If you’re anticipating joining the growing remote work movement to help your business succeed post-pandemic, the benefits of virtual assistants are numerous. However, as with any business relationship, there are potential pitfalls as well—and it’s essential to be aware of each to avoid issues. To help provide better insight and a clearer path to avoiding problems after you hire virtual assistants, we’ve gone straight to the source.
Virtual Latinos asked our VAs, “What are some of the most common issues between a VA and a client? How can a client go about solving them?” Here are the top three:
Issue #1: Communication
Communication is a common issue for many business relationships of all types, including VA/client relationships. The nature of remote work—with its focus on technology versus in-person contact—can provide additional barriers to communication. “Building a strong communication path since the beginning is a challenge, especially while you work with someone remotely,” says Jennifer Salazar, a Virtual Latinos VA.
To establish excellent communication from day one, Salazar recommends the following:
- Be clear and concise. You have goals and expectations, and your VA must understand them to meet or exceed them. Do your best to communicate goals clearly from the beginning—and in a way that makes your expectations the primary focus of your communications.
- Establish a schedule. Salazar suggests asking your VA to briefly summarize his or her activities at the end of the day. Alternatively, you could even schedule daily check-ins and check-outs, so both sides are clear regarding work completed and work outstanding.
- Perform periodic internal follow-ups. Set a schedule to perform a formal follow-up with your VA—ideally at the one-month, three-month, sixth-month, and one-year milestones. “This will help clients and VAs to see the improvements or challenges they are facing while working together and also find a way to solve them,” says Salazar.
Issue #2: Productivity
Potential productivity issues—the ability to perform consistent, high-quality outsourced work and do so efficiently—are key concerns among professionals new to hiring remote workers. Fortunately (and contrary to popular belief), productivity tends to be even higher for many remote workers than it would be if those same workers were confined within an office setting. Still, that doesn’t mean you should simply assign project after project and then disappear until its due date.
So, how can you ensure your VA is performing as expected and working efficiently when you can’t see them working? Salazar recommends these strategies:
- Institute a training process. If you want your VA to perform well, you’ll need to train them to do so. Make sure you provide your VA with the necessary resources and information from the beginning and enable them to learn about how your company—and the tasks they’ll undertake—needs to operate.
- Utilize management tools. A great resource to help your VA manage time, tasks and more is the use of task management and time management tools. “For task management, some good tools are Trello, Asana, Teamwork, and Infinity; for time tracking, try Clockify, Toggl, Hubstaff, and Time Doctor,” says Salazar.
- Hold short meetings. Often, productivity and excellent communications go hand in hand. Hold brief daily check-ins or weekly meetings to discuss which projects are finished, which are underway, and which may take more time and resources to complete.
Issue #3: Time Difference
The final barrier between a strong, productive relationship between client and VA are the issues a significant time difference between a client and a VA can cause. “Working with a virtual assistant from the other side of the globe can be pretty challenging, and that challenge typically comes in adjusting one’s body clock to a different time zone,” says Salazar. She notes that when there is a large time zone gap, VAs often need to train their bodies to work overnight or late-night hours, which can lead to a loss in productivity no matter how excellent the VA’s work ethic.
The solution is simple, according to Salazar—“Hire a VA who is closer to your time zone. Both of your schedules can be more synchronized, and your communication level will be more optimal.” For those of us in the Western Hemisphere, that means hiring a virtual assistant in Mexico, Central American countries like Costa Rica and Guatemala, and South American countries like Colombia and Venezuela.
Choose Virtual Latinos to Meet Your VA Needs
Virtual Latinos is one of the top virtual assistant services, dedicated to providing Latin American assistants for your needs. Our focus on Latin America means each of our virtual assistants is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and is located within two time zones of your own to optimize communications and productivity. Contact us today to learn more about how to hire a virtual assistant—and avoid the above VA pitfalls with ease.