In the twenty-first century, we have all found ways to be enterprising and entrepreneurial. The business world is more innovative, and there are plenty of new opportunities for individuals who are not afraid of starting their ventures. This is partly due to the increased ability to outsource and make direct, personal connections online, such as with a virtual assistant who can provide for your everyday business needs.
Benefits of hiring a virtual assistant
There are many good reasons to get yourself a remote virtual assistant to help you out with your workload. These include the following:
The issue with actual employees working for you in your office can be that they spend much of their day not being very productive. With a remote assistant, you have the option of removing all of the inefficiencies with someone who is dedicated to using their time effectively to maximize client satisfaction.
As remote personal assistants are contractors, they won’t cause you extra expenses like holiday pay, sick leave, and other benefits. You only need to pay for the time that you need them, which means you will get the most for your money.
When business owners can remove all of the low-level tasks from their working day, they are free to make higher-level decisions and strategize. This makes for a more efficient business model that can give business leaders the clarity to take things forward.
Every new business is looking to grow and scale, but you need to make sure you have the capacity to do this. When you have flexible assistants that you can hire as and when you need them, there are no limits to the size of your operations.
Skills where you need them
One thing that can hold operations back is when employees are having to multitask or perform activities that are outside their skillset. But adding these to your virtual assistant task list means the skills are direct to the specialist. Also, outsourcing to individuals with specific skills is another contributor to increased efficiency.
Disadvantages of hiring a virtual assistant
There are some issues that can arise from working with a remote assistant, so business owners should be wary of these.
Even though virtual assistants can be fluent in the language you are using, there is still some potential for miscommunications that can affect work. There can also be misunderstandings caused by a larger social or cultural context or assumptions made in error relating to particular issues.
Lack of commitment
Virtual assistants are remote in more ways than one, so it is difficult to find the same dedication and personal investment that you can get from permanent employees. This could mean they can be less motivated to get the job done and more likely to leave at the worst possible time.
Everywhere you look, there are security risks that are increasing by the day. Businesses of all sizes have sensitive data to protect and are at risk of attack at any time. Every external contractor represents a potential vulnerability that needs to be secured.
Best tips to manage your assistant effectively
If you’re wondering how to use a virtual assistant in the most effective way, here are some tips to remember:
Communication is everything
It is important to keep an open communication channel and continual contact with your VA to ensure miscommunications are avoided and your assistant is on the right track. Ensure you are continually updated on the status of a project and listen to any questions or comments they may have. This also helps create an affirmative relationship with your assistant.
Keep your tasks in perspective
When you are giving duties and assignments to your virtual assistant, remember that they are hired to complete specific tasks and not to see things in the bigger picture. They are not entrepreneurs, so be careful to not expect them to see things from your point of view. They may be oblivious to things that seem obvious to you, but this is not their failing. They are providing a service to you, and this is their only responsibility.
They are also human
Be careful to not make the assumption that because your communication is remote, you are working with a machine. Virtual assistants are humans with feelings, and they can be hurt if they are mistreated. Working relationships that are not properly maintained can lead to more disruptions in the future. Get to know your assistant and learn their strengths and the areas they need to improve on.
Develop your relationship
Employees and contractors are motivated by employers and clients who offer the chance to learn, so show your assistants that they can benefit from working with you. This can be through training programs or skills and experience they acquire through working for you. This means some time to train them, but there is a sense of growing together.
Make a clear agreement
This can be a formal document that clarifies all of the expected duties and responsibilities, which you can both refer back to. This obviates the need to rely too much on memory, and it can also be updated at a later stage.
Be constructive in your criticism
It is essential to be professional and unemotional and implement constructive criticism when dealing with issues in the work of your assistants. Remember to be specific and show how they can make improvements in the future. Soft skills are always important, so remember to be careful how you criticize.
Virtual assistants can be a fantastic asset to a business that can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enable it to grow. These assistants also have the potential to make a valuable contribution, even if they are at a distance. You can get the most from your VA by clear and communicative management and setting realistic goals.