There’s an ongoing issue that nearly all Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) face – in this digital, fast-paced content hungry world, are there tools that can help your organization maintain productivity that’s adequate and keeps everyone’s sanity intact? And if you’re operating with a small team, is it even worth it to add new tools – the “why can’t we just do that with email…”. We’d like to make the case for two free digital tools that can compliment email but have the potential to take workflow productivity to new levels (while actually working to keep your team sane).
One app that we’re fired up about is Trello. Here is a digital tool that can be as simple or as deep as you need it to be and can help organize projects of nearly any size. The core functionality revolves around cards, which display in customizable and interactive mini-bulletin boards. These cards are housed within lists (which all live inside of a board) where you can place as many cards as you’d like. Turn a list into the “Joel’s Tasks” list and start moving all applicable cards to him. Open a card and you can add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels, due dates, and more. Start a discussion with comments and attachments. Add a quick note or a detailed, markdown-enabled diatribe. Mention a member in a comment to make sure they get notified. Add files by uploading them from your computer or Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, etc.
You can even liven it up with emojis, too 😎. Whenever something important happens, you know instantly with Trello’s notification system. And you can get notifications wherever you are: inside the app, via email, desktop notifications via the browser, or via mobile push notifications. Notifications stay in sync across all your devices (so you can be in touch wherever you go). You can invite as many people to your board as you want. Drag and drop people to cards to divvy up tasks. Everyone sees the same board and the whole picture all at once. This tool alone could help streamline your team’s entire workload.
Another winner in our book is Slack. You’ve most likely used a chat application before, but Slack differentiates itself with its robust file management features, ability to integrate with Trello (among a hundred other apps and climbing), and notification customizability. You can set up specialized channels where only certain friends or coworkers can interact to help cut down on the volume of chatter and you can also make video calls within the app itself. According to the team behind Slack, their customers see an average of 49% reduction in internal email, which is great news for our overstuffed inboxes.
Using just these two tools can work wonders in streamlining tasks and the people handling them. We encourage you to experiment a little to see how they could fit into your organization.
Once a need is identified, a key element to making these (and really any new app or software) work within an organization is to identify a champion for the solution. This is usually someone tasked with managing an inefficient process or solving a difficult challenge within the organization. When many others feel this productivity pain or understand the need to solve this challenge, they will often make extra efforts to support the champion.
When you start hearing “I don’t know what we would do without Trello” or “I don’t know how we communicated before Slack” you will know these tools are making a difference. And when you hear “I just used _______ (a tool you already have employed to solve a different challenge) to solve this new challenge.” you will know you have hit productivity pay dirt!