With the recent pandemic, a lot of business establishments had to close out, either temporarily or permanently. It is such an unfortunate action plan, but business owners had to do it in order to cope up with the economic challenges. Consequently, numerous people lost their jobs.
The current situation is a challenge, yes. However, looking at it positively, it also created some opportunities. One of these opportunities is the rise of Virtual Assistant jobs.
Virtual Assistant job opportunities have been rampant now more than ever. A lot of those who got laid off from their regular jobs are now resorting to VA jobs. Not just job seekers, but small business owners also resort to hiring VAs to help them out with their businesses. These business owners opt to hire VAs for multiple reasons - which are beneficial to both the business owner and the VA alike.
What Is A Virtual Workplace?
As a business owner, hiring a VA has a lot of benefits. One major benefit is cost efficiency. Working with a VA doesn’t mean you have to pay for an office space with its equipment. VAs will have their own equipment (desktop/laptop, headset etc.), as well as their own office space (office chair, desk, electricity etc.).
Because of that, a face to face office environment is almost entirely impossible - especially if the business owner and the VA live in different countries. Hence, this setup is called a Virtual Workplace.
With a Virtual Workplace setup, you mainly rely on communication means other than face to face conversations. Because of that, it is important and imperative to have an ideal work environment.
Within this article, we’ll help you how to have a healthy virtual work environment.
It goes without saying that upon hiring a VA, you post job advertisements that look for a specific set of skills. You might look for someone that has a general set of skills, e.g. knowledge in Microsoft or Google Office tools, usage of the internet etc. Or, you might also look for someone that has a specific set of skills apart from the general ones, e.g. knowledge in using Canva, MailChimp, Asana etc.
However, despite hiring someone with the right skill set, it is also important to let your VAs know what their role in the team will be. Discuss what will be their tasks. Have a conversation on how their role will have an effect with the organisation’s greater goal.
Doing this will empower your VA and give them more confidence in fulfilling their part of the group.
As it was previously mentioned, personal face to face conversations are close to impossible when you are in a virtual workplace setup. Hence, you have to use other means of communications to get in touch with your team.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but the most common one is through either Zoom or Google Meet. Using either one of these is the closest you can get to a face to face conversation. Apart from Zoom or Google Meet, you can also reach out to your team through messaging apps like Messenger, WhatsApp or Slack to name a few. Additionally, project management software like Asana also offers a means to get in touch with your team members.
Having said all of these, communication channels won’t really work if you do not establish an open communication with your team. Have a process in place on how and when they can reach out to you.
For example, if the concern is not urgent and can wait another 24 hours, then they reach out to you through Asana. However, if the concern is an urgent one and should be answered as soon as possible, you can tell them to reach out to you through a faster messaging app, such as Messenger.
This way, they know that they can reach out to you, but in a systematic way.
Establish Realistic Goals
When setting up goals for your VA, make sure that you provide clear and realistic goals. The goal should be attainable and should have a realistic deadline. Giving unattainable goals to your VAs will only set them up for failure, which in turn could negatively affect your business.
The reason why we want to do this is to attain a win-win situation with you and your VA. Establishing realistic goals would make your VA feel at ease knowing that they can reach, and even surpass goals that you’ve set up for them. It generates high morale. Consequently, a VA who has high morale would be more productive which will be good for you and your business.
Set Scheduled Meetings
Part of establishing an open communication with your team is to set scheduled meetings - be it weekly, fortnightly or monthly. These meetings can also be one on one meeting, also called 1-2-1s, wherein it’s just you and a lone VA. Or, this can also be team meetings wherein you gather your team of VAs and conduct a meeting with them altogether. Needless to say, this should be done through Zoom, Google Meet and the like.
These meetings are an opportunity for you as their manager to connect with them on a personal level. Yes, you will still discuss business matters, but you also have to think of ways to connect through non-business related matters.
During 1-2-1s, for starters, ask them how their week was, or ask for some life updates and then ask them what their plans are for the coming weekend.
Important: Listen to what they will say, and give your inputs. Make sure that you are sincere with your responses and do not respond just for the sake of responding.
On the other hand, during team meetings, ensure that your team interacts with one another. Open the topics, and ask for their inputs. Do not take most talk time, and let your team voice out their thoughts. You only speak either when the meeting gets a little too personal, and already strays away from the topic at hand, or, when you already feel like it’s about time to move to the next topic.
Having said that, we at Global VA Solutions, make sure we instill this kind of culture to VAs we endorse to our clients. We will help you source, hire, onboard and train your superstar VA.
One important thing to note when you are in a virtual workplace setup is to be as sincere as possible with your VAs. You have to make them feel that they are part of your team, and that what they do greatly matters.
Praise in public, coach in private.
Commend them when necessary. Praise them within your organisation’s communication channels. If there’s a need to correct something with your VA, you do it in private - through 1-2-1s. Ultimately, creating an ideal and healthy virtual work environment will always be a win-win situation both to you as a business owner, and to your VA as well.
Here Are Some Additional Resources
Get Expert Virtual Assistants: Want to build your team of transformational VAs and free your time? Learn more here.
Ready to Outsource? Book a Free Consultation Call to learn how we can help you scale your business through Virtual Assistants.
Need to Understand The Benefits of Outsourcing? Download our FREE guide to get all your questions answered.
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