While some employees have spent the past two years itching to get back to the HQ, others have seen their productivity skyrocket thanks to the ability to work from home and on-demand workspaces.
This means that ‘productivity’ can no longer be measured by how long someone’s sat in the office. Now, it’s up to each company to configure what ‘productivity’ means to them—and then empower their teams to work in a way that lets them maintain it.
To do this, managers need to equip them with the tools, techniques, and processes they need to do their best work—wherever they are. But sometimes, it can be tricky to know where to get started.
Here are some of our favourite tools to help your team to maintain productivity—some of which we’ve proudly partnered with!
Keen to optimise ‘productivity’ across your hybrid teams, but feel unsure where to get started? We gathered senior executives of three inspirational companies to give us all the insider tips. Watch the webinar for free today!
Communication and Collaboration
Troop Messenger is a compact instant messaging service that also works for screen-sharing and audio and video calls. If you don’t want to (or can’t) respond right now but don’t want to forget a message, you can hit ‘respond later’, and it’ll pop back up in your inbox at a more convenient time.
Other interesting features include the ‘burnout’ mode, which opens a totally private chat window where all messages are deleted after a pre-defined time period.
Twist is an asynchronous messaging tool for teams that are burned out by constant, real-time communication. Unlike other chat tools, Twist doesn’t show your colleagues when you’re online, so there’s no pressure to respond to messages straight away. And there’s no need to keep rehashing conversations you’ve already had either: you can simply link to past messages, and your colleagues will be able to read them in their original context.
Want to give it a try? Hubble members can get a 100$ Twist Unlimited credit at this link.
Hubble tip: Be wary of IM tools stealing focus
Information workers check their Slack and email every six minutes, on average. That’s a lot. While effective communication tools can be key to successful teams, remember that too much noise can be distracting and lead to a loss of focus and productivity.
Think carefully about the information you send via IM channels (which implies an immediate response is needed), and encourage your teams to do the same.
Fiverr Workspace is a suite of tools to help freelancers, solopreneurs, and SMBs get organised through task management, invoicing, and income and expense tracking, among other tools. The platform also includes a time tracking feature that you can use through a desktop app or directly in your browser.
Fiverr is also a Hubble Partner: Hubble members can get 30% off a Fiverr Workspace subscription.
Toggl is a simple plugin for Chrome and Firefox that lets you and your team track your time right from your browser. All you need to do is open the plugin when you start working and give the task you’re working on a name. You can then assign each task to a project, and see weekly overviews of where your time has been focused.
For managers, the paid version gives you an organisational overview so you can see how your employees are spending their time too. You can also assign projects to specific people and get insights into your team’s productivity levels over time.
Hubble tip: Dive into time management with an online course
There’s a lot more to time management than writing a quick to-do list and avoiding distractions like email and social media. Why not encourage your team to take a deep dive by signing them up for a course—like this one by Hubble Partner, Learned.Live?
The ability to properly prioritise, delegate, and manage work is an amazing set of skills that could help your team produce better work, optimise productivity, and even be happier in their jobs—not bad for a two-week course.
Notion is a collaboration, communication, and project management tool that helps cross-functional teams to do their best work. You can use it to create organisational wikis, where you store all of the information your team needs in one easy location.
For project management, you can create a ‘card’ or page for each project, and then break these down into smaller tasks. You’ll move these between columns or assign them to different team members as the project progresses.
Todoist, is a simple but powerful task-management app that can help you and your team to stay organised. You can use it to set either one-off or recurring tasks that will be automatically imported into your to-do list each day. Then, you can divide these into subtasks, categorise them by project, or assign them to team members.
Each task comes with a priority level, so it’s easy to see the most important jobs on your list. And you can even use Todoist to set and track productivity goals for you and your team.
Want to try it out? Hubble members can get access to Todoist’s Pro plan for free for three whole months!
Hubble tip: Choose the simplest tool for your needs
There are so many project management tools out there that it’s difficult to know where to start—and each one comes with its own learning curve. To avoid overwhelming your team, try to stick to one task management tool at a time.
And if possible, make sure it’s a simple one with a pleasant and intuitive interface—which is much more valuable than a whole host of fancy features that you never actually use.
Canva is an easy-to-use design tool for people who aren’t design pros. With a bit of playing around, even a total newbie can see some really stunning results. The platform has pre-made templates for everything from posters to logos to social media posts, so you don’t need to start from scratch. The simple drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to customise your designs.
Like Canva, Visme is an online design tool built around an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. But what makes it stand out is its powerful data visualisation tools, including customisable templates for over 40 charts, graphs, and flowcharts.
You can input data manually or from a spreadsheet and create easy-to-understand visual representations to share in your presentations, meetings, and communications.
Hubble tip: know when to outsource
If you’re not comfortable with design tools (or just don’t have the time), think about whether you could outsource some of your design projects to someone who knows what they’re doing—by finding a freelance designer on a platform like Fiverr, for example.
Often, the cost is pretty much offset when you consider how much time you would have spent trying to figure it out yourself.
Otter.ai is a transcription tool that’s really useful for hybrid meetings. You can connect the AI to meeting software like Zoom, MS Teams, or Google Meet, and it will auto-join your meetings and transcribe them.
This means that everyone can remain fully engaged in the meeting, instead of scribbling notes and struggling to keep up with what’s being said.
Obsidian is a note-taking app that’s designed to act as your ‘second brain’. Just as your brain doesn’t store each piece of information as a separate item that’s unconnected to anything else, you can use Obsidian to draw connections between all of your notes, creating an interlinked web of knowledge to access at any time.
Distraction and Focus
Flown is a complete toolset for hybrid teams to achieve deep focus, interspersed with productive breaks that actually allow them to recharge. Flown’s main offering is something called Flocks: virtual coworking sessions hosted on Zoom and led by an experienced facilitator.
The platform also includes a host of other tools to help employees take managed, productive breaks, like short, guided meditation sessions, the Flown Almanac, and the Flown Academy.
Hubble members can get a 30-day free trial and 35% off their first monthly or yearly subscription.
Rescue Time is a simple time management software that lets you take back control of your workday. It automatically tracks your work so you can see how long you’ve actually spent on each task.
And it also tracks the websites that distract you, and gently nudges you back to productivity when you get stuck in a multitasking loop.
When you really need to focus, you can start a focus session, which will block websites that are most likely to distract you, like social media sites. Weekly reports can give you an insight into the days and times you’re most likely to get distracted, so you can plan your time around this.
Hubble tip: Try the Pomodoro Technique to keep focused
Struggling to focus on work for long periods? Don’t. The Pomodoro Technique suggests that you break your workday up into 25-minute chunks during which you really focus on work—with a 5-minute break after each one.
After about four ‘pomodoros’, you take a longer break of about 15–20 minutes. This technique helps you to avoid getting distracted during focused work time, since there’s always a built-in break just around the corner.
There are a ton of apps and websites that can help you to use this method, too.
Emails and Email Marketing
If you need to reach out to a lot of people, searching for the right email addresses can be a real time-suck. Enter: PIPI leads, a simple list-building tool that can help you to find verified B2B and B2C email addresses through a free Chrome extension.
The free plan gives you 50 credits each month (that’s 50 email addresses you don’t have to waste time searching for), and you can upgrade to a paid plan if you need more.
Boomerang is a plugin for Gmail and Outlook that lets you take better control of your inbox. You can use the schedule function to send a pre-written email at the perfect time—a really useful tool for hybrid teams working on different schedules.
You can also use Boomerang to take emails you don’t need to deal with right now out of your inbox and return them at a set time and date—getting you one step closer to Inbox Zero without missing a response.
Founded in 2009, WeTransfer has become the king of sending large files over the internet—which is even more key for hybrid teams. To use it, all you need to do is provide your email and an email address for the recipient, and upload your files. They’ll get a link to the files in their inbox, and you’ll get a notification once they’ve downloaded them.
Paid versions of the platform come with extra features such as unlimited file storage, collaboration portals, and the ability to set custom time limits for downloads.
Send Anywhere is a file transfer service with an even simpler interface than WeTransfer’s. It also offers different options for how your recipient receives the files: by email, through a URL link, or directly through the site. Send Anywhere has applications for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, if you don’t want to use the web portal.
Learned.Live is an interactive learning platform developed by online teaching professionals. There are over 250 courses available on the site, covering everything from philosophy to cryptocurrency to juggling.
While it’s a super useful platform for learning new skills related to work, encouraging your team members and colleagues to take brain breaks by learning something fun could be a really good way to increase productivity in the long run.
Learned.Live is also a Hubble partner: you can get a 20% discount when you book your first class.
Working hunched over a desk all day isn’t good for anyone, but it’s easier to forget to move around when you’re working from a cramped home office. DeskAthlete is a handy Chrome extension that pops up every 60 minutes (or at an interval you choose) with a link to a 30-second instructional YouTube video to encourage you to stretch and move.
Hubble tip: remember unproductive breaks are good too
While it’s great to use breaks from work to learn something, achieve something, or just move around, remember that every break doesn’t need to be productive. Taking a few minutes to totally switch off from work every now and then can help you recharge and extend your focus in the long run.
Give your hybrid teams a change of scenery with the Hubble Pass
While ‘working from home’ works great for some people, not everyone has a perfectly optimised home office. And even when they do, everyone needs a change of scenery once in a while.
This is where the Hubble Pass comes in. It’s an easy way to give your hybrid teams access to some of the world’s coolest coolest coworking spaces, private day offices, meeting rooms by the hour and event space.
With one flexible membership, you and your team can search for and book an appropriate space across 1000+ locations worldwide (and counting!). Whether it’s a team retreat in Lisbon, a corporate away day in New York or a strategy session in London—the Hubble Pass gives you the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime.