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Some examples of software you can use to enhance efficiency
With the advances in technology that living in this day and age afford us, there are a lot of things companies and businesses are able to do now that wouldn’t have been possible a few decades ago. One of these changes is the choice for people to now work remotely.
All company owners know how important it is for people to communicate. Without proper avenues for open communication, workflow wouldn’t be efficient, and it may even result in a total standstill of some business processes—which is, to say the least, not good.
Today, however, there are a multitude of tools and software available that allow us to instantly communicate with someone even if they were on the opposite side of the world. We can now even talk face to face despite the thousands of miles between us, and we even do it using a device we carry around in our pockets.
Remote work has allowed people to become for efficient workers, as those who work from home say they rate their productivity at 7.7 out of 10, compared to those who work on site who gave an average rating of 6.5.
A powerful feature of some of these software products is the ability to create informative visualizations.
Unsplash.com photo by Adeolu Eletu
Of course, everyone would want to be more productive so they can get the job done faster. Because of this, virtual assistants have become commonplace, and more and more companies are beginning to realize just how effective they are.
They come at a reduced cost compared to hiring an in-house employee, and a lot of them also have experience in their field under their belts, meaning a company who leverages their talents no longer need to spend money in training them.
But working from a different location, sometimes even over vast oceans, can lead to some problems – mainly in making sure projects are done in a timely manner, as well as the management being able to monitor their work.
Technology, once again, comes to the rescue, as there are now various tools available for those who leverage VAs, and not all of them are very intrusive. Yes, there are those that share the screen, but there are other software products that allow companies to make sure the project is running along at the needed pace.
This software is extremely effective for those companies who make use of multiple virtual assistants working on different facets of the same project. Huddle is also especially effective at boosting collaboration between the many members of the team.
Similar to Dropbox and Google Apps, Huddle is a file-sharing software system where members of the team are able to upload their finished work. However, it also has more features that help with collaboration as well as content management.
Huddle users get a task management, file sharing, and team communication platform rolled into one. Another great feature is the fact it stores only the latest version of something to avoid document mismatch.
When it comes to task management software, Todoist is one of the most effective. It does have a free version, but the pro suite is available for $36 a year. It boasts a robust system that can handle anything from a grocery list to a large-scale project.
It’s basically a to-do-list software that allows users to not only list down the necessary tasks, but also set a deadline, as well as assign a person to perform it. It also offers visualizations of how an entire project is going, which is a useful feature for company owners to check progress with a simple click of a button.
One of the problems for a lot of company owners who make use of VAs, or those appointed to handle the company’s VAs is knowing the remote worker’s successes, as well as any pain points they might have during their time with the company.
15Five allows you to view any issues of all the members of the team. The good thing about this is that it can be used by both in-house and remote workers. Anybody under the jurisdiction of that team leader will be able to inform them of any pressing concerns.
It is a performance platform that gives users a platform that integrates performance reviews, employee feedback, as well as periodical objectives.
Trello is one of the most robust project tracking software, and it is also noted for how easy it is to use. An overall project can be broken down into tasks, and these tasks can then be titled and given a description, as well as a checklist.
Being able to track task completion is imperative in meeting deadlines for the project.
Unsplash.com photo by Alvaro Reyes
Another thing about it is how tasks can also be assigned to a particular person, and once a certain task is done, the assigned VA can even attach the file on the task. This can then be move forward to the next phase, or be labelled complete by the overall project head.
Now we take a gander at time-tracking tools, and Hubstaff is one of the notable ones. It allows team leaders to set a minimum requirement on how many hours a certain VA needs to work on a project or task. It also allows companies to schedule certain VAs to what projects they are needed in.
There is also a flexible calendar view, so team leaders are able to view how long each member of the team worked on the project. It even has a budget-tracking feature, so it’s easier to see where money went, and there are even alerts when the budget starts to exceed the initial estimates.
Though technically a project management tool, Wrike also has the features of a time-keeping software. It is especially efficient when a single company is working on various projects with different clients, with each project having a different team of virtual assistants.
Team leads also have the ability to track project progress every day, track the amount of time a VA has worked on the project, and check the budget of each individual project. Similar to other project management software mentioned before, you can also break down the project into tasks, and assign these tasks to particular VAs.
- World Time Buddy
When it comes to making use of VAs, one thing companies need to prepare for is the possibility of the VA they hire being from another time zone, and maybe even a different country altogether. Sometimes this cannot be helped, as some of the best virtual assistants can sometimes be found offshore.
There might be some confusion when it comes to discussing dates and times, which might lead to one party misunderstanding what the other meant. World Time Buddy is an excellent tool to be used in handling the problem of scheduling when it comes to different time zones. This will help set deadlines, as well as schedule any meetings or calls.
Asana is another project management software that allows managers and VAs alike to stay focused on the project at hand, as well as track progress throughout the entire process. A common opinion about the software from users is how the beauty of Asana lies in its simplicity.
Users are also able to integrate a lot of things into the software, and VAs are able to tie in emails, tickets, files and a lot more into Asana. Once a task is done, the VA can then simply tick it off the list, and the team leader can also create customized fields to keep track of the pertinent information.
When it comes to managing projects and making sure your virtual assistants are working on the project, monitoring hours isn’t all there is to it. Another important facet of it is managing proper communication between the members of the team, as well as allocating the right person for each task.
Hey.Space is a well-organized software where you can see everything you need on one screen. On the side, you can see the to-do list as well as the assigned VA of each task, as well as a unified board where communication between the VAs, as well as you, can keep an open stream of communication going, which is of vital importance for the completion of the project.
Yet another great example of a simple yet robust and reliable time-tracking software, Harvest allows you to keep track of the resources involved in a project, be it clients, expenses, tasks, and projects. The timesheets are also in a visual form, which makes it easier for you to see the time spent on different tasks.
A great thing about Harvest is how you are able to integrate it with Xero and QuickBooks. With these other software systems, you can directly send invoices to the clients.
Thanks for the article. It should helpful for those managing remote teams. I’m curious as to what you would recommend the most for start-ups? Based from experience, Asana and Trello are the most common due to them being easy to use yet have extensive features.