When you're working with a virtual assistant, the main thing that's going to make the most difference between having an efficient or inefficient relationship is communication. Utilizing collaboration tools for remote teams, software solutions, and productivity tools can greatly enhance this communication process.
Having to communicate on a daily basis is sort of a requirement for a business environment to work and be productive, but working with an off-shore employee means that you can't really text and email's just not efficient - so one application that we suggest is Slack.
Slack is essentially an instant messaging tool for you and your virtual assistant. It lets you create channels based on what the conversation is going to be around. What that means is if you're going to be talking about social media, you can have a social media channel; if you're going to be talking about just sheer management, you can have a management channel. However that looks like, and whatever setup works for your business, Slack is really good because of its customization or organization capabilities.
An alternative to this is WhatsApp, another instant messaging tool. Unlike Slack, WhatsApp is recommended only if you're only working with an individual virtual assistant, where rendering task-specific channels wouldn't make as much sense. Additionally, when considering collaboration tools for remote teams, explore various software solutions and productivity tools to enhance efficiency and streamline tasks.
The second software you're going to want to use is called Wise - previously referred known as TransferWise. While PayPal is a commonly used payment software for virtual assistants, it charges a processing fee of about $3 - $4 which adds up over the course of the year. With Wise, what it does is if you're paying $100 it takes the processing fee out of the money that you're paying your virtual assistant. The beautiful thing about it is even though your virtual assistant is theoretically receiving less money from you, it converts USD - PHP at a higher rate. So you're paying less money but your virtual assistant is getting more - a win-win all around.
The last thing that makes Wise better is with PayPal, you transfer money that gets deposited to their PayPal account before going to their bank, which can take quite some time to process. With Wise, the money you send gets deposited directly to your virtual assistant's bank account making the process overall easier, simpler, and a lot faster.
The third software that we suggest is Screenshot Monitor, which can be kind of a hit or miss when working with a virtual assistant. As the name suggests, it takes screenshots of the virtual assistant's screen so you can see or even track what your VA is working on. In addition to that, it also tracks time and activity levels - all great information regarding your virtual assistant's performance.
What people get wrong with using Screenshot Monitor is they use it to micromanage their virtual assistant which isn't recommended because 1.) it's not smart and 2.) it's a waste of time.
What you need to do is to give your virtual assistant deliverables - "hey I expect this many things done per week." If that's not getting done, then it's clear that the deliverables that you set at the beginning of the employment contract aren't being met. And that's when Screenshot Monitor comes into play - use it as a last case scenario of needing to see what's happening on your virtual assistant's screen.
Screenshot Monitor is ideal for business owners working with virtual assistants full-time, which means that they are actually employees under your umbrella. But it's not supposed to be used and tracked at every single day because it's inefficient to micromanage people. Screenshot Monitor is really helpful for business owners working with virtual employees, but it's important to use it smartly.
Going back, Slack is a great software for instant and ease of communication; Wise (TransferWise) is the payment processor you should use when paying your virtual assistant; Screenshot Monitor is great for performance monitor when you need to track your employee's productivity - three essential software solutions you need so you can be efficient when working with a virtual assistant.
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