In short, if you use the right tools, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: Your employees can interact with one another as if they’re in the same room, and they can experience all of the benefits that come with working from home. It’s possible to reap the benefits of personal interaction, successful collaboration, and a productive work from home environment. This is possible with the right tools and knowledge for virtual collaboration.
Similarly to helping keep track of your to do list, a personal assistant is also a second pair of eyes. Whether it’s checking that your calendar is well-organised and you haven’t double booked, or thinking ahead about booking travel transfers, it’s the type of forward-thinking that will prevent problems before they’ve happened. When you’re trying to keep multiple balls up in the air this is how you place a safety net underneath, helping to catch any that might drop.
Watson Assistant Pricing: IBM Watson Assistant’s Free plan allows 10,000 API calls per month, 5 chatbots, 100 intents and 25 entities. The Standard plan has unlimited API calls at a cost of $0.0025 per call. You can have up to 20 chatbots, 2,000 intents and 1,000 entities. IBM also offers a multiple higher-level plans, which you’ll need to contact IBM for a quote.

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Leading Across Distance: This program is designed to provide leaders with the tools they need to propel results from their virtual teams. The program is broken up into three sessions: distance leadership, leading across cultural differences and engaging virtual meetings. You will learn what you need to know about the most important aspects of distance leadership, how to effectively communicate in the virtual setting, how to leverage diversity and cultural differences, and more.

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Rulai also integrates with most messaging channels, customer service software, enterprise business software, and cloud storage platforms. You can either build a Ruali chatbot from scratch with its drag-and-drop design console and let its AI adapt to your customers or you can implement a pre-trained chatbot that has been fed data from your specific industry.

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A time zone converter. Teams that include members from different time zones often struggle with finding the best times to collaborate. A time zone converter can assist virtual workers in planning the best times for meetings, and it can remind employees to remain conscientious of the time in their teammates’ zones. Every Time Zone is a web-based, aesthetically pleasing app that converts time zone differences in a simple, easy-to-comprehend format.

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Increase cross-cultural awareness. People involved in global teams should know and understand the challenges that come with communicating across cultures. For example, an American multinational oil and gas corporation wanted to ensure their non-Iraqi employees were equipped with the cultural knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the Iraqi context. Aperian Global worked with corporation leaders and local Iraqis to design a workshop for multinational employees assigned to Iraq, and it was offered in the US and the Middle East. A pre-departure workshop was also created for employees traveling to Iraq. It addressed issues such as safety, security, and health, as well as business and cultural topics. The workshops gave leaders and employees the information, skills and confidence needed to successfully collaborate and conduct business across cultural boundaries.

A time zone converter. Teams that include members from different time zones often struggle with finding the best times to collaborate. A time zone converter can assist virtual workers in planning the best times for meetings, and it can remind employees to remain conscientious of the time in their teammates’ zones. Every Time Zone is a web-based, aesthetically pleasing app that converts time zone differences in a simple, easy-to-comprehend format.

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While home-based businesses are starting to become more and more acceptable, with several major enterprises, such as Amazon, having started out as home-based businesses. As such, having the physical address that comes with a virtual office will add legitimacy to your business since your clients will be privy to a location that isn’t simply someone’s home.
Virtual offices allow a greater number of employees to work at any given time. With a typical office space or location, you are limited by the size of your space. With a virtual office, space is not a limiting factor. Business owners can have however many staff they need. When used in combination with a physical space, a virtual office can free up more space in the physical office.
Just like you’re an expert in your field, a personal assistant is an expert in theirs. This means that when you eventually make the great decision to hire one, you could be relieved of the most time-consuming, draining or repetitive tasks immediately. On the first day. This provides an immediate relief which is often missing with the hire of a new employee in say, sales or marketing.

If you're an overworked entrepreneur wondering why your to-do list always seems unfinished, look into hiring a personal assistant. I once had a mentor tell me that a key to day-to-day success is to hire a PA to keep the trains running on time while you focus on big picture ideas. At first, I thought it was a waste of money, but now I completely understand where he's coming from.

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Employee engagement and motivation. Consider giving remote and office workers surveys to see who is more engaged and motivated overall. Ask questions about how they feel coming to work every day, find out whether they’re inspired at work and ask if they think their role within the company is important. Ask specific questions about whether or not they feel included in group decisions and ask if they feel as though their needs and concerns are considered and addressed.
Developed by one of the leaders in the AI space, IBM, Watson Assistant is one of the most advanced AI-powered chatbots on the market. Pre-trained with content from your specific industry, Watson Assistant can understand your historical chat or call logs, search for an answer in your knowledge base, ask customers for more clarity, direct them to human representatives, and even give you training recommendations to hone its conversational abilities.
A virtual, or remote, personal assistant manages your life from afar. Like a really great fairy godmother that you never have to make a cup of tea for. Which has huge benefit if you’re a one-man or woman band, if you don’t have a physical office to put them in, or if you don’t want to be responsible for holiday, sickness and other HR headaches. Managing your PA virtually is about as simple as setting a task list and watching it get ticked off. Without you having to do a thing.

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ActiveChat Pricing: Free plan provides single bot with up to 500 monthly active users, but lacks many features. Starter plan is $19 a month and gives you one bot with up to 1,000 monthly active users. Architect plan is $49 a month where you get access to all features. And the Agency bot is $249/mo, which gets you ten bots for 50K monthly active users and access to all features.
Watson Assistant Pricing: IBM Watson Assistant’s Free plan allows 10,000 API calls per month, 5 chatbots, 100 intents and 25 entities. The Standard plan has unlimited API calls at a cost of $0.0025 per call. You can have up to 20 chatbots, 2,000 intents and 1,000 entities. IBM also offers a multiple higher-level plans, which you’ll need to contact IBM for a quote.
Even with the right tools and adequate planning, virtual teams in the workplace can pose unique challenges for global companies of all sizes. An experienced talent development firm can help companies navigate the trials that come with virtual collaboration across cultural boundaries. Choose to work with a firm with a validated inventory in the market and a proven record for success.

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Don’t completely neglect face-to-face meetings. If it’s possible, organize a face-to-face encounter for the first meeting. It’s possible to be successful without ever meeting in person, but there isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact in person. Meeting physically allows people to share a deeper personal connection. Eye contact, proximity, voice, and body language allow people to connect more closely than they would if they met virtually. If meeting in person for the first time isn’t possible, consider holding an annual gathering or other event to keep employees in touch.

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