Survival in 2020 consisted of crisis management, change initiatives, managing risk, enabling business change: now more so than ever a versatile VA relates, takes part and add value to any business regardless of size.
As a seasoned virtual assistant the last 10 years have been an amazing journey: initially it was all about choosing your niche, and not trying to be everything to everyone - today it is more about smart work, and adding value. Looking back "you can connect all dots", as VA services are constantly evolving from a personal executive assistance enabling all sort of tasks to a more involved support with direct commercial impact.
At the same time, the landscape of work shifted this year, with remote work becoming essential for many, and independent professionals working anywhere and everywhere.
Whether you are a client contracting out to a virtual assistant or a virtual assistant sub-contracting to a team, here are some tips to manage work virtually, meet and exceed expectations:
1- Communicate, communicate, and communicate: Establishing communication guidelines will take you a long way towards effective communication, by clarifying:
- which medium to use for regular communication
- the response time requirements
- the criteria for prioritizing issues
2- The right technology: Research and test before choosing the right tool for you, there are so many options for productive remote work flows: Project Management (Monday.com, Asana, SmartSheet, Wrike..), team communication (Slack, Cliq),Microsoft Teams, Zoom to all CRMs (Zoho, HubSpot, SalesForce..), HR tools (Bamboo HR, Personio), Time Trackers (toggl, Timely..), Invoicing (FreshBooks, Xero..).
3- Set clear objectives: Virtual team members need to know and understand what they are doing together. If they understand only their own role and their own work, they will always be just individual contributors.
4- Short assignments: Breaking down a project into short assignments/tasks, helps with staying on track and meeting deadlines if more than one person is involved in the project. When working remotely, it is practically impossible to micro manage; it really is counter-productive, diminishes productivity and affects the morale. By having shorter task lists, and monitoring progress with weekly follow ups, the workflow will be effective.
5- Be extra diligent on workload management: Be precise and ensure that work is completed on time.
6- Adjust and compromise on time differences: One of the main advantages of working virtually is to meet tight deadlines on specific projects outside “traditional” working hours and in any time zone. However, it is important to remember that what’s convenient for you may not always be convenient to your client or your virtual team members.
7- Acknowledge and respect cultural diversity: Recognizing cultural differences between geographical areas can help minimize potential culture clashes and miscommunication.
8- Drink Coffee :)