Apps for frontline workers? Absolutely!
Previously, there has always been a bit of a divide in how office-based and frontline workforces have been served by technology.
For office-based (or desk-based, at least) employees, access to useful, time-saving and productivity-enhancing software has been the standard for years now. If you’re at a computer 24/7, all it takes is a couple of clicks to log in, after all!
For frontline workers, it’s been a different story. Being on your feet or on the road all day in any capacity makes frequent use of a computer difficult. This has meant that frontline teams have had to rely on line managers at best for access to most software – if at all.
Being a frontline worker is hard work – and we think that doesn’t get acknowledged nearly enough! Our pick of the best apps for frontoline workers are designed to make your teams’ lives that extra bit easier, improve employee engagement and, ultimately, boost performance.
Let’s dive into it.
- What is a frontline worker?
- Best intranet and HR apps for frontline workers
- Best company culture and wellbeing apps for frontline workers
- Best learning and development apps for frontline workers
- Best driver apps for frontline workers
- Best apps for healthcare workers
- Best retail apps and hospitality apps for frontline workers
- Best construction, field worker and facilities management apps for frontline workers
- Best shift worker apps and team scheduling apps
- Final thoughts: 27 best apps for frontline workers
What is a frontline worker?
“What is a frontline worker?”, or perhaps more accurately “who is a frontline worker?” is a question that you’ll find slightly different answers to, depending on circumstance.
Over the course of COVID-19, ‘frontline worker’ has become synonymous with staff that provide an essential public service. Healthcare, food retail, provision and delivery, public transport are all excellent examples of this.
But whilst many frontline workers do provide essential public services, we think the category is a little broader.
When we talk about frontline workers at Blink, we’re really referring to your frontline. By that, we mean any ‘on the ground’ employee involved in direct customer service or provision of services essential to your organization.
So, if you’re a retailer, your in-store teams are your frontline.
If you’re a healthcare provider, your clinical teams – doctors, nurses, physios, healthcare assistants, orderlies, porters and midwives included – are your frontline.
If you’re a transit company, your bus drivers and train drivers are your frontline.
These teams are who we had in mind when compiling this list of great technology for frontline workers. We hope they find it useful!
Best intranet and HR apps for frontline workers
Hey, we rate ourselves. We’re really not shy about shouting about it either.
We put everything into creating an adaptable, accessible and genuinely fun frontline intranet app – and offer up some pretty nifty features as a result.
Blink is based around a social feed that lets every single employee feel part of your team – from the CEO down to your newest shop floor recruit. With an employee scheduling app, secure instant messaging, push notifications for urgent updates, document management, a library full of micro-apps and more, we’re a one-stop shop for frontline employee management.
Basically, we take care of every single aspect of your internal comms needs via a beautifully designed smartphone interface (shout out to our lovely designers).
This smartphone focus is where we stand out – because we’re explicitly designed for mobile devices, we’re ideal for frontline workforces with limited to no access to email.
Microsoft-based? Want to upgrade your Microsoft-based internal comms processes to something a little smarter? Beezy lets you do just that, without the time and costs associated with a complete platform switchover.
Built on the Microsoft platform, Beezy reorganizes the employee experience around four key pillars: collaboration, communication, knowledge and processes.
Whilst Beezy focuses a little more on office-based employees than us, their native iOS and Android apps are easy to use and provide plenty of on-the-go opportunities for collaboration. If you have a hybrid office/frontline workforce that needs to communicate closely, Beezy could be a great option.
TheEMPLOYEEapp is an internal comms app exclusively designed for frontline and remote teams. Via a native mobile app, it aims to connect deskless workers with each other and with the organization as a whole.
TheEMPLOYEEapp offers features for multiple roles across your organization – we’d say that this is one of its best features. Whether you’re a frontline team member looking to stay connected, a line manager heading up a remote team or an internal comms professional using workforce analytics to build a better workplace, the app works for you.
Best company culture and wellbeing apps for frontline workers
Show your frontline employees how much you appreciate them with Perkbox.
Perkbox is an all-in-one employee benefits and rewards app that makes it easy for your workforce to access the perks you provide as an employer. There’s the option to be flexible using Perkbox points – so that employees can create their own benefits package – and a whole marketplace of options to explore.
An extensive library of wellness resources is a great addition. Meanwhile, the celebration hub encourages shout outs for great performance and allows you to customize your rewards to your workforce. Everything from early finishes to gift cards for major retailers are available, so get creative!
5. Reward Gateway
If you’re looking for a rewards and benefits app for your employees, Reward Gateway is another great option.
The platform offers a huge range of employee discounts, whilst facilitating flexible benefits packages, rewards and peer-to-peer recognition, and salary sacrifice schemes, including the UK Government’s Cycle to Work scheme, car benefits and holiday trading. You can also help employees out with the cost of new tech and white goods via the SmartTech option.
Reward Gateway is a strong option if you want a platform that doubles as an employee engagement and communication app. Pulse surveys are a useful way to encourage your workforce to provide feedback, whilst a wellbeing centre provides lots of great resources.
Anyone who has ever worked in a frontline position will tell you that stress can build up over time if not managed properly. Dealing with huge numbers of customers, looking after patients or going the extra mile to get those deliveries done on time can take it out of you, if you’re not careful.
A complimentary subscription to Headspace’s meditation app won’t solve that in and of itself. Equally, it’s a good tool to offer employees who might want to unwind in the evenings or after their shift. With a range of guided meditations and resources for a range of circumstances (including better sleep – your night shift workers will thank you), it’s a useful app for encouraging general employee wellbeing.
Best learning and development apps for frontline workers
7. Prodigy EMS
Leave the dusty old powerpoints where they belong and revamp your medical recertification needs using Prodigy EMS.
If you’re a pre-hospital healthcare provider whose employees need to go through recertification, Prodigy EMS provides a specialist platform with both live and pre-recorded lesson content.
Your employees will benefit from up-to-date content delivered by expert instructors with plenty of experience, using real patient videos, patient care reports, and interactive polls. Options are available for NREMT recertification, occupational health and safety, compliance, and best practices.
Lectures from pre-hospital conferences are also available on Prodigy, so as well as fulfilling key regulatory requirements, your team can keep up with the very latest research in their field.
8. Udemy Business
Does instant access to over 14,000 training courses sound like a useful tool for your frontline teams? If so, take a look at Udemy Business.
You have the option of selecting ready-made certification courses compiled by renowned experts – or, if you really want something unique, you can build your own courses using the Course Builder and Learning Paths tools.
Popular course categories include business skills, wellness, leadership and management, and tech (particularly handy if you’re in the middle of a digitization drive!). These really are just the tip of the iceberg – there are plenty more categories to make use of if you want to branch out.
9. Kallidus Learn
A clean, mobile-led user interface and a clear emphasis on employee development make Kallidus Learn a great shout for a general LMS. A regular on UX and LMS industry awards shortlists, Kallidus is an engaging, easy to understand app that your wider workforce will love.
The best thing about Kallidus Learn? Flexibility. It’s designed to work as well in a classroom as it does on mobile, tablet and desktop – so you can reach your frontline wherever they are based. A ‘blended learning’ approach ensures both classroom delivery and eLearning resources provide first-class skills development.
Best driver apps for frontline workers
10. DAS OnBoard by Trapeze
If you’re a public bus operator looking to significantly improve driver/office communication, the DAS OnBoard bus driver app should be your first port of call.
An easily navigable user interface lets bus drivers communicate with the office immediately from nearly anywhere. There’s a single portal for all interactions – drivers can pick up messages, get in touch with the office, view their assigned routes and notify HQ of late running services.
As it’s mobile optimized and cloud-based, drivers can sign into work remotely. This offers the potential for huge efficiency savings using roadside relief points and reduces the journeys made back to depot. To top it all off, the app ensures relief is on the way using location tracking – so you know your drivers are well within legal break limits.
If you’re a fleet operator, real-time route optimization and tracking is fast becoming standard across the industry. Many businesses underestimate the importance of the driver app that accompanies this software, which can really change the value you get from it.
If the driver app is difficult to use or crashes frequently, your drivers will face unhelpful delays and may give up on it altogether.
That’s why, if you’re in their target market of last-mile delivery fleets, we’d give you a nudge towards OptimoRoute. Their driver app is well-designed, easy to use and consistently well-rated by both Android and Apple users.
The app lets drivers pick up daily planned routes from their dispatcher, offers a range of useful map views, lists order details and key instructions, and allows drivers to collect buyer signatures as proof of delivery.
A cornerstone of driver satisfaction? Prompt and accurate repayment of fuel expenses.
Save your drivers the time associated with tracking miles manually with the MileIQ app for drivers. The app runs unobtrusively in the background of your drivers’ phone for real-time mileage tracking – and if you have a cost-per-mile reimbursement strategy, it will calculate that for you as well.
This saves people on both ends of the process the effort and manual errors associated with manual expense calculation, and provides a handy reference point for settling any disputes.
When you’re on the road, it’s sometimes the simple things that make all the difference. And, for you as an employer, it’s the simple costs that add up.
PetrolPrices is a handy (and also free!) app for drivers that displays the cost of fuel at nearby gas stations. They’ll be less out of pocket whilst waiting for expenses, and the business will be making big savings in the long run too. Everyone’s a winner.
Think about how much you could save if you saved $5.00 each time one of your fleet filled up. If you’ve got vehicles out on the road 24/7, those $$$ will add up quick.
Best apps for healthcare workers
Epocrates is used by over a million healthcare workers across the world to provide instant clinical decision support.
On average, clinicians save 20 minutes a day with the Epocrates healthcare app. This might not sound like much, but if you’ve ever worked in frontline healthcare, you’ll know that those 20 minutes a day add up pretty quickly in terms of getting through your hefty to-do list!
With a comprehensive library of drug info (dosage, prescription and safety all included), medication interaction checks, a pill ID tool and a nicely-designed e-learning platform included, Epocrates is a must-have.
We couldn’t run a list of healthcare worker apps without mentioning Medscape.
Medscape has been bringing frontline healthcare professionals the latest medical news, clinical trial coverage, drug updates, journal articles and more since 1995. They also provide a range of useful clinical tools, including a reference guide, professional development resources and a drug interactions checker. It’s one of the most comprehensive platforms out there.
Their mobile app caters to both iOS and Android and is one of the most useful on-the-go apps you can provide your healthcare team. The app is free with your commercial subscription, so you won’t get hit with aggravating hidden costs, either.
VisualDX is a simple concept. Perhaps that’s why it’s so useful as a medical app for doctors.
In a nutshell, it’s a photographic library of a huge range of physical symptoms, which your healthcare providers can use for quick reference on the go. What makes it particularly useful is that the library contains extensive images of these symptoms on patients of different ages, sexes and skin types for accurate diagnosis.
Unsurprisingly, telehealth has absolutely exploded over the past couple of years as healthcare workers find new ways to meet patients’ needs in the midst of a dangerous pandemic.
According to recent data from McKinsey, virtual visits have increased up to forty times since the start of the pandemic. Healthcare providers are increasingly looking to expand virtual provision from acute and primary care to a range of specialties. This makes telehealth an essential area to consider when thinking about apps for healthcare workers.
There are lots of options here, but we particularly love Mend for its clean, easily navigable UX, ‘any device’ approach and holistic approach to patient engagement. As well as telehealth appointments, it offers scheduling, appointment reminders and digital forms that your administrators will love.
It’s even got a handy, AI-assisted no show/cancel prediction tool, so that you can do everything you can to re-engage and stop people falling through the cracks.
Best retail apps and hospitality apps for frontline workers
18. Lightspeed POS
Lightspeed is more than a Point of Sale solution – it also contains a host of features that make it a useful retail employee app for many other purposes.
A genuinely beautiful inventory interface (to use words that seldom fit together well) covers in-store and online stock, and if you run a chain, where items are in stock elsewhere. Many inventory systems do this, but few do it as accessibly as Lightspeed – so if you want to make it easy for cashiers to meet a customer’s exact requirements, it’s really worth a go.
Lightspeed’s level of specification is also out of the ordinary. Their online and eCommerce systems both offer tailored feature sets for retailers of sports goods, wines and liquors, pets, toys, home decor and more.
Inventory, stock ordering and drink costing, all in one place. What’s not to like?
The inventory part of the app is likely to be the most useful feature for frontline bar workers. Backbar is designed to be highly collaborative so that your entire team can collaborate on stocktaking tasks. Colour-coded tabs for each worker make it easy to keep on top of who’s checked what.
Another useful feature is the Shift Notes tool, which notifies staff when new products are added to the inventory and allows you to share tasting notes – so your team has all the knowledge to really sell your exciting new additions to customers.
Does your bar, hotel or restaurant have a wine list? If you’re short a professional sommelier, you can help your customers find the right vintage for them using WineRatings+ by Wine Spectator.
The app works as well as a research and buying tool as it does an everyday reference tool. Use the wine news, reviews and recommendations to work out your next purchases, or make use of the extensive database
To help your staff find the right info, you can also make lists of your favourites. Why not upload your current wine list and help your bar and waiting staff field customer demands for recommendations, food pairing and more?
Part hotel management software, part employee productivity and communication app, ALICE boosts productivity across your hotel business and increases guest satisfaction as a result!
With functionality available for all teams, including front of house, housekeeping, maintenance and guest services, ALICE is a platform for your entire organization.
With optimized task assignment, instant comms channels and easy integration with your hotel’s property management system, your staff can optimize their time to get more done. If you’re working with tight schedules, it makes all the difference.
Queueing tasks straight to ALICE, rather than relying on pen, paper or radios to relay guest requests, ensures everyone is on the same page and that guests’ demands are met faster. You offer better, more efficient service as a result.
Best construction, field worker and facilities management apps for frontline workers
22. Site Diary
Site Diary is a mobile version of traditional paper site diaries, journals and construction reports.
In a nutshell, it allows field workers to make updates on their projects from their smartphone or mobile device. This information is then synchronized across all employees instantaneously, so everyone knows what’s happening when, and the office is kept in the loop about new developments.
This process makes it significantly easier to hit compliance targets and can save your teams an tidy hour per day of admin time.
23. AkitaBox Family Suite
‘Facilities management’ software is a loose term covering a range of different solutions. If you want to make things easier for yourself and your employees and roll all of this functionality into one app, the AkitaBox Family Suite is one to take a look at.
Facility condition assessment, asset management, maintenance management, capital planning and inspections are all taken care of. All of this is accessed via a completely intuitive mobile user interface that empowers your team to work on the go, reduce downtime and up productivity.
Jobber is an easy-to-use field worker app that helps your whole team stay productive, both in the office and out in the field. It’s completely mobile friendly, so your employees can manage every aspect of their work on the go.
That’s estimates, quotes, scheduling, invoicing, and payment taken care of, all without having to phone back to the office to check anything. It’s all there on the app.
It sounds simple, but their design philosophy of ‘only entering customer and job details once’ will save you so much time and confusion (dual paper trails – eliminated) that you’ll wonder what you did without it.
Best shift worker apps and team scheduling apps
If you run a bar or restaurant, 7Shifts makes staff scheduling super accessible. There’s a simple drag and drop schedule builder for managers, and native mobile apps for employees to check in and view their schedule.
This mobile-first approach makes it easy to reach your staff whilst they’re on the job, and as 7Shifts is specifically designed for restaurants, it comes with a host of handy integrations with other industry standards including GoTab, Qu, Rezku and Restaurant Manager.
Connecteam is our best shift work app recommendation for overall use. If you’re looking for a generalized mobile worker app or something that would serve teams across multiple functions, it’s got the flexibility to accommodate you.
With a robust administrative dashboard, real-time clocking in/out and a range of employee engagement features, Connecteam is easy to use for line managers and employees alike. Plans can support 200+ users, with plenty of room to scale up and down quickly when needed (for example moving in and out of holiday season).
The great thing about Clockify is that it’s so simple! It’s simply a start/stop time tracking app which anyone can download for free – no company subscription required.
You can track via browser extension, desktop app and (importantly) both native iOS and Android apps, so it can be used by literally anyone in your business. Whether your contractors need a solution to help calculate their billable hours, or you want to encourage your workforce to own their schedule a little more, Clockify is a fantastic first step.
Final thoughts: 27 best apps for frontline workers
The smartphone has changed frontline technology for the better.
Now, wherever your frontline works, it’s likely they will have a tiny rectangle, more powerful than the computer NASA used to send the Apollo mission to the moon, tucked inside their pocket, bag or locker.
This tiny rectangle offers a huge amount of potential to both you, as an employer, and your frontline teams. You get to harness the productivity benefits technology helps your workforce achieve. Your workforce benefits from software that makes their day just a little easier.
If any of these apps for frontline workers have piqued your interest, Blink can help.
Blink integrates with thousands of apps via Single Sign-On, from niche industry tools to all the big players. All those integrations are brought into the Hub, so the apps are accessible within Blink – without ever having to leave the app.