What are some features in Microsoft Suite that you find the most helpful in the day to day tasks of the job?
I personally use Excel, Word, and Outlook the most out of the suite. I have found OneNote to also be a great took in not only keeping typed notes but also verbal notes. That is a very helpful feature to use when traveling for work where you can't be typing while you're driving--but you can speak your thoughts and have them recorded. Excel is a great tracking tool for daily worksheets. Word is great for details for appointments--it allows more information to be easily read.
With the increase of technology, what is the best method to keep an actively learning workforce?
I think that the variety of technology available to us now-days makes the professional development arena much easier. You can Skype people, do online tutorials, make quick videos, do video chats, regular chats, instant messaging, texting, etc. You no longer have to reply on people coming to a conference room to be able to keep them learning. Even if someone is sick, you can include them in a conference phone call or even a video chat (if they don't mind people seeing them when they're sick).
Let's say you are a virtual manager which means the people you manage are not right in front of you. How would you make sure the people you are managing are actually working even though you aren't in the same office with them?
First, hopefully there's some online log-in system. But even with the log-in system, that doesn't necessarily mean they're working. It just means they came into their office long enough to check-in. I think the real answer lies in their ability to get the work done at a quality level. I've had a lot of workers in this environment and even though we have a database that is logging their work, I've had some that have tried to manipulate the system to make it "look" like they're working. There again, the real way to know if they're working is going to be if they are getting the work done in a timely manner and that it's quality work--not haphazard like they just did enough to make it look like they spent quality time on it. I also think staying in verbal or even video communication with them is key. I've also done it where I've called them randomly throughout the day without warning to see if they answer their phone and what background noise is going on at the time.