5 Tools that Deliver Smarter Productivity, Collaboration

6 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar

With so many apps and web-based tools, it’s hard to keep up with all of them. Fortunately, we keep a pretty close ear to the ground and an eagle eye out for the tools that have people talking. This week we present the five best tools for productivity and enterprise collaboration. They can help you be a little more productive, become a little smarter -- and keep better track of your goals along the way.

1. Loosecubes

Maybe your office is a little too big for your small startup. Or you find that working from a coffee shop or your home office isn’t always ideal. Either way, Loosecubes provides a way for businesses and mobile workers to collaborate smarter -- by offering a way for the two to find each other.

Whether you have extra space or you’re looking for a place to set up shop for a day, users can request an invite and unlock a workspace network. From there, you can search for a place to work or provide your office in the directory.

Simply view the profile page of the space you’d like to visit, select the day you’d like to work (if available), and click the “Book” button. Once you book the space, the host will receive an email notification and anticipate your arrival, while you will receive an email confirmation.

Loosecubes is free and guarantees access to a workspace and WiFi connection. Any additional amenities, like the use of a printer, conference room or phone is at the host’s discretion. Additionally, both parties are encouraged to leave a reviews about their experience to help others members determine if a space is a good fit for them.

2. Treehouse

No matter when you went to school or attended your last bootcamp, emerging technologies keep us all on our toes and struggling to keep our skill sets up-to-date. Enter Treehouse, which aims to bring affordable technology education to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world. That may sound a bit ambitious, but what it means for you is access to a vast library of tools and information so you can learn how to design and develop for the web and iOS.

Members can watch training videos, take quizzes, unlock badges and get recognized for their achievements. With plans starting at $US 25 per month, users can learn from more than 550 training videos, practicing in real time via their Code Challenge Engine and becoming a part of the Treehouse members group on Facebook.

For $US 49 per month, users get full access, including Treeviews, a platform through which users receive feedback for member projects. They also receive access to leading industry professionals and the opportunity to join workshops to learn more about the future of technology.

We all have questions about existing and emerging technologies, but may not always feel comfortable asking them. Treehouse provides a supportive environment through which knowledge can be gained and new skills can be learned. As we know, the job market is competitive and advanced education isn’t cheap -- but having the right skills can make all the difference. Treehouse may be a viable option for those wanting to learn how to code better, develop for a specific platform or device or build a website or mobile app.

3. Trello

It’s not as if the world is short on collaboration tools, but Trello is definitely worth highlighting. It’s a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.

Users can create a Trello board for a product or project that is under continuous development. Boards are made up of multiple lists -- the lists on the left indicate the start of a workflow and the ones on the right are the end. Lists contain cards, which represent the basic unit of a board -- for instance, a new feature, a bug, a story lead, a legal case, a client, research for a paper, a potential employee or a customer support issue. Cards move from list to list to indicate progression and board members can add themselves to cards, start conversations on cards, create checklists on cards and so on.


Trello is free and users can sign in with their Google account. But lest you think that Trello is just a simple collaboration tool, think again. Cards have an abundance of functionality that let team members vote, subscribe, add a checklist, change the due date, add attachments and provide status updates, among others.

4. Lift.do

Whether you need to track a personal or professional goal, using Lift.do can help. Available as a free mobile app, Lift positions itself as a simple way to achieve any goal. The app pairs habit tracking with a supportive community and allows you to track progress on a daily basis. Once you have made progress, Lift shows you how consistent you’ve been.

Learning Opportunities

To be clear, this isn’t gamification -- there are no tricks or gimmicks.  But there is a community which is organized to give users encouragement, inspiration or feedback. Lift connects you with friends and to people with similar habits.


Additionally, Lift offers two feedback loops: visualized progress and support from a community of people with similar goals.


Whether it’s keeping track of your New Year’s resolutions or keeping your organization on track to meet its customer service goals, Lift could be the right tool for the job.

5. Fonolo

It’s no secret that customer service comes down to being helpful and responsive. Getting in touch with a company representative shouldn’t take forever, nor should it require a million frustrating steps and menu options. Thanks to Fonolo, your customers can now reach call center agents easily without navigating phone menus or waiting on hold.

Fonolo’s cloud-based service adds a new interface to your call center that lives on your website or mobile application, or inside your existing IVR/ACD. As a result, Fonolo enables your customers to navigate your phone menu visually, or trigger a call-back from inside your existing phone system. Through their patent-pending process of Deep Dialing, customers can be easily connected to any point in the phone system defined by your organization.

Fonolo offers a variety of options as well, including visual dialing, virtual queuing, pre-call questions designed to reduce handle times by collecting info from callers before the call, and post-call surveys. Plans start at $US 99 per month for up to 10 agents and $US 399 per month for up to 40 agents.

So there you have it  -- 5 tools designed to keep you focused, on task, and working smarter. Do you have a favorite tool? If so, please share it with us in the comments.

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