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Make It Work: Apps Making the Workplace More Mobile

There is no doubt that mobile culture has changed the workplace as Millennials have entered it, blurring the lines between work and home and shifting expectations. We’ve rounded up three apps that focus on improving the office in your pocket while catering to Millennial mindsets.

Ypulse’s calculations have found that approximately 10,000 Millennials will enter the work force on a daily basis over the next four years. While many stereotypes about Millennials in the workplace are myths, they are undoubtedly influencing the way that work is done and offices are run. One big shift they’re helping fuel is the increase of work done via mobile. Their dependency on their smartphones means that they are never truly offline, and they expect to be able to conduct work wherever they are.

Workplace apps are on the rise. Facebook recently gave the world a tiny glimpse inside their new Facebook at Work app, which is reportedly much like regular Facebook, but exclusive to co-workers. Users in the office can stay in the loop with a private company newsfeed, create individual groups for projects, and message one another. The app is still in testing and only available to pilot partners, but other apps are already being used to make the office in their pockets more efficient, private, and capable, all while appealing to Millennials’ mindsets. Here are three to know:  


For Millennials, work/life balance might be a priority (more important to many than salary) but the idea of a separation between work and at home life is far from the reality. Thanks to their mobile dependence, the office comes home with them. This could be one of the reasons behind professional app Slack’s massive success. The app reports that they are the fastest-growing business app ever, with “500,000 people now use Slack daily, including users in 60,000 teams.” Slack is a “collaboration tool” that puts everything from emails to files into one platform, and is integrated with popular platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive, so that external files stay in synch and are all searchable. Organizations can use Slack for direct messaging and file sharing, and reportedly tech-savvy companies have been some of the first to embrace using the tool. However, endorsements on their site include positive reviews from BuzzFeed, Rdio, and Medium employees, hinting that Millennial-focused workplaces are already using the app.


Ephemeral messaging—chats and posts that “disappear” after a certain amount of time—have earned their share of buzz in the social networking space over the last year as new apps and sites are also following in Snapchat’s footstep, making impermanence top priorities to appeal to increasingly private Millennials. But the temporary messaging has not made its way into workplaces, where privacy is often a prime concern, until now. Confide is a professional app for sharing important documents while avoiding the dangers of the cloud. We first talked about Confide’s confidential messaging tools last year, but they’ve since updated to allow the sending of encrypted, screenshot proof documents and photos, and introduced Confide For Business. The changes make them an “off-the-record” information exchange hub for the professional setting, and the “the first-ever off-the-cloud communications platform for companies.” All documents disappear after they are read, and users are alerted if recipients attempt to forward anything they are sent. Confide For Business was announced very shortly after the Sony hack, and the app announced that they would be offering the service for free “for the major entertainment studios, labels and networks in support of the Hollywood community.” The app is currently accepting invitations for the beta version of the business platform, which will be launched this spring. 


Thanks in part to entering the workplace during an economic slump, along with their desire for flexibility, many Millennials have not conformed to a traditional 9-to-5 career. Freelancing and hustling multiple part time jobs is far from uncommon among younger workers. However, unlike those who have committed to a desk job, there are few structures in place to assist workers who create their own schedules. Shifts is the solution, giving freelance workers a fully customizable calendar that organizes their work week. Users can set shifts manually or schedule a recurring rotation, depending on their work situation, and shifts in different places or for different projects can be differentiated by color and icons. Wages can also be added to estimate monthly earnings, and help users track when they can pay bills or make other purchases. A widget also allows workers to pull up their calendar for the day without launching the full app, so that they can easily see what work they have on their plate, all without being part of a traditional office.