How Can You Be Certain Your Virtual Assistant Is Working?

virtual assistantSo, you’ve hired your virtual assistant and trained them to your satisfaction. They’re ready to start work and you’ve given them their first real tasks. Everything seems to be going well. Or is it?

Your virtual assistant has assured you that you’re their sole employer, and they’re working full time.

  • How can you make sure of that?
  • How do you know they’re not watching cat videos on YouTube?
  • or goofing off on Facebook?
  • Or working for someone else and charging it to you?

First of all, I hope you followed my hiring advice and looked for a VA with a good work ethic and sense of morality. If someone’s inclined to try to cheat you or engage in unethical business practices, they’ll probably find a way regardless.

That said, let’s assume that your virtual assistant is a decent person with good intentions. Tracking your staff productivity and work hours is just good business and good management, especially at the beginning of your relationship.

Verification methods

There are a variety of ways you can monitor your VA. Don’t hesitate to check in with them periodically throughout the day with email, chat or video calls. Just ask them how they’re doing, if they need any help, and when they expect to be done with their assigned tasks.

You don’t want to micro manage (and that’s quite difficult to do long distance anyway) but keep in touch. It shows that you care and expect them to do their best. Even after they’ve worked for you a few months and you don’t need to talk daily anymore, it’s still a good idea to touch base in a weekly meeting.

Require daily reports

daily reportsSet up a system for your VA to report on their work every day. It can be a spreadsheet or form to fill out, or a simple email. Whichever method you choose, work with your VA to make it a consistent habit.

Daily reports let you keep track of your VA’s work over time. You can easily see trends in their work habits and productivity.

If you see a decline you can ask them what’s going on and talk about any difficulties, they might be having. On the flip side, if you see that they’re taking less time to do their assigned work as they become accustomed to it, you can give them more to do. Perhaps it’s time to train them to pick up another area of your business.

Daily reports open avenues of communication.

communicationWhy not ask your virtual assistant for suggestions as to how they might improve your business or run things more efficiently? If they’re frontline customer communication staff, they might have some insights into what your customers want.

For instance, they’ll have experience in guiding customers through whatever pain points or blockages might exist in your sales funnel. If they regularly answer customer questions they’ll know first-hand what your customers’ concerns are.

Asking your VA these types of questions will get them thinking proactively. It also helps keep them engaged in their work, since they’re in problem-solving mode and not just doing things by rote.

Install time tracking software

screenshotThere are a number of programs you can ask your VA to download onto their computer that allow you to keep track of their work day.

I like Screenshot Monitor. It tracks your staff’s time and takes regular screenshots, so you can see what they’re doing. The service plans are reasonably priced, and there’s even a free version.

You can choose to pay per worker or per hour worked. Your data is stored on Screenshot Monitor’s secure servers and you don’t have to sign a contract or pay cancellation fees.

Whichever method you choose to manage your virtual assistant, there are bound to be a few speed bumps here and there. If there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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