5 Tools for Improving Productivity in Your Engineering Firm
At SkyCiv, we want to help you work productively and make the most of your time. Being a startup company, we have discovered a range of productivity and business tools that help us work efficiently and effectively as a team. We'd like to pass on some of the great tools we have found to our users and subscribers, so you can benefit from these great services - many of which are free! So here they are, our favorite productivity tools:
Asana is a great 'to do' list application with a variety of useful capabilities. We use it as a team collaboration tool for projects and tasks, allowing every group member to stay synced and work productively as a unit by maintaining organization. It allows us to directly delegate responsibility and communicate between colleagues to guarantee the task is completed correctly. One of the most helpful functions is the ability to assign deadlines to assignments, ensuring your project is finished according to schedule.
Useful for: Projects, assigning tasks, progress communication, deadlines
Pricing: Free for small teams
WhatsApp is an extremely common communication app. But did you know there is a web version? It's really simple to use: visit WhatsApp Web and scan your QR code from your phone. The app will remember your phone, saving you time by streamlining future log ins. Aside from email, WhatsApp is SkyCiv's primary communication tool for internal messaging and conversations because of its prevalence and accessible layout. You can converse easily with team members using the web application, share files, create groups and even invite clients to join the conversation. I prefer WhatsApp over alternatives like Slack or Trello for the simple reason that everybody has it.
Useful for: Team Communication
Xtensio is a really easy tool that allows you to build documents and marketing materials for your company. Set yourself apart from your competitors by creating professional and marketable documents over un-inspired word documents. We've used Xtensio's custom layouts in a PDF document we circulate called Enterprise Pricing. This makes a great tool to send through proposals, company fact sheets, case studies and even employment handbooks. Xtensio comes with a number of templates for different purposes that look much more professional than simple Word documents!
Useful for: Creating inspiring, professional documents
Pricing: $10 a month (recommended)
Although QuickBooks might not come as a surprise since so many engineering firms use it, it is still worth a mention considering the amount of time and money it has saved us. Being able to manage your books in such an easy and clean way saves you so much time that you can then use to focus on growing your business. You can also use it to invoice, collect payments and keep records of your receipts. If you are managing your own accounts and have not yet considered QuickBooks, I highly recommend taking the time to look at online accounting software such as QuickBooks to save you time and money.
Useful for: Bookkeeping, invoicing, reporting, general accounting
Pricing: $10.50 - $24.50 a month
5. Google Hangouts
Google has created a fantastic video communication tool called Google Hangouts. It is surprising how under-appreciated and unknown this tool is compared to Skype, as they are very similar. Google Handouts allows you to video call clients and colleagues and even gives you the ability to share your screen so you can discuss documents, drawings and collaborate as if you're physically in the same room. Our team regularly uses Hangouts for team meetings and user demos across the globe; you just need to share a link and others can join the conversation instantly! Come join us on Google Hangouts to see our 3D structural analysis software in action.
Useful for: Team Meetings, Demos, Client Proposals
CEO and Co-Founder of SkyCiv
BEng (Civil), BCom