Working in an office carries a lot of secondary expenses. For instance, you have to pay for your transportation costs (gasoline, bus/train tickets, etc.), professional attire (suits, business accessories), and other related costs (lunch, makeup/deodorant, etc.). These costs can quickly add up, although they’re rarely considered. For business owners, who must lease or rent a space, the costs are much greater. When you use a virtual office, you can end up saving a lot of money.
Agencies who specialize in private assistants have a unique insight into the private staffing market, they can help to advise you on matters such as salary benchmarking and what is the going rate for particular roles. They will also know what skills candidates are likely to have, and where there may be skills shortages. If there is a surplus of candidates with particular expertise then this would likely affect your chances of recruiting.
Similarly to helping keep track of your to do list, a personal assistant is also a second pair of eyes. Whether it’s checking that your calendar is well-organised and you haven’t double booked, or thinking ahead about booking travel transfers, it’s the type of forward-thinking that will prevent problems before they’ve happened. When you’re trying to keep multiple balls up in the air this is how you place a safety net underneath, helping to catch any that might drop.
You might decide to hire a PA on your timezone, who can work (virtually) alongside you each day. But, thanks to modern technology, you could also hire a PA on a completely different timezone which means that while you sleep, work gets completed. This gives you the space to set tasks throughout the day as you think of them, then wake up to a completed to-do list. For entrepreneurs who aren’t able to forward-plan tasks, this gives you the time and space to allocate responsibilities and make the most of your virtual PA.
Luckily, challenges bring with them opportunities. Company leaders managing remote employees can take action to circumvent the possible negative effects of remote work. They can require remote workers to check in with another employee or manager every day, simply to engage in a friendly conversation, and enjoy some personal facetime to break up the workday, as would be normal in an office setting.
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Don’t completely neglect face-to-face meetings. If it’s possible, organize a face-to-face encounter for the first meeting. It’s possible to be successful without ever meeting in person, but there isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact in person. Meeting physically allows people to share a deeper personal connection. Eye contact, proximity, voice, and body language allow people to connect more closely than they would if they met virtually. If meeting in person for the first time isn’t possible, consider holding an annual gathering or other event to keep employees in touch.
No business is too big or small to use a PA, and with recent technological development with the internet, the new era of PA’s has come in the form of virtual assistants. Virtual assistants work remotely from their own home but undertake the same duties a normal PA would, and this can offer a cost effective alternative for smaller business who need help. So, what does a PA do? Some of the duties a personal assistant may undertake include email and calendar management, organising transportation, call handling, research and event planning. As an independent contractor, you might also use a PA for basic bookkeeping and invoicing your clients. If you are trying to build an online personal brand, PA’s can also help with managing your social media profiles.
Trouble separating work from home. When you work from home, it’s easy to become distracted by your children, neighbors, friends, or home responsibilities. Because you’re home, you’ll be more aware of things that need to be done around the house. In addition, those who work from home often have a hard time transitioning from work life to home life. With constant access to their work while at home, it can be hard to stop working for the day, especially when there’s a lot to accomplish.
Employee engagement and motivation. Consider giving remote and office workers surveys to see who is more engaged and motivated overall. Ask questions about how they feel coming to work every day, find out whether they’re inspired at work and ask if they think their role within the company is important. Ask specific questions about whether or not they feel included in group decisions and ask if they feel as though their needs and concerns are considered and addressed.
Finding the right talent to fill your personal assistant role(s) can be tough. It can be a real pressure to find the “right” candidate and if you are not actively involved in recruiting it can be difficult to know exactly where to start – or indeed where to finish in finding the right professional. You may have a list of requirements you expect from your personal assistant but in such a sensitive position it can be difficult to find a candidate you can trust. For this reason, many people choose to outsource their personal assistant recruiting to an external agency.