With today’s fast pace of living, it’s vital to have on-the-go access to everything that’s important to your work.
Rather than staring blankly out of a window on your train or bus to work, you could then instead be planning your day and organizing meetings, or commenting on tasks and sorting through your inbox to avoid getting distracted at the office.
However, with the sheer variety of technology on offer it’s also difficult to know what mobile apps you should be using.
That’s why I asked the Process Street team to share the best mobile apps for business they have installed and how they use them.
From the most valuable apps across our entire company to one-off niche cases that could do with a little more exposure, in this article I’ll highlight the apps that let our team stay productive and make every moment count.
The 14 best mobile apps for business that fuel our team
First up, I’ll go through the 14 most commonly installed apps on the phones of the team here at Process Street. Each of these will have its own section, and I’ll also note how many people had the app installed next to its heading (eg: Slack (9) means that nine people had it installed).
After that, I’ll pick out a couple of interesting but more niche apps which could teach you a trick or two you didn’t know before.
Let’s get going!
Slack is easily the most commonly installed app across our whole team. While this is partially because it’s our company’s communication app of choice, that doesn’t make it any less useful in practice.
You could argue that Slack (like any other team chat app) is an all-in kind of deal. Unless everyone is using the same platform you’re going to have a mess of mixed communication and things will be lost in translation. So, naturally, once you decide on a messenger, it’s best for the whole team to install it (as opposed to, say, a particular travel app).
While it’s far from surprising, the fact that Slack is the most commonly installed app still attests to how useful it can be in practice and how important it is in our company culture.
To get the obvious benefit out of the way, it’s vital to be in contact with the rest of our team at any given time. This is especially true when working remotely, since we have people from a wide range of time zones that don’t always fit together nicely.
The quicker you can get a message or question to where it needs to be, the less likely you are to waste days having a back-and-forth while time zones wreak havoc.
Slack’s also great to use as a miniature knowledge base. For example, in our content creation group chat we’ve taken to storing links to useful resources such as our pre-publish checklist, blog calendar, and any large research documents we’ve put together to draw from when writing.
However, Slack’s also useful in building a sense of community in our team, especially since most of us have never actually met in person. Features like Slack’s integration with Giphy might seem inconsequential, but they’ve allowed us to break the ice with new employees and even create small competitions to kick off each day on the right foot.
In other words, they help show the personality of people who would otherwise be nothing more than text and a profile picture.
While they aren’t strictly anything to do with the mobile app, we also have a bunch of Zaps set up to automate processes involving Slack. For example, any message we post in our “Post Ideas” group chat is turned into a Trello card in our “Blog” board, and @mentions of Process Street on Twitter are collected and posted into a dedicated Slack channel, allowing us to keep track of what everyone’s saying about us.
Google Calendar(/iOS) (7)
It’s also the second-most-installed app in our team, and is another case where the use has little to do with particular teams or people. Instead, it’s just that our whole team using Google Calendar makes it easier to sync up our events and avoid missing anything.
Although we don’t quite take full advantage of everything it has to offer (we don’t use shared calendars, for example), this app makes it easy to organize our daily tasks, team and client meetings, and also any personal events by creating a separate calendar for each.
For example, I use Google Calendar to prompt myself to change tasks after a certain amount of time to make sure that I stay on track. We also create events for every team meeting that we hold, which are usually either recurring events (such as bi-weekly meetings) or one-offs created using Calendly.
Speaking of which, I’d also highly advise using Calendly. Although they don’t have a mobile app, any events scheduled through it can be linked to your Google Calendar to automatically provide both a set time and other information, such as a link to the meeting room in Zoom.
Much like Slack, this helps us stay in contact despite our different time zones. Several members of our team also travel semi-frequently (through necessity or choice), and so when meeting times have to be changed the event gets automatically updated in everyone’s calendar.
It’s a simple use case, but nonetheless makes Google Calendar one of the best mobile apps for business (in our opinion).
As you would expect, Intercom‘s mobile app was installed on the phone of everyone involved in customer support. That way they can instantly know if a message comes through from a user and check the status of the Process Street organization while they’re away from their computer.
The mobile version of Intercom also works wonders for members of our support team who aren’t permanent fixtures. No, we don’t have some kind of part-time hire-cheap-and-fire-before-promotion strategy.
We cycle all of our employees through level one support duty to make the most of our resources. This means that everyone on every team is trained to deal with simple support tickets, both taking the strain off of our more experienced technicians to let them deal with complex user problems, and giving the entire company a thorough grounding in both our app and customer base.
In turn, this lets our teams work as a more cohesive unit. Marketing has a greater sense of their target audience, content promotion knows first-hand what features and topics they value, and so on.
In any case, since everyone is rotated through level one support duty they don’t want to be distracted by having Intercom open on their computer at all times. It’s important to deal with user tickets ASAP, but it’s hard to focus on regular work when there’s the constant thought that a support ticket could come through at any minute.
By installing the Intercom mobile app our team can solve that problem and be free to focus on their regular tasks. Their mobile can notify them when they need to switch and deal with customer support, but in the meantime they can clear their screen of other tabs and focus on the task at hand.
The choice to use Gmail is another pretty standard one, and more often than not coincided with Inbox, but more on that further down.
For one thing, Gmail is easily one of (if the) most popular free email services available today, and so it’s natural that most (if not all) of our team had an account. The number of websites that your Google account can be used to sign into is huge, and with accounts being free there’s really no reason not to sign up.
So, naturally, many of us have the Gmail app installed to be able to check our emails without having to boot up our computers. Much like Intercom, doing this on mobile helps to make sure that no-one gets too distracted by checking their inbox on a computer – since we can more easily use our mobile to do so, we aren’t as tempted during dedicated work hours.
The mobile app also lets us quickly pop in and out of our messages during breaks or when we hop up to get a drink. That way we can stay in touch and reply to urgent messages quickly, but without taking too much attention from our more important tasks.
Zoom is a godsend which the entire Process Street team uses instead of Skype (at least, for internal calls). Although we’ve already gone over the reasons for this when we looked at the best video conferencing apps out there, I’ll highlight a few of them here.
First up, it’s super easy to operate and hop on a call. As long as everyone has Zoom installed there’s no need to even swap contact details. Instead, you just boot up Zoom, create a “room” to chat in, then share the link with the people you want to talk to.
Room IDs also do not change and are remembered by Zoom to save you the trouble of retyping. So, if you set up a room and use that for all your team meetings, its ID will both stay the same and be a saved option when selecting what call to join.
Couple this with automatic meeting recording on the host’s side, among other useful features, and the only thing holding Zoom back is that Skype comes preinstalled on many systems.
As for the mobile app, however, I will admit that although most of our team has it installed, it’s used only very rarely. Instead, we tend to use the desktop version of Zoom and have the mobile app installed as a backup in case our main device breaks or we lose connection (there’s always mobile data).
Although our entire team used to swear by Evernote, as time went on we started to realize the flaws in the program. Namely, that if you’re quickly saving notes, screenshots, and files as most of us are, you’ll soon find that your library is a disorganized mess of folders, tags, and random spare notes.
However, while many of us have slowed to only using the web clipper for the odd screenshot, roughly half of our team still have the mobile app installed and use it on a regular basis.
For example, I still use Evernote‘s mobile app on occasion to save posts that give me inspiration for an article. These are placed into a “post ideas” folder which Zapier then turns into Trello cards).
While I could just share these items to our custom Slack channel for the same purpose, this both saves a copy of the post which I can easily find again (as opposed to searching Slack) and is just one example of how you can use Zapier with Evernote.
Google Maps (4)
Much like Gmail, Google Maps is pretty much the industry standard for maps nowadays. Not only is it more accurate than native apps like Apple Maps, but it’s once again completely free and offers a ton of useful features.
Having said that, only a little less than half of our team had Google Maps installed – despite being almost universally better, not everyone has picked it up. While there wasn’t a trend in which teams had the app installed, it was (unsurprisingly) the people who travel more who tended to have it.
For one thing, it’s easier to limit your data usage with Google Maps than competitors, which is always handy. Instead of having to set and follow a cached route, Google Maps instead lets you save portions of the map for offline use. They go out of date after 30 days, but you can always re-download them to keep your phone up-to-date.
As I’ve already mentioned, Google Maps is also generally more accurate (that’ll happen when you have cars physically drive the vast majority of public roads) and benefits from Google’s search engine to bring you results when exploring, such as nearby restaurants and their reviews.
Basically, if you ever think you’ll need directions around an unfamiliar area, Google Maps is a lifesaver.
Although Inbox was a little less commonly installed than Gmail itself, I can guarantee that it’s being used more often. That’s because everyone who had Inbox also had Gmail, and those who had Inbox primarily used it instead of the base app.
The only advantage that the Gmail app has over Inbox is that you can manage email addresses that aren’t just Gmail ones. For example, while I can access both my work and personal Gmail accounts through the Inbox app, I can also manage some of my older (and mostly defunct, but still useful) AOL accounts inside the Gmail app.
Other than that, however, Inbox makes it much easier to quickly sort through your emails, and archive what you’re finished with but don’t want to delete. It even automatically bundles emails you receive into helpful packs to better organize your inbox.
Not to mention that Inbox has all of the same benefits as Gmail’s app in terms of the ability to check your email on the go, which is much better than loading it up on your computer and losing yourself in messages for the next two hours.
Before I go into this entry, I need to make a disclosure. I really don’t like Skype.
Its design is clunky, setting up a call requires you to add any new contacts as full entries in your directory, sound quality and connection strength (at least in my experience) is unreliable at best, and to top it all off Skype takes a disproportionately large amount of processing power to run depending on what device you’re using it on.
However, I will admit that it has one advantage over Zoom; it comes preinstalled on Windows 10 devices (including phones), and is familiar to pretty much everyone who has used voice or video calling software. Plus, once you have a contact set up it’s easy to give them a call.
In the case of our team, almost everyone who has Skype on their phone also has Zoom, and defaults to the latter if they know that the person they’re calling also has it.
Skype mainly comes in useful as a good backup for when the person being called doesn’t already have Zoom installed, or for when we’re not sure and just want to have a reliable way of getting in contact with them.
Trello used to be the go-to project management app for the entire Process Street team. The ability to sort your organization into boards (eg, “Blog”, “Content Promotion”, and so on), create cards for individual tasks, and then sort those cards into columns based on the status of those tasks is incredibly useful.
Couple that with the potential for process automation by integrating Trello with other apps through Zapier, and you have a highly useful platform for increasing the efficiency of your team while making sure that everyone knows what they need to be working on.
While we still use Trello to manage certain projects, many of our teams have moved their operations into Airtable to manage them with the added benefit of having a database we can draw from to make our efforts even more effective.
Still, the Trello mobile app is a great way to be able to keep an eye on your tasks and projects while you’re on the go. If you haven’t tried organizing your operations with a dedicated app (or you already use the web version of Trello), it’s well worth taking the time to grab the mobile app.
However, now that I’ve brought it up…
As I mentioned earlier, Airtable is now our go-to app for both storing large amounts of data (such as our keyword research and blog post information) and for managing our projects. The ability to link records to each other and create custom views means that you can quickly find the information you need and analyze the data you’ve collected.
As with most others on this list, we primarily use the web version of Airtable, but having the mobile app is a great way to check up on tasks while we’re on the go. Being able to create new tasks and comment on others without having to boot up a computer makes it easier than ever to get important work done, and to quickly clear out everything else.
Currently, our marketing team are the only ones who have the app installed, but that will probably change once we transition more operations over.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that Airtable’s mobile app isn’t the be-all-end-all. Certain views (such as Kanban boards) aren’t available to view on mobile, so you’ll still have to access the web version if you want to dive into them.
Overall, it’s well worth a try.
Having the Twitter app on mobile has many of the same benefits as Intercom or Gmail, in that it’s useful to keep Twitter separate from your workstation to avoid getting distracted too much.
As you’d expect, this app is only really used by the people in Process Street who are more active on social media. However, for those team members it’s a great way to keep track of what’s going on and reply to Tweets without getting lost down a rabbit hole and wasting too much time.
Our marketing team in particular gets a kick out of having the mobile app, since we often use it to interact with our audience, share interesting content, and create relationships with people and companies we’d like to work with in the future.
It’s also handy for those of us working on support. While most issues are brought to us through our Intercom and dedicated support email accounts, Twitter can provide way of instantly knowing what people are saying about the product and let us respond in kind.
Speaking of which, we also use Zapier to push Tweets that mention Process Street into a dedicated Slack channel, so that no matter where we are or what we’re using, we can at least keep an eye on the community and make the most of any opportunities that arise.
The final two popular mobile apps that the Process Street team uses are more for personal productivity, and the first of which is Audible.
Books are a great way to dive into topics that can’t be covered in even a long-form blog post, and by using Audible we can get all of the benefits without needing to have our hands free.
This means that during times when we’d otherwise be doing nothing productive, we can stick on an audiobook to get a little more out of that dead air.
For example, while I do enjoy having a physical copy of a book to breeze through and annotate as I see fit, I’ve gotten through far more material over the last few months by putting on audiobooks when my hands are tied up. Instead of driving or cooking in silence, I’m instead greeted by Ryan Holiday or Eric Ries and thus learn more about what I can do to constantly improve.
This, in turn, lets me get that little bit extra out of my time and can spark some interesting ideas for new content.
Finally, while I’m talking about idea generation and self-improvement…
Unlike reading books, I used to dread checking up on blogs. This wasn’t because the content was bad or boring, but due to the fact that I’d have to sort through my bookmarks and load up sites one by one, sifting through to look for anything relevant.
Feedly removes all of that hassle by bringing the top posts from my subscribed blogs into one place. That way, instead of taking an hour or more to catch up on the latest content and get some ideas for my next post, I can browse through everything on my phone for 10-15 minutes before turning in for the night.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for new content or you’re just looking for an easier way to stay on top of what’s happening in your niche, definitely pick up Feedly on mobile.
Did I mention that it’s also free?
As a little bonus, below are some apps which, while only installed by one or two team members, are either interesting niche use cases or highlight a good tactic to use when organizing your mobile apps.
There’s not much else to say without going into specific examples, so let’s get right to it.
Process Street (2)
Although Process Street doesn’t have a mobile app, with a couple of taps you can save a link to the service on your home page, letting you open your account without having to open your browser first.
It’s easy to set up – all you need to do is to open up the Process Street app in your mobile browser, tap the share icon, and then choose to share to your home page.
Although this is just a shortcut, it makes it easier than ever to manage your business processes and make sure that your team is getting their important work done. Not only that, but when you have sketchy internet this cuts a few vital steps out of the process, letting you more easily access your records and review or work on what’s important.
I’m not actually going to talk about Airbnb in this entry. The app itself is very useful to have (especially why checking your bookings on the fly), and the service is a fantastic alternative to booking a hotel, but the most useful part about this is how our team member approached using it.
Madison Kaylo is the UX Engineer here at Process Street, and she focuses on having only the apps she needs at any given time.
“When I travel, I might download apps I need in that moment and then I delete them. Ex: I just redownloaded Airbnb because I’m traveling to Europe for Christmas.
… I don’t need 200 icons on my screen, but when I land in a place, I need a certain service.” – Madison Kaylo, UX Engineer at Process Street
This is a great way to stay on top of your mobile apps and make sure that you’re not using unnecessary storage space to house services you’ll never use. Better yet, by trimming the services from your phone that you’re unlikely to use again, you’re limiting the chance of distracting yourself by browsing through your phone instead of doing what you need to get done.
“I used to be a big Evernote user, but, like a lot of people, I ended up getting rid of it. I don’t need a bulky, jack of all trades note-taking app, just something simple, intuitive, and fast.” – Ben Brandall, Head of Content Marketing at Process Street
Bear doesn’t have a complex note hierarchy like Evernote — just tags. Tags are created when you #tag a note in the body text, and deleted when no notes contain that tag. This removes the need to actually manage your notes; they’re organized automatically into a system you control.
Also, the option to use markdown formatting means that writing an article on mobile isn’t a laughable concept — you can add H2s, quotes, bullets, etc., with plain text elements instead of tapping through fiddly options.
If you’re sick of having complicated systems just to organized quick notes you want to take on your mobile, Bear is well worth a shot.
What mobile apps do you recommend using?
While these are the best mobile apps for business in the eyes of our team here at Process Street, I’d love to hear what apps fuel you own productivity in the comments below. Do you focus more on personal productivity or using a particular app in a unique way?
Either way, it’d be great to expand this list with your own suggestions.