Jun 22, 2021
7 Tips For Managing Online Virtual Assistants
Even way before the coronavirus pandemic hit, many businesses have shifted to operating with remote teams. The steady rise of online and remote work has notably grown over the past two decades, especially the last year.
In fact, business analysts have predicted that nearly 70% of employees will work remotely for at least one week every month by 2025. These statistics clearly state the importance of managing a virtual workforce.
If you’re planning to hire online virtual assistants or currently working with an online team, you need to develop a strategy to effectively manage your remote workers.
That’s why here at Virtudesk, we’ll share some of the best tips we’ve gathered over the years working with online virtual assistants.
1. Always Establish Clear and Attainable Goals
The first thing you need to do is to establish clear and attainable goals for your remote team. It is the best way for them to prioritize tasks and stay focused on their role, especially since they’re working from home.
Virtual assistants need to understand their role in your organization, so they can effectively function and perform their duties. This way, they won’t be confused when it comes to providing tangible and exceptional results on all their deliverables. Remember, the key is to always communicate the goals to your team. Make sure the goals are clear, specific, and measurable.
2. Set Expectations
While you’ve already established the goals your team needs to achieve, it’s essential to follow through with your expectations. Work expectations may vary depending on the needs of your organization, but they normally cover this scope:
Usually, you have to answer these questions: How many hours are your online virtual assistants expected to work? Is it a fixed or flexible work schedule? Do they have to work with a tracker?
Channels of Communication
Communicating is essentially way easier because of the availability of the internet. You can connect with your online virtual assistant, whether they’re a continent away, with different messaging apps.
However, you need to be clear. What are the acceptable modes and channels for meetings and office-related communication? You can use apps like Skype, Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger to stay in constant communication with your online virtual assistants.
Some organizations require a higher level of collaboration than others. You have to establish team dynamics with your remote workers. Ask them whether they work better independently or alone.
However, you should also understand the degree of interdependence in the workplace to keep communication lines open and allow your online virtual assistants to communicate with you and their peers.
Usually, in a traditional office setup, these expectations are left unspoken. But when you’re managing a team remotely, you need to be clear and explicit about your expectations to keep everyone level-headed and aligned with the organization’s values.
3. Adapt Different Communication Strategies
Effective communication is among the most common challenges of remote work. Some things may be lost in translation, especially when you’re working with a non-native English speaker. That’s why managers must be keen to adapt to different kinds of communication strategies when leading a team of online virtual assistants.
Remember that there are non-verbal cues, such as tone, body movements, and hand gestures, that may not come to play when communicating online. That’s why you must be mindful when giving feedback or constructive criticism to your team.
Aside from that, you can also develop an open-door culture, where employees can personally talk to you without having to schedule a meeting. Many productive discussions can take place during unofficial chats or meetings.
While physical interactions might be impossible, this should not hinder you to maximize other communication channels. Try using instant messaging, like Slack or Telegram for quick follow-ups, daily check-ins, or simple questions.
4. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Scheduling daily or weekly check-ins is paramount to your success with your virtual assistant. That’s because you are clearly communicating what you want them to accomplish for the day or week.
Not only are check-ins with your virtual assistant essential, but at Virtudesk, we make sure that our coaches are having regular check-ins with their VAs and clients to ensure the working relationship is successful!
5. Provide Learning Resources
Always provide learning opportunities so your virtual assistant can be better. This will payout in the long term, as you will be able to rely on them more fully to run the operations of your business. Provide them with online videos, articles, and PDF guides.
These are training you don't have to make yourself, but pass along when you find them through a Google or YouTube search.
Another tip is to always provide an explanation for everything during the training. By explaining why something works the way it does, it can further help your virtual assistant understand the purpose of the activity.
6. Appreciate Your Employees
Celebrating special occasions and milestones is extremely common in most traditional offices. This keeps employees engaged and motivated to do their best at work.
Small gestures can definitely go a long way in making your employees feel valued and appreciated. While it may be quite a challenge, here are some ways you can do to make your online virtual assistants feel special:
- Acknowledge excellent work via email or instant message
- Greet your employees during their birthdays
- Send a gift to the celebrant
- Give tokens of appreciation to team members
7. Value Work Life-Balance
Always be mindful of your online virtual assistants’ work hours. A lot of managers tend to send emails and other work-related tasks to their employees while they're off the clock. Well, this isn't the best practice.
You need to set proper boundaries since it is particularly hard for remote workers to tune out of work even when they’re not clocked in. This way, you can avoid employee burnout and significantly increase work productivity.
Like any other workplace, managing a remote team comes with its own challenges. Managers may need to adapt and strategize different ways to ensure that their online virtual assistants are productive and happy working for their organization.
If you want to learn more ways to effectively work with virtual assistants, you can check out these articles and videos below.
Want to work with a virtual team that helps you scale up your business? With Virtudesk’s Virtual Assistants, you can hire virtual assistants trained in most or all of the platforms mentioned above. If you are interested in learning more, then fill out this contact form, and one of our Consultants will reach out to you.
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