Five smartphone apps to boost productivity

Thursday 12 May 2022

As we begin commuting into work and attending in-person events again, use the following smartphone features to stay connected with colleagues and boost productivity. Whether you’re at home or in the office, try out these ideas to reduce the amount of time spent at your desk.

1. Scan documents using Microsoft Lens

Use your phone as a portable scanner with the Microsoft Lens app. Save your image to OneDrive or OneNote to share with colleagues, or export to Word to automatically extract legible text to save time typing up notes. Use Microsoft Lens to capture a whiteboard after a brainstorming session, handwritten notes from a conference, or receipts ahead of an expense claim.  

Lens automatically straightens scanned documents and offers editing tools for you to correct further. Lens also removes any shadows to make your capture easier to see. 

2. Organise a walking meeting on Teams

Next time you organise a less formal meeting, encourage colleagues to join from the Teams mobile app while out on a walk. This may work well for smaller team check-ins or brainstorming sessions. Similarly, grab your headphones next time you plan to watch a meeting recording or an online University event.

Unless the meeting chair invites you to join on the go, join from your laptop so you don’t miss any shared content or meeting chat.

3. Tick off your tasks with Planner and To Do

For teams that work on-the-go, task tracking smartphone apps may be a great solution. Add, review, and check off tasks on the move, and see how the team is progressing. 

This is best suited to hands-on teams, like our IT/AV support team, who work across the entire University estate on a range of projects. They would be able to track progress, and tick off tasks when on the go using Microsoft Planner or To Do.

Use To Do for simple task lists, like shopping or daily to-do lists, and use Planner for your team’s tasks. 

4. Speak ideas on the go with voice notes

Your phone allows you to use your voice to carry out the following tasks when on the move.

Record ideas as they come

Rather than carry a notepad, use the voice memos feature on your phone, or use ‘record audio’ in your OneNote to store your voice recordings with existing notes. Read the ‘record audio or video notes in OneNote‘ guide for more information.

Send quick notes to co-workers

You don’t always have to type to get your message across. Like many other popular messaging apps, you can send short snippets of audio instead of having to type it out.  

5. Check your email on the Outlook mobile app

Use the Outlook mobile app to read and respond to emails when away from your desk, waiting for a bus, or on the train.

As most laptops only connect to the internet through wifi or cable, use your smartphone’s mobile data to stay connected wherever you are.

Read about the five benefits of using the Outlook mobile app on our blog. 

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