Virtual Assistants: What Hours Do They Work?
One of the questions I am most asked is, “What hours should my virtual assistant work?”
I have found virtual work to be most productive when all people on the team are working the same hours.
My remote professionals in Mexico are in the same time zone as me, so everyone is happy working during the same hours. Even when there are slight time differences, such as working in Eastern or Mountain Time while living in Central Time, it’s not a big issue and can sometimes be preferred.
How do you run a remote team asynchronously?
Our recent guest on the Bootstrappers Podcast Liam Martin, a remote work advocate, supports the idea of asynchronous work. This means that workers can choose to work at any hour and from any time zone, with as few meetings as possible.
Martin believes in using technology to its fullest potential, like making videos for colleagues instead of having video calls and making sure written communication and documentation is thorough, reducing the need for meetings or calls.
Martin is the author of Running Remote and the founder of Time Doctor, a time management software as a service (SaaS).
How do you run a remote team synchronously?
As a business owner, I run my remote teams with a strong focus on teamwork. We have daily huddles where small teams connect live in the morning and work during the same hours. Video calls are frequently used to answer questions and Zoom meetings typically work for our needs.
Despite never meeting in person, I feel like I have known my team extremely well due to our online interactions.
This type of work is only possible when everyone is working during the same hours.
Should I just hire a part-time virtual assistant?
When hiring a virtual assistant, I avoid part-time workers because it leads to unhappy clients. I’ve tried it in the past and it caused problems for everyone involved. The virtual assistants typically were unhappy because they lacked communication, training and felt like they were wasting their time.
The clients were unhappy due to low work quality and high turnover. This was not because the assistants were not talented, but because when someone is juggling multiple jobs, they don’t see the work as a career and therefore don’t put in extra effort or propose new ideas.
The lack of loyalty and focus on a paycheck instead of a career also meant that clients had to constantly train new employees, leading to more unhappiness.
Full time virtual assistants who work your hours is the best option
After trying the part-time virtual assistant program and finding it unsatisfactory, we decided to only hire full-time remote professionals for our clients.
We helped them design job descriptions that went beyond their expectations and included administrative tasks that would help their business grow or things they wanted to do but never had time for. This was a success for everyone involved.
It provided stable jobs for people in emerging markets like Mexico, allowed for skill development and learning new things, and created a more loyal workforce for our clients, solving their labor issues with minimal headaches.
For the happiest VA give them their holidays off
One way to increase employee loyalty is to give them their country’s holidays off.
Recognizing different holidays within the company can be a productivity hack. For instance, the 4th of July is a great example. During busy work days, there are tasks like database cleanups that are often overlooked. However, if you have a motivated workforce willing to work during holidays, they can tackle these projects that never get done on regular days.
For example, if your contractors’ insurance and workman’s comp information isn’t updated in your system, have your remote professional review it on the 4th of July. If there were past customers who were not offboarded correctly and now your data is not clean, consider using Labor Day to clean it up.
By utilizing holidays with a motivated workforce, you can complete important projects and have your business running smoothly.
The recipe for the most successful virtual remote teams
To have a motivated and productive remote team, keep their working hours consistent and have regular virtual meetings like in an office. Hire in a location where the working hours are suitable, and ensure they are full-time employees to avoid distractions.
Include tasks that will move your business forward in the job description, not just the required ones. Utilize the different holidays in various countries to your advantage by using them for tasks like database clean-up that can’t be done during regular work hours. This can be a powerful tool for your business.
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