Survey Says: Work from Home for the Win!

Wrike, a social project management platform provider, conducted an on-line survey; the respondents represented organizations of all sizes.  The goal was to gather information about the respondent’s current and expected future work practices and the role virtual collaboration plays in the work habits of remote teams.

There is no disputing the mobility of today’s workforce.  Helping business maintain the highest level of productivity while working remotely is a big part of what we do; it’s very prevalent in our day-to-day business lives.  What about your industry?

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What are your work habits?  Do you work from home?  If not, do you wish you could – and what would you be willing to trade for that flexibility?

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A special thanks to Mashable for putting together the infographic.

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Our Favorite Google Apps Add-ons for Your Business

We are getting back to our review of our favorite Google Apps add-ons.  Last week, we were a little distracted, by the role big data and data mining played the election.  A couple posts back we discussed our favorite add-ons for Google Mail – this week our focus is on the business apps found in Google Marketplace.

YouCanBook.Me

This app is great for anyone that sets up regularly scheduled appointments, such as accountants, hair stylists, professors or therapists.  It provides you with a dedicated web page that allows your clients, students or colleagues to book appointments directly to your google calendar.  They will be able to view which time slots are available and with a click of the mouse and a few short questions later – their appointment is booked.  The event will appear in your calendar and you will also receive an email alert.

You control the aspects of your bookings:  the start/end of your workday and the appointment length.  You will be given the option of adding a logo to the top of your schedule as well as instructions.  YouCanBook.me can also be embedded in your blog or on your website.

Click here to learn more about YouCanBook.me

RapidTASK

RapidTASK is a powerful tool that makes it easy to collaborate with, and delegates tasks to, your employees and your peers.

Features include the ability to:

  • create unlimited to-do lists for yourself;
  • share lists to let anyone collaborate on a project;
  • delegate tasks to anyone’s email address;
  • track progress with email alerts; and,
  • sync with Google Calendar, Contacts, and Documents.

Click here to learn more about RapidTASK.

TripIt

Have you ever returned from a business trip only to discover that you and a colleague, that works out of a satellite office, were just in the same city, at the same time?  With TripIt groups, your business will allow your employees to see where and when their coworkers are traveling.  It makes it easy to coordinate travel plans, schedule meetings and events, and share rides to and from the airport.

It allows users to collaborate on shared itineraries.  It is also integrated with LinkedIn and Facebook so you can see how your travel plans overlap with the folks in your social networks.

Click here to learn more about TripIt.

What Google Apps add-ons do you think benefit your business the most?  Please share!

To explore all that Google Marketplace has to offer, click here.

Big Data, the Election and Your Business

We talk a lot about the importance of discovering the truth within your business communications.  You may remember this blog post, where we compared data mining to the movie the Matrix.  That the usage of data mining was comparable to swallowing the red pill offered by Morpheous; being fully informed as to what is really going on in your business.

Big Data and Data mining are not new to political elections, but this was the first time it played a pivotal role on the national stage, thanks to Nate Silver.  His statistical analysis and predictions of the presidential election were completely contrary to the pundits’ predictions.  They mocked him, they discredited him, they rolled their eyes at him.  It was fascinating watching that evening unfold.  The pundits sat there dumbfounded, as state after state was called, and they realized; he was right.

It was like watching a changing of the guard.  Political pundits prophesizing based on gut feelings and experience to the unbiased analysis of data.

You could almost hear taps being played.

We love big data.  Data Mining and Analysis is a big part of what we do.  The day after the election, we couldn’t wait to hear how this was going to play out, to read what was being said.  CNET, in this article, declared the two biggest winners of the night, Nate Silver and Big Data.  The pundits were among the biggest losers.

Wired Magazine gave us the best headline of all:

Wrath of the Math:  Obama wins Nerdiest Election Ever.

How did Obama squeak out a win, when most experts were certain it couldn’t be done?

With Data Mining and Analysis.

Data Mining and Analysis drove the results in this campaign.  Jascha Franklin-Hodge of BlueStateDigital, stated that data mining allows “campaigns to be more effective in their messaging. More effective in finding the right people to engage in the right ways, at the right time of day, through the right platforms, to give people experiences that are more tailored to them, and more compelling for them.”

Doesn’t that sound like the kind of results you want in your business?

Click here to learn more, or contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.

These are a few of our favorite (google mail add-on) things!

When it comes to selecting an email provider – your choices are nearly endless.  With one quick Google search, I was directed to this article which highlights the Top 18 Free Email Services.  That’s just the best of the free services – that doesn’t even include the email provided by your employer or by your Internet Service Provider.  In many ways, they are all very similar…they provide you with more than enough storage, with decent spam filters, and with mobile access in addition to desktop access, just to name a few.  So how do you differentiate between them; and furthermore, how do you choose?  For us, it’s all about the add-ons and one provider stands out among the rest:

Google Mail.

So what are add-ons anyway?  Add-ons are small pieces of software that add features and/or functionality to your basic email account.  Your email provider wants you to be happy.  Instead of overwhelming you with features you don’t need and will never use – add-ons allow you to customize your email for the ultimate user experience.  Here are a few of our favorite add-ons offered by Google:

AwayFind:

Are you productive when you are waiting for an important email?

If you are like me, you try to be, but you are easily distracted.  You start working on something else, but every time you hear your phone chime with an email alert, you have to check it.  Yes, that is a surefire way to ensure to won’t miss that email.  It also ensures that you will spend a good part of your day dealing with emails that were not urgent.  Did you know it takes 4 minutes to get back on track after an email interruption?

With AwayFind, you can quit obsessing about your email.  With just 1-click set-up in your google mail, you will be notified via voice message, text message, or through an iPhone or Android app alert when your predefined parameters are met.

Boomerang:

Boomerang allows you to schedule messages in Gmail to send at a later time, to remind yourself to follow up on an important message, and to keep track of who responds.

  1. Send Later – The ‘send later’ button allows you send an email at a later date/time.  It provides you a choice of common send times or you can select the specific date and time.
  2. Boomerang Reminders – The ‘Boomerang’ button archives a message and returns it to the top of your inbox on a specified date or after a certain amount of time.  It provides you the email and reminds you to respond when the time is appropriate.
  3. Response Tracking – This feature places a sent message at the top of your inbox, if you haven’t received a response within a time frame you specify.

Google Labs

Here is how you can access Google Labs:

  1. Click on the Gear Symbol on the upper right hand side of your gmail.
  2. Hit Settings
  3. There will be blue tabs across the top of your screen – click on Labs
  4. When you find a lab you like, click enable.

Bear in mind, these are experimental new features in Gmail.  Some things are here today, gone tomorrow.  Some things become permanent features.  We hope the following stick around because we find them really helpful:

CALENDAR GADGET

This lab provides a list of, and details about, your upcoming events and activities found on your Google calendar.  It is displayed to the left of your Gmail window.

INSERTING IMAGES

This lab allows you to insert message into the body of your email.  You can either upload and insert a file off of your computer or by URL.

PREVIEW PANE

When you highlight an email in your inbox, you will be able to read this email in a preview box located on the right of your inbox, instead of having to double-click and open each individual email.  It allows you to tackle your inbox much faster. UNDO SEND

This feature adds about a 5-second delay between when you click ‘send’ and when Google actually delivers the email.  This is really helpful for those moments when you fire off a quick response, hit send and then think better of it.  If it takes you longer than five seconds to realize you went overboard….you’re out of luck.

Stayed tuned – next week we are going to highlight our favorite Google Add-ons for businesses!