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For much of the twentieth century, the workplace meant doing much of the same type of work regardless of which generation you came from. Sure, office jobs rose in popularity after the industrial revolution, but the generation that took on this work approached it with a similar mindset. Today’s generation has a different way of thinking, thanks to the connected environment they grew up in. Growing up as digital natives, millennials—otherwise known as “The App Generation”—take a unique approach to productivity that exploits a range of tools that could make them more capable of becoming productive in a fast-paced workplace than their predecessors.
On one hand, working with millennials will present new challenges in an attempt to bring out their full potential. In particular, the generation of people currently aged 15 to 18 live their lives much differently to those born in the 1980s and early 1990s. Their exposure to technology and applications from a young age has planted a set of problem-solving techniques in their collective psyche that are profoundly at odds with the status quo of Generation X and (to some extent) Generation Y.
Here are a couple of tools you can use to fully take advantage of this trend.
LastPass, so you’ll never have to memorize your passwords
The typical individual’s approach to security on multiple accounts is to either share the same password for everything or use one password for “important” things and another for the mundane. You can probably see why this is not exactly a good idea in the corporate world. The low-tech alternatives to this are either to compile all of this into a list or to painstakingly memorize every single password on every single account. LastPass provides a more streamlined solution that will store every password in a highly-secure “universal” account and log you in automatically everywhere you go. Like its name suggests, LastPass aims to provide you with the last password you will ever have to remember.
Dropbox, for the nimble go-getter who wants to share everything
Hard drives were a wonderful invention that have reliably provided us with ways to store several volumes of information conveniently for the past few decades. They unfortunately have one drawback: you can’t access your desktop’s hard drive from another computer unless you want to introduce a ton of security vulnerabilities. For people who need quick access to their most important files from any device, Dropbox presents an elegant and powerful solution. This cloud storage solution makes it very easy to share multimedia files to anyone with any level of access permission.
Xmarks, a Dropbox for your bookmarks
Although Google Chrome has a feature that easily allows you to synchronize your bookmarks across multiple devices, it requires a Google account and can only synchronize across Chromium-based browsers. You can get around this restrictive environment by installing Xmarks, a piece of software brought to you by the makers of LastPass that will synchronize bookmarks regardless of the platform or browser involved.
Trello, for the task management junkie
Organizing work seems like something simple until people find themselves at the helm. For time immemorial, the bulletin board came to the rescue. But now that working from home is a thing, the office board isn’t enough to inform the entire team of what needs to be done. Trello presents a replacement for that bulletin board, accessible from any point in the world, and even more flexible than physical bulletin boards with pin-up cards.
Workflowmax, for everything else
When half of your workforce is dispersed across cities and countries, every single day-to-day activity becomes an adventure to coordinate. Invoicing, time management, lead chasing, memos, reports, client management, and everything else that keeps a business running transforms into a sprawling spectacle of emails, many of which get lost in time and never materialize into the action you need. Workflowmax takes care of this by centralizing and streamlining all of these little processes so that every single component that makes up your business runs like a well-oiled machine.
Put simply, by failing to create the environment that gets millennials’ productive juices flowing, you risk having a slow and stagnating organization, and you can easily be left behind by the competition. Having the equipment, infrastructure or applications is only half the battle, though. The other half consists of maintaining an open mind and listening to your team so that it can work effectively in the decentralized environment that will define the 21st century.