How To Get The Best Out of Virtual Assistants

With the age of smartphones and inter-connectivity, we are getting access to a wider variety of services than ever before, designed to meet all our needs and make our jobs more convenient. Virtual assistants provide “assistance” over the phone, e-mail or other means of communication remotely. They mostly tender services related to administrative, technical or social domains. Lot of companies providing outsourcing services in India and other countries like Brazil, Philippines and China have recognized this growing demand for virtual assistants by providing a range of such services.

Since they are self-employed contractors and not employees, virtual assistants are a popular and cost-effective alternative to hiring a person full time and having to offer them office space and other associated logistics. Virtual assistants can offer services that are both broad or niche.

But there are many challenges of working with offshore virtual assistants. Here are 10 hacks to overcome these challenges and get the most out of your virtual assistant.

1. Foster a connection: Virtual assistants are often divorced from the sense of involvement that being a part of a business endeavour entails. Since they wield significant responsibility, it is imperative that they feel as passionate about the success and growth of the business as any other invested employee.
2. Encourage proactivity and initiative: If a virtual assistant shows interest in the work, encourage them by offering them rewards. Bringing more value to their assigned work ought to be suitably compensated beyond what has been stipulated. This also sets the stage for demanding more from them in the future.
3. Appropriate and train: Include them in the team and treat them like a valuable employee. Spend resources in training them; this fosters connection as well as a willingness to work better, physical distance notwithstanding.
4. Brainstorm: Discuss ideas and projects with your virtual assistant in an informal context. Ask them for their suggestions or feedback on topics that they might not be involved in. This fosters a sense of relationship and belonging to a larger community.
5. Prioritize: Expect efficient work of your assistant, but only within reason. By virtue of being assistants, it is normal for them to be provided with request after requests in succession. As a result, prioritisation becomes paramount. Communicate with your assistant on this.
6. Allow collaboration with in-house staff: Let your virtual assistant work with other employees. This helps them feel like part of a team and also communicates the office’s work culture to them.
7. Clearly communicate about expectations and deadlines: Maintaining communication with a virtual assistant is crucial. Ensure that misunderstandings do not prop up or accumulate, which can result in significant deterioration of services.
8. Take the hiring process seriously: Do not discount the importance of good selection simply because you are hiring a virtual assistant. They shoulder significant responsibility and it makes sense to select the better individuals for the job.
9. Start off easy: Do not delegate huge responsibilities from the get go. Give them time to acclimatise to the demands of the job before you let them handle more demanding tasks.

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