency
Blockages in day-to-day project workflow should be eliminated whenever possible. That’s why a seamless, intuitive solution will help with managing remote teams and workflows.
In early 2019, we set out to reimagine Flow. After 18 months in development, including 6 months of beta testing, we’re excited to announce that Flow X is launching in September. Here’s a quick peek at what we’ve built and why we can’t wait to share Flow X with you.
In the last decade, we’ve transitioned from a simple tool for managing personal tasks (and sharing them with friends) to a powerful productivity platform that today is used by teams in more than 140 countries.
While we’ve seen plenty of change over the last decade, the pace of change has accelerated dramatically in 2020. Most teams have transitioned to working remotely. Many are starting to hire and build a more global, distributed team. Others are exploring new modalities like working asynchronously.
We couldn’t be more excited about these transitions. Together, we believe these represent the future of work — as we continue to transition to work collaboratively across languages and around the world.
Luckily, we’ve been building toward that vision all along. And today we’re excited to announce that in late September we’re releasing a completely rebuilt version of Flow that we call Flow X.
We’ve taken everything that we’ve learned over the last 10 years — helping hundreds of thousands of teams complete millions of tasks — and used that foundation to build the productivity tool for the next generation of work.
Five apps in one.
In Flow X, we’ve restructured the app to focus on five core tools. Those are Activity, Tasks, Projects, Calendars, and Chat.
Here’s a little bit about what you’ll find in each:
- Activity: A personalized news feed for your work. It includes updates on tasks assigned to you, those you’ve delegated to others, and all of the tasks that you’re following in Flow.
- Tasks: Here, you can add teammates to your sidebar to easily see what’s on their plate at any time. You can also add teams to track work planned and in-progress across your entire team. And you can easily find tasks that might be slipping through the cracks — including those without an assignee or deadline, and tasks that are overdue.
- Projects: This is the hub for your team’s larger goals and initiatives. Here you can see all of the projects on each team, track their progress, and save the projects that matter the most to you by pinning them to your sidebar. Projects help organize your work so you don’t lose sight of where you’re headed and why the work matters.
- Calendars: Visualize your tasks, projects, and workload through time. Calendars are a powerful, immersive way to evaluate your resources and keep work on schedule. They can help you spot problems — like timelines colliding rather than flowing together — and balance work across your team. Calendars provides a 10,000-ft view of all the work that’s completed, in progress, and planned across projects and teams.
- Chat: We’ve revived team channels and direct messaging. Now you can stay aligned, ask questions, and solve problems in real-time using public or private channels, direct messages, and group conversations. You can also share tasks, projects, files, comments, and more inline — so that nothing gets lost and anything actionable gets captured on the spot.
Built for the future of work.
Flow X combines all of these apps into a single — extremely powerful — productivity platform. Which means that teams can ditch a handful of duct-taped together tools for a single tool that handles tasks, projects, timelines, files and communication. So your work stays in one place, rather than all over the place.
We run our entire business in Flow X and we’re proud to help more teams make the same move. We promise you’ll spend less time bouncing between tools, multi-tasking and managing notifications. And that you’ll have more time for deep, meaningful work — without sacrificing speed, clarity, and great communication.
Thoughtfully and beautifully designed.
Since Flow’s beginnings at the world-renowned product design firm MetaLab, we’ve always prided ourselves on being the best designed tool in the space. We work incredibly hard to make Flow simple enough to pick up in minutes, but powerful enough that you’ll never outgrow it. And we’ve made huge strides here in Flow X.
We’ve completely redesigned the app from the ground up. It features all-new iconography, simpler and clearer typography, and multiple themes so you can customize the look and feel of Flow to match how you like to work.
In addition, Flow X is faster and more powerful than ever before. You can create tasks and projects, upload files, organize projects, and share anything — from Figma files to Excel spreadsheets — in seconds. And you can do a whole lot more than that.
On top of hundreds of improvements, we’ve also added brand new features.
- With Move to Flow, you can now import tasks from any other tool into Flow. So you can move tools and bring your tasks with you.
- With Due Times, you can now be even more specific — down to the minute — about when work is due.
- With Task Priority, you can easily mark a task as low, medium, or high priority — as well as urgent — to keep everyone on the same page.
- You can sort and filter tasks faster than ever. Whether that means viewing tasks alphabetically, by priority, or by deadline, we’ve got you covered.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Thank you to all of our customers for helping us refine Flow X through countless questions, bugs, and feature requests. After 10 years in business, 18 months in development, and 6 months in beta, we couldn’t be more excited to share Flow X with the world.
Daniel Scrivner took over as Flow’s CEO in early 2019. Prior to joining Flow he was the Head of Design at Square, and worked for many of the world’s leading brands including Apple, Nike, and Disney. Recently he launched Outliers, a new weekly podcast focused on deconstructing what the Top 1% of people across industries have mastered and what they’ve learned along the way.
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The latest updates and news from Flow.
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How Productivity Software Benefits Teams from All IndustriesAugust 19, 2020
Overcome Remote Team Challenges with Cutting-Edge Platform SolutionsAugust 12, 2020
12 Steps to Simple Task Management for Creative TeamsAugust 5, 2020
How to Increase Productivity at Home and Decrease DistractionsJuly 29, 2020
Top 6 Online Team Collaboration Software OptionsJuly 23, 2020
What’s Flow?Try it for free
Capture to-dos, notes, files, and dates in seconds. Never forget a detail again.
Organize tasks into projects to visualize your work as a board, list, or timeline.
Calendars & Timelines
See your tasks, teammates tasks, and project timelines on a calendar.
Comments, file sharing, channels, and direct messaging come built into Flow.
Powerful & Flexible
Assign tasks a priority or due time, add sub-tasks, tags, and so much more.
Tired of dull and dreary productivity apps? Flow is simple, beautiful, and delightful.
Start working smarter.
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