12 Incredibly Useful Tools For Creating A Happier Work-life

Linda Le Phan

Everyone living in this technological age that we’re in right now is spoiled.

There, I said it!

Okay. Not necessarily spoiled in the traditional sense, but spoiled by choices, options, and possibilities compared to our non-technology-having predecessors. Because if you think about it, for almost every problem you can think of there’s some sort of solution that technology has come up with for it.

  • Need someone to pick you up? There’s an app for that.
  • Need someone to clean your house? There’s an app for that.
  • Need to know if there’s going to be traffic where you’re going? There’s an app for that.
  • Need someone to pick up something from the store for you? There’s an app for that.
  • Need to find a date? There are (plenty of) apps for that.

That’s not to say that all of the choices technology provides us is a bad thing.

In fact, the whole idea of too-many-choices has been coined “the paradox of choice” and it’s proven to be more or less a myth.

The reality is that technology has positively impacted our lives in more ways than we can imagine and that’s especially true in the workplace. From tools that help us get more organized, tools that help us process information, and tools that make for better communicating and multi-tasking (just to name a few), it’s a wonder how some companies would even function without the help of smart technology.

Since we’ve talked at length about employee happiness and how important that is, it seemed to make a lot of sense to think about how today’s technology plays a role in all of that. More specifically – what tools are available today to help employees create happier work-lives?

I asked a bunch of business leaders their thoughts and here are the best and most useful apps & tools they recommended:

12 Incredibly Useful Tools For Creating A Happier Work-life

Slack

“One of the biggest positive shifts we’ve had in our workplace culture was the introduction of Slack for Teams. Our agency offers employees very flexible work hours and the opportunity to work from home, all at very short notice. With browser, desktop and smartphone apps, customizable integrations, reminders and calls, Slack has proven itself very flexible and is how almost all of our internal communication takes place.

The reduced friction of communication has led to a situation where our team communicates more regularly and faster than it has done previous and not just work communications. There are lots of non-work Slack channels set up where our staff coordinate social activities, talk about their interests and share links.

As a result, this has really accelerated bonding between individuals and the majority of our agency feel like they are actually working with friends, not just colleagues. Having Slack as a standard accepted communication method also gives more options to those that suffer from the increasingly common ‘telephone anxiety’ with staff being able to message to a particular channel if they are unwell.” – Mark Cook, ApplinSkinner


Wunderlist

“My number one productivity tool that improves my happiness at work is Wunderlist, an app that allows you to create multiple to do lists.

As a working mom, I have lists for the grocery store, Costco, Target, etc. Since this app lives on both my phone and desktop, I can add items to my lists wherever I am. Best yet, you can set up different categories – – I have one for my virtual assistant’s projects. One for work items. One for “someday/maybe” items. One for vacation packing. The possibilities are endless. And since my phone is always with me, I don’t need to remember what I need when I’m in the store – – it’s in Wunderlist.” – Elene Cafasso, Enerpace Executive Coaching


Evernote

“Owning a manufacturing company with 90 employees while trying to balance two young kids is an ever-evolving challenge. I find a combination of Evernote and Wunderlist have drastically reduced my effectiveness as well as reducing the anxiety that comes along with having a huge number of tasks to juggle on a daily basis. Evernote is great as it gives me a central place to capture my thoughts, lists, or just take a quick snapshot of an important receipt. We all need efficient lists, and I would also add that Wunderlist has been my go to for the past few years. It does a great job keeping things organized, prioritized and allows you to share lists with others which is critical when delegating items to others.” – Lynel Brown, Brownsafe


Steer

“We use Steer (an engagement and reporting tool) for quick and easy reporting on roadblocks, celebrating wins and staying in tune with what everyone is working on. It helps keep people accountable, productive and happiness without meetings.” – Jose Bautista, Steer.


Causely

For generations employees crave the need to feel like they matter and Causely is one of my favorite apps to make that happen. It will increase morale without a large time investment creating a win for both the staff and the employer. The app’s check-in feature, via social media asks the employees to indicate they have arrived at work. Each interaction with the app will slowly build donations for various charities. Over time, even small business can collectively make an impact. It is a win  for everyone.  – Virginia Phillips, The Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence, LLC


Meet Egdar

“My company has tried all kinds of automation tools, but my favorite which definitely makes my worklife happier is MeetEdgar. This tool builds a library of content and puts in all social media on a schedule. The reason I like it better than something like Hootsuite is that I set it up once and it keeps drawing from my library of content and placing it where it hasn’t been seen before or hasn’t been seen for a long time. I can go weeks or even months without creating anything new and MeetEdgar just keeps chugging along on my behalf.” – Tom Antion, Antion & Associates



A glass-topped table

This is going to sound crazy, but my favorite tool is the glass-topped table in my office. The reason is because, when paired with a box of chalk pens, that table turns into the most amazing brainstorming tool. The table is round and functional, stylish, and super useful: It is functional on so many levels. And it’s what helps me keep my office space small and minimalist – no need for giant whiteboards! – Leticia Mooney, Brutal Pixie 


Pomodoro timer

“My favorite physical tool for a happier worklife is a pomodoro timer. It looks simple but it really helps me both productive and relaxed. It is designed in a way that it stops after 25 minutes and then you get a break of 5 minutes. And it’s offline feature makes it even better.” – Brian Condenanza, Fluo Shoes


Freedom

“The Freedom app is also great way to increase workplace happiness. You can choose a specific number of minutes and blocks all the websites that distracts you for these minutes. It is especially good if you have social media on your phone.” – Brian Condenanza, Fluo Shoes


Happify

“As a business owner I am always looking for a competitive edge against my competitors. I found that being happy at work really helped improve my productivity and increase the workplace morale. Boosting my employee’s performance and productivity as the result. One of my favorite apps to help increase my happiness at work is called Happify. Happify is a self improvement app that I can use on my smart phone or computer. It gives me very analytic data about my happiness and tracks my daily activities. Whenever I use the app it will give me different exercises throughout the day. One of the writing exercises was about gratitude. I would write a few sentences about what I was grateful for and repeat it throughout the day.

The app is very effective in helping me achieve positive emotions on a hourly basis. Happify is also very effective in motivating me to learn because rewards me with different points every time I achieve the goal. Seeing my progress data at the end of every week is very fulfilling. I am very grateful to have found this app because it has instilled me positive habits that help increase my happiness at work and in life.” – Lisa Chu of Black N Bianco


A Herman-Miller chair

“One of the keys to a happier work-life is being comfortable while you are working. Most of the time this means physically. My ideal situation for a happier work-life is an adjustable hight desk, so I can break up the monotony of sitting in one spot all day. A Herman-Miller chair would also be top on the list so I can sit a long time without distraction. Lastly, I would have an office with windows letting in natural light, but those can be hard to come by!” – Dustin Montgomery, Shippers Supplies


G Suite

“When I began in my position, I quickly assigned each manager a laptop, and gave them remote access. I used Google’s G Suite to create a highly-collaborative structure that allows us to work quickly as a team from anywhere that offers internet. I also made sure everyone had Google’s apps on their phones so they are able to respond to questions and comments from team members without delay.

This allowed people the flexibility to manage their personal lives without sacrificing their productivity at work.

Furthermore, I changed many policies in our handbook to protect people’s PTO so it was used for actual vacation time. In short, I gave employees the chance to show they can be trusted. By measuring success through completed projects–not time worked–I found people taking greater ownership, and getting more done while actually working fewer hours.” – Airto Zamorano, Becker Ear Nose & Throat Center


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Are there any other tools you can think of that can help contribute to a happy work-life? Share them with us @kununu_US!

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Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent. When she’s not writing about the modern workplace, company culture, and life & work hacks, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.