5 apps we’ve all grown to love during lockdown

The last three months have forced all of us to adapt. Whether it’s as simple as ordering your groceries online, or you’ve been forced to completely alter your working arrangements, changes to the way we do things have been essential.

As a business, we’ve certainly had to embrace new ways of working. From getting used to video conferencing to grappling with software to host webinars, it’s been a steep learning curve for everyone!

Thankfully, there are thousands of useful apps and online tools that have helped us to get through this period. Ones we have found particularly helpful include:

  • Zoom/Microsoft Teams for keeping in touch with clients and colleagues, and for hosting regular webinars
  • Calendly – allows clients to easily book a meeting at a time convenient for them

We’re also just putting the final touches to a brand-new client app that will help us to improve our communication with clients. Watch this space for more information!

Here are five apps that have been invaluable during lockdown.

  • Zoom

Zoom was the second most downloaded non-game app in the world in May 2020. The video conferencing app has enjoyed a 43 times increase in growth since last year, with almost 100 million downloads.

It’s a really simple way to communicate with colleagues, friends or family – even if there are a lot of you (up to 100 people can join a call). You can customise your own background, and control both your audio and video (just in case you have to briefly leave a meeting to answer the front door!)

Zoom has allowed us to continue to ‘meet’ clients and offers a valuable alternative to face-to-face meetings going forward. The ability to share a screen is also really handy, letting clients see a range of documents.

Download our handy guide to Zoom

  • Houseparty

Developed by the team behind Fortnite, Houseparty has been one of the big app success stories of recent months. Available on smartphones, tablets and computers, it’s an app that lets you easily keep in touch with friends and family.

As well as simple group video calls, Houseparty also includes a range of party games, including trivia quizzes, which are a great way to pass the time with your loved ones.

  • Forest

Millions of people have spent the last few months getting used to working from home. If you’re in a house with family members that would ordinarily be at work or school, it can be hard to stay focused – and that’s where Forest comes in.

Forest splits your working day into 25-minute sections called ‘Pomodoros’. In each Pomodoro, you are meant to accomplish a single task, after which you get a five-minute break. When you have completed four Pomodoros, you get a longer break of up to half an hour.

The aim is to keep you focused, keep your mind fresh, and to use your time productively.

When you use Forest, you plant a tree and see it grow during your 25-minute session. If you make it to the end of the 25-minute period, you are rewarded with a fully grown tree (if you switch to a different app during that time, your tree will die). At the end of the day, you feel a sense of achievement as you have created a lovely forest.

  • Strava

For much of lockdown, going out for exercise was one of the only legitimate reasons to leave the house. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that there has been a boom in fitness-based apps.

Described as ‘the social network for athletes’, Strava allows you to record all your exercise activities. This goes on your feed where your friends and followers can comment and share their own workouts.

You can also attach as many photos and captions to an activity as you like, enabling you to show your friends what you have been up to and where you’ve been.

It works on both iOS and Android (as well as GPS watches and head units) and provides you with loads of data about your activity for you to analyse. And, if you turn on the ‘Beacon’ feature, Strava will share your location with a partner or friend in real time, helping to keep you safe when you’re out and about.

  • BBC Good Food

A Tesco survey during lockdown found that more than a fifth of Brits are now cooking every meal from scratch, compared to just one in eight before the lockdown.

With restaurants, pubs and takeaways closed, we have rediscovered the joys of home cooking, and the BBC Good Food app is a great source of inspiration.

Featuring an archive of more than 12,000 recipes, the app lets you save and sort your favourites into your own collections to cook offline. There are lots of useful curated collections and you can also share your favourites with family and friends.

The app even has a useful ‘Cook Mode’ feature, which stops your screen from locking when you’re in the middle of a recipe.

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