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Collaboration Software Turns Remote Workers into a Team

Have you ever considered a virtual assistant? With the right software, and the right employee, it could be the most efficient, and most cost effective, move you’ve ever made.

The trend toward remote employees has been on the rise for years. There are currently millions of people working from out of the office. Analysts predict the number will reach one billion employees worldwide by 2011, a whopping 75 percent of the global workforce. Although this trend runs the full gamut of industries and job descriptions, there is one position that’s really taking off—the virtual assistant: your right-hand man, or woman. Virtual assistants are not only cost effective, they often do the job more efficiently that their in-office counterparts. But to derive the full benefit, you need cutting edge collaboration software.

What does a virtual assistant do? Just about everything except make you coffee. They can take care of your appointment book, schedule your flights, answer your emails, pay bills, transcribe your dictation—all the usual stuff.

But they often offer much more; they are specialists, experts in your industry. And they are usually very tech savvy. They can whip together a relevant spreadsheet, write articles or briefs, handle your social media, and other online initiatives. They might even handle your on and offline promotion and marketing.

All it takes for this to be a success, other than finding the right person for the job (and the recruitment industry is catching on to this trend as well, so you’ll have some help), is good collaboration software.

Why is collaboration software so important? That’s what turns two people (or more) who work in different locations into a team. With collaboration software, you can meet face-to-face, view files on a common screen, coordinate tasks, manage documents, discuss topics, you can even edit the same document simultaneously - and on the fly.

In-office employees can cost a company two to five times their salary—a virtual assistant charges only for the time they’re working, and you have virtually (no pun intended) no overhead. In this tough economy, it’s a very smart move but don’t forget the collaboration software.