5 Tools for Improving Productivity in your Engineering Firm
At SkyCiv, we believe in working efficiently. In our time as a company, we have come across 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 tool - but so much more. We use it as a team collaborating tool for projects and tasks. It helps keep the team on the same page for the progress of certain tasks and projects. It is a great way to assign tasks to certain members and communicate between colleagues to ensure the task gets done correctly. A great function is being able to assign deadlines to the tasks as well, to ensure your project runs on time.
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 get working - simply visit WhatsApp Web and scan your QR code from your phone. The App will remember your phone, so you don't have to do this every time you use it. Outside email, WhatsApp is SkyCiv's primary communication tool for internal messaging and conversations for the simple reason - almost everyone already has it. You can converse easily with team members using the Web Application, share files, create groups and even invite clients to join the conversation. It is a fantastic tool as you can access it from mobile or computer alike. 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 to use that allows you to build nice documents and marketing materials for your company. Set yourself apart from your competitors by creating professional and marketable documents over un-inspired word documents. For instance, we circulate an Enterprise Pricing PDF document that was produced by Xtensio. This makes a great tool to send through proposals, company fact sheets, case studies and even employment handbooks. Xtensio comes with a number of fantastic templates for specific purposes which usually come out looking much more professional than simple Word documents!
Useful for: Creating inspiring, professional documents
Pricing: $10 a month (recommended)
QuickBooks might not come as any surprise and a great number of Structural Engineering firms are probably already on it. But given it (or other online accounting products) has saved many of us so much time and money, it is definitely worth a mention. Being able to manage your books in such an easy and clean way, saves you so much time to then 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. Imagine Skype, except it accessed through your browser. It is surprising how under-appreciated and unknown this tool is compared to Skype, but they are very similar. It 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, as 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