Online software enables effective communication between employers and virtual assistants. Gone are the days where the only option is to employ someone locally. Synchronization and software tools open up the opportunity to employ the ideal virtual assistants from anywhere in the world. When the right software tools team up with the virtual assistant, it becomes a win-win combination for everyone.
Here are 10 software tools to consider:
With Basecamp, the entire project is displayed on one page. This simple to use project tool is frequently used by virtual assistants and others working online. Basecamp is a tool where all projects are safely stored together. All tasks, files, notes, drafts, ideas, and relevant data are stored under its appropriate project, keeping everything together. Although your virtual assistants are all over the world, you are managing projects from one central place. When projects are completed, the projects are archived. If you are looking for a lighter management tool, try Asana (my personal favorite).
One of the greatest file sharing tools available is Dropbox. Synchronizing your files with Dropbox is very easy to do. Then share the link, or invite the virtual assistant to the specific folder you need work done on. When the virtual assistant has completed the job, it is easy to send the updated file to you via Dropbox. It is possible to synchronize all the files on your computer with Dropbox. Then you can share a file whenever it is necessary. Your files are secure and Dropbox serves as a backup also. A close runner up and similar to Dropbox, while providing more security, is SugarSync.
Google have many products and tools, Google Calendar being one of them. Use Google Calendar to share your calendar with your virtual assistant and other workers online. No network or intricate sharing system is necessary. It is simply sharing your calendar, and everyone is informed of your schedule. Sharing Google calendar prevents double booking. Different categories are labeled and color coded, and allows you to share only categories with relevant team members.
Group Chats and Messaging
- GroupMe is used for group chats. Text messages are not always the fastest and best method of communicating. GroupMe is available on the web and also as an iPhone app. This enables small or large groups to communicate with each other in real time, which is a great advantage when planning or discussing certain projects, conferences or seminars. The iPhone app allows flexibility when waiting for a call, without being bound to the computer. Text messages can also be sent with Group.Me.
- iPhones, iPads, iPods and Mac allow you to send text messages using iMessage. For those who are not using Apple devices, normal text messaging can be used. Messages are ideal for a question or comment or exchanging information between individuals or groups. However, when it comes to live chatting or discussions, Basecamp and GroupChat works better. The flexibility of using it on different devices is very convenient.
- Skype is the ideal communication tool to use for video chats. There is nothing that comes close to having face-to-face conversations. Skype brings the world into your office. Interview the new virtual assistant over Skype. Use Skype for weekly meetings or giving instructions to your virtual assistant. Skype allows you to communicate with video calls, telephonic calls and to instant text messaging. Screens can be shared, sessions recorded and links exchanged by using Skype.
Security is always something to take into account when working online and sharing information. Although it is practical to share your login information and password, securing the safety of sensitive documents and files should be taken into account. LastPass is the safeguard against phishing, malware, scams and other fraudulent activities. Password can be shared in two ways:
- When you give the password to virtual assistants, they can see it and use it.
- When you share the password, it remains covered, and unseen, but the virtual assistant can use the password.
Using LastPass gives you a certain level of protection against dishonest activities.
Emails Sending and Sharing
- It is common practice these days to have more than one email account, and also a good practice to separate business and personal email accounts. Rhino Support is a help desk management system for groups handling emails. The virtual assistant can use templates to respond to emails or questions frequently asked. Rhino Support application allows for assigning messages, querying messages, attaching notes to messages for an individual or for a group of senders.
- Screenshots is probably one of the greatest tools to use when describing something. It is much simpler, quicker, and easier to show a screenshot than to describe what you see on the screen. SnagIt is an application that enables sharing of screenshots by email. This application has a variety of annotation tools that are used to focus the reader’s attention to something specific, for example highlighting something. SnagIt is the ultimate screen capturing tool.
Systemize repetitive documents by using SweetProcess. This tool allows the documentation of step-by-step instructions, enabling the virtual assistants to repeat the exact instructions, resulting in a specific result. This allows replicating of process without repeating instructions. Instructions are enhanced with screenshots.
Every day, software tools and applications are constantly being updated and improved. It is good to experiment with different tools to find the applications that enhances team performance.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success. Join me at the Google+ Virtual Assistants Community to share information and network with like-minded professionals.
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