Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is fairly easy today given the technology advancements and the surge of companies as well as freelancers offering virtual assistant services globally – the market is set to hit revenues worth USD 5 billion by 2018. The real challenge however, lies in finding the right VA, trusting him/her to do the job well, and perhaps more importantly – being able to manage in your VA’s absence. Huh? Why then would you hire a VA in the first place when you could do without one? Well, take a pause and now imagine what would you do if your VA whom you’ve come to depend on for say a considerable time, suddenly disappears? Or goes missing in action due to a personal emergency, sickness, or any other unplanned reason?
While it can be disappointing to find your VA out of action, here are three tips to plan for their absence so that your business and personal time does not suffer:
#1 Keep track of all your work by installing workforce management software: Depending on your workload and other unique requirements, you can choose from a variety of project management and collaboration tools such as Podio, Worksight, etc. that let you manage employees’ time, tasks, productivity, and even leaves. Train your VA to use the tool that you install and when you delegate tasks, insist that they upload finished files on to the central repository – that way you will always be in the loop and can quickly bring yourself or another VA up to speed in case of an emergency.
#2 Be careful in granting system access: When you make your VA an ‘administrator’ on any of your company’s documents, forums, or social media pages – be careful not to grant exclusive access. Always maintain supreme control with yourself so that you can restrict access to any outgoing VA whenever required. When you hire a VA, spend some time determining whether they need full or partial access to company information and on which assets – that way you would be in for no surprises in terms of security and privacy of your data. If you are signing up with a professional virtual assistant firm, you need not worry on this aspect – most of them have explicit security agreements and controls in place to safeguard clients’ assets.
#3 Prefer a professional virtual assistant firm over freelancers: Most VAs that often offer the lowest bids for your tasks are freelancers. And that’s why they are less accountable in terms of on-time delivery, professionalism, and resource replacement in dire times. On the other hand, virtual assistant firms such as Habiliss often run in a professional corporate manner by hiring a team of VAs who work for multiple clients. Not only do these companies have centralized workflows where a team leader is always in the know of tasks on individual VAs’ plates. In the case of Habiliss, we also offer a secondary assistant who will be a backup whenever your primary assistant goes out of action – for planned or unplanned reasons.
Working with a virtual assistant is all about perfecting the art of delegation while not losing control at the same time. And that’s why we say finding the right VA is half the battle won!