The concept of hiring a virtual assistant so that you can concentrate on your core competencies is a great
one. However, virtual assistants work remotely and often in different time zones, so how do you know if
your virtual assistant is really working and not goofing off by playing Candy Crush or some other game?
Well, there are several ways you can find out if your VA is faking work or is getting the job done.
Let’s Get a Few Things Straight First
A virtual assistant is an independent professional who provides certain support services to different types
of clients including busy professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners. The support services can be in
various forms- administrative, creative and technical among others. Those who are interested in hiring the
services of a VA can select from a vast pool of prospects. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs and
business owners to hire an entire team of virtual employees who can work as an extension of their in-
Advantages of Hiring Remote Employees
There are distinct advantages to hiring VAs and virtual employees. The virtual staffing model allows
businesses to instantly hire highly skilled professionals when they need them and only for the duration
that they need them. Having a full-time employee on your payroll can be expensive and you would have
additional costs such as benefits, sick leave, training etc. With virtual employees, you don’t have this
additional expenditure and you can save on another precious resource – time.
Challenges to Hiring Remote Staff
If you’re considering hiring from the freelance marketplace, you can expect hundreds of replies for your
posting. Since there is no face-to-face interview process, you may have to spend a lot of time screening
for the best candidate. And since the individual is not working at your office, how do you keep track of
what they are doing? Especially if you are hiring on an hourly basis and not results-oriented basis?
Solution: Take Results-Oriented Approach
A simple way to ensure that virtual staff or a remote assistant delivers high quality solutions with quick
turnaround is to take the results-oriented management approach. This strategy will get you what you need,
when you need it. In this approach, it doesn’t really matter how many hours the remote professional puts
in towards your project. However, you need to be careful at the onset and clearly define expectations as
well as deliverables to avoid arguments later on.
Solution for Upwork Users
If you’re hiring through Upwork, you will be happy to know that there are certain in-built tracking tools
that allow you to track the number of hours put in by the VA to make sure they are on track. You can
even take screenshots of the information in case you need to prove that the VA was not working for the
number of hours for which they are getting paid.
Third Party Software Tracking Tools
Other than Upwork, there are other online hiring platforms but these may not have built-in tracking
systems. If you are using any other platform for hiring virtual staff, you may consider using third-party
tracking software to monitor your VA. Using such tracking software may be a contentious issue with the
VA as it may signal mistrust but most VAs are happy to oblige as they also get to provide proof of work.
Another solution is to use a user-friendly software application like iDoneThis.com that sends a nightly
email asking what you got done on a particular day. You can set up this paid software application for your
VA and get an overview of the VA’s responses on a daily basis.a
Another great solution is to partner a reliable company offering virtual staffing solutions. The best
companies have skilled and qualified professionals belonging to different domains and deliver quality
solutions as well as customer service. Of course, here too you would want an overview of deliverables but
you don’t have to micromanage to a large extent – which was probably the reason you wanted to hire a
VA in the first place!