Let’s get digital (again) - Paul's blog

One of my most read blogs this year featured some of the free software and apps that we use at Foundations HQ. So here’s some more suggestions – and again we use them all, and they’re all free!

First up is a tool we’ve started using over the last couple of months, but has already become a key part of how we keep in touch with each other. Every day, as we finish our work, TeamColony will send us an e-mail asking "What have you done today?" We just have to reply in a few lines, just like we would do with any other e-mail. The next morning, everyone receives a digest e-mail with everything that was accomplished the previous day. Everyone is synced up without wasting time in meetings! It’s as simple as that and is great way to share what we’re up to, our accomplishments and frustrations.

When we run events it’s always good to get feedback from the people who attended so we can learn what works and keep making better experiences. We’ve tried a few online survey tools, but have now settled on Google Forms. It’s free to use, can be branded, has lots of questions types, automatically creates reports and can be easily customised with a range of free add-ons. Highly recommended.

Does your email signature look dated, or do you avoid using one entirely? Create your own stylish signature using the Hubspot Email Signature Template Generator. Add you logo, your contact info and enter your corporate colours and it provides a range of stylish signature designs to copy and paste into your email software. It only takes a couple of minutes and they look great. If you’ve had an email from Foundations recently – this is where we designed our signatures.

If you use consultants or associates on a regular basis it can be difficult to manage multiple assignments. Kalo automates all of the admin and process headache around freelancer management which allows us to focus on getting work done. We use Kalo to onboard freelancers, store their contracts, see their availability and track all work they do with us.

We’ve been recruiting recently and managed the process through Indeed. As well as publicising the vacancy, you can also receive and rate applications, arrange interviews and confirm appointments all from a simple user interface. You can pay to promote the vacancy, but we had lots of applications for free and made some excellent appointments.

My job means I spend a lot of time working on trains or in coffee shops – and strangely there’s something about the background noise that makes for a productive environment. Conversely, sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate when I get back to a quiet office. That’s where Noisli comes in. You can create your own mix of background noises that somehow makes it much easier to concentrate. Not sure how it works, but it does the trick for me.

And finally, I’ve got to give our new tool a plug – www.dfgtenders.co.uk. If you still request multiple quotes from local builders for every DFG application this is the tool for you. Generate quotes instantly and manage contracts using an online system specially developed for the sector. It can save weeks for your clients and save you hours in preparing tender documentation. It’s free for HIAs and Local Authorities, with a small charge for builders that saves them from preparing tenders at their own risk. We’ve got a video demo of how it works, and if you would like a full webinar please contact me at pauls@foundations.uk.com.