TOP 34 TOOLS for Managing Your Virtual Team

TOP 34 TOOLS for Managing Your Virtual Team

Let’s say, for instance, that you already hired your chosen virtual team for your expanding business operations. Imagine shelling out your money on these people along with your frustrations of not having any idea of what they’re actually doing from afar. The dreadful curiosity shakes you every time. It’s exactly the last thing you want to think about in this harrowing situation.

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My Virtual Workforce

September 12, 2014
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    The Top 34 Tools for Managing Your Virtual Team w

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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: The Top 34 Tools for Managing Your Virtual Team Let’s say, for instance, that you already hired your chosen virtual team for your expanding business operations. Imagine shelling out your money on these people along with your frustrations of not having any idea of what they’re actually doing from afar. The dreadful curiosity shakes you every time. It’s exactly the last thing you want to think about in this harrowing situation. “Help, what should I do?” I can hear your distress. The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you’re in luck. I’ve compiled the most commendable, if not the best tools in communicating and managing your virtual team. Plus, I’ve also provided the tools to use during the implementation stage of your projects. These tools are software, hardware, and processes that the pros are already using in the trade and of which made management easier for employers who outsource. The tools are categorized in 3 types: tools to communicate, tools to manage, and tools to implement. Tools to Communicate The importance of communication dates back to the time when the Tower of Babel failed to reach the tip of the sky. Though it’s a fanciful account to associate my point, it tells us that communication should be the foundation of a united and successful workforce. It’s the attempt of man to bridge together distant lands and minds. These communication tools are to provide better job descriptions to virtual staff, communicate better feedback, and supply more details about the projects to save time and production cost. SCREEN ANNOTATION Jing Project (http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html)
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: When you’re working with designers and developers, Jing is an amazing free collaboration tool to put annotations or request changes into their mock ups. You can also record your voice while you explain how you want things to be done. It captures what you see on your desktop while recording it. Jing provides the basic visual elements in making your suggestions as clear as possible to your designers. You can directly upload your capture to screencast.com where your staff can view it easily. Though Jing is a free tool, there are some paid features that you can also exploit to gain better advantage. The good thing is, it also works both for PC & Mac. Skitch (Mac) (http://evernote.com/skitch/) Skitch is an easy-to-use screen capture, markup, and annotation tool from Evernote. It has a very simple user interface that even non tech moguls can use conveniently when pointing out something. Skitch uses limited and traditional image annotation tools found at the left side of the screen. It’s straightforward without any swanky tool that only distracts your recorded captures.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Are you tired of outsourcing to unreliable home based staff? Are you confused about who to hire and where to start? Do you want more consistent productivity in your business? If you answered yes, to ANY of the questions above, immediately visit: If you answered yes to any of the questions above, immediately visit: to claim your COMPLIMENTARY $250 worth of VA Services in your first month www.mvwGift.com or call 1300 618 936 $250 Entitles barer to a $250 worth of FREE virtual assistant services in their first month as a client of My Virtual Workforce Simply call 1300 618 936 within 14 days of downloading this report, mention certificate code MVW11 and secure your free gift. What tasks will you delegate first? Think about what you can delegate to your virtual assistant. Get more done, in less time and spend more time doing the bigger thinking in your business. To learn more about the team at My Virtual Workforce, visit www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au You decide what to outsource…we do the rest! Claim your Complimentary Gift of $250 worth of FREE Virtual Assistant Services
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: ScreenHunter (PC) (http://www.wisdom-soft.com/products/screenhunter_pro.htm) Like Skitch, ScreenHunter is also easy to use in capturing objects, images, entire screens, webpages, and more. It’s clean and smoothly runs on and after launching. Though ScreenHunter features a number of screenshot tools with artistic effects, its quick toolbar lets you work with any captured image efficiently. You can also import files from other sources to annotate in the same software. If you often forget to record or capture the progress of your work, you can benefit from the software’s screenshot timer. This auto-capture your shots at recurring intervals or at any frequency you want while you attend to more important things. SCREEN VIDEO CAPTURE JingProject.com (http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html) Jing can be collaborated with Screencasts in sharing recorded captures or videos to your staff. It lets you select any window or area in your screen that you would like to record. Jing then records everything that’s
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: happening in the chosen area; anything you see or do for that matter to produce tutorials or instructional videos in a limited time of 5 minutes. Camtasia (PC) (http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html) Camtasia is a professional and comprehensive screen-based recording and video editing tool. It captures anything on the screen to produce a full featured education/information video tool. It’s effortless to use but still produces state-of-the –art results. It has intelligent yet simple navigation interface that you can work with creatively in less than no time. Camtasia’s capture mechanics has improved to generate high-definition videos and can record 30 frames per second. You can also import videos, music, photos, and a lot more from other sources with different formats in its video editing tool. This impressive editing software has built-in ready-to-use themes, animated backgrounds, graphics, and much more. Also, its improved version features interactive videos through clickable hyperlinks, giving its audience an engaging user experience.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Screenflow(Mac) (http://www.telestream.net/screenflow/overview.htm) Screenflow by Telestream is a screen recording and editing software for Mac. It produces high quality recording that even plays on Retina Displays. It has an impressive compression system that allows full screen capture while keeping file sizes low. It also has a powerful video editing tool that lets you put annotations on videos, edit with multiple layers, add callouts and many more. Like ScreenHunter, you can also use its built-in recording timer if you don’t want to undergo the hassles of manually recording what you’re doing. ScreenFlow also stops recording as the recording duration time stops. With its pause screen recording, you can pause your lengthy screencast recording during breaks and resume the recording process after. AUDIO COMMUNICATION iPhone (http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/) This is called a smart phone for a reason. With iPhone’s digital voice recording called Voice Memo, you can record everything from random ideas popping into your head to your cat’s little purring. The good part is that you can cut through the nonsense rambles of your recording with its editing tool. Just use the trim audio tool to shorten your recording. But beware; all edited files are permanent so you might want to make sure first that you got the right part saved from trimming.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/) Audacity is a cross platform audio recording and editing software. It’s definitely free and easy-to-use with its codes readily available for anyone to use or study. WIREFRAMING Word (http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/word/) Yes, Microsoft Word. The simple word processor can also be used to make wireframes for your web designs. To create the elements of your proposed web layout, simply use MS Word’s textboxes and label each boxes to your desired element such as a banner, header, navigation bar, body, etc.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Gliffy (http://mashable.com/2010/07/15/wireframing-tools/) You can create almost any web-based blueprint in Gliffy such as diagrams, organizational charts, floor plans, processes, and website wireframes among many others. Its drag and drop user interface allows you to easily add elements into your website design. Various collections of shapes and buttons are readily available for use or you can import your own images for a more visualized mock up. Mockflow (http://www.mockflow.com/) A web-based app wireframe tool, Mockflow has a minimalistic and systematised interface and an extensive editing set. You can also drag and drop elements to create your wireframe and choose from a wide array of components available such as charts, ads, menus, and dropdowns. It also has the ability to import your own images to add into your web design. Mockflow lets you share and annotate your design with others through its design collaboration service. This helps you review your design concepts with the team to simplify the decision process and efficiently finish the web layout.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: VISUAL + AUDIO COMMUNICATION LiveScribe Smart Pen (https://www.livescribe.com/au/) It’s a note-taking and recording innovation in a body of a smart pen. LiveScribe has a microphone and a little laser that records everything you write and draw on paper. You can sync or transfer your recordings with the computer using either the wifi or USB cable. Tools to Manage Managing your virtual team from far-flung places is like taking a walk in the park with these management tools designed to make you oversee their day to day operations. These are everyday tools to help you monitor and manage their tasks and projects, as well as to communicate better feedback regarding their progress. DATA STORAGE Dropbox(https://www.dropbox.com/) Dropbox is a cloud storage host that keeps your documents, photos, and videos for easy file storage, access, and sharing anytime and anywhere. You can access Dropbox through your computer or mobile device as it automatically synchronizes your files when saved. It offers free premium package when you sign up for its services, allowing you to store up to 2GB of free storage space for your files. If you want more storage capacity, you have to avail first its paid subscription.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Google Docs + Google Apps(https://docs.google.com/) If Microsoft has Microsoft Word as their basic word processor, Google also has Google Docs. The two things that separate the latter from the former are that Google Docs is web-based and users can collaborate in creating a Google Docs document online. Google Docs is part of Google’s office applications within Google Drive. When you create a document, it’s automatically saved in Google Drive, Google’s own free cloud storage where you can view and share your files anywhere. Google Apps on the other hand is a Google service that provides you with professional email for your business, cloud storage (Google Drive), shared calendars, word processors (Google Docs), and so much more. It’s an all-in-one business solution that promotes team collaboration and better business correspondence. Amazon S3 (http://aws.amazon.com/documentation/s3/) Large scale files like websites, web applications, or any big and critical data should be stored in Amazon S3 or otherwise called Amazon Simple Storage Service. Amazon S3 is a cloud-based storage for the internet. It’s built and designed for web designers for them to take advantage upon. Files of considerable size can be easily scaled in Amazon S3 for better file handling and access. Or if you don’t want to touch or tweak your data, you can simply put it as it is in Amazon S3.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: DAILY COMMUNICATION Skype (http://www.skype.com/en/) Since its release in 2003, Skype has become the most widely used free instant messaging and video call software to date. Skype uses the internet to get you connected to other people around the globe. You can also call telephones and mobile phones but with a competitive charging rate. What makes Skype the ultimate communication and management tool is that it allows you to share your screen with your contacts for collaboration purposes. Whether you’re in a hurry to finish a design project with your team or simply giving instructions as to how to use an application, you can use Skype to communicate with your virtual staff in real time. Gmail (https://mail.google.com/) Gmail is a free email service by Google that runs on a simplified user interface; thus, making it the most popular email host in the web. Signing up to Gmail also entitles you to automatically associate your email account with Google’s other services. Gmail is fast when it comes to displaying newly-arrived emails than any other webmail services. This also automatically filters spam messages and submerges unimportant emails through its Gmail Archive feature. Currently, the webmail host has a built-in instant messenger (Hangout) so you can chat with your staff instantaneously.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: PROJECT MANAGEMENT Basecamp (https://basecamp.com/) Basecamp is a comprehensible project management tool that encourages transparency and collaboration with your team and with other people involved. You don’t need to be an all out IT expert to use this management tool. It’s effective, efficient, and less complex than its competitors. You can simply create multiple projects, to-do lists, and share them to your virtual employees. It gives you insights to the task that needs to be done; the person behind its completion and which projects are gaining favorable momentum. TeamWorkPM (https://www.teamwork.com/) TeamWorkPM is a project management software that allows its users to actively collaborate in teams in tracking issues, measuring productivity, monitoring activities, scheduling of tasks and milestones, and even resource management. You can also take advantage with its risk management feature that allows you to handle and determine which type of risk is worth the gamble. Through TeamWorkPM, you can also manage multiple projects at the same time to reduce production cost and shorten time spent on a single task.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: activeCollab (https://www.activecollab.com/) Take a full view of your team’s productivity and team projects with activeCollab’s all-in-one project management solution. Aside from its valuable team collaboration feature and effective project divider, activeCollab also provides time and expenses reports to keep you on track of your spending. It also saves you the pain of billing with its customisable and easy invoicing. Tired of manually putting your schedules on your calendar? Its drag-and-drop features make scheduling of tasks and events hassle-free for you so you can concentrate more on important things. CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT eSupport eSupport sites let users access to a wide range of information from various topics online. You can answer customer inquiries by joining eSupport forums or simply create your own eSupport site that offers customer support solutions. Desk.com (http://www.desk.com/) Offering branded self-service experience, Desk.com makes you open and available for your customers when they need you the most.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: This tool lets you easily set up and customize FAQs, contact forms, and support center in just a few minutes. It’s an all-in-one customer support app that your agents can fully utilize to answer customer queries at the soonest possible time. Tools to Implement It’s the phase that will determine the outcome of your daily team planning and deliberation. The implementation stage shapes the project into its actual and tangible form, or visible for that matter. And what’s more important than making a concept come alive is maintaining the momentum in carrying it out. The following tools greatly aide you in leveraging your team’s time during the implementation phase by using a list of software and websites that automate processes. It speeds up the process while providing cost-effective resources in improving results. VIDEO MARKETING Traffic Geyser (http://www.trafficgeyser.com/) This is another recommended automatic distribution tool for your content in the web. Traffic Geyser is mostly known for marketing, distributing, and promoting your videos online. Currently, Traffic Geyser is also offering easy step-by-step process to set up your website with its Website Wizard, a marketing blueprint in building and widely publicising your site through SEO. Aside from that, it will help you craft shareable and interesting kinds of content for your website.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: TubeMogul (http://www.tubemogul.com/) TubeMogul- the name already speaks for what this company is all about and what the people in it can offer to you. The company doesn’t just distribute your videos in the web, but they also make sure first that your online video content is distributed well through thorough campaign planning (targeting), execution (optimisation), and measurement (video analytics). TubeMogul wants transparency when it comes to making its customers aware of how their video ads are performing in the web. It only affiliates with trusted and top class publishers and networks to strengthen their credibility and boosting your viewability. BrightCove (https://www.brightcove.com/en/) Established and well-known brands have already used Brightcove for their video advertisements. It’s a video platform that uses cloud-based solutions for distributing and monetizing video content on almost all devices. GRAPHIC DESIGN iStockPhoto (http://www.istockphoto.com/) iStockPhoto used to only offer royalty-free stock photos in the web and they were even free then. Now, the company also offers royalty-free images, illustrations, videos, and even audio files. But, you have to pay for them now for a cheaper price.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Photographers and graphic designers from all over the world submit millions of photos to iStockPhoto. They could only start contributing or selling their works for commissions after the company makes sure that their works are subjected to quality assurance. It’s a guarantee that you’d get some of the best photos out there through iStockPhoto. 99designs/ LogoStore (http://99designs.com/logo-design/store) If you’re having trouble creating your company logo and don’t know someone who can better make it for you, 99designs would be a good choice to go. It uses the concept of crowdsourcing wherein you could host a logo-making contest and let a number of qualified graphic designers submit their logo proposals. You choose the best design from the hundreds that relate to your industry and the winner takes home the cash prize that you’ve paid to 99designs. Of course, the prize pool depends on the package that you’ve availed. However, if you like to save more, you can buy logos for only $99 at 99designs Logo Store. Browse thousands of ready-made logos and their in-house team of graphic designers will tweak your chosen logo template to add your company name. WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com/) Web designers and developers are graced by the existence of WooTheme’s huge collection of incredible Wordpress themes, plug-ins, and e-Commerce templates. You can access and get 52 awesome Wordpress themes for only $399. That’s already a great selection of your money’s worth!
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: $20Banners (http://www.20dollarbanners.com/) The name ultimately suggests what this e-Commerce site is all about- website banners for $20 cheap. While a banner may not be priced at exactly $20 (price range $20- $49), you are guaranteed to get high- quality, scene-stealing flash banners that effectively directs people into your website. Fiverr.com (http://www.fiverr.com/) It’s a bit ridiculous for some people to offer their creative services for only $5 these days. I mean, what good can you get from these talents if they’re offering their services at such low price? At Fiverr, you can find this type of people who are willing to do online-based jobs for you at exactly $5! You can cheaply outsource graphic designers, voice-over talents, writers, web designers, etc. at Fiverr. That is, if you’re willing to take the risk or have limited resources on hand. TRANSCRIPTION Casting Words (https://castingwords.com/) Most of the time, transcribing audio files that are difficult to decipher frustrates us. We need someone who is patient enough to do the dirty work for us. Casting Words is one leading company that provides audio transcription services for $1 per minute.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Their services have since expanded from transcribing podcasts audio to a wide range of audio listings from different industries. Outscribe (http://www.outscribetranscription.com.au/) Outscribe is an Australian transcription services provider with its servers only kept in Australia so to give its customers the assurance that uploaded audio files are secure. The company boasts about their online WorkSpace wherein clients can upload their audio files, download the completed transcriptions, and or monitor the progress of the job. Unlike other transcription services provider, you are given in-depth work reports so that you’d be confident enough to entrust your files to them. AUDIO/VISUAL VideoHive (http://videohive.net/) Much like iStockPhoto, VideoHive also offers royalty-free video footage, motion graphics and the likes. It also has project files created via Adobe After Effects to improve your corporate videos and give them eye- catching graphics.
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    u a l w o r k f o r c e . c o m . a u Suite 109, 59 Pitt Street, Sydney. NSW. 2000 www.myvirtualworkforce.com.au 1300 618 936 02 8437 3574 69 138 197 485 P: F: ABN: Audio Jungle (http://audiojungle.net/) Created by Envato Market, also the developer of VideoHive, Audio Jungle sells royalty-free sound effects, music, and other different audio files. You can choose cool sound effects from its categories or you can purchase one of their music and sound packs to add the right attitude for your video projects or radio jingles. Conclusion This might have come off as a lengthy post, but I just wanted to make your virtual staffing experience worth the while with the tools that I have featured. While these tools can greatly intensify your overall operation and give you the eagle’s eye to see what’s happening out there, your innate ability to lead and manage staff still significantly weigh to secure your business. Choosing the best tools from reputable developers and service providers is a life-saving technique to survive in the present market scuffle. With more and more companies being technologically baptised and considering constant digital innovation as the holy grail to be on top, it’s hardly comfortable to just sit back or simply saunter on the traditional path.