There are pros and cons of working from home. Every organization is unique — what may work for one may not work for another — but society is advancing in a way that’s leading to more virtual teams and opportunities to work remotely. Once a company decides to implement work from home policies, it’s wise to consider the possible roadblocks to success.
If you're an overworked entrepreneur wondering why your to-do list always seems unfinished, look into hiring a personal assistant. I once had a mentor tell me that a key to day-to-day success is to hire a PA to keep the trains running on time while you focus on big picture ideas. At first, I thought it was a waste of money, but now I completely understand where he's coming from.
Commuting to work each day can eat up a lot of your time. Getting ready for work (grooming, putting on professional attire, etc.) and commuting to your office (and then back home again later) typically take up hours of your day. By using a virtual office, you can instantly eliminate your daily commute, saving time that you can put towards more useful things.
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.
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Employer branding is often an important component in hiring private staff. In the competitive personal assistant market, there is also the common risk of counter-offers from competitors and similar employers. When you partner with a respected specialist agency they give candidates a real insight into your business helping to represent you as the employer of choice.
A time zone converter. Teams that include members from different time zones often struggle with finding the best times to collaborate. A time zone converter can assist virtual workers in planning the best times for meetings, and it can remind employees to remain conscientious of the time in their teammates’ zones. Every Time Zone is a web-based, aesthetically pleasing app that converts time zone differences in a simple, easy-to-comprehend format.
Personal Assistants are there to support the work of managers, company directors and who they are employed by to undertake a variety of tasks that the manager would normally partake in to help the business. A personal assistant is required to do any task that the managers requires, whether personal or professional. You will also find Personal Assistants often act as the manager’s first point of contact. Personal Assistants can be flexible to adapt to your style of work. It’s up to you to mold your PA into perfection. See below a Personal Assistants duties and attributes that will help your piece of mind, keeping your business successful.
Drift provides conversational marketing and sales software powered by both automation (rule-based) and artificial intelligence (NLP). According to their website, "Drift's conversational AI is trained on over 6 billion conversations to identify the patterns that engage and convert visitors into qualified pipeline." This means the machine learning that the chatbot comes with is already pre-trained and ready to go.
“Burnout” is a phrase that’s thrown around so often it’s lost some of its impact. Yet any entrepreneur or CEO who’s experienced burnout knows just how debilitating it can be. So how do you avoid it? Many will agree that the first step is delegation. Ensuring there are other hands to pick up tasks that you just don’t have enough hours to do. When you begin delegating to a virtual assistant it’s like paying money into a bank of time and energy. That you can easily reclaim, ensuring your account doesn’t run on empty.
A file-sharing service. Virtual teams need a place to share files. A file-sharing service will allow employees to store, access and share files in a secure location. Dropbox is one major platform for file sharing, but there are plenty of other popular services available, such as Google Drive and OneDrive. If you have highly regulated IT guidelines, it may be worthwhile to invest in your own IT-approved system.
Use varied channels of communication. There are many ways to communicate virtually. Lean methods include emails, chat messages, and texting. If you have a simple message to share, a lean method of communication is usually fine. If you have something deeper or more complicated to share, it’s better to opt for a richer method of communication, such as video conference or telephone call. These methods add more contextual information like facial expressions and body language, which can be very telling in a conversation.
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.
A virtual PA isn’t like an employee. In that, if you need to switch PAs or even use a couple of different ones for different tasks, there’s no emotional aspect involved. At ibLE, we match entrepreneurs with the best PA for them, but as our Co-Founders know, changing requirements can mean that a different PA becomes more suitable for a more-developed business. In this case, it’s easy to work with the right person for the job.
LivePerson’s BotStudio also lets you build chatbots from scratch, without any coding knowledge, and its analytics dashboard can track metrics like real-time sentiment, bot containment rate, bot conversation time, total conversation time, average order value, and bot contained sales, allowing you to grasp the impact your chatbot has had on your business’ bottom line.
Virtual offices allow a greater number of employees to work at any given time. With a typical office space or location, you are limited by the size of your space. With a virtual office, space is not a limiting factor. Business owners can have however many staff they need. When used in combination with a physical space, a virtual office can free up more space in the physical office.
Snatchbot Pricing: Snatchbot has a free and pro plan. The Free plan provides access to all the basic platform features, including live chat, broadcast, all messaging channels, and more. The Pro plan gives you access to all features, and is based on how many messages are sent/received. This is tiered, starting at $30/mo for 10K messages, and goes all the way up to $999/mo for 1Million messages.
Even with the right tools and adequate planning, virtual teams in the workplace can pose unique challenges for global companies of all sizes. An experienced talent development firm can help companies navigate the trials that come with virtual collaboration across cultural boundaries. Choose to work with a firm with a validated inventory in the market and a proven record for success.
But even though most chatbots can handle moderately sophisticated conversations, like welcome conversations and product discovery interactions, the if/then logic that powers their conversational capabilities can be limiting. For instance, if a customer asks a unique yet pressing question that you didn’t account for when designing your chatbot’s logic, there’s no way it can answer their question, which hangs your customer out to dry and ultimately leaves them dissatisfied with your customer service.
And besides, you’re going to get quite a few of the perks of being rich without being rich anyway, provided you know how to name drop. Want to have dinner in a Michele star restaurant but don’t have reservations? Come right this way, sir. Want to buy that new Chanel bag? I just happen to have one behind the counter. The benefits can be truly tremendous.
Estimates claim that about 2.8% of the global workforce works from home at least half of the time. Although this number seems low at first glance, consider the fact that the number of people who work from home has increased 103% since 2005. There’s no denying that there is an upward trend of work-from-home flexibility in society today — and this trend does indeed come with many benefits, such as the following:
A collaboration and community platform. Virtual workers need a virtual office — a place where they can meet online and hold conversations. It’s easy for virtual workers to become isolated, so a central hub to communicate with colleagues is a benefit. Skype, Slap, HipChat, and Pie are all popular choices. The best collaboration and community platforms connect employees, give them a place to chat and discuss projects, leave feedback and suggestions, and more.