virtual assistant services Archives - Virtual Latinos

Our In-House Expert’s Advice: Use These Five Steps to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Hiring

Latino Virtual Assistants: the Affordable Approach to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

If you’re reading this guide, you’ve likely found – as many business owners eventually do – that you just don’t have enough time in your day to accomplish all the tasks essential to running and growing your business. While you could easily decide to shift your focus from business growth to simply staying above water with your daily operations, this isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, many business owners agree; last year, nearly 40% of small businesses already outsourced at least one business process and over 52% planned to do so by year’s end.
For many of those businesses, outsourcing means hiring virtual assistants – individuals who supply administrative, customer support, tech support, accounting, or other services remotely from a home office. Delegating tasks to an outsourced virtual assistant means you can take some of the administrative, creative, or menial responsibilities off your own plate so you can focus on the essential endeavors that can grow your business. The key is choosing the right virtual assistant, a process our in-house expert has learned well over his years in business.

An Inside Look at Virtual Latinos

Perhaps no one knows the ins and outs of hiring a virtual assistant quite like Jaime Nacach, founder and CEO of Virtual Latinos, one of the top virtual assistant services in North America. After an extremely poor experience with a Philippines-based virtual assistant company when he was beginning his own marketing firm, Jaime learned a great deal about what it takes to hire the best virtual assistants. For Virtual Latinos, he puts a great deal of focus on the skills and proficiencies of potential applicants.

First and foremost, Virtual Latinos assistants must have an excellent grasp of the English language, both spoken and written. As such, most are already familiar with the United States and have either lived here or are generally familiar with the culture – this allows Virtual Latinos to perform tasks like sales calls, customer service, tech support, marketing, content writing and more with ease. To gather this elite pool of assistants, Virtual Latinos utilizes an extensive screening process, selecting only 7.5% of its applicants into its community of pre-vetted virtual assistants, 95% of whom have a college degree in a related field. According to Jaime, all hires must be organized, self-motivated, show technological proficiency, and continue to pass frequent English-language screenings.

Hiring Your Own Virtual Latino Assistant

So, how do you go about learning how to hire a virtual assistant from Virtual Latinos? Utilize these five steps, straight from our in-house expert:

1. Gauge your virtual assistant needs

What tasks do you want to outsource? What skills are non-negotiable when it comes to the responsibilities you’ll give your virtual assistant? Spend some time outlining the tasks you’ll need accomplished and the skills you expect before making the call to Virtual Latinos.

First timer’s hiring tip: The most important first step is for you to make a list of all your needs. Create a simple Google Doc with the 15-30 most common tasks you or your team do on a weekly basis, the rank them from low, medium to high importance.

2. Choose the Virtual Latinos Directory or Agency

Based on your needs and your VA search needs, you can choose between utilizing the Directory or the Agency. The Directory is suggested for individuals with VA hiring experience (Less than 10% of our clients), as you are responsible for locating, interviewing, and hiring an assistant from our broader directory of qualified assistants. For individuals or small businesses without hiring experience (90%+ of our clients), we recommend utilizing the Agency; the Agency’s hiring experts handle all recruitment work, providing you with the top 3% of candidates for your needs.

3. Get the BEST VA for your needs: Let’s get to know you, set up a client interview

After a brief initial call to discuss overall pricing and needs, Virtual Latinos will schedule a more lengthy conversation at your convenience – we call it the “Client interview”. This call really gives us the opportunity to truly get to know you, your needs, goals, and the type of team member virtual assistant that will be the perfect addition to your team.

Depending on your needs, Virtual Latinos’ hiring experts will discuss your ideal virtual assistant with you at length, including your listed qualifications and company needs. Jaime himself will give suggestions based on his extensive experience as the two of you work together to determine exactly the type of virtual assistant you need.

4. Conduct interviews

If you’re experienced at hiring virtual assistants, this is when you’ll utilize the Virtual Latino Directory to locate and interview an assistant. If you’ll hire through the Agency, Virtual Latinos will dedicate hours to interviewing up to ten individuals who meet your initial needs. At the end of this process, the field will be narrowed to two or three finalists.

5. Select your assistant

In this final step, our expert Jaime will again act as your guide and VA hiring consultant, assisting you in conducting your final interview with the finalists. He’ll suggest essential questions to ask, qualifications to highlight, and more. In the end, you’ll select the finalist who most aligns with your brand identity and needs.

Virtual Latinos Can Save You Valuable Time and Money

Whether you’re inexperienced in hiring a virtual assistant or have undertaken the task in the past, the Virtual Latinos process can help you learn how to find the best English-language virtual assistants possible. Better yet, our process is built to help save costs as well as the extensive time necessary to hunt down the right assistant yourself. Contact us today and see the difference a virtual assistant from locations like Costa Rica, Honduras and Cuba can really make for a business like yours.

Answers From Our In House Expert: Why Should I Choose a Latino Assistant Over Other Options?

Tips & How To's

Our In House Expert Lists Four Reasons Hiring a Virtual Latino Assistant Will Benefit You

Anyone who has operated a small business is well aware of just how many daily tasks are necessary to achieve success. Between financial reports, accounting, hiring, payroll, scheduling, client meetings, and client communications, it can often seem like you don’t have time to sleep at night, let alone get started on the tasks that will actually grow your business. Worse, attempting to be a jack of all trades often leads to the other half of the old adage, “master of none.” In other words, spreading yourself too thin on too many tasks has the unfortunate effect of making you less effective in your efforts on each one.

It’s a scenario all too common for entrepreneurs and other business owners, and one that often has unfortunate consequences: 20% of small businesses fail within their first year; that figure grows to a full 50% by year five. While the reasons vary from poor customer outreach (14%) to an inadequate team (29%), it’s clear that attempting to handle everything yourself does not bode well for the future of your business. For that reason, more and more small business owners are recognizing the value of hiring a virtual assistant.

What to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can help you with any of the daily tasks of doing business – from managing customer communications and handling administrative duties to providing customer support, sales, marketing, and much more. What’s important is that you assess your strengths, your areas of need, and then determine which tasks you’ll benefit from outsourcing to a virtual assistant. Then, you’ll be able to focus on the key ventures that will help you grow your business.

While there are a number of purported top virtual assistant companies in existence, however, it’s essential to choose a legitimate, quality business. When Jaime, our in-house expert, was first starting his own marketing company, he decided to outsource some of the administrative tasks to a virtual assistant; upon a recommendation from a friend, he hired an assistant from the Philippines – a decision that had unfortunate consequences. The virtual assistant had relatively poor English skills, was all but unreachable during North American business hours, and provided almost no return on our expert’s investment. Although we’re aware this doesn’t happen to everyone working with Filipino VAs, it does happen to many (including various existing Virtual Latinos clients).

From this experience – as well as his subsequent, much more successful experiences with hiring Latin American virtual assistants, our expert has agreed to provide his insight regarding how to hire a virtual assistant as well as why you should choose a Latino virtual assistant for your outsourcing needs. Consider these recommendations when making your final hiring decisions:

1. Time zones make all the difference

As Jaime learned the hard way, utilizing a virtual assistant halfway around the world can have some unfortunate consequences; hours of operation differ wildly from those of a North American business, such as in the US or Canada, and you or your customer base may not be able to reach your virtual assistant during operating hours. Conversely, Latino assistants live and work within the same time zones as you do, allowing you full access to develop internal relations, address productivity, provide customer outreach, and more. Better yet, the entire Virtual Latino team is located in the same few time zones, allowing excellent cross-communications via phone, email, or video conferencing.

2. Excellent English skills are non-negotiable

Our experts stress the importance of full English proficiency for any virtual assistant you hire. Besides the obvious advantages of hiring an assistant with fluent, non-accented English to aid in your most crucial client or customer service communications, it’s essential to ensure your virtual assistant reads and writes English flawlessly and can adapt to English-language tech in the virtual age. Virtual Latinos hires only highly English-proficient assistants so that each can handle tasks such as cold calling, sales, tech support, customer service, blog writing, marketing, lead generation, general administrative, and more with ease.

3. True bilingualism is a selling point for your business

With over 85% of US businesses relying on Spanish-language employees to conduct business with America’s growing Spanish-speaking population, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of the business you stand to gain by including Spanish-speaking support options. While proficient in English, Latino virtual assistants can easily switch to Spanish if required in the operations of your daily business. According to Jaime, “Being fully bilingual is an opportunity for businesses to offer Spanish services – having someone who speaks both fluently and clearly is important.”

4. Consider the cost savings

While Jaime’s first Filipino virtual assistant experience was a costly failure, yours doesn’t have to be. In fact, Virtual Latinos offers significant cost savings compared to hiring a US-based assistant. For qualified virtual assistants based in the US, the going rate is $25 an hour on average. If you compare pricing from $5 USD/hour for a Latino assistant, you see a 30 to 80% discount even compared to US minimum wage, which is a huge factor to consider!

Virtual Latinos Is Your Source For Quality Virtual Assistants

Recognizing the benefits of outsourcing some of your daily tasks of business is the first step towards shifting your focus towards activities that will grow your business and hiring the right assistant is the second. Ensure your success with Virtual Latinos – our skilled, fully bilingual and English-proficient assistants from locations like Mexico, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico provide you with expert services at an affordable rate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can serve you.

How Virtual Assistants Could be the Key to Your Small Business Staying Afloat through COVID-19

News

Why You Should Hire Virtual Assistants to Help Expand Your Reach

These are not easy times to be a small to medium business owner. In the face of the rising COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us are left with questions about what moving forward during and after this crisis means. Perhaps the biggest question of them all being:

“How do we move forward, quickly, before getting left behind?”

We get it. Many small businesses are in the process of having to completely re-structure their day-to-day operations, which is a lot of work and takes a great amount of logistical coordination. Think about some of the changes we’re seeing in so many small businesses in the past months:

  • In order to just stay open, restaurants are shifting over to online ordering with take-out and delivery only.
  • Yoga studios are moving their classes to Zoom, Skype, and other platforms.
  • Accountants are telecommuting with their clients and solely accepting digitized documents.
  • Various places of worship have begun to offer streaming services and private video counseling rather than meeting in person.
  • Many small retail shops are finding themselves jumping into online e-commerce, some for the very first time.

These kinds of expansions can feel intimidating to small business owners, even given appropriate amounts of time and under the best of circumstances. However, whether your business is considered “essential” or not right now, it is probably time for some overhauling of your processes. Our world is changing and adapting to that fact is more important than ever.

At this moment, the common thread we see in businesses that are thriving amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability to adapt and incorporate technology into their daily operations and in their deliverable products. Technology is more accessible than ever before, and it’s allowing so many businesses to reach wider audiences and brand new markets.

Remote work has never seen such high numbers – and it’s not just in the U.S.; it’s around the world, and the current global pandemic has created an increased necessity for it. While there is no way to make your small business completely “pandemic-proof,” there’s one easy step you can take to keep the chaos of the moment at bay as you move forward – you can hire virtual assistants (and do it without breaking the bank).

Regardless of what kind of business you run, chances are that you need extra help right now and aren’t necessarily in a position to hire more in-house staff. Do you dream of being able to delegate tasks like email or database management? Is a ringing phone keeping you from managing other tasks? A Virtual Assistant might be the solution to many (if not all) of your problems.

What Are Some of the Benefits to Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Probably the single most important thing a virtual assistant can do for you is provide relief from the day to day processes that slow you down from actually running your business. We are all feeling a little overwhelmed these days, but imagine if you had an assistant who could take a few tasks off your hands every day and lighten your workload? There are many benefits when you hire a Virtual Assistant, some of which you may not have even imagined (yet).

Virtual assistants already know how to work remotely

In a time when remote work is new to many, it won’t be to your virtual assistant. It’s likely that they’ve been working remotely for much longer than most. Virtual assistants can help streamline the process for you and won’t need the training or long “onboarding” time that is typical of a new employee, especially in a remote environment.

If your entire business is shifting to a remote-work model, as many are, they can also help you train your current employees to do so efficiently. This is vital in maintaining clear communication within any company, and a virtual assistant is just the kind of person who can facilitate this for you.

Handling all of your marketing tasks just got easier.
Do you spend an inordinate amount of time writing promotions and putting together other marketing content? There are virtual assistants who specialize in this and can handle the work for you, from afar. This includes:

  • Web Design
    Many small businesses don’t update their websites as frequently as they want or need to due to lack of time and/or ability. If you hire virtual assistants, they can do this for you. They are well-versed in most standard webtools and can quickly update your website to reflect the daily changes in our lives (and your business) during a global health crisis and beyond.
  • Social Media Monitoring
    One of the major time-sinks that many small business owners lament having to worry about is social media. Whether it’s post updates, keeping stories current, comment monitoring, or responding to customer questions and reviews, it’s time consuming and not necessarily the best use of your working hours. Virtual assistants know their way around social media, since, in addition to having formal backgrounds in technology and media, most of them have grown up with it. They can help you improve your content, increase engagement on your posts, and chat with your following.
  • Blog or Newsletter Writing
    If your small business maintains a blog or sends out a newsletter, you know how easy it is to get behind on updates, especially when daily operations take precedent. Whether you’re a flower shop or a property management company, chances are, you need to be reaching out more to your clients, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let your virtual assistant help create regular blogs or newsletter posts to keep your public informed and aware of what you offer and what (if anything) is changing.
  • Branding, Graphic Design
    If you are one of the many businesses moving to e-commerce, you have undoubtedly realized how important both branding and graphic design are. Many virtual assistants specialize in these areas and can do the work for you at a fraction of the cost of a graphic design firm.

Aside from the various marketing-related tasks you can have taken care of when you hire virtual assistants, there are still many more daily and weekly items to consider being able to free yourself of.

  • Payroll
    Managing payroll can be time consuming, especially for small business owners who may not have a dedicated division or staff member to handle it. This is another task that a virtual assistant can take on, so you don’t have to.
  • Customer Support
    Virtual assistants can and do regularly handle customer support for small businesses from property management companies to yoga studios and even accountants. If your accounting firm were to go entirely online, wouldn’t it be nice to have a dedicated staff member to contact clients and prepare them for what they’ll need to have digitized before your video chat with them?
  • Employee Support
    If you are changing day-to-day operations of your business but keeping your staff on (remotely or otherwise), this is a really great way to make sure they feel supported. A virtual assistant can field any questions your staff might have and be the central hub for announcements, changes, and updates.
  • Market Research
    Even if you are unsure which direction to take your small business in during a global pandemic, a virtual assistant can find this information for you! Market research on similar business types is essential to see what is working and what isn’t in these highly unprecedented times.

Other Reasons to Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Those are the most common tasks that bring businesses to seek out virtual assistants, but they are more aspects of running a business that they can take off your plate. Here are a few such tasks.

Scalability
Virtual assistants work within your budget, on short-term contracts, so there are no hidden fees or obligations. For example, if you are a restaurant owner looking for lots of tech support for the first month or two of implementing on-line ordering, your virtual assistant can help you establish a system that works for you and your staff, then decrease their hours as needed. This is a big selling point for many small businesses because it allows them to have an expert consultant involved in the process, helping to increase revenue, but with diminishing labor costs over time. Of course, once you start working with a virtual assistant, it’s entirely possible that you’ll find more for them to do, as it becomes clear what a valuable asset they are to your company.

Handle any tasks you might not know how to do, and/or don’t have time to learn
With time and study, of course, you could become a social media guru or an expert programmer, but most small business owners don’t have that kind of time, especially right now. If, for example, you need to convert your small retail storefront’s website over to e-commerce, and fast, you’ll want someone who already has experience doing this. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Virtual assistants can help facilitate making this transition and set it all up for you, so all you have to do is mail your product out to your customers. They can even set up and schedule any video conference calls you may need to have but were too busy to figure out how to organize.

Increasing your company’s reach through website localization
Many virtual assistants are bilingual, which means that they can also help you to localize or translate your website and services into another language and provide support in that language – organically growing your business. With there currently being more Spanish-speakers in the United States than in Spain, this is a huge market reach that you may not have considered before. Think about being able to reach 50 million more consumers, instantly.

Whether Your Business Is Retail or Accounting, Virtual Assistants Can Help

From marketing tasks to employee support and market research, a virtual assistant could be the key to adapting and growing your business in uncertain times. Many of the businesses we see thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic are doing so precisely because of their embracing technology. Top virtual assistant services are leading in many of these technological charges, as they have the expertise that most small businesses need with years of experience in the field.

If you’re wondering how to hire a virtual assistant, Virtual Latinos can help! Our certified team is at the ready for any of your virtual needs and can help you start growing your sales today.

10 Most Common Jobs Companies Outsource to Virtual Assistants

Hiring

If you are a busy entrepreneur or business owner who’s working hard to achieve your goals, you probably understand that outsourcing the jobs that consume crucial working hours is a viable and beneficial solution to many obstacles you face. If you want to grow your business and maximize revenue, it’s wise to consider which jobs are commonly outsourced before you take steps to hand these responsibilities over to a top virtual assistant company.

What Is Outsourcing?

The act of outsourcing jobs is basically subcontracting an outside company or person to handle certain jobs, tasks, or responsibilities. These tasks often use company time that employees and owners could use more efficiently to achieve company goals and exceed clients’ expectations.

Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean sending your work overseas, or offshoring, as many people think. It often involves hiring local accountants, freelancers, and even cleaning services. Virtual assistants offer other essential services that many companies need. Outsourcing consistently proves to be a cost–effective option, as many of the duties contracted save businesses from paying salaries and benefits to employees. The work can be accomplished by paying contract fees to the subcontractors for completion of duties.

What Jobs Can You Outsource?

If the idea of increasing company productivity, saving on labor costs, and providing higher quality services to your clients appeals to you, consider these 10 jobs that you can outsource to top virtual assistant companies like Virtual Latinos:

  1. Writers. If your business is paying writers to produce company web content, you may benefit from outsourcing to freelance writers. Many businesses, including newspapers and magazines, currently take advantage of outsourced writers. Virtual Latinos can connect you with a writer who offers mastery of the English language and excellent grammar skills.
  2. Personal & Executive Assistants. Hiring a virtual personal assistant is quite possibly one of the most beneficial and profitable decisions a business owner can make. From accounting and bookkeeping services to scheduling, managing emails, and answering phone calls, a virtual assistant can benefit your enterprise and cut costs in many areas.
  3. Tax Preparers. Many companies hire tax preparers via online services to handle this tedious task and ensure that they are prepared for tax time. With a client’s financial information and knowledge of tax laws, a knowledgeable virtual assistant can help you prepare your documents for tax season, saving you both time and money.
  4. Web Programmers and Designers. Bureau of Labor statistics indicate that computer programming is the job that companies most often outsource overseas. In countries like India, workers often perform these tasks for a pay rate as low as one tenth of what American workers are paid.
  5. Call Center Reps. Both inbound and outbound calling is a popular job to outsource in recent times. Companies often use this service to offer promotions, take surveys, and provide product and customer support. Virtual Latinos virtual assistant can handle your calls with the professionalism and knowledge you would expect from an in-house team member.
  6. Data entry. Data entry is a relatively simple job. It doesn’t require specific knowledge of company operations, but it often takes up valuable time and racks up company labor costs. For this reason, it is one of the most commonly outsourced jobs.
  7. Business Process Outsourcing. A very commonly outsourced job is business process outsourcing (BPO), which can include various time-consuming tasks. Accounting transactions and filing health care paperwork affect your business’ efficiency, and these jobs are often outsourced overseas. A nearshore virtual assistant who works in your same time zone can be a significant benefit to your business.
  8. Human Resources. Human Resource managers handle many tasks in any burgeoning business. In addition to hiring and onboarding, they handle employee benefits and payroll. Many third-party companies offer these services and have the knowledge and technology to do it effectively and cost-efficiently.
  9. Web Maintenance Assistants. If you need help keeping your website current and updating simple aspects of your site, paying a full-time staff member to take on this task is an unnecessary expense and use of valuable time. Outsourcing developers and designers will benefit your bottom line.
  10. Graphic Design Assistants. Many companies subcontract graphic design work to freelancers instead of hiring full-time employees to meet their graphic design needs.

Let Outsourcing Save Your Company Time and Money

As you can see, outsourcing job functions that don’t require full-time employees is an increasingly common practice. The 10 commonly outsourced jobs we’ve listed here are only a few of the possibilities that your company could hire a virtual assistant to accomplish.

A Virtual Latinos virtual assistant would be a great start to saving your company money and freeing up valuable time that you or your employees can use to increase business, completely satisfy clients, and increase company profits.

Reach out to us today and discover the benefits of nearshore outsourcing and how we can help you maximize your business’ revenues by hiring virtual assistants.

How Real Estate Investors use Virtual Assistants to Find, Contact, and Book Appointments

Hiring

Real estate investors have difficult but rewarding jobs. It’s not uncommon for real estate investors to face day-to-day challenges that can lead to missed opportunities for investments, botched renovations on real estate slated for resale, and countless problems. Fortunately, many of these issues are preventable.

One of the main challenges facing most real estate investors is simply a lack of time to handle everyday responsibilities. The average real estate investor must spend each day contacting realtors to close real estate purchases, sort through contracts, arrange inspections, manage a calendar, and handle various other personal administrative tasks. One of the best solutions for tackling all these responsibilities is to hire virtual assistants.

How a Latino Virtual Assistant Can Help a Real Estate Investor

Many successful real estate investors handle all types of responsibilities completely on their own during the early days of their careers, but few would want to return to those days. The most successful real estate investors will accredit part of their success to others, typically the assistants and other employees who help them close deals, fix up investment properties, and market their real estate effectively. Top virtual assistant services can be tremendous assets to any real estate investor of any experience level.

A virtual assistant service can help a new real estate investor save time and money when starting an investment business by handling administrative tasks. This may sound like it comes at additional cost, and it certainly does require an investment to secure the best virtual assistant services, but the payoff is well worth the expense. Most new real estate investors simply fail to realize how much time and money they spend handling administrative and marketing tasks alone.

The additional cost of hiring a dedicated virtual assistant will pay for itself in several ways, each helping real estate investors grow their business, find and flip properties faster, and forge better relationships with business partners and customers.

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Any real estate investor knows that this type of work requires constant attention. Some beginner real estate investors focus on one property at a time; they purchase a property at a good price, renovate the property to boost its value, and then sell it for a tidy profit. This may sound like an easy way to make money, but the whole process is very complicated; it requires consistent effort, networking with various professionals for every sale, finding the right construction crews to upgrade each property, and finally marketing an investment property and closing a sale.

A Latino virtual assistant can assist with all these moving parts, streamline the real estate investment process at every stage, and ultimately help them grow a more profitable business. The investment of hiring a virtual assistant is negligible considering the level of value they can provide. A few of the tasks a virtual assistant can perform for a real estate investor include:

Data mining and research.

Finding the right properties and making connections is a major part of growing a real estate investment business. A virtual assistant can help a real estate investor with the research end of the business, locating potential investment properties and collecting contact information from their sellers.

Communications

Real estate investment requires a great deal of phone calls, emails, and other forms of contacting business partners and other real estate professionals. A virtual assistant can ensure no conversations are lost in the shuffle.

Calendar management

Real estate investors need to regularly meet with real estate agents to tour properties for sale, arrange inspections, and meet with construction crews to oversee renovations and upgrades to investment properties. A virtual assistant can help a real estate investor keep their calendar organized.

Handle personal administrative tasks.

A virtual assistant helps ensure a real estate investor meets their personal and professional obligations on time and in full compliance with applicable laws.

There are countless benefits that come with hiring a virtual assistant. If you are a real estate agent wondering how to hire a virtual assistant for your business, look no further than Virtual Latinos.

Why Virtual Latinos?

The Virtual Latinos team understands how important it is for many real estate investors throughout the United States to break into the Latin American market across various industries. If you’re looking to expand into Mexico, El Salvador, or Costa Rica, it helps to have a virtual assistant with extensive experience working in those markets and who can communicate seamlessly with customers and partners in those areas.

Think about how a Latino virtual assistant can help you grow your real estate investment business, and contact Virtual Latinos today for more information about our affordable virtual assistant services.

Virtual Work: 8 Tips for working remotely

Tips & How To's

Workers from across the globe are moving towards working from home as an attempt to stop Coronavirus from spreading.

As a Digital Worker at Virtual Latinos, make sure you are equipped with all the tools required to work remotely successfully.

Check below our shared tips and suggestions to make your home office work a successful experience.

Woman working remotely from her home

1. Set up a workspace

If you don’t have a dedicated home office, try to find an area of your home you can dedicate as a focused work area. If you are using tools like Zoom or Teams You can always use the background blur feature to keep teammates focused on you.

2. Communicate and communicate more

When working at home, possibly while balancing childcare, your core hours may change. Be sure to keep an open line of communication with your supervisor, team and clients when you are available. Use message features on your preferred communication tool to let people know your current working hours and availability.

3. Be seen and be heard

It’s important to use the optimal audio and video tools calls and conferences. Turn on your camera and use an external speaker when possible.

To create the best audio experience: ​

  • If you are in a quiet private space, use an external speaker like a USB speakerphone.
  • If you don’t have an external speaker, or you are in a loud or public place, use a headset.
  • If you use the speaker on your laptop, ensure that you are directly in front of and close to the laptop as the speaker may not be bi-directional and people will have a hard time hearing you if you are off to the side.​
  • When you are attending a meeting, remember to mute yourself when you aren’t speaking.​

To create the best video experience: ​

  • Turn on your video camera! ​
  • If you are in public setting or don’t want your background to be visible, you can always use background blur feature. Check your lighting; if you are sitting in front of a window you will be in a shadow. ​
  • For the optimal audio and visual experience, ensure that the internet connection is reliable. If possible, connect via an Ethernet cable for the strongest, most reliable signal. Most of the communication tools will alert you if you have a weak connection and offer suggestions to improve quality, stay alert.
  • Don’t have an external monitor at home? Split your screen!​

4. Connect with colleagues via Zoom, Skype, Hangout, Teams or other.

Use chats, threaded conversations and calls to stay close with your colleagues. Name, pin or hide your chats to stay organized and be sure to adjust your notifications settings to your own preferences.

5. Collaborate with clients and vendors

Chats, calls and meetings will keep you connected with external contacts. Always be sure you apply the right permissions to files you are sharing. Download Telegram Mobile app if you don’t have it already, as it’s an easy way to multitask, letting you chat on one device while searching/working on files on the other.

6. Explore virtual meeting options

If you can’t bring groups of people together physically, explore and learn about available options for virtual meetings, including Teams meetings, Live Events and Broadcasts. It’s important to be able to help your clients and vendors know how to join meetings you have scheduled.

7. Work via your mobile device

Make sure you have all the handy tools and apps on your mobile device to stay connected while on the go. Every day we find ourselves on the go and need to connect, collaborate and create with our mobile devices. Working virtually can often increase this need. So, if you aren’t already using your mobile device for work, now is the time to get started!

Freelance virtual assistant working from home

8. Stay Truly Human

Explore tips on establishing a structure to your day, ensuring you are striking a balance between work and personal time, all at home.

  • Key to staying focused when you are creating and working remotely is establishing a structure and proactively balancing your screen time, finding the right place to work and connecting with people
  • Set a routine to start your day and mentally get into work mode – get your coffee, read your emails + messages, etc., and do what you typically do during a workday.
  • Think about your “virtual dress code” as you will be connecting with people via video.
  • Ensure you have a dedicated place to work that is quiet, has enough space for you to work, and allows you to focus. Ergonomics is important so think about your desk height and your chair.

Avoid working in bed. If you start working in bed you’ll likely get sleepy or have a hard time feeling truly awake. Instead, get up and make your bed first thing in the morning, just like any other day. Avoid the urge to work in your bedroom at all, unless that’s the only space where you have privacy.

If you do have to work in bed, creating a sense of “going to work” will help you. That means changing out of your Pijamas, washing your face, getting coffee, whatever makes you feel awake, do that first. Once you start working, sit up and avoid working in your bed if you’re exhausted.

It’s a good idea to treat your bedroom as a sacred space where you only go to sleep or relax. Once it becomes your office, you’ll find it hard to avoid thinking about work 24/7.

Using mobile devices to work remotely

  • Working from home, or remotely, often leads to increased screen time and less time away from your desk. Take breaks, go for a walk, and get up from your desk regularly. Avoid working where you’ll be tempted or distracted. One of the keys to successfully working from home is to pretend you’re at an office so don’t work somewhere that will tempt or distract you, that means don’t work with a TV on, and if laundry or dishes are calling your name, avoid them! Get your chores done before you begin work and save time for binging Netflix once you’re done for the day.
  • Set boundaries with other people at home.

Working from home with roommates, friends or family present can be challenging. Sometimes if someone comes over and sees you on the computer, they may not register that you’re working. This is true especially if that person has never worked from home before, they may assume you can do whatever you want.

It’s important to set boundaries with people around you in work from home settings. Tell everyone who’s home with you that you’ll be working as a virtual assistant during certain hours and to not disturb you unless it’s an emergency. Put a sign on your door if you must. Doing what you can to avoid interruptions is key to staying as productive as possible.

Take breaks every 75 to 90 minutes, for about 15 minutes per break. Ideally, your break should involve no screens at all and let you get some fresh air. Take a walk outside, play with a pet or talk to a friend. You’ll find that you’re much more productive if you walk away from your desk and computer throughout the day.

  • Connect with colleagues, team members and others. Virtual “water cooler” chats are a great break. Avoid total social isolation.

And when you’re ready to sign off for the day, truly unplug and try to resist the urge to check your messages frequently. Enjoy your free time!

Become an online virtual assistant today.

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