Every growing business eventually faces the problem of being too big to simply manage its resources using standard manual tools such as spreadsheets or — even worse — phone calls and paper records. HR managers know best the pain of tracking absences and work hours, digging through an enormous stack of paper leaflets, and praying not to cause a disaster by misplacing a single, ever so important, slip.
But it's really not just that. Companies are living organisms. Video calls, e-mails, project management boards, and even more video calls — a corporate system requires corporate solutions.

In this article, we'll present you with everyday work tools that make life easier in HeroDOT, hoping to inspire you to implement them yourself.

Work Tool #1 — Slack, Your Everyday Communicator.

Coffee and Slack — the perfect way to start your workday. What’s so brilliant about Slack is that it’s so difficult to pinpoint its exact purpose. Both for strict project management and casual team bonding, it’s your go-to app. 

The software itself offers a wide range of options. The key one being channels; we discuss every topic on a separate tab. From project management to movie recommendations — you name it. If needed, Slack provides a possibility to invite Single-Channel Guests, which proves to be very useful to maintain contact with your clients. 

A large advantage of Slack over competitive project management tools is its compatibility with other common corporate software. Slack integration is enabled by e.g. Google Drive, Google Calendar, HelloSign or Calamari. We happen to utilise these possibilities, significantly improving our work efficiency.

Starting Price: from $6.67 USD per user (billed annually).

Deployment: Installed on desktop (Mac, Windows and Linux); Installed on mobile devices (iOS and Android); Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS.

Work Tool #2 — Notion, Project Management in a Compound Package.

“All-in-one workspace” seems to be the best way to describe Notion. This handy tool accumulates several components, for instance, backlogs, calendars, or internal wikis. It bases all work on pre-prepared and easily customizable templates. When taken good care of, Notion proves to be a perfect database to store and find key information. 

Notion, paired with Slack, form a duo we deploy as soon as the computer’s screen lights up. One of the major reasons being the presence of backlogs, which facilitate project tracking. It’s pivotal to introduce the tool and its functionalities to the entire team at once, to fully exploit its potential. Once everyone’s on board, Notion proves to be an invaluable team member, responsible for project management.

Starting Price: from $8 USD per user (billed annually).

Deployment: Installed on desktop (Mac and Windows); Installed on mobile devices (iOS and Android); Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS.

Notion is a work tool that facilitates project management. Backlogs, project management boards, to-do lists - you name it.
Notion has proved to be a game changer for our coordination. Hard to imagine work without a plainly set out backlog!

Work Tool #3 — Clockify, So Time Never Gets Wasted.

Clockify is one of those HR tools based on trust towards your employees and teammates. Its sole purpose is time and efficiency management. It tasks workers to keep note of their productivity by entering their every work period into the system. Those with irregular operating hours happily utilise the timer function. 

Simultaneous time measurement and task categorisation create an invaluable analysis material for management and administration. This data helps draw conclusions concerning timetables and cost distribution. 

Starting Price: from $9,99 USD per user (billed monthly). Clockify offers a completely free plan with limited, but still sufficient features. 

Deployment: Installed on desktop (Mac, Windows and Linux); Installed on mobile devices (iOS and Android); Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS.

Work Tool #4 — Calamari, Your HR’s Best Friend.

Tracking presences and absences, interleaved with vacations and medical leaves — some things simply don’t fit into spreadsheets. Calamari makes human resources management a fair bit easier. The leave management system focuses on facilitating smart PTO control. That means that all holiday requests, medical certificates, and remote-work notifications are condensed in one simple tool. 

Another functionality offered by Calamari are designated roles, according to the company's needs. In HeroDOT, the first person receiving requests is a project manager, allowing him to decide about resource distribution. 

Furthermore, Calamari supports Slack integration, so the entire process is easy as pie and can be fully operated via the communicator.

Starting Price: from $10 USD (billed monthly for full team).

Deployment: Installed on mobile devices (iOS and Android); Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS.

Work Tool #5 — GSuite. You Know It Already, Don’t You?

It’s probably safe to say that we’re all guilty of sinking into the Google ecosystem. It’s not only basic interaction such as Gmail but also complex professional work on Ads. On an everyday basis at HeroDOT we use: 

  • Hangouts/Meet (more below)
  • Drive
  • Gmail
  • Docs and Sheets
  • Calendar


Our Google Drive is manually integrated with Notion, where direct links are stored and organized. Unlimited cloud storage proves to be more than enough to accumulate all essential data. Most importantly, access is easily adjustable, so that certain files can be exclusive for certain people. 

The benefits of mailing have been written out years ago. Although, with the introduction of communicators such as Slack, its everyday importance has been gradually decreasing. On the other hand, it’s good to have certain exchanges, primarily those with clients, preserved in an official manner. In that case, e-mails serve mostly an external communication purpose (client updates, job recruitment). 

Both Docs and Sheets, despite somewhat limited functionality, prove to be an upgrade over offline editors. The reason for that is real-time collective access. Multiple people can either view, edit, or leave comments at the same time, significantly speeding up the process of sending one file back and forth. 

Starting Price: from $12 USD per user (billed monthly).

Deployment: Installed on mobile devices (iOS and Android); Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS.

Work Tool #6 — Google Hangouts, Not Exactly for Hanging Out.

The global pandemic strongly underlined the importance of online communication. All different software providing video calls experienced a major upswing. At HeroDOT, we stayed loyal to Google’s solution — Hangouts and Meet. The key advantage being both in-browser functionality and more importantly — integration with Calendar (more here). Sending out meeting invitations with an auto-generated Meet link prompts an addition to the invitee’s Calendar. Ever so simple. 

Another related trend brought up by COVID-19 is online meeting facilitation. Never over two hours, cameras on, muting while listening — those are only a fraction of good practice that has evolved into rules. It’s important for these to not only be universally known but also easily accessible in written form. For this purpose, once again, we use Notion, which stores manuals covering this matter. 

Google Hangouts (part of GSuite) is a web software, that provides video calls. Often a key work tool for project management purposes.
It's important to obey a set of rules during video calls. For instance, when one person speaks, it's in a good manner for the rest to mute their microphones. After all, their barking dogs really don't need to be heard!

Transition — Does it Have to be Painful?

We would love to say a strong no, but the real answer is — it depends. And it’s not a cliché, trust us.

It is commonly said that the period of having 50 to 80 employees is the toughest in a company’s existence. The tools in usage are usually the same as those used when the employee count is no higher than 20, while the efficiency is begging for a transition. Meanwhile, a software offering full automatization is out of the budget's reach. So… what does the ease of transition depend on?

  • The previously used tools. Not so long ago, we moved from Toggl to Clockify or Jira to Notion, among other changes. The former was as easy as it gets — the tools are almost identical, despite a significant price gap. The latter took over a month. Extracting heaps of data, tidying things up, and finally moving them all to a new environment was a tedious job, to say the least. Tedious, but overall, very rewarding. The functionality upgrade proved to be higher than the costs.
  • Your attitude. Precisely — both yours and your teammates. Some of our colleagues have confessed to being slightly conservative in terms of tool usage. After all — why change something that’s working? It's key to be honest and frank. Remember to emphasize that the switch in usage is marginal (often being an upgrade), and the reduction in costs for the company is significant. We're all on the same boat, after all. 

Conclusion

We have the benefit of working in times in which tool-driven efficiency upgrades are a common thread. At the same time, it’s fairly easy to get overwhelmed with excessive options. You perfectly know how marketing communication works, and this time you’re the target. 

The variables are tempting, so you need to set your strict priorities. At HeroDOT, we acknowledge the relevance of price, yet we base our focal decision point on simplicity, reliability, and intuitiveness. 

Remember that your tool choices will have a substantial impact on your company’s productivity. It’s a good practice to first test a certain tool on a smaller sample, however long you need to (in fact, it's often free to do so). Even software widely considered as reliable could be impossible to adjust to your office.