Employee apps are supposed to make internal communication and collaboration easier to affect productivity positively. A feature-rich app is important, especially when team members are doing remote work. Such things asynchronous communication is crucial due to time zone differences. While it may be impossible to bundle all features into one employee app, integration with third-party tools through APIs is helpful.
An employee app for remote workers should make for a company intranet. It should be a source of news on the goings-on within the company. In fact, the management can use it as a tool to affect culture through the communication they share there. The app can serve technical purposes by having a resource pool where technicians can consult colleagues or access training manuals. The app can also be a productivity tool through which customer-facing employees get to serve customers. All these are hinged on the feature list of the app.
Here are X features that are extremely useful for remote work.
If your business is building any application or website to be used by employees at and away from the office, ensure that it is accessible optimally on mobile devices. This will ensure employees can be productive from the work device they choose to use. Mobile-friendliness is a big determinant of people’s willingness to download and keep using a particular application. The development team should prioritize proper device optimization.
Remote workers thrive when they have real-time chat functionality in their work management applications. They can easily inquire about something from a colleague without having to toggle to their email. Chat applications are great because they can be reviewed later. A team of more than two can take part in a real-time semi-formal conversation without the information leaking to outside parties. Chats are also great for instilling a closer relationship between team members by providing an effective communication channel. All members have a direct line of access to their team leaders and colleagues.
Push notification capability in an employee app today achieves several things. First, push notifications to nudge people to interact with an app. This will increase the number of people as well the number of times people log into an application. When people log in regularly, the app serves the purpose for which it was developed- to disseminate news. Push notifications are also great for sending out urgent and important information to everyone in the company at the same time. This ensures everyone in the company is duly informed of important developments.
Individual departments can use push notifications to notify people when tasks have been assigned or have fallen due. They can also be used as reminders for upcoming meetings and deadlines.
No matter the application your organization chooses to use, meeting tools are critical infrastructure for remote work. Synchronous meetings are important for brainstorming, monitoring project progress, and team building. A useful feature would be the ability to record meetings and share them with team members who were not present. Meetings can also be archived as proof of deliberations and agreements on important matters.
During meetings, remote team members should be able to share their screens when making presentations. Additionally, note-taking features within the meeting tool eliminate the need to toggle between applications. Notes taken within the meeting platform can easily be shared with team members as a record of the meeting’s highlights and resolutions.
Remote teams need secure and easy-to-use storage for their work documents. As such, an employee productivity app needs integration with third-party cloud storage and backup provider. The storage solution should be an easy way to organize, upload, download, or access work documents. Important features here include the ability to safely send links accessible to authorized persons or the ability to password protect documents being sent over the internet. Some sophisticated cloud storage tools have an inbuilt version control system that helps track the history of changes made to a document.
Integration with Document Editing Tools
Remote workers need their employers to provide them with a document editing suite. This suite may be integrated with their main productivity and project management software. When people are using a common document editor, they will have access to similar functionalities. Sharing documents and collaboration will be made much easier.
Inbuilt Survey Tool
If you are building a new employee app, a survey tool would be useful in collecting feedback from your remote team members. In fact, the tool shows that you value their input regarding company issues. Surveys are a great way to quickly judge sentiment on emerging issues. For instance, you could ask employees how they feel about a training program they just completed. In large organizations, surveys may be more cost-effective in collecting information compared to physical interviews or questionnaires.
We live in a world full of distractions. Emails, messages, notifications, calls, and social media. It would be great to have a focus feature within the productivity application your employees are using while working remotely. The focus tool should be customizable such that the person can choose what notifications to allow. This ensures that they can still respond to urgent matters but can shelve away those that can wait. Cutting away non-essential distractions will help your employees finish tasks faster and get more done in a day.
News and Blogs
An important feature of an app for remote workers is a news and blog section. The news section should include events within the company. The section can also include publications on mainstream media that mention the company or touch on the industry. These stories may interest employees because occurrences in the industry will affect their career curve.
In the blog section, employees should get an opportunity to become contributors. Writing opinion pieces is a great way to grow writing and leadership skills by airing your voice on issues. Employees should be encouraged to do so.
Lastly, the app should also feature an internal job board, where new opportunities within the company are advertised. This feature will increase engagement with the app.
If your employees are using several apps for their work, it may be risky when they use one password. A password management tool could help mitigate this security vulnerability by generating different passwords. This is an important feature for organizing that’s handling sensitive information such as client contacts and other personal data.
Prioritizing Features for Remote Work
It’s important to have a clearly mapped out workflow in order to decide on the features to prioritize. In many cases, there will be more than two applications offering the same solution. Your business will need to pick one based on pricing, integration with other apps, the size of the user community, and the level of support provided by the provider.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the need for companies to be agile. Providing remote employees with the right tools is critical for their productivity and job satisfaction, too.
If your business is seeking to build an employee productivity and engagement app, reach out to NS804. We are a software building company helping client businesses build custom applications for their workflow. Reach out to us for a free consultation station.