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As costs rise, employees are traveling less for business and using more teleconferencing and online collaboration tools.

How many times have you come up with a more efficient way to accomplish something and wished you could quickly share it with co-workers?

You can with collaborative tech tools, says Richard Laermer, media consultant and author of Punk Marketing.

Three tools he says admins should start using, if they aren’t already:

1. Use instant messaging (IM) to save time and keep up with fast-moving projects. How it can work for you: check on deadlines, monitor progress on collaborative projects or share resource links in real time.

First, advises Laermer, “Get to know your company’s approved IM uses, as well as specific rules about sending and receiving IMs and attachments. Next, get permission to set up an IM network.”

2. Set yourself up for more collaboration with a wiki. When it’s the right tool for you: a) You want to organize and post meeting notes, team agendas and company calendars; b) you need a cheap project management tool accessible through a web browser; c) you need a central location to share documents.

IT can set up a wiki, or you might consider using software, such as JotSpot (www.jot.com), which was recently acquired by Google. Tip: Find more wiki software on Wikipedia (search for “list of wiki software”).

3. Go electronic with your company newsletter by turning it into a web log, or blog. “Blogs keep coworkers in touch with accomplishments and departmental news,” says Laermer. “They’re a great PR tool and morale booster.”

Tip: Use a free blog tool such as blogger.com. For your first post, poll your boss and co-workers to see what kinds of information they’re interested in reading: polls, industry news, guest columns or customer trends.

Administrative assistants who promote using IMs, wikis and blogs will elevate their profiles, says Laermer. “And they’ll find work more fun, collaborative and interesting as a result,” he adds.


According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project study, 40% of U.S. workers say IMing improves teamwork; 47% say it relieves stress; 50% say it saves time.

In 2005, about 5,000 corporate blogs were online, and that number continues to grow. 

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