Next time you're cruising the App Store or Google Play, check out some very useful apps from the federal government that can help you with your business needs.
- USPS – The U.S. Postal Service app allows you to track shipments, schedule package pickups, and locate nearby postal facilities, among other useful benefits. The USPS app is available for Blackberry as well as for Apple iOS and Android devices.
- MyTSA – This app provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is full of handy information such as TSA requirements for baggage (both carry-on and checked), updates on delays at specific airports, and wait times at TSA checkpoints. The app is available for both Apple iOS and Android operating systems.
- Smart Traveler – Are you planning to travel abroad? Consult with Smart Traveler, an app produced by the U.S. State Department, to find out the latest information on your destination country. Travel alerts, locations of embassies, and maps are also available. Smart Traveler is available for both Apple and Android users.
- FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency brings you an app that can help you deal with responses to disasters. FEMA's app contains everything from preparation and safety tips for oncoming weather situations to information and advice on how to apply for federal assistance from FEMA. The app is available to Android, Apple, and Blackberry users.
- IRS2Go – The app of the Internal Revenue Service allows you to check the status of your refund, find nearby assistance with tax returns for elderly or low-income taxpayers, and make tax payments, among other interesting capabilities. Yes, it's the IRS ... but the site does have useful information that can help you at tax time.
- First Aid – The American Red Cross First Aid app is a perfect resource to deal with emergencies at the workplace. Guides, helpful tips, and live-action videos can help you prevent potential emergency situations and deal with the ones that do arise. The app is available for both Android and Apple users and is also available in Spanish.
- Health Hotlines – This app connects you and your employees with experts in various health fields to address health-related concerns. The database contains close to 9000 organizations in the field.
- Can I Eat This? – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer this site to help you avoid common illnesses brought on by eating unfamiliar foods when traveling abroad on business trips. Simply choose the country you are in, answer a few questions regarding what you plan to eat, and the CDC can tell you if the food is likely to be safe or not.
Notice that this app is not named "Should I Eat This?" or "How Much of This Can I Eat?" Let common sense guide you in that regard.
For a full list of the best federal government apps for businesses as complied by business.usa.gov, as well as a link to lists of useful state government mobile apps, see this article. A link to a Spanish-language version of the directory is also available there.
If the government can take the time to create a series of useful apps, surely you can take the time to download the ones that can help you with issues relevant to your business. Who said "useful" and "the government" couldn't be in the same sentence?