Greetings! No, really. Greetings are important.
Your VA may not sit in your office, but it is still common courtesy to welcome them to the team and introduce them to their new co-workers. A friendly hello – even a virtual one – and a quick “who’s who” is guaranteed to make any future interactions run much, much more smoothly.
Keep this frequency open!
Collaborating with a person several oceans away can hold some unique challenges; but most of them can be overcome by making sure everyone knows the best channels for communications. Whether your preferred channels are email, Skype, WhatsApp or Slack, it’s vital that your VA knows how to contact you – and answering their queries within a reasonable time is a nice touch, too.
Permission to speak plainly!
Your VA wants to do a good job and the best way of helping them do just that is to give clear instructions and constructive feedback. During the first few weeks of working with you, your VA may make a couple of blunders – be kind, be patient and be rewarded with an employee dedicated to doing their best for your business.
Back to Basics
Don’t overwhelm your VA with detailed information about every aspect of your industry. Most VAs will arrive with a high-level of base knowledge, but there is always more to learn…in time. When you start your working relationship, make sure you introduce your VA to the essentials of your business; the rest will come later.
True, training a new employee from the other side of the ocean can be tricky; however, mediums like Zoom and Skype make it possible and relatively convenient. Make sure to schedule regular sessions with your new VA to give them the confidence to operate independently later down the track.
Even though your VA isn’t part of the office furniture, they can still be part of your office culture. Make sure to include your VA in social chats, benign gossiping session and maybe even have a Zoom lunch once in a while. Who knows? You might find yourself in the Philippines in need of a pub-crawl partner sometime in the future!
If you don’t know what Trello is, it’s time to listen and learn. This magical app is the outsourcers best friend, a virtual to-do list that can be accessed anywhere, anytime and makes collaborating, organising and delegating important tasks easy. Really easy. Like doing it from your phone while you’re on the bus easy.
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your staff’s suggestions and ideas, even when they’re in another country. Your VA may surprise you with valuable insights, new ideas or fresh approaches to recurring problems in your workday. Plus, when your VA feels like a valued member of the team, they will remain motivated to do great work.
Star Chart, Anyone?
Every employee loves a good incentive, be it monetary or just simply a good solid set of kudos. Offering your VA rewards and benefits for outstanding efforts goes a long way towards making them feel appreciated – and that will keep the standards and motivation high!
Your VA is doing excellent work for very little money – so it would be unfair to expect them to work overtime and weekends constantly. Plus, there is a time-difference to be accounted for, so be mindful not to put too much stress on your VA with outrageous expectations.
Your VA may stumble a few times in the early days, but if you keep nurturing and guiding them with feedback, encouragement and resources, you will find that they will not just grow into their role –
they will exceed your expectations.
Keep it Fresh!
There is no getting around the repetitive nature of deskwork, but that doesn’t mean you have to murder your VAs brain and spirit with having them do the same tasks over and over and over. If you can, make sure to assign your VA a new project once in a while to keep things interesting or put them into a new team to shake things up.
Two is better than one
True, our VAs are reliable and efficient; but they aren’t robots. They get tired, they become overworked, they quit their jobs for personal reasons….the list goes on. One excellent and (practically) foolproof way of safeguarding your business against being stuck without any VAs is to hire a pair of them in the first place. That way, you can be certain the workload will be taken care of and have a backup plan in case of an emergency.