When we think of apps, Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds might first spring to mind. Many of us consider apps to be the perfect tool to indulge our playful sides and certainly not something that should be encouraged during working hours. Because of this association, apps have often been perceived as things that waste employee time.
Except now there's proof that this simply isn't true. New research conducted by Salesforce has uncovered a much more interesting truth about apps - they actually make our working lives even more productive, 34% more productive in fact. Because business apps, uniquely tailored for individual workforces, have become the latest must-have downloads for tablets and smartphones.
The research shows that eight out of every ten employees believe apps can boost the camaraderie of an office by keeping people in touch with each other through chat facilities. Email can be clunky, clogged with spam and slow - apps that connect people within an office environment, however, encourage teamwork, speed of thought and stronger collaboration.
They also improve multi-tasking. Half of all the C-level app users questioned said that downloadable tools allow them to juggle priorities in a far more seamless manner, especially if the apps incorporate a familiar design - if they have the look and feel of other consumer apps like Facebook, for instance.
Little wonder then that work apps, harnessing the power of cloud-based technology, are set to transform the way we do business, in and out of the office. More than 60% of employees, according to the survey, now use apps on mobile devices for work-related activities and almost a quarter use bespoke, fully-compatible apps designed for their individual departments.
So much of our lives is enhanced and controlled by our mobile phones and tablets, that it seems only natural that we incorporate work-related tools into hand-held devices. Regardless of where we are located, an app gives us instant, real-time access to information that's critical for our specific jobs. In fact we are getting to the point where apps are allowing senior managers to actually run their businesses from their phones, thanks to platforms which bring together sales, service and marketing into a single, customised download.
There will always be a place for slicing watermelons in half with a samurai sword and launching feathery red balls into precariously-balanced wooden houses. But there is also a very clear place for a new generation of more advanced and versatile business-related downloads that can be integrated seamlessly with office software systems, making employees more productive.
And it seems that the ambitious British office worker has figured out that if you really want to get ahead, get an app.