The digital workplace is an atmosphere that’s taking over every company in the world. The image of the average 9-5 workers desk used to be one of chaos; papers everywhere, a chunky desktop modem, thick planners stacked up, and files in every drawer. Now, that image is more so just a picture of a personal device that has the capability to fully run any given workplace obligation. Many office workers are making the transition to a tablet as their digital means of working.
What’s so great about a device such as the iPad is the fact that you can download an app for every office need you could possibly have, and the portable nature of a tablet makes it much easier to share certain documents or emails with co-workers; you can simply get up and show them yourself. However, to make the transition to a digital workplace, one needs to know and understand the standard apps to download in order to give them the smoothest work experience.
Emailing has been the most common office practice since the creation of the internet. In order to run your work life on a tablet, you need a solid email app that can help you organize the dozens of incoming messages you get daily, and filter out all of the spam. Apple or Yahoo Mail, for example, are two great applications that make organizing your inbox super simple. Both apps flag any mailing list items you receive and make it easy to unsubscribe from them if you so desire. In addition, you can compose multiple emails at once, multi-task through your inbox while composing (in case you need a specific reference from another message), and you can keep all your current domains and simply log-in through the third-party systems.
The next basic necessity you’ll need is a solid calendar app that will help organize every appointment, meeting, or lunch that you have during a given month. Fantastical 2 is a popular paid option (it runs for $9.99) that syncs up your tasks and calendar entries. It allows for simple entry and navigation, for example, you could enter “lunch with head of HR next Friday at 4” and Fantastical will automatically place that event at the proper date and time. Google Calendar is a free alternative that’s also widely popular, mainly for its social feature. Google makes it easy to sync up your appointments and events with friends, families, and co-workers so that you all can easily see when each other is most available.
An unexpected need that you should have on your device is a password protection app. There are plenty of free options that offer a password-protected space for you to store all of your accounts many passwords, however, with cyber-security being one of the largest threats in the world currently, you might want a more secure option. 1Password is a paid app ($3.99) that creates and stores all your passwords for you. Because the app creates a password for you, it automatically enters it as well when you open the specific app or website. If you’re a little skeptical, no worries, 1Password offers a 30 day free trial, so you can test how secure you feel about it for the month.
Depending on what specific “suite apps” your company uses, you can go one of two ways with how you want to transfer and create all of your documents on your new tablet. Microsoft’s Office 365 is a subscription based app service that offers programs like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on your tablet, and makes them all easy to use. However, if your company is more on the Google Docs wave, have no fear, as all of the Google Suite Apps (such as Docs, Sheets, Drive) are also available in the app store and, unlike Microsoft, most of them are free.
PDF’s are another one of those foundational aspects of any workplace. The amount of PDF documents that come in and out of our inboxes on a given day can be staggering. What can be even more staggering is how to edit and annotate these documents once we download them, especially on a tablet. PDF Expert is an app that goes beyond that of a traditional PDF reader. You can edit text and images, annotate documents, fill out forms, sign contracts, etc. It has all of your possible PDF needs in one spot and makes it easy to download them from other third-party apps.
Finally, we have an app for one of the more popular means of office communication as of late. Slack is like Twitter and LinkedIn combined, but specified to fit your specific companies needs. The app, and service in general, allows you to easily DM your connections/co-workers, send reactions and GIF’s, and mute certain threads or channels. It’s perfect for large offices with dozens of workers.
Making the switch to a digitized platform for your job can be tough, however, with the right apps, organizing your entire career on one device becomes just as easy as hitting send on that last email of the week.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.