One of the benefits of working as a virtual assistant revolves around freedom and flexibility.
Since virtual assistants work remotely, most of them have the privilege to start work whenever and wherever they want as long as they can finish their tasks. But while remote working setups offer a wide range of benefits, it also has its set of drawbacks.
People in the industry often argue how remote employees maintain their productivity while working from home. Some say that the lack of supervision and monitoring allows remote workers to slack around, leading to inefficiency and poor productivity. To deal with this, some employers utilize time-tracking software to monitor their VAs’ activities.
On the other hand, some employers believe that flexibility and autonomy can motivate employees to work at their best. Thus, they opt to trust their remote employees and stick with an output-based work setup.
But with such flexibility, it is safe to say that some VAs struggle to maintain a healthy and productive daily routine. Some tend to lounge around and push off work as far as possible, assuming they have enough time to complete their tasks before the deadline.
While there is no harm done to the employers in this situation, it’s hard to say the same thing when it comes to the overall productivity of a remote virtual assistant. Poor work habits can significantly affect how VAs develop their skills, improve their professionalism, and further their careers.
With that, here are some tips on how to get better at being a virtual assistant while working from home.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
Before we jump to getting better at being a virtual assistant, let’s first look into what it is like to work as a VA.
Virtual assistants (VAs) are remote workers who offer a wide array of digital support services. There are different types of VAs in the industry depending on the type of their task, specialty, or niche.
The most common perception of virtual assistants is that they handle administrative tasks such as answering phone calls, managing inboxes, and performing data entry. However, virtual assistant jobs involve more skills and expertise, such as web development, graphic design, and the like.
How To Get Better At Being A Virtual Assistant
There is an increasing demand for virtual assistants because of the fast-growing digital industry. As more and more businesses are venturing into ecommerce and online entrepreneurship, more and more business owners are looking into hiring a virtual assistant to provide the support and help they need. Small businesses and global companies benefit from hiring remote VAs.
However, along these lines comes the growing competition among aspiring virtual assistants. To help you get that edge over other applicants, here are some tips on how to get better at being a virtual assistant.
Master how to communicate effectively
Miscommunication and misunderstandings are some of the biggest challenges of remote work setups. Since virtual assistants only converse with their clients through digital platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Slack, it can sometimes be easy to have shortcomings when communicating.
Whether it’s a matter of language barriers or simply the lack of effective written or verbal communication skills, virtual assistants need to know how to convey their ideas comprehensively.
One way to do this is to use clear and concise language. When writing, it is vital that you are able to convey your thoughts in a manner that is easy to comprehend. Elements such as the proper tone of voice can greatly change how your message is received.
When talking to a client, remember to be polite and professional. However, stay away from using technical jargon that other people are generally unfamiliar with. Instead, learn how to use layman’s terms and avoid using acronyms and abbreviations that can make your conversation puzzling.
When responding to a question or inquiry, be as thorough as you can be. This will not only prevent confusion and misunderstanding but can also avoid follow-up questions. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you’re the one with the question. Clients will appreciate that you are paying close attention and want clear and concise instructions before proceeding.
Improve your time management skills
Learning to manage one’s time is arguably one of the most valuable skills anyone could develop. Proper time management is crucial in improving efficiency and productivity. But more than that, having great time management is one way to unlock more opportunities for growth and development.
However, time management is an extremely important skill for virtual assistants. Since VAs work remotely and enjoy the flexibility of working from home, some need help with properly managing their time and building a healthy work-life balance.
Because of poor time management skills, some VAs take too long to work on their assigned task, while others are forced to work extra hours just to complete their assignments. Such habits speak so much of their professionalism and sense of accountability, as well as their efficiency and productivity.
Time management strategies are designed to encourage long and deep focus in order to increase productivity and efficiency. It will allow VAs to finish their jobs faster and provide them with more time to chase after growth opportunities or even start new hobbies.
There are tons of time management methods that people use in order to improve the way they spend their time on a day-to-day basis. Here are some of the most popular time management strategies people use.
- Pomodoro Technique encourages people to split work into smaller, more manageable tasks and focus in intervals with small breaks.
- Priority Matrix teaches people to work on tasks based on their importance and urgency.
- Time Block Method is a scheduling method that pushes people to create specific time blocks for specific tasks and activities, thus limiting the chance of wasting time on anything unrelated or unproductive.
Don’t stop learning
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when it comes to their career is to stop learning and improving their skills. There is a lot of opportunity for virtual assistants to grow and get better by either honing their current skill set or developing new ones.
The beauty of a virtual assistant career is that VAs can branch out to new niches and specialties. For example, a general VA working on administrative tasks can look into other skills closely related to their current position, such as project management, database management, or social media management.
To do this, tons of free and paid digital courses are available online to help ease you in. Other resources even provide certifications as proof of your training that you can use for future employment opportunities. Content-sharing platforms such as SkillShare or even a social media site like YouTube can also be a great source of information to start learning.
It is essential for anyone who wants to get better to always have that hunger to learn about new things as well as the discipline to discover and develop new skills.
As the popular line goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Knowing that virtual assistants enjoy the privilege of working in the comfort of their own homes, it is critically important for them to learn how to build good work habits outside of an office environment.
Becoming a better VA does not only mean getting better with your tasks. It also emphasizes the need to develop good work ethics and character in order to endure as a remote employee.
Our tips encourage virtual assistants to learn how to properly manage their selves and their tasks in order to improve their productivity and efficiency. Aside from that, we also push them to continue learning throughout their years of experience working in the industry.
Want to know more about virtual assistants? Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company, and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up for our newsletter. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation if you prefer something more personal.