You have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Since you can’t add more hours to the day, that means you must find a way to multiply your effort.\nIt might be time to get a virtual assistant.\nYour virtual assistant might be a full time remote employee, but they don’t have to be. Virtual assistant services can be a good choice if you don’t have the budget or need for a dedicated assistant.\nThe point is to free up your time so that you can focus on your top priorities. However, hiring and managing your virtual assistant can take more time and energy than you’re prepared to spare. It defeats the purpose if you spend more time managing your assistant than they save for you, doesn’t it?\nIt’s important to find the right virtual assistant software to protect your time and get the most out of your investment. Your software can:\n\nHelp accomplish work tasks more efficiently\nAutomate repetitive work\nTrack your assistant’s work time and activity\nOrganize communication\n\nThe right software can even act as an assistant to a limited degree.\nIn this article, we recommend 40+ software tools to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant. Feel free to skip ahead to the sections you need.\n\nCommunication\nVideo conferencing\nAccounting and bookkeeping\nTime and activity tracking\nScheduling and appointments\nProject management\nPassword management\nFile sharing and document management\nSocial media management\nOperations and process documentation\nVirtual assistant programs\n\nCommunication\nIt’s important to be able to reach your virtual assistant when you need them.\nEmailing them is an option — but it’s not always the best one. Emails can get lost in the shuffle. Plus, an efficient virtual assistant probably doesn’t check their email constantly because that’s a productivity drain.\nSometimes you need a quick reply to a short message.\nThese programs can help.\nSlack\n\nSlack is a team communication tool used by more than 750,000 businesses.\nThe main idea behind Slack is that it replaces email communication and eliminates all the time wasting that comes with it.\nSlack’s main feature are channels, which are essentially group conversations that revolve around a set topic.\nChannels give your VA and the other people on your team have an organized way to communicate. You can include your assistant in the conversations they need to follow without cluttering their inbox with irrelevant chatter.\nAdding your virtual assistant to the company Slack gives your team a way to contact them directly. If you’re out of office and someone needs a document or information, they can easily reach your VA for help.\nSlack has other useful features like video calls and file sharing.\nFlock\n\nFlock calls itself a team messenger and collaboration platform. It’s similar to Slack but places a heavier emphasis on productivity features.\nA few standout features include voice notes, to-do lists, and reminders. These can help you delegate tasks to your VA more easily.\nChanty\n\nChanty is a team communication and collaboration solution designed to help remote teams stay organized. It’s also a great way to stay connected to your VA.\nIt allows you to import team data and message history from tools such as Slack and Flock, which makes migration easier if you decide you need to switch.\nChanty integrates with dozens of popular apps, allowing you to improve your team’s collaboration and boost productivity. It’s less expensive than Slack and offers more storage and faster file transfers.\nIf you’ve ever been frustrated while trying to find old messages in Slack or Flock, you’ll like Chanty a lot better. It searches your entire history from the first day you used the program, so you won’t lose information because you had that conversation too long ago.\nMicrosoft Teams\n\nFormerly known as Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s communication solution for businesses.\nIt enables remote teams to chat, have audio and video calls, as well as schedule meetings.\nYou can use it to share files with your VA. This tool supports real-time collaboration on files.\nThis is a good option for people who already work within the Microsoft ecosystem.\nWhoBot makes Microsoft Teams stand out. It’s an AI chatbot that helps you find specific information about other members of your team. You can ask it questions about organizational structure or even use it to find a subject matter expert in a specific area.\nThat’s powerful if your virtual assistant needs to reach out to someone else at your company for help.\nThe video calling features are robust and will come in handy if you need to invite your virtual assistant to any larger team meetings.\nSpeaking of video calling features, let’s look at the next category of virtual assistant software:\nVideo conferencing\nVirtual assistants are rarely available face-to-face. That doesn’t mean you have to restrict your communication to chats and emails, though. Video calls are a great way to handle more complex conversations.\nA lot of virtual assistants suggest having a weekly call to catch up and align on priorities. Video chatting is an ideal way to do this so you have the fullest possible range of communication.\nThere are plenty of video conferencing tools out there, especially since the pandemic forced offices to close.\nThe feature lists and pricing for these tools can be pretty similar. Ask your assistant if they have a preference and consider how a particular software fits in your current tech ecosystem.\nZoom\n\nZoom is a video conferencing software solution that has exploded in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s used worldwide to collaborate, hold meetings, and host virtual events.\nThe Zoom platform consists of a number of products that include group chat, video webinars, virtual conference rooms, and an enterprise phone system.\nIt supports HD video and audio, recording, transcripts, and screen sharing.\nThe platform also has advanced privacy and security features (such as waiting rooms, passcodes, and user authentication) that ensure you’ll be able to discuss sensitive information during calls.\nThey put a heavier emphasis on security after “Zoom bombing” made headlines, and now the platform is better equipped with privacy and security features.\nGoToMeeting\n\nGoToMeeting is another popular video conferencing platform. It includes all the features you’d expect like conference calling, video conferencing, and screen sharing.\nGoToMeeting is similar to Zoom in features and functionality. Large companies might prefer GoToMeeting because it supports much larger meeting sizes at a slightly lower price point.\nYou can use this platform to hold video calls on most devices and operating systems.\nGoogle Meet\n\nGoogle Meet is Google’s video conferencing software. It was designed to replace Google Hangouts.\nLike most video chat programs, it’s easy to schedule and launch calls. You can choose to record or not, share your screen, and share files or links while you’re connected.\nOne feature that’s unique to Google Meet is the option of adding real-time, software-generated captions to video calls. This is a great accessibility feature and it adds an extra layer of clarity to your conversation.\nZoho Meeting\n\nZoho Meeting is another reliable video conferencing option.\nThis software puts a big emphasis on taking care of users’ security and privacy. It includes features like locked meetings, recording privileges, and audio and video sharing consent.\nIt integrates with Zoho’s suite of office and productivity apps. This makes it the perfect video conferencing solution for those that are committed to the Zoho ecosystem.\nJoin.Me\n\nJoin.Me is an online meeting solution that supports both audio and video conferencing. It’s aimed at businesses, virtual teams, and individuals.\nJoin.Me’s main selling point is its ease of use. Thanks to its one-click scheduling feature, everyone can start an online meeting in seconds — even the least tech savvy members of your team.\nSome of its standout features include personalized meeting URLs and custom meeting room backgrounds. It also has a host of collaboration-friendly features such as screen sharing, presenter swap, and mobile whiteboarding.\nJoin.Me can be used on both desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to easily communicate on the go.\n\n\n\nAccounting & bookkeeping\nWhile no business owner enjoys doing bookkeeping, it’s a necessary part of running a business.\nAccounting and bookkeeping solutions allow you to safely delegate this task.\nFor the items on this list, you should own the tool yourself and create a login for your virtual assistant. It’s unwise to ask a third party to handle your bookkeeping in their own software.\nChoose a program that you’re comfortable using on your own. It’s important that you can access and understand your own financial data.\nQuickBooks\n\nQuickBooks is the most popular accounting software. It’s aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.\nUse this tool to track all your expenses, create invoices and quotes, and generate detailed reports. You can also sync it with your bank account to automatically track income and expenses.\nAll the information is stored in the cloud and encrypted to ensure that only you and the people you authorize can access your financial information. You can download reports on your own or ask your virtual assistant to send you updates at regular intervals.\nXero\n\nXero is an online accounting solution designed for small businesses.\nYou can use it to reconcile bank transactions, send invoices, accept payments, pay your bills, and create expense claims.\nXero also supports bank feeds. That means you can automatically import transactions and categorize them as you see fit.\nIt can produce financial statements and balance sheets at the click of a button, allowing you to automate your financial reporting. This is a handy tool for your VA to keep you updated on a weekly basis.\nFreshBooks\n\nAccording to its website, FreshBooks focuses on serving small businesses.\nIt has plenty of robust features including invoicing, expense and time tracking, and reporting. You can also use it to accept payments and collaborate on projects.\nFreshBooks has a web app, as well as accompanying iOS and Android apps you can use to track expenses on the go. If you need your virtual assistant to manage your field team’s personal expenses, this might be a smart choice.\nZoho Books\n\nZoho Books is a cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping software aimed at small and mid-sized businesses. It’s part of the Zoho ecosystem, which we mentioned in the section about video conferencing tools.\nApart from tracking expenses, you can use it to send estimates, create invoices, and accept payments.\nThere’s also the option of sending automated reminders to customers who haven’t paid your invoices yet. This is a particularly useful feature that can save a lot of time.\nZoho Books has plenty of other useful features, including contact management, time tracking, and inventory management.\nWave\n\nWave brands itself as financial software designed for entrepreneurs.\nIt has all the features you’d expect from an accounting and bookkeeping solution. You can use it to track and manage income and expenses. It creates professional invoices with your branding.\nConnect Wave to your bank account to import your expenses automatically. Alternatively, you can scan receipts using your smartphone and import expenses into the app that way.\nWave uses 256-bit encryption, which ensures that your data is safe at all times.\nTime tracking\nIf you pay your virtual assistant an hourly rate, you need some kind of reliable time tracking tool to calculate their hours.\nGood time tracking tools can also help you see how that time was used. This helps protect you from time theft.\nHourly or not, time tracking gives you valuable information that you can use to work more efficiently.\nYou can easily spot areas where your virtual assistant might need more information from you. It’s also obvious which tasks your virtual assistant is best at so you know to delegate similar responsibilities in the future.\nWhether you’re new to time tracking or a time tracking veteran, check out Hubstaff.\nHubstaff\n\nHubstaff tracks time and productivity. Use it to automate your timesheets so that you pay people accurately without the extra headache of manually logging hours.\nIt generates detailed reports that give you more visibility into how your team works. You can see valuable information like activity levels and the amount of time spent on specific apps and websites.\nManagers can easily see who’s working on what project through a simple dashboard. If you need to dig deeper, the robust time reports give you all the details you need.\nHubstaff is a fantastic tool to help you keep track of your virtual assistant. Whether you pay hourly or not, time tracking shows you what tasks your assistant completed for you and how long it took. It’s a simple way for your assistant to prove that you’re getting what you paid for.\nIf you do pay hourly, you can manage timesheets and payments directly from the software. It even works for international payments through tools like PayPal and Transferwise.\nHubstaff is also an excellent tool to help you manage your in-house team. Use it to maximize your productivity by automating much of your admin work.\nEasily manage your virtual assistant with HubstaffFree for 14 days\nScheduling & appointments\nIt’s common for virtual assistants to handle scheduling. If your assistant manages your schedule, they’re not doing it in a paper planner.\nModern calendar software helps you balance your personal and professional time. Here are some of the tools you and your virtual assistant should consider to help handle your appointments.\nGoogle Calendar\n\nGoogle Calendar is the free scheduling tool from G Suite.\nIt’s a popular tool because it’s easy to use and it’s automatically included with your gmail address. If you have multiple accounts (like a personal email and a work email) you can sync calendars easily to get a complete picture of your day.\nTo help keep people connected, you can create a shared calendar and allow people to sync it to their personal calendar. Use that feature to publish social events or meetings that your entire company is welcome to attend.\nAll events added to Google Calendar can be color-coded, which helps you understand your daily tasks and responsibilities at a glance.\nYou can also share your Google Calendar with other people. That makes it easy for your virtual assistant to manage your schedule.\nCalendly\n\nCalendly is one of the most popular online scheduling tools.\nInstead of sending dozens of back and forth emails to find open time for a meeting, just use Calendly.\nAll you need to do is send the recipient your Calendly link. They can then book a meeting at a time that works for them. It detects the recipient’s time zone and displays your availability in their time.\nIt supports advanced features such as time buffers, daily meeting limits, and minimum scheduling notice.\nYou can also use Calendly to collect credit card and PayPal payments. This is a great tool for consultants and salespeople.\nSimplyBook.me\n\nSimplyBook.me is an online booking system for service industries.\nWith this tool, you can accept bookings on your own website or on theirs. Using their website is the easiest option, while connecting the tool to your own website protects your branding and professionalism.\nSimplyBook.me supports email and SMS notifications. You can accept payments for bookings with PayPal or Stripe.\nOther cool features include intake forms, coupons, and gift cards.\nSetmore\n\nSetmore is a great booking software along the lines of Calendly and SimplyBook.me.\nIt supports SMS and email reminders to reach your customers more reliably. You can accept payments through integrations with Square and Stripe.\nSetmore has both Android and iOS apps, allowing you or your virtual assistant to manage bookings from your smartphone. That’s a smart feature since you might need to manage meetings on the road.\nX.ai\n\nX.ai is an AI-powered scheduling tool.\nIt uses artificial intelligence to find the best times to schedule meetings. X.ai can also reschedule meetings for you, as well as send follow-up emails.\nUsing X.ai can relieve your virtual assistant from some of these repetitive tasks. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out your scheduling conflicts, you assistant can simply oversee the software and focus on more productive activities.\nThe platform also offers branded emails, personalized calendar pages, and custom domains. That’s important if you want to protect your personal branding.\nProject management\nFor many startups and entrepreneurs, a good project management tool is all the virtual assistance they need.\nProject management software helps you answer all of these questions:\n\nWhat do I need to work on next?\nWho should I assign this task to?\nWhich projects are at risk of going over budget?\nHow can I help my team be more productive?\n\nTo pick the right tool for your team, think about what you need it to do now and what you’re likely to need in the next 5 years. Choose a tool that can grow with you so you don’t waste time migrating data in the middle of a growth phase.\nHubstaff Tasks\n\nHubstaff Tasks makes Agile project management easy and intuitive. One of its best features is the sprint view which tells everyone on your team exactly what they should tackle next.\nOnce you’re set up, the automated features in Hubstaff Tasks give you back hours of productive time every week.\nSet up your workflows so that tasks are automatically assigned to the right people. Use automated standups to cut down on meetings without sacrificing your access to information.\nThis is a good choice of software to grow with you. It’s free for up to five users, which is an attractive price for small teams. As you expand, the per-user price is lower than competitors with the same quality.\nIt’s simple to get set up and powerful enough to keep your growing team organized and productive.\nBasecamp\n\nBasecamp is a project management solution designed for remote teams.\nWork is divided into projects. From there, you can work off of a to-do list or schedule. Communicate with teammates on the message board or built-in group chat.\nThis tool works on the web, plus it offers Android and iPhone apps.\nThe team at Basecamp doesn’t believe in any kind of employee monitoring. If you have similar beliefs, this tool might be a good option. However, if you rely heavily on data to optimize how your team works, you may find that Basecamp doesn’t have the robust reporting capabilities you want.\nAsana\n\nAsana helps teams get organized. The free version is pretty robust, though it can be difficult to use for teams with no project management experience.\nThe team management features are particularly useful. By creating teams within Asana, you can assign different permissions to each. Everyone has the access they need while you protect any sensitive data.\nThis is another good tool for a growing team. You can start with the free version to get the hang of it and expand to the pro version when you’re ready.\nPassword management\nYour virtual assistant needs access to multiple accounts, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them the keys to the castle.\nWherever possible, create a separate login for your virtual assistant. Their password manager will keep track of it for them.\nPassword managers are designed to make all of your logins more secure.\nThink about how many accounts you have right now. There’s social media, work tools, online stores, online banking, your utilities, club memberships…in fact, you probably can’t even list every account you own from memory.\nThe most secure way to handle passwords is to have a long, unique password for every account. The strongest passwords are random strings of letters, numbers, and symbols.\nHowever, if you can’t even remember all the accounts you own, how can you possibly remember all of those difficult passwords? That’s why most people use the same couple of passwords for everything.\nThe downside is that if a hacker gets your password, they can access all of your accounts.\nPassword managers fix this by allowing you to securely store your passwords in one place. Since you don’t need to manually type in your password, you can use those random strings of numbers and letters without worrying about locking yourself out.\nYou just need to remember your password to get into your password manager tool. And since you only need to remember one password, it can be more complex and secure.\nHere are our recommendations for good password tools:\nLastPass\n\nLastPass saves all your passwords across all the devices you use. It allows you to share passwords more securely — though it’s always safest to create separate passwords for your virtual assistant.\nInstall LastPass as a browser extension and it will automatically fill in usernames and passwords for you when you visit a website you commonly use.\nIf you change devices, you still have access to your password vault. Just login to LastPass to automatically fill your usernames and passwords. You can always retrieve your login information to enter it yourself, too.\nDashlane\n\nDashlane works similarly to LastPass. It can create secure passwords for you, or you can save login information that you create yourself.\nUse it to assign or share passwords with your virtual assistant.\nAs an added bonus, Dashlane will also autofill personal and payment information. That speeds up account registrations or checkout from online stores.\nDashlane syncs to all your devices so you can easily and securely access your accounts when you need them.\nFile sharing and document management\nAre you still emailing files to your virtual assistant? That’s a waste of time.\nThere are plenty of file sharing solutions you can use instead to save both time and effort.\nYou can also use these solutions to collaborate on documents in real-time.\nDropbox\n\nDropbox is one of the most popular file storage platforms in the world. It’s currently used by more than 500,000 businesses.\nOriginally branded as a cloud storage platform, Dropbox has expanded to include a set of tools that enable businesses to optimize their workflow.\nYou can use it to store all your content in a central location, share files, and find any content you need quickly and effortlessly.\nGoogle Drive\n\nGoogle Drive allows you to store and share files, but it really shines as a collaboration tool. Teams can all work within the same document or spreadsheet without worrying about version control.\nIt’s part of the G Suite so it’s easy to manage access with your team’s gmail addresses.\nEven though it works most intuitively within the Google ecosystem, Drive works on all major platforms and can be accessed using desktop and mobile devices.\nGoogle Drive includes all of these excellent document management tools:\n\nDocs for word processing\nSheets for spreadsheets\nSlides for presentations\nForms for questionnaires and feedback\nOther specialized apps like Classroom, Jam, Drawings, and more\n\nBox\n\nBox offers unlimited storage, document management, and collaboration features. It’s suitable for both big and small businesses.\nIf you’re looking for robust security features, check out Box. It carefully guards your security and privacy. with 256-bit encryption. Plus, you can lock files and control access on an individual level.\nThis is great if you need your virtual assistant to have access to only specific files and data.\nZoho Docs\n\nZoho Docs is a document management platform that helps businesses create, store, and share a variety of different types of documents.\nIt supports more than 100 different file formats and enables you to collaborate on files in real-time.\nSocial media management\nVirtual assistants often help manage social media accounts.\nSocial media management tools can help your virtual assistant:\n\nSchedule social media posts\nEngage with your followers more easily\nAnalyze the performance of your social media campaigns\n\nWhile you can give an assistant direct access to your social media accounts, it’s more difficult to manage their access levels that way.\nEach platform has a different interface that may be cumbersome to navigate. Twitter, for example, does’t have a built-in tool to schedule posts. Using a tool like the ones on this list can help your virtual assistant work more effectively while you protect your brand.\nBuffer\n\nBuffer is a popular tool that helps you drive engagement on social media. They offer two main products: Publish and Analyze.\nPublish allows you to schedule content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all from one place. It’s especially useful if you want to visualize your overall social media strategy.\nYour virtual assistant can use Publish to collaborate on content or seek approval before posting.\nAnalyze gives in-depth insights into your social media performance. You can see how you’re doing by platform or review your social media strategy as a whole.\nThis is another good way to utilize your virtual assistant. They can generate reports and call out any findings that you need to see.\nHootsuite\n\nWith more than 18 million customers, Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management platforms in the world.\nUse it to schedule and manage content on all your social media pages. The calendar view is a powerful way to see how your social media presence fits together across multiple platforms.\nInbox is a great feature. It allows you to view and respond to messages from your social media followers across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from a single location.\nWith Inbox, you or your virtual assistant will find it much easier to keep track of inbound messages. Consider having your virtual assistant review your messages so that you only have to respond to the most complex requests.\nYou can also use Hootsuite to manage your social media ads across multiple platforms.\nHootsuite has advanced team collaboration features that allow you to assign specific tasks to each team member and ensure that everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to do.\nLater\n\nLater allows you to schedule social media posts and analyze their performance.\nOriginally developed as an Instagram marketing platform, Later now supports Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.\nAs a tool originally built for Instagram, it offers the better features for that platform than its competitors. You can use Later to create shoppable Instagram feeds and clickable Instagram landing pages.\nThe Best Time to Post feature tells you when you should be publishing your social media posts for maximum engagement. Use it in combination with good testing procedures.\nSprout Social\n\nSprout Social is an all-in-one platform. It has tools to help with each step of your social media strategy, from initial planning to analyzing results.\nOne of the hardest things about social media management is the need to respond quickly to questions and feedback. This tool helps solve that problem.\nLike Hootsuite, Sprout Social has a universal inbox that receives messages from all the platforms you use. It also has tools to help you monitor and manage reviews.\nUse the content calendar to schedule posts and collaborate with your virtual assistant or your team.\nThis is a popular tool for businesses with large social media followings across many platforms because it does a great job of simplifying your social strategy.\nOktopost\n\nUnlike the other social media management platforms on this list, Oktopost specifically targets enterprise B2B businesses.\nIt shows which posts are generating leads so you can calculate the return on your social media marketing investment.\nOktopost goes beyond basic social media management.\nUse it to create content and generate engagement. Features like smart scheduling and content curation help you get more out of your social media plan.\nThe platform also includes features to help with employee advocacy on social media.\nOktopost is a full service platform with lots of advanced features you won’t find in tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. If social media is a major part of your business strategy, it’s worth a look.\nOperations and process documentation\nProcess documentation makes a big difference. When you have clear instructions that describe exactly how to handle a job, you can delegate work faster and more easily.\nDocumentation should be easy to access and understand. Everyone on your team (including your virtual assistant) should be able to find the information they need without asking you for help.\nYour virtual assistant can use these documents to get up to speed faster. They can also help you keep your documentation up to date as your procedures evolve.\nThe tools listed here are designed to help you maintain documentation and keep your business operations organized.\nProcess Street\n\nProcess Street is a workflow management program.\nThat means you can create checklists and procedures to help guide your team through common tasks. You can build workflows that guide employees or assistants through an activity.\nYour workflows can be straightforward like a regular to-do list, or they can use conditional logic to respond to different possibilities. For example, imagine you’re setting up a workflow for your virtual assistant to handle social media responses. It might look something like this:\n\nRead the message thoroughly.\n\nIf it’s spam, delete the message.\nIf it’s a media request, forward it to the public relations specialist.\nIf it’s a customer support question, forward to a support agent.\nIf it’s a common question, move to the next step.\n\n\nUse the appropriate template to respond to common questions.\n\nHere are our business hours\nYou can view our product catalog on our website at www.example.com\nWe are currently offering this promotion\n\n\n\nProcess Street is a powerful tool to keep your company’s work consistent and accurate. It simplifies onboarding and gives your team a quick way to answer their own questions about how things should be done.\nTrainual\n\nTrainual is another popular tool for procedural documentation. It guides onboarding for new team members, stores your company policies, and allows you to create playbooks.\nPlaybooks are just what they sound like. These guides explain each step of a work process so that your procedures are clear.\nTrainual empowers you to turn your standard procedures into useful training programs. Rather than handing a new hire a long, boring document and asking them to memorize it, you can create an interactive program that teaches all the important stuff in bite sized pieces.\nSince training can be asynchronous, this tool allows your team to basically train themselves. That’s important if your virtual assistant works in a different time zone that doesn’t neatly overlap with your own working hours.\nYou can also use the built-in templates to help you create your own personalized company policies. Then, use the software to distribute that information to your team.\nTrainual is available on both desktop and mobile devices.\nSweetProcess\n\nSweetProcess stores all of your procedures and policies in one place. You can easily see when a process has been recently updated. That makes it easier to stay on top of your process refinements.\nEach time you update a document or process, the old version is saved in a complete version history. You can always look back at previous versions.\nThis isn’t just for your employees and your virtual assistant.\nSweetProcess allows you to make all or some of your documentation public. Your customers can search for help articles that give them detailed answers on how to use your product.\nIt also offers some basic task tracking tools to help you keep track of what your team is doing. These features aren’t as robust as project management software, but they’re great for teams that do repetitive types of tasks.\nVirtual assistant programs\nFor the past few years, companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon have been hard at work creating virtual assistant software that can help both individuals and businesses handle their daily tasks more easily.\nYou can use these solutions to handle simple tasks more easily.\nNone of these tools are a total replacement for a human virtual assistant, but they can handle basic tasks like adding appointments to your calendar, giving you directions, and ordering office supplies.\nGoogle Assistant\n\nGoogle Assistant is Google’s voice-activated virtual assistant software. You probably know about it because of the Google Home smart speaker, but it’s available on other Android-powered devices.\nQuick Answers is one of the best things about this virtual assistant program. Google is, after all, the undisputed leader in search. Ask just about anything and you’ll get a top ranking answer.\nYou can also ask questions like “What’s on my schedule today?” or “When is Mom’s birthday?” The program will check your calendar and respond in plain language.\nCreate your own commands by making custom shortcuts. You can do this verbally, too. Just tell your assistant that you want to manage shortcuts and it will walk you through.\nGoogle Assistant supports both text and voice commands.\nCortana\n\nCortana is a virtual assistant solution developed by Microsoft. It can help you find information more quickly, book meetings, and even read out emails to you.\nWhile originally available for a variety of devices, Microsoft has decided to limit the use of its virtual assistant to PCs in 2020.\nCortana can help you navigate your Windows computer more easily. If you’re looking for specific files or trying to find the right program, just talk to your virtual assistant and it will guide you.\nSince this assistant is designed for your desktop, it’s more intuitive to use it for work.\nSiri\n\nSiri is Apple’s voice-controlled virtual assistant. It’s built in on most Apple devices which makes it a widely used tool.\nYou can use voice commands to send messages, get directions, or add things to your calendar. Siri can even post to your Twitter or Facebook profile using just a voice command.\nOne of the coolest Siri features is the ability to give yourself location-based reminders. For example, imagine you’re working late and you want to remember to pick up flowers for your wife on your way home from work. When you leave the office, Siri detects your location and serves you the reminder.\nSince Siri connects with OpenTable, you can use it to make restaurant reservations. As long as the restaurant uses OpenTable to help with their bookings, you can simply tell your virtual assistant to make the reservation.\n\n\n\nAmazon Alexa\n\nAlexa (also known as Echo) is the virtual assistant program from Amazon.\nYou can use it to perform various tasks, including creating to-do lists and finding information more easily.\nAlexa connects to your Amazon account. That means you can play books from Audible or order products from Amazon with just a voice command.\nAmazon has also created a business-focused version of Alexa, called Alexa for Business, which has skills specifically designed for productivity.\nYou can use it to do things like reserve meeting rooms and start conference calls.\nThough Alexa is available on other devices like fitbits (and even eyeglasses), people most commonly use it at home or in the office. It becomes part of your smart home or smart office ecosystem and can control other devices with voice commands.\nThis makes the ability to create routines especially valuable.\nYou can start your morning with a wakeup alarm, a weather report, and a quick reading of the day’s news. Connect other smart home devices and you can also start your coffee pot or turn on the bathroom lights.\nAt work, you can set up a routine that goes through your daily schedule and your to-dos.\nIf only it could do the actual work for you, right? Maybe they’ll figure that out in the next generation.\nWrap up\nWe’ve covered a lot of virtual assistant software solutions above.\nCan you add anything to this list? Let us know which virtual assistant tools are your favorites in the comments below!\nThis post was originally published in June 2015. It has been updated for accuracy, and to include more relevant tools in December 2020.