July 25, 2016

Five Software Tools Every Open Office Needs

Written by
Jessica Barrett Halcom
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Open offices were designed to improve productivity and efficiency. These work spaces, made popular by the tech industry, were created with creativity and collaboration in mind. This concept bleeds over into every aspect of the businesses that inhabit them, including technology.

No open office would be complete without the tools necessary to support the very concept they were built for. Here are five important tools every open office needs:

Visitor Management

One of the most transparent ways to manage visitor flow in an open office is through the use of a visitor management system tool like The Receptionist for iPad. The Receptionist creates a reception-less office, providing fewer interruptions and making sure the proper person is notified of their visitor immediately.

The Receptionist for iPad includes features like two-way communication through SMS, email, and Slack. It also provides message forwarding, so if you aren’t available, a colleague can be notified of your visitor or delivery. The tool can be customized to include specific package carriers or restaurants. For security purposes, visitors can print their own badges, and the iPad receptionist will keep a detailed visitor log.

Internal Messaging

Speaking of Slack, Slack is an internal messaging platform — another important tool every open office needs. Others include HipChat and Office Chat. Tools like these let employees create team channels to share messages, files, and videos, and hold conversations, regardless of their location. They also provide the option to create private channels for groups or teams looking to keep a project or topic under the radar. And of course, you can message other team members individually.

The utilization of an internal messaging system means immediate collaboration on ideas and seamless information sharing. Rather than sending emails that don’t elicit a timely response or trying to track someone down by phone, internal messaging systems cut straight to the concerned parties without interrupting the flow and environment of your open office.

Learning Management System

No company is successful without the continued learning of their employees. What’s even more important than having training available to those employees is having it available on their time, and on whatever device they prefer. Consider platforms like Bridge, ProProfs, and LearnUpon. These learning management systems let employees engage in interactive training from a web browser, desktop app, or mobile device. Users can complete training modules and courses and receive immediate, real-time feedback.

Want to plan development strategies around what your employees want, think, and feel? Some platforms can even survey your associates and provide training tailored to those results. Creating courses is simple and intuitive, and you may even be able to convert your existing courses into a cloud-based platform. Just make sure you choose a provider that integrates with your existing HRIS system.

Project Management Software

Managing projects can become everyone’s worst nightmare if you’re attempting to do so without the right tools. Take a look at Smartsheet, for example. Open offices thrive because of their collaborative work environment, and a tool like Smartsheet further fosters that environment by allowing its users to share notes, conversations, files, and other critical information, all held in one centralized location. Collaboration is in real-time, from any device or system. Key team members can use this software to move a project forward, collaborate, and hit deadlines, regardless of their location. Other leading vendors include Wrike, Asana, and Basecamp.

Human Resources Software

When all of your employees work together in close proximity, it can be difficult to keep up with administration. A human resource administration tool like Zenefits can help you manage payroll, employee benefits, insurance, and other operational responsibilities. It also assists in hiring, onboarding, and employee records management. For anyone confused about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how to remain compliant, Zenefits and other similar platforms can help you stay compliant.

Other leading HR solutions include Namely, Bamboo, and Cezanne.

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The collaboration and seamlessness an open office provides is a key component to driving business results forward. Achieving company and client goals is realized with talented team members, and the help of these important tools. To browse other solutions, read reviews, and get a custom recommendation for your business, visit our software category page

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