Best Tools For Working with Virtual Assistants in Real Estate
REVA Global has been in the remote work game even before the pandemic hit. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the global work landscape by requiring a significant number of employees to work from home rather than reporting to a physical office. Though remote work has gained traction in recent years, the current situation has compelled a substantial portion of the workforce to adopt it as a necessity.
Consequently, numerous small businesses are actively seeking free digital software tools to support this work arrangement. However, if these complimentary alternatives prove unsuitable for their specific demands and aspirations, paid options may offer a better fit.
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Benefits of Using Digital Software For Working Remotely
The purpose of incorporating digital software work tools is to provide a sense of proximity and connection among employees who are physically away, even across different regions. These tools serve to keep the team well-connected and efficient, regardless of their dispersed location. In a work set up like this, it is crucial to avoid misunderstandings, delays, lost prospects, or disappointing customers. By leveraging digital tools, you can ensure that your team stays on top of their game and delivers results in a timely and satisfactory manner.
Remote working tools offer significant advantages in terms of communication, management, and collaboration, by enabling team members to work from any location with an internet connection. With seamless integrations and robust connectivity, video calls and real-time messaging become effortless, providing easy access to team members, no matter where they are located. These tools facilitate smooth and efficient collaboration, allowing teams to work together seamlessly, share resources, and stay connected.
By leveraging these tools, businesses can overcome geographical barriers, streamline their workflows, and increase productivity, even in a remote work setting.
Types of Remote Working Tools
To enable your employees to work productively from home, there is a wide range of remote working tools available. Miranda Nicholson, the Vice President of Human Resources at Formstack, highlights four essential types of remote working software that businesses should consider. These include communication, scheduling, project management, and file sharing tools.
Modern remote working tools provide various communication channels, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls, enabling teams to remain connected and communicate effectively.
Unlike email, which can be challenging to manage and maintain conversations, these tools simplify communication by allowing teams to follow threads and add other members to the conversation quickly. They break down communication barriers, ensuring conversations are relevant and on-topic.
By utilizing these new communication platforms, businesses can foster productive and collaborative work environments, even in a remote work setting.
Slack is a team communication platform that helps businesses connect with team members across the globe by organizing conversations into shared channels. Small businesses can benefit from the free tier, which provides access to 10,000 of the team’s most recent messages, one-on-one voice and video calls, and up to 10 integrations with other apps like Google Drive and Office 365.
For small businesses that regularly hold online meetings, the paid version is recommended. It includes identity protection, full integration with Slack tools, and saved message history. Slack’s paid program ensures secure team meetings and communication without any time restrictions.
Zoom is a remote video conferencing service that enables teams to stay connected through video chat, conference rooms, and phone calls. It offers online meetings, video webinars, cross-platform messaging, and file sharing, making communication possible from anywhere.
Zoom’s free basic plan allows hosting for up to 100 participants and unlimited one-on-one meetings, while groups of three or more can meet for up to 40 minutes at a time. It provides HD video and voice, full-screen and gallery view, simultaneous screen share, and plugins for Chrome and Outlook.
The paid version of Zoom accommodates virtual communications, allowing unlimited meeting times and supporting cloud storage of meetings and streaming on social media sites.
Microsoft Teams is an Office 365 communication hub designed for team collaboration, integrating workplace chat, video conferencing, cloud storage, and app integration.
The free version of Microsoft Teams provides unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10GB of team file storage, and 2GB of personal file storage per user. If your business is licensed for Office 365, you can access Microsoft Teams without any additional cost.
These tools enable teams to schedule meetings and share calendars, which helps employees to see the availability of their colleagues and arrange regular check-ins. Many of these tools integrate with calendars and automatically send out meeting reminders and invites, reducing the need for excessive emails.
With HubSpot Meetings, you can easily connect your Google Calendar or Office 365 calendar, establish your availability, and enable your clients or team members to schedule meetings with you. This platform offers customizable form fields for your meeting page to capture contact details, as well as the option to share your meeting page as a link via email or embed it on a website. HubSpot Meetings is free to use, allowing you to schedule an unlimited number of meetings without any charge.
Setmore is a scheduling platform that helps you manage your calendar, client base, booking page and team profiles. It allows you to access your appointments from anywhere, and customers can reschedule or cancel bookings through their inboxes.
The free version of Setmore provides access for up to four staff members with their own logins and calendars, along with automated notifications and reminders. You can use Setmore to book appointments online and integrate it with other platforms like Facebook, Mailchimp, Zendesk and Zapier.
Buffer is a social media management tool designed to help businesses and individuals manage their social media presence. The tool allows users to schedule and publish posts across multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest from a single dashboard.
In addition to scheduling and publishing posts, Buffer also provides analytics to track the performance of social media posts and campaigns. The tool can help users identify their top-performing content and optimize their social media strategy based on real-time data.
Buffer offers various pricing plans, including a free plan with limited features, as well as paid plans with more advanced features and additional social media accounts. The tool is widely used by social media managers, marketers, and businesses of all sizes to streamline their social media presence and improve their online engagement.
With Calendly, you can set up different types of meetings and share your scheduling link with others. You don’t have to worry about sending back-and-forth emails to arrange a meeting time because everything is automated. Plus, you can customize your meetings with your own branding and questions.
It’s a great tool for businesses of all sizes who want to streamline their scheduling processes and boost their productivity.
Screen Recording Tools For Training Videos:
When working with a Virtual Assistant, it’s crucial that they are trained on your processes the exact way you would want them done. This is why screen recording software is easy, simple, and effective for creating an exact outline of the process.
Loom is a video messaging and screen recording tool designed to help individuals and teams communicate more effectively. With Loom, users can record videos of their screen, webcam, or both simultaneously, and share them instantly via a link.
This makes creating training videos for your Virtual Assistant super easy! If any adjustments need to be made to the SOP, just have your VA go through and create a new training video.
ScreenPal (formerly Screencast-O-Matic), is a tool that is very similar to Loom and allows you to record your screen and yourself to create training videos that can be passed off to your Virtual Assistant.
ScreenPal is an excellent tool for remote teams and individuals who want to simplify their communication and collaboration through screen sharing. With its easy-to-use interface and powerful features, ScreenPal is becoming a popular choice for teams and individuals who want to work more efficiently and effectively.
Tango (Chrome Extension)
Tango is a free tool and Google Chrome extension that allows you to document an entire process and will create your SOP for you! We love using this tool and has made documenting procedures a breeze.
The only caveat with the free version is you can only document procedures that are on a web browser such as Google Chrome.
However, with the Pro version it does allow you to document processes that are offline.
Project Management Tools:
Team collaboration tools provide a centralized location for teams to create, assign, and share tasks and assignments. This simplifies collaboration among team members and enables managers to monitor project progress and completion. Cloud-based project management tools typically offer a range of features, including mobile apps for real-time updates and status views, and allow for tracking of multiple projects simultaneously.
Notion is an all-in-one workspace for teams and individuals that combines notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. It provides a unified platform where you can write, plan, collaborate, and get organized. Notion’s drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to customize and tailor to your team’s specific needs. It also offers integrations with popular tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Trello. Notion can be used for a wide range of purposes, from project management to personal journaling.
Basecamp is a management tool that provides all the necessary features in one place to help teams get their work done. Its projects include message boards, to-do lists, file storage, real-time group chat, and automated check-in questions.
Additionally, Basecamp can be integrated with third-party mobile and desktop apps like TaskClone, Zapier, Project Buddy, and Zoho Flow. Basecamp Personal is a free plan for individual projects and small teams, allowing three separate projects and up to 20 users, with 16GB of cloud storage. However, most users prefer the paid option, Basecamp Business, which allows unlimited features and users, along with ample storage space.
Asana is a task and project management tool that simplifies team collaboration, regardless of location. Its automation capabilities eliminate delays, speed up approvals, transform typical projects into custom templates, and save you from manually updating project schedules when timelines change.
The basic plan of this software is free and can be used by up to 15 team members. It includes calendar and list views, enables you to assign tasks and set due dates. This free plan integrates with third-party apps like Gmail, Slack, Jira Cloud, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
File Sharing and Cloud Storage Tools:
Dropbox is a centralized workspace that offers cloud storage and file synchronization for sharing files. Users can create, store, and share cloud content from various file types, including Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Microsoft Office files, and Dropbox Paper.
The free version, Dropbox Basic, provides 2GB of storage and enables users to access and share files on any device, backup and restore shared files easily. Its basic version is compatible with different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Google Drive is a cloud-based storage platform that lets you store, sync, and access files from multiple devices. It is part of the G Suite, and integrates seamlessly with other Google applications such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings.
With the personal plan, Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage space which can be utilized for Gmail and Google Photos in addition to file storage. Google Drive provides software downloads for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems. However, the free version of Google Drive may not be enough for large storage needs.
Time Tracking Tools:
Time-tracking tools are vital for promoting accountability among staff members, and are crucial for project budget planning. Here are some options for virtual time-tracking, available in both free and paid versions.
Clockify is a free and user-friendly tool that supports an unlimited number of users and projects. With its virtual timers, users can track hours and categorize them by project, and even mark them as billable or paid. Clockify also offers prefilled timesheets and customizable reporting features with a visual breakdown.
Toggl offers a free sign-up option, with the availability of paid options that provide advanced features such as billable rates, time audit, calendar integrations, and project templates. Toggl works as an application and also as a browser extension, with offline functionality.
TimeClock Plus is an automated time and attendance software system for businesses of all sizes. It is designed to help businesses save time and money by tracking employee hours accurately and efficiently. The software is easy to use and offers features such as real-time reporting, employee scheduling, job costing, and more.
It is a comprehensive solution for managing employee time and attendance, and it helps businesses ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations. TimeClock Plus is designed to be reliable, secure, and simple to use, making it an ideal solution for businesses of any size.
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