Managing a virtual assistant based in another country takes a different approach than a team member who is only a desk away. You don’t have the advantage of in-person communication, so you’ll need to find other ways to stay connected, communicate clearly, and ensure that your VA has everything they need to succeed. Let’s explore the top three priorities to help you successfully manage your offshore virtual assistant.
1. Expectations and Training
Don’t expect a plug-and-play staff member when hiring an offshore Virtual Assistant (even an experienced one). Your VA will need to learn how you like to do things and what you expect in terms of communication and deliverables.
Invest a little time in training your VA on your tools, systems, software, and processes. Give them clear instructions, especially when assigning your first task. Plan to spend extra time delegating and offering feedback in the beginning. Having experience as a VA means they will likely get up to speed quickly, but they still need this onboarding time to adjust.
2. Communication and Patience
Working with someone new always comes with challenges. The key to successful outsourcing is to give the right tasks to the right people. In doing so, keep in mind that what might seem obvious to you might not be obvious to someone in a different location or country.
To improve communication from a distance, take advantage of accessible tools like Skype, Google Meets, and Zoom. Communication platforms that offer video calls allow you to see the other person’s facial expressions and body language, which may help you learn whether you’re being understood and ensure your VA is engaged. It also supports two-way communication, allowing your VA to ask questions and share real-time feedback.
You can also leverage online project management tools, like Asana, Trello, or Monday.com, to easily send assignments and keep projects on track. These types of programs give you an overview of what your VA is working on and when you can expect certain items to be completed. It can save a lot of back-and-forth in the inbox and help you maintain patience as you wait for deliverables.
3. Celebrate Little Victories and Cultural Inclusion
Cultural differences always need to be considered when working with offshore employees, but it can take some time to learn what those differences look like and how they affect work performance. Not everyone will be motivated in the same way; some people might need an extra push, while others may need additional guidance.
A fun and inspiring way to discover these nuances is to celebrate the small moments. It shows your appreciation and encourages your VA to continue contributing to your team. Acknowledging their efforts might be a virtual high-five, a funny gif in a message, or a free coffee. Sharing these positive moments allows you to learn about their working style, culture, and values.
Working with an offshore VA can be one of the most rewarding lifts for your business but don’t expect things to happen overnight. To learn more, get in touch with Virtual Coworker today!