If you work in Business Operations, you’ll know that it’s an all-encompassing role with a seemingly never-ending to-do list. From people to processes, nothing seems to fall outside your remit – meaning that every day you find yourself juggling tasks that span everything from reviewing performances to organising team events.
However, thanks to the advent of technology, there’s an abundance of tools out there to make your working life that bit easier. Whether it’s online project management you need or you’re looking for your next office space, there are a number of great go-to platforms available.
But, we know you’re busy – so to save you the time of finding them, we’ve put together a curated list of the best tools for Operations Managers, Heads of Ops, and COOs everywhere, to help you optimise your work every single day.
For team processes:
Project management is central to pretty much everything you do when you work in Ops. Changing how we feel about the word ‘Monday’, this excellent and uber-visual tool is loaded with bright colours and insightful features to add value to project management. From simplifying onboarding processes through to customising workflows, Monday makes tracking performance on all types of projects incredibly easy, with its spectrum of analytical tools, charts, and graphs.
CharlieHR is a lifesaver when it comes to people management. One of the leading software tools for businesses, it allows you to manage all the key elements of HR in one centralised location, with teams able to log on using their own secure profiles (this helps overcome issues surrounding data protection too). The interface is easy-to-use and intuitive, and features include being able to manage holiday requests, conducting internal surveys, sharing company organisation and structure, as well as on- and off-boarding practices.
In order to thrive, a company must put its team at the heart of the business. To do that, Lattice have designed a continuous performance management system designed around the employee experience. Easy to integrate with existing tools, from Gmail to Slack, it allows quick-access for managers and team members, and guides the whole performance review process from start to finish. This fully customisable tool also offers an insightful analytic report to track and support team members.
If you’re often assigned the task of sorting out team lunches, City Pantry is a godsend. Social time is central to happy work relationships, and it goes a long way to put a bit of thought into finding tasty food for your team (and not always relying on Pret sandwiches). This online food-finding platform offers menus from more than 400 top restaurants in London and Manchester, and in just a few clicks your team can be refreshed with ice creams, refuelled with burgers or treated to a selection of cookies. What’s not to love!
Join.Me is a really useful tool for those with too many meetings and too little time, as it enables you to conduct your meetings wherever you are. With your own personalised URL, the web-based site also allows you to customise meetings to your company colours, brand logo or whatever backdrop you chose. There’s even a ‘whiteboarding’ feature that lets you jot notes during calls, especially handy for brainstorming.
We also use Zoom, and appear.in is useful too!
Sometimes, there’s just too much for one person to do and you simply need more hands. For times like this, UpWork is ideal. It’s a global freelancing platform that works to connect businesses and independent professionals to one another and enables them to collaborate remotely. So, for the jobs that you can comfortably outsource – e.g. admin tasks – you can find a trusted freelancer that matches your criteria. Leaving you more time to get on with everything else!
Whether it’s for training, client meetings or one-to-ones, business travel is an important part of everyday business. However, keeping tabs on everything, from flights to car rentals, trains to hotels, can be near impossible.
To help with this, TripIt collects all of your travel information and presents it in one handy place. You simply forward all your bookings to an email address where it stores your data in an easy-to-navigate tool – meaning that you have one less thing to think about!
Finding a new office is something that operations managers are often tasked with, and the concept can feel pretty daunting at first.
That’s where HubbleHQ comes in. HubbleHQ is the UK’s most advanced online office space marketplace, enabling businesses of any size to search and compare across the whole flexible office market and filter by up-to-date pricing, live availability, location, amenities, exclusive offers, and more. And the service is completely free!
At present, we cover the whole flexible office markets in London – so if you’re looking for a new office right now, start your search here:
Whatever you call them – mind maps, spider diagrams, brain dumps – if you use them as a way to arrange your thoughts then you’ll love Miro. Use it for yourself, to store your ideas and processes, or use them to create, collaborate, and centralise communications across your entire organisation. Overcoming the issue of different time zones and physical location, it brings working teams together in one unified space.
We all know the power of wellbeing, and in today’s society, it’s increasingly important to make time for yourself and your mental health – especially in a demanding and multifaceted role in operations.
Similar in concept to the more widely-known Headspace (which we love, too!), Waking Up is a popular meditation tool designed by a neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author. Get into the habit of using it regularly and enjoy all the benefits of a clear head and positive mindset in everything you do – work and otherwise.
Personal development has come a long way in recent years. Today, tools such as Coach.me allow individuals to improve their outputs, form new habits, and enhance their leadership qualities over time. Including training on everything from habit tracking to leadership, this site connects you to the right coach for you to enhance your overall performance.
A giant to-do list, integrating personal and professional jobs, Wunderlist is a smart way to organise your time – and there’s also that satisfying element of ticking off all those achievements as you go along.
Everybody says it, but it’s true: when it feels like you’ll never get anything done, there’s a huge amount to be gained by listing your tasks, prioritising them, and taking things one step at a time.
Organising meetings shouldn’t be an arduous process, but when you’re trying to juggle the calendars of people in multiple different teams, it can feel that way. To eliminate the back-and-forth that usually comes with arranging catch-ups, Calendly is a handy tool. Whether you’re scheduling an internal 1:1, or finding time for a meeting with an external client, this tool streamlines the process and makes life SO much easier for everyone.
You may well already use Slack as your company’s primary method of communication – it’s used by millions of people each day and has revolutionised the way team members engage and collaborate at work. But it’s not just the logistical element of Slack that you can benefit from in Business Operations. There are many Slack communities out there where you can connect with like-minded people, share information and tips, and get advice from other individuals in a similar role. Our Operations Manager Charlie swears by the Resources for Humans slack community, but you can find one for pretty much anything (and if it doesn’t exist already – why not create one?).
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