Entrepreneurs

7 Apps That Will Define The Future Of Work

The last year has changed everything about the way we work. From asynchronous workdays to Zoom happy hours, almost no aspect of our professional lives has been left untouched. While all of us are craving a return to normalcy, there are certain aspects of pandemic work life that are probably here to stay.

Most employees say they would like the option to work remotely at least some of the time, so a hybrid work model will likely be the wave of the future. WFH life also forced teams to get creative — both in how they interacted with their co-workers and how they maintained a professional network. Many of the digital tools that became pandemic favorites won’t be going away anytime soon. 

Here are seven apps that will define the future of work in 2021 and beyond:

Hopin

When the pandemic first hit, organizations flocked to Zoom for its video-conferencing abilities. Now that people have grown accustomed to video-chat, future events will likely offer the option to attend virtually as well as in-person.

Hopin is a platform that aims to “create virtual events that people love.” Hopin allows event managers to sell tickets and register users right within the app. It’s designed to handle events for as many as 100,000 people and allows for different “stages” within a single event. 

Upstream

Upstream is an app designed to make virtual networking actually work. Its founders hope to create more “‘magical moments’ of being in the right room at the right time with the right person.”

Upstream hosts events with keynote speakers ranging from ESPN’s Pablo Torre to Senator Cory Booker. Afterward, attendees participate in one-on-one breakout sessions lasting five minutes each. The in-app feed gives members a place to ask for introductions or suggestions and has hundreds of communities based on industry, location, and interest. Upstream just raised $3.25 million in seed funding and is launching a web version of its app.

Fishbowl

Fishbowl is a new kind of professional networking app where users can go to get advice, share information, and gripe about their co-workers anonymously. Users can choose to use their full name or identify by their job title or organization alone.

“Until now, people’s professional presence online has always had to represent the safest version of yourself,” says Fishbowl co-founder Loren Appin. “There has never been a space for professionals to be vulnerable.”

This is especially relevant now with so many people still working from home. Workplace issues that were annoying in-person can become toxic when teams work at a distance. Fishbowl has become a sounding board for users to air their frustrations, but it’s also become a tool for employers to keep tabs on workplace morale. This will be especially important as pandemic uncertainty lifts and workers feel secure exploring their options.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a social-media craze that filled a major void during the pandemic. Users can join rooms to chat or hear other people speak, including celebrities like Elon Musk and Malcolm Gladwell. 

With people desperate for social interaction, Clubhouse became a lockdown favorite. Many have speculated that the app’s popularity was a pandemic blip, but its user base has continued to grow even as restrictions lift. In the same way that people aren’t cancelling Netflix now that theaters are reopening, Clubhouse will still hold an appeal for those who prefer to socialize from their couch.

WhatsApp

At the beginning of the pandemic, remote workers saw their workday stretch by 8.2 percent. A year later, many leaders are still asking too much, and employees are struggling to set healthy boundaries. Thankfully, a simple texting app can be a sanity-saver with just a few tweaks.

While most U.S. smartphone users rely on the native texting app built into their phone, WhatsApp has taken the rest of the world by storm. WhatsApp is the future of texting because it’s loaded with helpful features that make it easier to juggle our increasingly entangled lives. You can hide your “Last Seen” status from your co-workers, customize notifications for individual contacts, and even mute conversations.

Lunchclub

Introductions are everything in business, but during the pandemic, meeting people in person became practically impossible. Even when networking events ramp back up, it will still be a challenge to connect with just the right people.

“AI superconnector” Lunchclub aims to change all that. What started as an in-person business matchmaking service has pivoted to curating one-on-ones via Zoom. Users provide information on their background and goals, and the app facilitates a 45-minute chat with a new connection each week. 

It’s the limited, highly targeted nature of Lunchclub that makes it so valuable. Its AI takes the guesswork out of connecting online, and because you only get one new connection a week, users feel an onus to follow through.

Slack

During lockdown, many of us lived on Slack — communicating with team members about current projects and sharing funny memes. Slack has become the preferred messaging app because of its endless options for personalization and utility. Users can set up custom keyword notifications, collaborate on documents, share files, and set reminders.

As many organizations shift to a hybrid model of work, keeping remote team members in the loop will be more important than ever. Slack is probably the best tool for the job. It gives the feel of being in the office — with the option to turn off unwanted interruptions. 

While 2020 is the year we’d all love to forget, not everything about lockdown life was inherently worse than the old normal. The WFH experiment was a success for many, and lockdown facilitated huge leaps forward in the flexible nature of work. Most importantly, we learned new ways to foster meaningful connections. Those innovations are here to stay.

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