The Top Productivity Apps For You and Your Virtual Assistant
The advancement of technology and changes in the business landscape over recent years has brought with it an increase in businesses, teams and individuals utilising Virtual Assistants or remote business support professionals. Working with a Virtual Assistant can be hugely beneficial and rewarding for a business or individual, however, to ensure you get the most out of this working relationship it is important that you work productively together. There are a number of different programmes and software on the market that can really make a difference with regards to productivity, and we have compiled a list of what we feel are the top productivity apps out there currently which can help to facilitate a virtual partnership.
This is an extremely popular piece of software that we at Lily Shippen have begun to use within our team. It is a project management app that allows everyone within the team or business to clearly see what has been done so far, what work is on-going and what work still needs to be done, whilst also allowing you to track targets, prioritise, set deadlines, assign tasks and share details. You can use Asana to set well-defined goals, which will help your team and Virtual Assistant stay aligned and focused, as well as enabling you to define everyone’s role within the project which, in turn, eliminates confusion and increases transparency. Finally, this tool will help to increase efficiency by allowing your Virtual Assistant or remote team to work with you collaboratively, whilst ensuring that they remain on track.
Keeping on top of social media management and trying to come up with daily posts can not only be a daunting task, but can also take up a lot of time for, both yourself and your Virtual Assistant. Hootsuite can go a long way to helping you to manage your social media posts a lot more efficiently and productively. It's a social media management tool, again used by us at Lily Shippen, which enables you to manage and streamline all your social media platforms from one single page. Our favourite feature of this app is the fact that you can create and schedule tonnes of social media posts to go out at certain times via the dashboard. This is something that you can do for all accounts, we tend to use it for LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook mainly, but you can also link it Instagram as well.
Hootsuite has helped our social media management massively, as it's meant that we can schedule posts for at least a few weeks in advance, which gives us time to come up with new content without worrying about posting as well. Furthermore, without having to physically log in to each individual account in order to post content, it stops us being tempted to aimlessly scroll through social media and waste time!
Another great feature of Hootsuite is the content curation section, which allows you to collate pre-approved content for your Virtual Assistant to post, so if you see something you think could be an interesting blog topic or news article to share, you can add this to the file so your VA has relevant content to work with. Finally, Hootsuite also enables your VA to manage and respond to engagement on any of your social media posts via the dashboard, and comes with a function which allows you to track analytics. What’s not to like!
Harvest is a time tracking app which can have several different benefits for businesses, individuals and VAs. An important task, especially for remote workers such as VAs, is time tracking and Harvest allows you to track time whilst you are working. As an example, if you are VA with a to-do list, you can set this up in Harvest; when you start a task, you can turn on the timer and when you have finished this task you can turn it off. This is brilliant for VAs as, if they are working with multiple clients or on multiple projects, it will allow them to track time specifically for each client or project. What's more, the beauty of Harvest is that it also integrates with a wide range of different platforms such as Asana, Quickbooks, Xero, G-suite and more, which means you can continue to track time regardless of what other apps you are using.
Harvest is also useful if you and your VA are working with a wider team, as the software allows you to track a number of different people at any one time. This is a great feature as it not only gives you important information about how much your team is working, but also enables you to see which members are over capacity and may need work re-assigning, and those who need more assignments, so that you can distribute work evenly.
Another brilliant feature of Harvest is the ability to track expenses; rather than filling out a spreadsheet or a piece of paper manually, simply take a picture of the receipt and upload it to your account.
Finally, Harvest can also give you a better understanding of how much time and money you are putting into a project compared to how much you are getting out of a project. This can be done by colour coding the projects to see who is working on what project and how much time they are spending on each project, meaning you can easily see which clients are worth your time and which clients are more hassle than their worth!
As we all know, a lack of communication can massively affect how productive you, your VA and your wider team are, but Loom is a brilliant way to ensure clear and concise communication at all times when working remotely. Loom is a video tool which allows you to call people and show them your screen and camera, just your screen, or just your camera. The screen share is a great feature of the application as it enables you to show whoever you are calling what is on your screen and discuss it with them in real-time without physically being there or without having to send over email, etc.
Another benefit of this application is the fact that you can create shareable processes. For example, if you like something done in a certain way or you want to explain to your team how to work on a specific project but you know you won’t have a lot of time to talk through it with them, you can pre-record a video explanation using the screen share and the video tool and then save your video to a library for future reference so that people can watch it at a time that suits them or refer back to it at a later date if they need to!
This has got to be one of the best free applications out there and is used daily by the Lily Shippen team. Canva is a free graphic design tool that enables you to make eye-catching, professional presentations, posters, social media posts, business cards, blog graphics and more. Canva has thousands of templates, photos and fonts you can use for free, whilst also giving you the ability to create your own templates and upload your personal pictures to drag and drop into Canva. The templates are easy to use and you are able to play around with various layout options and fonts for your post until you find the one that is perfect for your business and the content you are wanting to share. It also saves all your previously used templates so that, if you have particular design that you use regularly for your posts, all you need to do is change the picture, wording or heading and the rest is already in place for you! This is an extremely useful software for VAs or remote workers who are responsible for social media content and is easy to navigate and use, even for those who aren’t the most tech-savvy. We love it and so will you!