How to Stay Connected and Productive in a Flexible Work Environment
The COVID-19 outbreak is challenging organizations around the globe to stay agile in the face of changing conditions. From switching to virtual event management after trade shows get canceled, setting up workspaces that allow minimal contact in offices, improving their communication with staff, and many teams are connecting remotely and moving away from traditional work processes for the first time. In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of flexible work policies. InspiringApps remains committed to allowing employees the freedom to personalize their approach to completing their work successfully. Part of that success comes from remaining connected and motivated when we are physically apart. We’ve found we best succeed with productive flexible work in a few ways.
When completing a puzzle, it is helpful and motivating to see the larger picture. Similarly, keeping employees informed about larger organizational developments, as well as their coworkers’ contributions to shared goals, promotes team cohesion and helps generate more informed solutions. Hosting a regular event that increases employee awareness of company-wide operations goes a long way in uniting mobile teams. InspiringApps hosts a team-wide demo day at least once a month, and sometimes more frequently. Since social distancing started we’ve heard from our design team about the steps they take and the software they use to make the apps we create beautiful. The development team showcased their work by demonstrating the features of a complex fintech app we’re developing. And coming up next is a demo from our Quality Assurance team about the tools they use to ensure that software bugs are squashed before our apps go live.
Informal meetings that give employees the opportunity to engage on both a professional and personal level can also advance team unity. If you follow these tips then you will be able to keep your meetings informal while also being productive enough to hit all the agendas of the meeting. Our team usually gathers in the conference room every Wednesday afternoon for lively discussion about current events, TV shows, and music. We’ve moved the gathering online during this time of social distance and have found our engagement with each other to be just as strong. The connection takes a bit more effort over a video conference, but it’s worth it to feel a small sense of normalcy with our weekly routine and to chat about something other than our client projects. Additional advice for engaging whole teams over web meetings has surfaced in recent months. For example, a recent publication suggests using icebreakers to open conversations, calling on team members to increase participation, and debriefing after virtual meetings.
Staying Motivated and Productive at Home
While flexible work arrangements can boost output, team members may need to adjust their own strategies for productivity. Working remotely requires a different approach to personal efficiency. Our team has the following suggestions for staying productive while working from home:
- Take breaks during the day to move away from your work space at home. Take a walk outside or complete a workout.
- If you have kids, try to arrange independent activities or learning for them, and if you have a partner, alternate times when you will be responsible for the kids. This obviously depends on the age, independence, and school needs of your children and may be easier said than done!
- Remember that your team and your clients rely on you. Your productive flexible work is important to their success.
Additional tips for excelling from home include establishing an inviting work “spot,” developing a routine that suits your energy levels throughout the day, and writing your to-do list the night before.
Now more than ever organizations must find new ways to connect teams and continue to work effectively in order to adapt to a changing global economy. At InspiringApps, we have learned firsthand that connectedness and productivity can be cultivated flexibly. The belief that we are #InspiredWhereWeAre has long been foundational to our operations and continues to drive our work during challenging times.
InspiringApps is intent on developing digital products that delight users and reflect customized market solutions. Please contact us with questions regarding how we can bring your next project to life.
Have you ever wondered what your house would look like Griswold-ed out? Or wanted to send a message from the Upside Down with twinkling lights? We did too, and dreamed up the very best holiday gift an app development company could give. We’ve taken our team’s favorite holiday movies & turned them into app concepts that bring the big screen onto your small screens for interactive holiday magic. What started as an amusing team conversation soon became a proof-of-concept. Now we’re sharing our fun new holiday messaging app with you free on the App Store (and coming soon to the Google Play Store). Inspired by Stranger Things – one of our favorite shows – our Season’s Tidings App lets you send video messages in lights for your friends, family, and social network contacts to decode. Old Traditions, New Ideas Our Wednesday weekly lunches are one of InspiringApps oldest traditions - and one that leaves us with a list of new movies or shows our coworkers think we need to watch. As the end of the year approaches, our convos turn to holiday celebrations, Christmas cards (or lack thereof), and how we’ll send holiday wishes to our clients & contacts. The yearly conversation turned into a download of our favorite holiday movies. In true tech-team style, we began imagining them as app concepts, one after another. It may come as no surprise that our team’s five favorite holiday movies are only questionably holiday-themed – for instance, Stranger Things and Gremlins only have a modest amount of holiday culture. Shortly after our amusing team lunch, Brad created a proof-of-concept for a new holiday messaging app to send you our warmest wishes and holly-est, jolliest messages. Seasons Tidings Use Christmas lights to communicate your message from the Upside Down. Inspired by Stranger Things, the app allows you to create and send your Season’s Tidings by converting your message into a shareable video. Send video messages to your friends and family and post a message in lights for others to decode on social media. Download the App on the App Store Here are a few of our team’s other holiday app ideas that aren’t quite ready to make it out of Santa’s workshop. Home Alone The Wet Bandits won’t have a chance to ruin your holiday fun when you download The Home Alarm app. You can manage and access your video surveillance system, home security system, and home IoT devices at once, but with a few bonus surprises. Access your blow-torch remotely to heat doorknobs or trigger your outdoor spigot to start icing up the steps for an extra layer of protection against bumbling burglars. The Grinch Ruining gift-giving for all, The Grinch is a browser plug-in that pulls up the carbon footprint of the gifts you order online. The plug-in then connects you to environmental charities to make amends after your heart grows three sizes. Gremlins The Mogwais are all fun and games during the day, but make sure you feed them before midnight. In the Gremlin Crush app, you'll match some of the Mogwais favorite foods and holiday treats, but you must complete the board on Christmas Eve before midnight strikes...or you’ll never be able to look at Christmas the same way again.. It’s a Wonderful Life A combination of a digital memory scrapbook and a therapy app, It’s a Wonderful Life app that shows you happy memories from the past and gives you an AR angel to guide you through what the world would look like if you were never born. When you’re feeling better, you can ring a digital bell so your angel can get its wings. Now it’s your turn to have some holiday fun! Season’s Tidings is available now in the App Store and Google Play, and we’d love to see what festive messages you dream up. Tag us on Instagram or Twitter @InspiringApps and use the #seasonstidings to share your videos with our team. Happy sharing (and decoding)! DOWNLOAD FROM THE APP STOREDOWNLOAD FROM GOOGLE PLAY
22 days ago
Designing for Gen Z Generation Z is a powerful group in today’s world. They’ve entered the workforce and are likely to continue to shake the status quo. This group has incredible spending power and the determination to make a difference and affect change. Tech is a seamless part of their life, and they’re open to transparent and effective digital products that fit into their lives intuitively, as well. In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how your generation influences your relationship to technology throughout your lifetime. Each generation has shared experiences during their formative years that help to shape collective values. These values, in turn, influence motivations, preferences, and expectations when it comes to technology. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Z. Gen Z Background All eyes are on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012. Just like the generations before them, they’re in the life stage of self-discovery. Since this generation’s youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of tech, social media, and online privacy issues–for Gen Z, discovering their true selves is no easy task. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference. Their innate understanding of the power of social media and their regular consumption of news and information–often as it happens– has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Gen Z and Technology Born into tech, Gen Z uses their problem-solving skills to navigate life in today’s world confidently. Gen Z resists the Millennial-curated Instagram feed and instead shows their followers a more spontaneous and authentic persona that makes no distinction between their online and real life. They appreciate self-made stars and creative transparency, practiced by the many influencers they follow (and want to be). They are speaking out, using their digital reach to influence national conversations from pop culture to politics. With tech at their disposal, they have opportunities to learn virtually anything at their fingertips1, leading to content creation and early entrepreneurship. They’re skipping college to jump right into the “real world.” Considerations when designing for Gen Z We’ve identified four key considerations to keep in mind when designing digital products for Gen Z with this information in mind. Prioritize a Smooth User Experience The easiest way to encourage the use of and user retention for your app is by providing users with a smoother user experience. This is certainly a recommendation for all audiences but is critical for apps aimed at younger generations. If Gen Z users detect any glitches, hang-ups, or stickiness within a digital product, there’s a good chance they’ll look for a better solution. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product–draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices, standard features, and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Make it visual Younger audiences aren’t interested in sifting through different kinds of content. Video content is more straightforward for them to navigate, and they tend to absorb it quicker than reading. When creating a video for Gen Z, there are a few essential must-haves: Creative, short-form video is the way to get Gen Z to love your brand – but attention spans are short. Use catchy, hyper-relevant content to grab the user’s attention within the first 3 seconds or risk losing it altogether. Use content that can be consumed with the sound-off by employing captions and visual storytelling. This is a recommendation for all users, although it is also best practice in regards to accessibility. Reconsider the use of any content where sound is a must. Consider the video’s platform when you create video content. When designing for Gen Z, this means using vertical video fit for Instagram reels, Tik Tok, and Snapchat. Help to Express Authenticity & Individuality Gen Z values authenticity in the brands they love, and they infuse it into their feeds as well. Gen Zers are conscious of their “personal brand”–the aesthetic representing their personality and interests. Thanks to the accessibility of digital video tools, Everyone is a content creator, and they use these digital tools to curate how the world sees them. Questions to ask when considering your Gen Z audience’s desire to be real: Does your product take into consideration the highly visual nature of Gen Z? Does your digital product provide tools for content creation? Does your app offer anything for them to share and a way to do so quickly? Is there an opportunity to utilize user-generated content? Is there an opportunity to be more transparent? To provide behind-the-scenes details? Does Gen Z relate to this content? Concluding thoughts on designing for Gen Z These ideas can give you a sense of the necessary nuance in designing apps aimed at Gen Z. By taking their needs and preferences into account while developing a product, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential. Many digital products have the potential to be solutions for users spanning multiple generations. Check out our background articles on designing digital products for Millennials, Gen X & Baby Boomers, or learn more about designing for all.
2 months ago