A recent article on Fast Company detailed the Secrets of America’s Happiest Companies. Did you know that, according to Gallup, the U.S. economy loses $350 billion a year simply from disengaged (read: unhappy) workers? Who knew frowns could be so costly! Fear not, however; there are several virtual tools you can use to increase your happiness at work. Whether it’s collaborating on documents, jamming out to practically any song on earth or effortlessly meeting with your remote team, the following seven tools will help you turn your workplace frown upside down.
It can be frustrating when you’re stuck at work to feel like you’re missing out on the big stories of the day or an interesting article that crosses your Twitter or RSS feed. A virtual tool like Pocket is absolutely ideal for this situation — it allows you to save any article you come across to easily read it later from the web or a mobile device. It’s particularly great for mobile because Pocket automatically formats the article into an easy-to-read smartphone- or tablet-friendly format. Now you can keep working knowing that you’ve got a treasure trove of interesting content to read when you’re done!
Even if your office has an “acceptable in moderation” social media policy, it can be tough to keep track of all of your networks without going overboard (and attracting unwanted attention for excessive Facebooking). A social media aggregator like Tweetdeck is a great way to stay up-to-date at a glance so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. Tweetdeck can manage all of your various Twitter feeds into easy-to-read columns and it also integrates directly with Facebook, allowing for a succinct look at your News Feed.
Few things in life can be quite as depressing as yet another PowerPoint presentation. While the tool may have evolved over time, it’s definitely far from entertaining. There are some newcomers, however, looking to reinvent the art of the presentation, and Prezi is one of our favorites. Prezis are dynamic, colorful and energetic and they really let you unlock your creativity. With Prezi, you can do more than just present; you can tell an engaging story.
Now, admittedly I kind of hope my boss doesn’t read this one, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one game on this list! Ruzzle is a new and quite popular word game available for play on Facebook, Android and iOS devices where you compete with a friend to see who can find the most words in a provided block of letters. The beauty of a game like Ruzzle in a work environment is that it’s asynchronous — in other words, you take your turn whenever you’re available and the game waits for you. Asynchronous games like Ruzzle are a great way to sneak in a little fun without getting overly engrossed or losing your flow at work.
5) Google Drive
The evolution of Google Docs, Google Drive is the Big G’s file storage and document collaboration service. It can be endlessly frustrating at work trying to deal with change-tracking and managing the various versions of documents being frantically emailed back and forth. But with Google Drive, not only are all the revisions stored in cloud, but multiple collaborators can work on a document in real time. It’s actually pretty entertaining the first time you see your coworkers cursor blinking colorfully on your screen as if you were both playing some sort of multiplayer game. It’s a slick and intuitive virtual tool for managing your files and documents.
Now, we’ve talked at great lengths before about the productivity advantages of iMeet. But as someone who literally uses iMeet multiple times a day, it’s time to talk about how much fun iMeet can be for meetings. For example, you can keep up to four profile pictures stored in your iMeet profile and choose which one you want to display, and there isn’t a single person on my team that doesn’t keep at least one ridiculous meme, cartoon character or silly face picture stored to break up the meeting monotony. You can even change your iMeet cube or room name on the fly; you might find yourself coming into Grumpy Cat’s meeting room, simply named “No,” and cracking a smile at work in spite of yourself!
Of all the tools on this list, Spotify is one of the closest to my heart. I’m a huge fan of music and I can’t imagine getting through a workday without it. Spotify lets you stream practically any song or album you want completely for free. You can also organize and share playlists of songs or simply listen to a radio station based off your favorite track or artist. I have playlists set up for all the different aspects of my job: a playlist of instrumental tracks for writing (I can’t write with lyrics!), some driving rock playlists for more tedious tasks, a playlist of silly songs to blast on a Friday afternoon, you name it!
Interesting in learning more ways that technology is changing the way we collaborate? Download PGi’s latest free eBook!