Smartphone apps provide increasingly intuitive and tailored solutions to everyday problems in and out of the workplace.
As they become more widespread, many have reached a point of critical mass. Using them has become almost compulsory if you want to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, or stay up to date with the latest news.
Our own Workplace Revolution survey found that in 2015 global mobile app revenues amounted to $69.7 billion. In 2020, they are projected to generate $188.9 billion, signalling that more and more users will be making daily use of these tools.
Global mobile app revenues, Regus Workplace Revolution report
Here is a selection of some of the most valued apps:
Microsoft To-Do might not sound groundbreaking – the to-do list must be the most primitive form of project management – but finding the perfect app for this can be surprisingly difficult. This incarnation from Microsoft was created from the beautifully designed Wunderlist, which was bought by the tech giant. It provides a simple and elegant way to manage, prioritise and satisfyingly tick off your completed tasks.
CamScanner is a quicker and more accessible alternative to your office scanner. It’s highly searchable, and uses optical character recognition to identify text in images. There’s a crop-and-enhance feature to pick out important parts of pictures. The app works by converting the smartphone camera into a scanner, giving you additional functionality and a great way to store and access your documents.
Empower is a money-management app that brings together all your bank account and credit card information in one place to make managing your finances easier. It also provides tools for budgeting, saving and tracking debts. There are many such apps on the market but Empower is proving one of the most popular of 2017, being featured by Apple in ‘New Apps We Love’ and in Time Magazine’s ‘The Best Apps of the Year’.
WhatsApp, though primarily a social app, is increasingly used for individual and group chats in and out of work. Extremely versatile, it allows you to share voice, text, images, videos, documents, user location and more. Launched in 2009, by summer 2017 it had notched up more than 1.3 billion users.
Missive might not exactly be reinventing the way we communicate, but it is a great solution for navigating the nigh-on retro world of email. Rather than replacing it, it combines chat functionality with an email app. In particular, Missive aims to help combat the dreaded, endless email thread by allowing users to write collaborative emails or hold a group chat within the thread. According to them at least, it’s the one app you need to manage your work life.
Flipboard helpfully curates top new stories for you to read from across the web based on your preferences. Launched along with the original iPad in 2010, the app aggregates content from social media, news feeds, photo-sharing sites and elsewhere, presenting it in a magazine format. You can then flip through the pages and save your own stories into Flipboard magazines. The content is available in 21 languages and more than 28 million magazines have been created on the platform.
Duolingo offers an easy and accessible way to learn popular languages, including Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. The app is linked to a regular website, and to a digital language proficiency assessment exam, all of them free of charge. There are at least 23 languages on offer on the system, which was created in 2009 by Professor Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University, with the ambition to change the world through free education.
Udemy is an online learning platform targeted at professional adults, which offers thousands of online courses. It is taught by industry experts with skills ranging from programming to personal development. The app is used by both companies wanting to upskill their workers and individuals wishing to develop a particular area of knowledge in their spare time. Udemy’s vision is to close the skills gaps that exist in the labour market, one user at a time.