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What Does Your Ideal Work OS Look Like?

High productivity depends on managers, workers, and processes keeping things running smoothly and eliminating duplicate efforts. Without a good system in place to facilitate productivity, though, that’s really hard to accomplish. Relying on one person’s institutional memory or having excessive sync meetings isn’t the way to go.


A work OS provides the structure and clarity that organizations need to focus on their goals. With so many tools touting different advantages, however, how can founders and leaders at these companies find the best option to suit their needs?

Instead of sitting through hours of demos, use this checklist to evaluate potential work OS solutions and find the one that’s right for you:

Integration Capabilities

In operating systems for computers, you can only add programs and processes on top of the base system. A work OS does things a little differently. Instead of conforming to someone else’s vision of efficiency, your OS needs to integrate seamlessly with the products and processes you already use.

For example, most businesses depend on common software like Google Drive, Microsoft Excel, and Slack. Adopt a work OS that doesn’t seamlessly flow in and out of those systems, and you’ll create unnecessary conflicts and delays. Better to add a solution that runs smoothly from the start than force your team to change multiple tools at once.

Useful Templates

Don’t choose a work OS that requires you to code like an expert to get the system working. Your new platform should make your life easier the moment you download the program. The best solutions come with pre-built templates that provide easy starting points for common workflows or give you the building blocks you need to custom create your own.

If you don’t already, try using templates in other areas of your business, like documentation. Building useful tools for the future never feels like an immediate priority, but a few hours today could save you hundreds of hours over time. Look at your spreadsheets, internal documents, and customer service responses to identify templatization opportunities.

Time Management Tools

A key benefit of a work OS is that within one platform, you can get just about anything done. Your work OS should hold you accountable with timetables and progress-tracking options. You don’t have to micromanage your teams, but when everyone can see the status of every project, your business deals with fewer miscommunications and missed deadlines.

Great time management tools are only as useful as their masters, though. Don’t let your schedule squash your better judgment. When you and your team consistently miss the same types of deadlines month after month, use your work OS to identify where the challenges are. You can’t speed up productivity by ignoring the reality of how long tasks take to complete.

Customizable Priorities

Unless someone creates unique software just for your business, which takes a huge amount of budget and time, no template or built-in workflow will perfectly reflect your reality. As you shop for the right work OS, make sure your chosen solution allows you to customize your priorities to keep your company pursuing the right targets.

Workflow customization solution, for example, stresses the importance of customization in cross-team collaboration. Your teams work differently together on different projects, and your work OS should make it easier for everyone to find, share, and act on the information they need.

Built-In Communication

Sharing is caring. For kids, that means everyone gets a turn with the Nintendo Switch. For teams using a work OS, that means everyone gets access to the same information in real time. Files, conversations, progress reports, and data should all exist in an easy-to-navigate ecosystem.

Communication integrations ensure teams stay productive, no matter how they work. Work OS Airtable integrates with Slack to make internal communications a breeze. The more easily teams can communicate, the more effective the tool is. 

Remote Empowerment

Every startup in 2020 understands that remote work is a fact of life. Great talent lives (and travels) all over the world, and systems that treat remote workers like second-class citizens have no place in the new decade.

Just as workers don’t always share an office, people frequently use different devices to check in, complete projects, and communicate with teammates. Your chosen work OS should not only let your employees work remotely, but it should also let them contribute on a variety of devices.

These important qualities have one thing in common: flexibility. Your work OS touches every part of your business, and the more you grow, the more your needs will change. You can’t afford to invest in a rigid system that forces you and your team to follow a path that may not be the right one. Evaluate your options, keep these priorities in mind, and get the work OS your organization deserves.

Author : Holly Hutton

Born in the Big Easy and raised in the Sunshine State, Holly has spent the last five years brunching in the Big Apple and bantering with Big Ben. As a wandering writer, techy-in-training, and avid alliterator, Holly has written everything from educational policy and political news briefs to web content and travel blogs. She is thrilled to be a part of the KS team and working with a community of smart, savvy, entrepreneurs on all things startup!

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