Businesses big and small have embraced working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, this new normal might even be extended until next year, or the year after that.
A survey from US-based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) showed that the percentage of workers that would permanently work from home is expected to double in 2021. The reason? Decision-makers say productivity has increased amid stay-at-home orders.
But how would you ensure a high-performing virtual team amid multiple distractions online and offline? Small business owners and clients should have a good working relationship to stay on top of their game. Effectively managing your virtual assistant may lead to growing your business real-time.
- 1) Establish clear expectations, goals, and roles. Clarify and delegate each other’s tasks.
- 2) Use tools for managing virtual assistants
- 3) Foster task-based trust and accountability.
- 4) Define the proper technology and workspace.
- 5) Set schedules.
- 6) Provide stability.
- 7) Provide training.
- 8) Encourage open communication.
- 9) Provide rewards.
- 10) Create a virtual non-business-related space.
- 11) Respect each other’s culture.
Establish clear expectations, goals, and roles. Clarify and delegate each other’s tasks.
As the leader of a virtual team, it’s part of your task to establish your goals. It’s also imperative to lay down the roles for each member of the group.
But when work is done remotely, the opportunities that we are able to tap a nearby colleague for quick, little questions on processes and clarifications have been limited. Leaders have to make more concerted effort to coordinate their virtual team and pay more attention on members’ specific tasks and how this may be done, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Use tools for managing virtual assistants
When you have limited time on your hands, the use of personal assistants in answering follow-up questions from the team could be a welcome help. Likewise, to efficiently manage working with your virtual assistant, delegating effectively is key. If you have additional tasks, do not outsource all of these to your virtual assistant, and then blame them if they miss a deadline. Working with remote assistants mean that you should still track the time for them to finish the tasks you want. And if all these are urgent, it’s still best to communicate these to your VA. Contact with your virtual assistant is the most important of them all. Hiring a virtual assistant means that they can help you manage your time, but you should also help virtual assistants in their tasks by effectively communicating their workflow and what is expected of them.
If you are working with multiple remote workers, it can help to have tools for managing virtual assistants. Virtual assistant management programs can help you work efficiently and do time tracking for your VAs. Working remotely means that you might hire virtual assistants from across the globe and it would be hard to effectively manage and communicate with them. This is why there are plenty of project management software to communication tools that can help in effective virtual assistant management.
Foster task-based trust and accountability.
Working remotely has erased the concept of in-office supervision. So team leaders must rely on task-based trust, based on a global research study by OnPoint Consulting. This is the belief that team members will be accountable for their tasks and will follow through on their commitments.
Another way of doing this is by providing them with the right tools for their workloads. Especially if they are doing administrative and creative work, it’s also a good idea to provide them with access to these management apps and softwares. For example, if your VA is assigned to project management, you can give them access to project management tools and project management software that your company has. It’s also generally easier to use the company’s project management system instead of the virtual assistant’s personal one so you’ll also see the delegated tasks and progress.
Understandably, there are trust issues when onboarding and working with virtual assistants. After all, you’re exposing business operations and information to a remote assistant, especially if they are new virtual assistants. There are risks such as them not contacting you back, missing due dates, etc. This is why you provide them with clear expectations in your contract. However, building trust with your virtual assistants can definitely help you overcome this hurdle. Unexpected stumbling blocks may happen here and there. Don’t worry too much and use this to foster a good mentor business relationship!
Define the proper technology and workspace.
Selecting the proper program or application for your virtual team is vital in ensuring that they perform well. Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet work best for video communication; Slack could be a choice for managing various groups in one workspace; TeamViewer and AnyDesk could be tapped for screen sharing or remote desk work. The options are endless!
Admittedly, not all would be well-versed in the various options available for digital workspaces. Having a personal assistant in a virtual team could help present the possibilities depending on the scope of work a virtual team needs.
It’s important to maintain rhythm even with a virtual team, according to OnPoint Consulting. This means having setting “office hours” with regularly scheduled meetings. That way, team members can adjust their mindset to focus on their tasks when it’s time for work. And when things get a little hectic on your end, having a personal virtual assistant like those from OkayRelax could always set a reminder when it’s time to meet with the team again.
Blocking out time for personal stuff and work stuff may be effective. VAs who receive affirmations perform even better when they are shown appreciation. Let your virtual assistant work on tasks based on their own pace. But be sure to you’re using and you’ve shared your Google Calendars to ensure you’re on the right track!
It has been noted in studies that high-performing teams have greater stability when there are less staff changes. It’s easier to foster trust and dependability among the virtual team when there’s familiarity.
Setting online training and webinars for your virtual team not only increases their skills and knowledge, it also gives members a boost of confidence that they are significant to the group. A personal virtual assistant could then be tapped to explore options for these training and fix schedules for the team.
This is especially true if you have a beginner virtual assistant. You can’t expect them to be able to do all the tasks at hand immediately, especially complex tasks that require skills and experience like video conferencing or graphic design. Give your virtual assistant time to work and adjust around the new environment. Affirming their finished work can show that what they are doing is right. This way, they can provide you with quality work and you’ll have a productive working relationship.
Encourage open communication.
Global service provider Deloitte noted several aspects of a high-performing culture. This highlights the importance of communication, specifically in highlighting data-driven decisions while opening the possibilities for experimentation and expressing the chances of recovery when failing. Feedback, when done constructively, is also a great way of improving team performance.
Paying salaries and commissions are obviously a great way of recognizing good performance. But consulting firms have also suggested adding prizes, no matter how small, as an increased incentive for team members to be productive. This may even be a source of friendly competition among the virtual team. Here are other tips to increase your VA’s productivity.
We could never stress this enough: it’s important to provide a space for the team to chat about things not related to work, even in a digital space. This would not only improve relationships and foster camaraderie; it would also allow the team to discover each other’s strengths and interests.
Respect each other’s culture.
There are plenty of benefits of working and using virtual assistants. Not only do they have a virtual office anywhere in the world, but there’s also the matter of culture. Individuals do things differently at home. A millennial might be constantly on their phones. One person might prioritize taking care of family during weekends. A leader of a virtual team must take the habits and characteristics of their members into consideration in allotting tasks while still setting boundaries.
A virtual personal assistant could help not only you but the rest of the team in ensuring goodwill stays in the team. Nothing else would secure a member’s loyalty and productivity than knowing their boss respects what is most important to them.
Generally, in order to manage virtual assistants effectively, just treat your virtual assistant as part of your team members. Stay in touch with them and just treat them with respect. In turn, your assistant can help you save time on specific tasks and even answer business needs. Having a successful virtual assistant is a positive impact on your business, and this can only be achieved through hiring and managing a virtual assistant effectively.
Need a helping hand to ensure you can implement all these best practices? OkayRelax can provide the cheapest virtual assistants available while ensuring your specific and tailored needs will be addressed.