What are the most effective ways to maximise the productivity of a business? Through outsourcing and delegating time-consuming tasks such as email and customer services, to event planning and financial administration, virtual PAs are a highly effective means of helping streamline any corporation.
Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly sought after. The purpose of this blog is to investigate how much time a virtual PA spends dealing with the administration that facilitates the smooth running of an effective enterprise. How much does outsourcing these individuals aid maintenance of time-consuming tasks for your business? This article seeks to answer the former questions by investigating the daily routine of a virtual PA.
The Virtual PA Hourglass
The greatest resource that a virtual PA offers you is time. Effective time management will inarguably have a positive impact on any business’ productivity levels. The point of an outsourced virtual personal assistant is that they can choose the work environment which is most conducive maximum workflow and thus be more productive. Some people are just more productive in the mornings, while others prefer to work through the night.
Businesses can hire assistants who work in different time zones to best suit their schedules. Virtual assistants can adjust their schedules to meet the expectations of employers, but are also able to take into account their own needs. Employers prepare for this by creating an in-depth outline of their expectations, as well as a projected schedule of tasks for prospective applicants. The following timescale investigates the typical day of a virtual assistant.
Some assistants will have personal commitments to handle in the morning. Some may get up early to go to the gym or caring for their families. Assuming that assistant wakes up early, they would go about taking care of their personal lives before they start work each day. A more effective virtual assistant should be sure to rest well and have a healthy lifestyle to ensure a steady and reliable work rate.
Many business owners leave a scheduled list of tasks for their virtual PA to find first thing in the morning. Others will get in touch with their assistants and plan the day accordingly.
Your assistant will look over the task list and decide which of these are the most time-sensitive and order each task list by highest priority. Some assistants make use of project management tools such as Trello or Pipefy to organize their tasks and help streamline productivity. Employers can use these tools alongside their assistants to tackle their deadlines.
Virtual assistants conduct any urgent morning calls or emails in accordance with their task lists. These could be stock orders, or simply following up on delivery times from other resources for your business and maybe more time-sensitive than other tasks. Many assistants will be able to handle large parts of a business’ communication in-flow.
Additionally, simpler, consistent emails, and calls can be delegated to a virtual PA so that the business can focus on more important areas of their product or service.
A virtual PA’s mindset will be in full work mode by this time of the day, even if they work from home. They are able to handle duties that have been delegated to them to ensure the smooth running of a business.
These could be tasks such as providing customer feedback or handling social media updates. Because their remote environment is less stressful, it’s generally easier for these duties to be handled at a steady pace. A study by the Canada Life group found that nearly three-quarters of all employees prefer working under flexible time arrangements, and it found it to vastly improve their productivity.
Fitting in a lunch break is something that every virtual assistant needs to practice as part of a healthy daily routine. Studies have consistently shown that levels of concentration and productivity are far higher when short breaks are taken. Note that unlike in-office-employees, you are not charged when a virtual PA is not actively working. Time tracking applications such as Harvest record when your virtual PA is working and you will be billed for that time only.
A lot of employers check in with their assistants around this time. It helps to discern what has been done, and what still needs to be. Social media platforms are more active around this time of the day, so if a virtual PA is handling this area of the business, extra attention will go into this. Platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn are a great way for small businesses to establish and maintain a client base, so having someone outside of the business focus on this could prove highly beneficial.
By this time of the day, a virtual assistant will be steadily moving through their workload. Perhaps there is an event that needs planning, and every tiny detail needs to be handled individually. There may be financial admin that needs to be handled in accordance with banking deadlines. Once a steady, balanced work routine is in place, a virtual PA will be seamlessly ticking off their to-do list one box at a time.
While it’s easy to think that the working distance allows for time to be lost on tasks, an interesting blog by Hubstaff suggests that remote workers actually log in four more hours than in house employees.
For the average virtual PA, this time of the day means finishing up any tasks that can be handled within normal business hours. Online activity, such as customer feedback or social media management can be attended to after hours, so tackling the more direct aspects of a specific project or campaign may occur around this time of the day.
Any high priority tasks that need to be completed before the end of the working day will be completed. Any that can be postponed for the next day will be organised accordingly. Over time an employer and assistant will adjust to each other’s routines and priorities. Productivity rates consistently improve as the working relationship grows.
Employers may wish to have an end of day conference call with their virtual pa. Communication services such as Zoom provide strong conference calling technology, so employers and assistants can trade project information while hosting an online conversation.
By the end of each day, assistants and employers will evaluate the day’s proceedings, and prepare to tackle the next day’s set of tasks.
It’s important to remember that while some assistants have ended their day by now, others may have adjusted their schedules to fit the needs of their employers as well as their own preferences. While most assistants are able to wind down for the evening, others might schedule tasks to handle later at night due to time zone differences.
Conclusion: Why Virtual PAs are More Productive
The key component to any successful business is consistent productivity. The daily routine of a virtual PA revolves around meeting the needs of their employer and ensures that the repetitive but essential tasks are fulfilled consistently. Ultimately, the ‘bill-by-minutes-worked’ nature of a virtual PA’s salary means that they are more motivated to work towards total efficiency than a traditional in-office employee.