There are many concerns when hiring a VA or an independent contractor and many variables to consider when you don’t interact with them in person. Best Practices For Managing Your Virtual Assistant looks into this issue deeper.
Many people believe that managing virtual staff can be difficult and that virtual offices can be prone to many problems.
However, all of these problems have simple solutions.
Note: You do have to remember that there are a lot of types of VAs and not all of them should be managed this way or in a strict manner. It may all depend on the project timeline and what your management style really is.
Let’s take a look at the most important areas that you should manage.
Things to Manage
Communication with VAs can be difficult because you aren’t able to interact with them in person.
Regular emails can only convey so much, right?
Besides Skype and Zoom..Slack, Fleep and Chanty are all great communication tools for a virtual office.
This platform can provide you and your VAs with a line of communication easily. You can easily share files, ideas, and messages within seconds.
Fleep allows you to communicate with your team effectively in one space.
All of this is possible in one space. You can communicate on projects, share files, reports, and interact via audio and/or video.
You will have the same feeling as if your team were in person, but with all of the tools you need.
This time it is a virtual workplace.
Chanty allows you to manage all your VA communications in one place. It supports chat, screen sharing, and audio and video calls.
You can also turn your messages into tasks with the handy project management function. This makes it the ideal combination of chat and project administration in one application.
Monitor Progress and Align Tasks
How can you assign tasks to your VAs, and keep track of all tasks in one location?
To stay on top, you can use a free tool for project management.
A good project management tool can help you:
- Assign tasks and projects with detailed descriptions.
- Establish clear deadlines and set time limits.
- You can check the status of your projects in either Kanban-style or list views.
- Facilitate collaboration between your VAs, employees.
You’ll be able to see where your team and you stand at all times.
This is the biggest challenge for anyone who wants to hire a VA.
You can see what everyone is working on when you are in an office.
Your mobile workforce could still be available to do anything, even if they are located 1000 miles away. There is a simple way to solve this problem.
You can use a Time Tracking & Monitoring Tool to address these concerns and ensure that your virtual staff is diligently working.
Time spent on a task can be tracked
Most VAs charge an hourly fee so time is money.
They could also increase the amount of time it takes to get a bigger payday.
How can you make sure you are only paying for the hours you worked?
You can monitor how much time your virtual assistants spend on tasks with the Time Tracking and Monitoring tool.
You can create an account using a Time Tracking and Monitoring tool and then add your VAs.
They just need to click on the task they are starting and the app will track how long it took.
After they are done, they can turn the timer off. This will give you an accurate record of their work hours.
How do I know if the VA is actually working during those hours?
Now you can verify how long VAs spend on a task.
How do you know if it was time spent on tasks for virtual assistants?
What if they turned off the timer and took a break to take a nap?
To combat this, Some Time Tracking and Monitoring Tool includes an inactivity tracker.
Some apps will pause the timer if there has been no keyboard or mouse activity for more than three minutes.
You will only be charged for the time that the employee was actually working.
Ensuring That The VA Is Working On The Task
Your VAs may be monitoring cat videos on social media while billing you. You might even be billed for the time they spend shopping on Amazon!
This is why many Time Tracking and Monitoring tools have excellent website monitoring capabilities.
Here are some ways to do it.
- A list of sites that are not related to work can be created, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- If the VA visits any of these sites during the task timer, they will be greeted with a popup asking if they are still working.
- This is usually enough to deter them from returning to work.
- However, you will receive a poor time usage report for your VA. This report includes the date and duration they spent on the blacklisted sites.
You only pay for the hours you actually work on the task.
Keep Track Of All Tasks
Access to detailed reports will be available on all VAs, including how they spent their time. You can monitor them all at all times.
Here are some:
Maintaining Records of Tasks
You’ll have access to detailed reports on all your VAs and how they’ve spent their time. This way, you can keep a check on them at all times.
Here are a few of them:
This displays the total time that your virtual professionals spent on tasks in a given day.
Timeline Daily Report
This provides a breakdown of each activity performed by virtual assistants on a daily basis. This spreadsheet can be easily downloaded in Excel for your records.
This will give you an idea how long a VA spent on a project in a given day. This information is helpful when your virtual assistant works on multiple projects.
Web and App Usage Report
This displays every website that an employee accessed during a given period, along with the time they spent on each site.
Poor Time Usage Report
This report tracks the time and duration that an employee spends at a blacklisted location.
This will show you whether a virtual assistant arrived on time or absent.
How To Determine A Pay Scale
When it comes to setting a VA’s pay scale, there are several factors to consider.
These are just a few.
Types of work
The price you pay will depend on the item you are purchasing.
You’d pay $15-25 an hour if it was basic administrative tasks such as managing telephone calls as a personal assistant.
Inbound call handlers can make between $25-30 an hour.
For more complicated skills, such as digital marketing and design, the hourly rate can jump up to $50.
Niveau of Experience
Another important factor is the level of experience.
Although VAs with more experience might charge more, they have a lot of knowledge. This expertise is accompanied by a high level of professionalism.
This is why it may be a bad idea to choose someone who charges less but has more experience.
For someone with years of experience, sometimes a little extra can make a big difference in achieving reliable results.
Many businesses have outsourced to India and the Philippines for this reason.
It is much cheaper to hire an independent contractor than to hire a virtual assistant from Western Europe.
Good news: You don’t have to compromise on quality when hiring from these countries.
Quality work will still be done. It would only cost you a fraction of what you normally pay.
How to Pay Your Virtual Assistant
Agency payments are usually handled by payment processors.
These platforms often have their own payment gateways for making transactions. The VA will pay you and the company.
What if you don’t want to go through an agency? What if you were able to hire someone yourself? What would you do?
Pay only when the task is completed
Never pay a VA upfront. Remote working is 101. They don’t have to work if they already have the money.
This is why you must always pay once the job has been completed. They may sometimes ask for partial payments in advance.
This is acceptable in certain cases but I wouldn’t recommend it unless the nature or scope of the job requires it. There is no guarantee that the job will be completed.
They might just accept that advance and leave your hand hanging.
Use a well-established payment method
It is important to use a well-respected payment method when paying remote employees.
These are the reasons:
- They are trustworthy, so you can be sure your money is going where it should.
- These currency conversions are much more reliable
- Transparency in fees and surcharges is much better
- These are well-known companies so your VA is more likely to have an account with them.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do to improve my virtual assistant’s performance?
Flexibility is key to improving the work performance of your virtual assistant. Both sides will need to adjust their working styles to better suit yours and vice versa.
How do I become a great virtual assistant?
If you are able to communicate well and can stay focused on various tasks, you could be a great virtual assistant. Trustworthiness and time management skills are also important.
Filipino VAs are a great team of employees and have many positive qualities that have helped them become the best offshore and outsourced talent in the world.
Foreign employers will need to adapt their management style due to cultural differences.
A virtual assistant can act as a standalone think tank but it may be difficult to supervise him or her in order to raise productivity.
Supervise or manage your virtual assistant in a good way and rest assured he or she will be really helpful and stay with your company for the duration of your projects.
Rei is a resident Author on Mango & Coffee. Specializing in business development online. Well-versed in article research and creation. A long-time independent worker, assisting clients with administrative work, business development projects, social media, marketing, content writing and other tasks.