Monthly Archives: January 2011

Virtual Office Software – What is the Best Option for an Online Virtual Office?


There were 17.2 million telecommuters in the US in 2009 and the expectation is that numbers will increase significantly over the next decade. With the increase in people working from home, and the creation of a “virtual office” environment, there is also an  increase in the need for software designed for the virtual office.

Software tools designed to replace the “benefits” of an office

There are several perceived and real benefits of an office environment versus working virtually. Let’s take a look at these and see how virtual office software tries to compensate and provide enough of these benefits to enable staff to work from home effectively:

  1. Face to face communication – working in an office environment enables communication and collaboration to take place face to face.
  2. Better collaboration – the fact that employees are sitting next to each other can help to improve collaboration and teamwork.
  3. Attendance and time management – ensuring that staff actually turn up to work on time and are working (not watching TV in the living room). This lack of management trust that staff will actually be working is a significant reason that companies are less likely to allow staff to telecommute.

Lets take a look at some of the software that can be used to create an online virtual office and provide these same benefits of a real office space.

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Refog Review and Comparison with Time Doctor


Refog Employee Monitor is a software surveillance product that has a pretty comprehensive set of monitoring features: Keystroke recording, viewing web history and recording screenshots. This product is very different to Time Doctor, but they both can be used for remote employee monitoring, so let’s take a look at the different approaches.

Refog is really purely a monitoring program. Time Doctor is focused on improving the time management of a team with enough monitoring to make sure that a person is really working. Time Doctor also tries to strike a balance by not being too intrusive in what is being monitored versus making sure that management have enough information to make sure that staff are actually working.

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Time Doctor as an Alternative to the oDesk Team Tool


Upwork (formerly oDesk) is a fantastic platform for finding contractors and remote staff from any country in the world.

Typically,  web developers, writers, admin assistants and  programmers are easy to find in Upwork. Anyone can  search and find workers, view ratings, work history and competencies. It also provides a service to contractors to guarantee payment from employers.

Upwork also has a very handy set of tools. The Upwork Work Diary is used to track team members working hours (with screen shots and activity tracking to make sure that employees are accurately recording their hours worked). Find out more