Working with a remote virtual assistant?
Then you’d probably agree that one of the hardest things about collaborating remotely is simply the geographical distance between you.
Effective remote collaboration requires a different management style – and when not managed well, you have a lot less oversight over your employee, their daily tasks and what may be happening with them offline that could impact their performance.
It’s a very different scenario than working with an employee in your office. If they’re checked out, you’ll notice it quickly. It’s hard to miss poor attitudes, performance drops or a lack of initiative when the employee is right in front of you.
The warning signs for a checked-out VA are a little different. Here’s the behaviors I recommend keeping an eye out for – and what to do if you spot them in your remote assistant.
5 signs your Virtual Assistant has another job
Before we dive in, these warning signs may not necessarily mean your VA has another job. But they do mean that you and your business are not the priority. And if that’s the case, you aren’t getting the focus, attention and results that you should be.
Frequent internet outages & other external issues
With many overseas VAs living in countries that lack the internet and electrical infrastructure that we’re used to, outages are much more common. Unfortunately, some assistants will try to use this to their advantage.
The plain truth is that your VA will likely experience issues occasionally. If your VA is having weekly or even daily outages that are vastly impacting their performance, try the following responses:
- “My internet connection is too slow” – Ask them to do a speed test
- “My internet keeps dropping” – Ask them to have backup internet access – usually a mobile hotspot – so they can still work if the wi-fi goes down
- “My internet isn’t working, so I couldn’t get things done” – Ask them when they’ll be able to make up the time lost
What you’re really trying to determine here is whether or not your VA is committed to you and the role, or if they’re simply making excuses. The very best assistants I have worked with present their own suggestions for addressing any issues – that’s when you know they’re keepers!
Tasks takes longer than they should to complete
If you’re out-sourcing a task you’ve done before, you know roughly how long it takes. As a general rule of thumb when outsourcing, multiply the time it takes you by 125% – that should be an acceptable completion time.
If it’s a task that requires specific skills – like graphic design, website updates, or photo editing – you should multiply your likely time investment by 150%.
They’re difficult to contact or frequently unavailable
This is particularly important when you have a full-time VA who is working set hours for you. If they aren’t available and can’t be contacted during work hours, chances are they have something else pulling their attention – whether it’s another job, or they’re just distracted doesn’t really matter. What matters is having a reliable, focused VA that you and your business can depend on. An assistant who is frequently unresponsive or skips scheduled calls isn’t someone you’ll be able to depend on.
They don’t use performance management tools
Using time management software is pretty standard practice for most executives working with a virtual assistant. If your VA is refusing to use tools or systems like this, it’s a big red flag that they’re trying to hide something. Time tracking software is very common, particularly with remote VAs, so if they’re objecting, it’s highly possible that they’re distracted with other work or personal tasks while you’re paying them to work.
They won’t connect with you on social media
Similar to refusing to use performance management tools, if your VA won’t connect with you on their personal Facebook or Instagram account, they might be hiding something. Of course, they could just prefer to maintain their privacy, or keep their personal lives separate from work – but most virtual assistants will want to connect on social platforms. If this is happening in combination with any of the above, it’s time for you to do some serious thinking.