4 Ways Work Management Apps Accelerate Achievement

by Katy Beloof

In today’s digital workplace, employees must work together more efficiently to get more done.  Customer-obsessed firms take an outside-in approach, relying on collaboration to win, serve, and retain customers. Yet with all of the enterprise collaboration tools at hand, teams still rely heavily on email. Despite the rapid adoption of collaboration tools, email use in many companies has increased

Forrester estimates that due to the interruption-driven nature of email activities, the amount of time spent on an actual task activity is reduced to 18%. This means that in a 40 hour work week, less than one day is spent on actual work. Information workers are seeking a way to organize their work, and companies are turning to enterprise collaboration apps to help employees better manage work. 

Enterprise collaboration apps fall into five categories. Apps in the manage category help employees move work forward by enabling visibility, action, status, and automation for processes, programs, or projects. Here are four ways that work management apps can help you accomplish more:

1. Capture Conversations in Context to Increase Efficiency

Email and chat apps may be great for communication, but referring back to them for information is time consuming. Email and chat apps can also leave out important team members or stakeholders who might not be included on a key email or chat thread.   

Rather than spending time searching for the information necessary for the work they’re doing, workers with work management apps can share information about their work in comments or instant messages in the context of their work. They can add people to the conversation and have those conversations stored within their workspace, so that they can quickly reference what they need to know on a project. 

2. Plan and Manage Projects With Flexibility

These days, nearly everyone is a project manager in one way or another. Yet few information workers are project managers by trade or have had any formal project management training. For most workers, the use of conventional project management tools adds to their workload, rather than helping them manage it. So they continue to rely on email and email attachments to manage their projects.

Work management tools provide an alternative to the black hole of email with a flexible way for workers to customize the tools and platforms they use to get work done. Some work management tools offer a variety of ways to organize projects and manage work, including task lists, calendars, Gantt schedules, and card views akin to Kanban. This freedom to manage projects in ways that best fit the tasks at hand frees workers from having to learn a formal project management tool, and lets them focus on getting the work done. 

3. Consolidate Apps into One Workspace to Improve Focus

A recent report found that 46% of organizations use six or more collaboration apps. Switching between so many applications (including email) slows down workers and drops productivity by 40%

The more apps that are connected to one workspace, the less time workers spend switching between apps. A collaborative work management platform that connects to other apps can help teams move work forward more quickly.

4. Delegate and Automate to Spend Time on the Right Things

Work management apps can also accelerate work by making it easy to track and manage tasks for an entire team - not just an individual’s to-do list. Project plans can be automated to ensure that work moves along in a timely fashion.

In Smartsheet, for example, people can assign others to tasks and set up notifications so that assignees are automatically informed of their assignments. People can also set up reminders and notifications for themselves and others to make sure tasks stay on track and deadlines are met. This helps move work along without taking a lot of time from the team lead or project manager to track down the pieces of a project, freeing up time for them to be more productive themselves.

Learn More at Smartsheet ENGAGE

Interested in learning more about how collaborative work management can help your teams work better? Join guest speaker Margo Visitacion, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, and principal author of The Forrester WaveTM: Enterprise Collaborative Work Management, Q4 2016, at Smartsheet ENGAGE for her presentation “Collaborative Work Management: Helping Teams to Work Better”. 

Margo is a leading expert in software delivery, focusing on the areas of collaborative work management, project management, project portfolio management, and project management organizations (PMOs), covering both Agile and traditional methodologies. Her presentation will examine the increasingly important presence that collaborative work management tools play in making your teams work better.