Want to be more productive while working remotely? Try these apps

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OSlash found that 71% of the more efficient remote employees surveyed played Wordle on a regular basis.

Tired woman working on laptop at home during night time
Image: rh2010/Adobe Stock

While the move to primarily work-from-home models is increasingly becoming more prevalent among organizations, keeping productivity high is still a major challenge. Luckily for both businesses and their workforce, a new survey of 1,000 employees by OSlash found that employees have a common thread: The apps they use. In the survey, OSlash uncovered that remote workers with the highest level of productivity averaged over $27,000 more in earnings than the least productive work from home employees.

Could apps be the key to maintaining or increasing productivity?

One insight gleaned from the survey was that higher productivity employees were “more trusted by their employers, had more autonomy at work, and made more money”. The six most used apps by the most engaged employees were Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Dropbox. On average, it was discovered that use of Microsoft Office saves employees an average of 50 minutes per day when compared to those who did not use Microsoft Office.

While some of this information may not come as a surprise, one app seemed to be a throughline to tracking the most efficient employees. Of those 1,000 workers surveyed, 71% of the most productive staff members were found to have played Wordle regularly and 18% felt starting their day playing the online game increased their productivity. As a remote worker, I have also found myself playing Wordle on a daily basis, as I find it a relaxing exercise to start the day.

In other areas of maintaining productivity, OSlash found that the following were also popular ways for employees to increase productivity:

  • Taking social media breaks (49%)
  • Taking lunch breaks (36%)
  • Having a morning routine (34%)
  • Keeping the office space organized (34%)
  • Making to-do lists (32%)

One other aspect when it came to maintaining productivity was using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on an employee’s cell phone. Two-thirds of employees who responded said they use the feature on their phone during the workday, with 77% reporting that it helps with their productivity levels.

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Barriers to productivity and the apps that are least efficient

Distractions are everywhere when it comes to working from home. Whether it be something going on within a living space or simply the temptation to spend time doing things other than work, these disturbances can negatively impact productivity and even lead to earning less in salary.

The five biggest barriers to productivity as per the study were the following:

  1. Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit)
  2. Unnecessary emails
  3. Text notifications
  4. Work notifications
  5. Pets

This emphasizes the importance of budgeting time when it comes to getting work done. In moderation, checking social media platforms can be beneficial to increase productivity but when used too often, it can easily become a distraction. The same goes for notifications and emails, so when attempting to get tasks and projects done, it is key that users try to block out anything that could become a barrier to getting work completed in a timely manner or employ a “Do Not Disturb” feature on their various devices.

Lastly, the apps that were found to be used by less efficient employees were found to be Discord, Trello, Salesforce and Doodle. It was found that work from home employees waste an average of 20 minutes per day on Discord, which may not seem like much but could add up over a number of days and weeks. Trello, Salesforce and Doodle fell into the category of less efficient apps due to the time employees spent toggling between these apps looking for the information they needed. For organizations, it is imperative that they try to condense the number of apps employees are required to use in order to make the workforce more productive and efficient.

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