“Getting more done” is always a priority in any business, and productivity apps often have a role to play.
If you’re working with a virtual assistant, it’s important that you’ve got the best productivity apps in place to help facilitate a virtual environment. There was a time when the very nature of being remote would have made that tricky, but fortunately, technology has advanced so we have a lot of options.
But what does productivity really look like and what are the best tools for the job? Let’s take a closer look.
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Best Virtual Assistant Software Tools
What “Productivity” Looks Like
There are many benefits to working with a remote team. In fact, did you know remote workers are outperforming their office-based counterparts?
No office distractions and the autonomy and freedom to get more done is allowing remote workers to maximize their productivity.
The challenge when you and your virtual assistant work remotely is to decide what productivity looks like. Usually, this will be different for any given business, but a great way to get a handle on it is to define some KPIs and goals for what productivity means to you.
One thing productivity is NOT is the number of hours worked. Clocking in and out is not a great measure because it doesn’t tell you if work actually happened. There’s an entire culture of office-based clock watchers who can tell you hours do not equal productivity!
It’s more important to measure the right things. Are you moving toward business goals? Are you getting there as quickly as you’d like? Also, consider whether you’re spending time-fighting fires — this can be an indication of possible changes needed in your processes to become more proactive.
Roadblocks to Productivity
In our experience of working with multiple remote clients and team members, the biggest roadblocks to productivity are:
- Not having clear direction or goals to be working toward
- Poor communication
- Not having the right productivity tools to facilitate the remote environment.
Top 10 Virtual Assistant Tools to Improve Productivity
If you do a search of productivity software, you’re going to get a huge number of hits. As remote work has become more common and people have embraced digital technology, areas such as SaaS and apps for productivity have exploded.
This can all be a bit overwhelming for someone who is hoping to quickly assess and put in place suitable solutions.
Over time, we’ve tested and used a number of apps to determine which we like the best. Here are our top picks, for anyone who’d like to take a shortcut on making the decision!
P.S. All the tools for virtual assistants listed are made sure to come from credible companies which sites serve secured connections, so you shouldn't be worried about your online privacy on these websites!
Asana is a powerful project management tool and task management tool that helps you keep track of tasks and to do list. It helps teams stay organized and work on projects. It is an essential tool for businesses of all sizes, as it helps teams track progress and manage tasks efficiently.
With its commenting features, Asana also serves as a collaboration tool. Team members can create tasks and assign them to other members. Asana also allows users to mention other members in tasks. This makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that tasks are completed on time.
This is a video tool that has three settings to allow you to communicate what you need: screen with camera, just screen, or just camera. You can do screen sharing (i.e., providing instructions for how to complete a task) or simply record a video of yourself sending a message.
One great way to use Loom is when you’re creating shareable processes for your business. You might need to show how something works, or just quickly explain how you like something done. You can then save your videos to a library for future reference. It makes it easy on you and your virtual assistant if they have something to reference.
How many hours do you or your virtual assistant spend on social media management? It’s a job that can really eat into your time, especially if you are logging in and out of accounts, or having to come up with posts daily.
Hootsuite is one of the social media management tools that streamlines all of those associated tasks. You can manage your different social media platforms from one dashboard, which means no more logging in and out.
One of its best time-saving features is that you can schedule social media posts in one go via the dashboard. You can do this for all of your accounts, even planning out a few weeks at a time.
There are a couple of great things about this feature:
- You can get a lot done while you’re “in the groove” of creating social media posts.
- It saves you from going down the social media “rabbit hole” that’s easy to fall down if you log into the account directly!
Another important feature for small business owners and virtual assistants is the content curation section. This allows you to store pre-approved content in a cloud-based file, which your virtual assistant is allowed to use for social media posts. So, if you happen to be browsing and come across something, you can add it as you go.
Importantly, your virtual assistant can monitor and respond to your social media followers via the Hootsuite dashboard. It also comes with a reasonable analytics package so you can track your social media performance.
4. Google Workspace
As a business owner, you know that maintaining a professional image is important. You also know that staying organized and keeping on top of your work can be a challenge. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) can help you with both of those things.
Google Workspace is a collection of productivity and business tools that includes:
Gmail: a business-class email service with features like custom email addresses and archiving
Google Drive: a cloud-based storage service for documents, photos, and more
Google Meet: a video conferencing solution that allows you to do team meetings or audio and video calls with up to 500 people
Google Calendar: a free scheduling tool that helps you keep track of meetings, events, and deadlines
Google Chat: instant messaging for businesses
Jamboard: a digital whiteboard for team collaboration
Google Docs: a word processing application with features like real-time collaboration
Google Sheets: a spreadsheet application that includes features like pivot tables and data validation
Google Slides: a presentation application that allows you to collaborate on presentations in real-time
Google Keep: a note-taking application that helps you stay organized
Google Sites: a website builder that makes it easy to create landing pages and even your own website
Google Forms: a way to create surveys, quizzes, and more
While each of these tools can be used independently, they work best when used together. For example, users can do seamless file sharing from Drive with others using Docs or Hangouts.
With Google Workspace, you can create a professional-looking website for your business, stay in touch with multiple clients via email, and collaborate on projects with teammates. Plus, all of your data is stored securely in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere! Google Workspace can help you streamline your workflow, stay organized, and project a polished image to the world.
Most of these features can be found in the free plan of Google Workspace, but the paid version has advanced features specifically designed for business use (and at $4.20 per user per month, it’s not outrageously priced!).
Specific business benefits from Google Workspace include:
a company email address ([email protected])
100-participant online meetings
30 GB storage per user
security and management controls
5. Canva or Pixelcut
Visual images are a powerful way to get attention online, and you need them across many of your media properties. If you or your virtual assistant spend any time creating graphics for social media accounts, marketing materials, or even just for fun, then Canva is a great tool!
Canva is an online platform with graphic design tools that’s beloved by users for its simplicity.
With a library of built-in templates and easy-to-use tools, Canva makes graphic design accessible to everyone.
Plus, with a huge library of free resources and affordable paid options, it’s easy to find just the right image or element to complete your project.
Canva makes creating professional-looking images easy. Sure, it’s not the same as employing a professional graphic designer, but it’s the next best thing if you need the best graphic design tools but don’t have a huge budget.
The team at Canva has created tutorials for how to put various elements together to create a great image. You might create an image laid over with a quote, an advertisement for your business, or an engaging blog feature image. The designs are shareable so that anyone else in your team can edit them too.
With the free version of Canva, users can access all of the basic features! And for business users who need more storage space and advanced features like team collaboration, there are affordable monthly plans starting at $12.99 per user.
Pixelcut is a dynamic AI-powered editing tool that makes it easy to create product photos, ads, and other assets for your online stores. With its background remover, you can instantly remove backgrounds and add shadows to any of your shots.
Using the magic eraser, you can remove objects from the foreground or background to make your picture perfect. Furthermore, the batch editor helps you to edit several images at once, and custom templates make duplicating your editing tasks a breeze
Do you know what else can be a barrier to productivity? Too many online tools that don’t “talk” with one another!
Basically, the more you can automate in your processes, the more efficiently you can operate.
Zapier is one of our best productivity apps for creating more effective processes. It takes those apps which don’t have in-built integrations with one another and acts as the “middle man” to make automations happen.
For example, you might use Zapier to create a link between Asana and Gmail, allowing for tasks to be created in Asana from emails in Gmail.
Zapier gives you the ability to automate all kinds of common tasks so that you can focus on other things. The Zapier platform has both a free version and paid plans, which are available for those who need more features and integrations.
7. Time Tracking Tools
Do you know how you’re spending your time? What about how your virtual assistant is spending theirs?
Time tracking tools allow you to see exactly how you're spending your time, and they can help you identify areas where you may be wasting time or opportunities to be more productive.
There are a variety of different time tracking apps available, but there are at least three which we have tried and love:
- TimeDoctor - is a time tracking software that helps you stay productive by providing insights into how you spend your time. It offers features, like screenshots, reporting, client tracking (who uses the most time?), and integrations with payroll. You can also track time spent on individual apps and websites, which is very useful for noticing any patterns (hello, Facebook!).
- Toggl - is easy to use with a push-button timer. It allows you to break down your data in a number of different ways and see exactly how you’re spending your time. It works across all devices and allows you to specifically track how much time you’re taking in the tools that it integrates with.
- Clockify - This free app is a very simple time tracker and timesheet app, which can easily be used by everyone on the team.
Sometimes, just getting into the apps and programs you need to use can be a big productivity killer. How many times have you yelled at your screen as it told you “incorrect username or password?” You can easily waste half an hour at a time doing resets and confirmations!
Lastpass is a savior for the password-challenged. The password manager app “remembers” passwords for you and works in the background to automatically update for any changes. Get into your productivity tools the first time, every time!
Every business needs a decent accounting tool, and of all the potential tools out there, we really like Xero.
Like the best productivity tools, Xero helps you to automate key functions and easily put a process around those that aren’t automatic.
It has grown to be one of the most popular accounting apps in the world and is packed with features.
For example, Xero allows you or your virtual assistant to quickly reconcile accounts, send purchase orders, manage inventory, manage bills, and process invoices, among other features. It also integrates with a lot of other apps, so there’s a good chance there will be something you use that you can hook up with it.
10. CRM Software
Here are three options we like:
It’s important to manage productivity well, especially in a remote environment. You need a selection of top productivity apps to help, but we’d suggest that you choose your top few to begin with!
You don’t want to create more work for yourself managing apps, so prioritize what you need the most first. What are some top choices?