What You Can Do To Accommodate a Virtual Workforce

Did you head back to the office or stay working from home once we got through the pandemic, well I say through as it feels like we are still somewhat in it. Whatever you decided to do, some of the team have decided to stay working from home and others feel that they need that work/life balance and absolutely crave being in the office around others.

I can actually take it or leave it, if I feel to get outdoors, I will head to a co-working space for a few hours, even when there I usually work in silence and sometimes there are no other freelancers to chat to (I might look at changing that in the future). Looking at the four walls can be boring and does not always bring productivity so being back at work may enhance your work ethic.

I was listening to Diary of a CEO recently and a boss said that he had tried to encourage the workforce back into the office, some agreed, and some threatened to leave because they simply did not want to return. What do you do if you have a fantastic employee that gets the job done, sticks to deadlines and does not need to be babysat in order to deliver results? It is a tricky one but that is our new normal, harsh but true.

If you have virtual workers, including your own assistant, here are some tips on how you can accommodate everyone.

Schedule weekly Zoom meetings

Schedule team meetings or 1:1 meetings for your virtual worker(s). This is so that you can touch base and check in on how everyone is doing, what everyone is working on and brainstorm on any projects etc. Although not everyone is in the office, it is always nice to put a face to the name/voice regularly to bring that sense of teamwork in one place. Of course, you may have a manager in Singapore and everyone else in the UK or wherever in the world, time zones may not permit but do try your best to touch base with everyone at least once a week.

Use Project Management Tools

To keep on track, you may want to consider using a project management tool. This could be for you and your assistant or various teams working on something specific like an upcoming campaign etc. For me, my go-to is Asana and it can do so much and can be integrated with other tools that you may already use.

Check these other tools, some may or may not be right for your business and most have a free version and/or trial:

A project management tool will be one of the best investment that you ever make, within your small business.

Agree to how things will work

As your worker(s) shall be remote, it is important to confirm how things will work as they are working remotely. As a Virtual PA myself, I have always outlined my hours, my preferred method of communication and what their preferred choice would be. I have heard many nightmare stories where clients will call their VA all at hours, bombarding them with messages until they receive a response. If you are sending messages/emails in the evening even though your support ends their day at 5pm, please be mindful that you may not receive a response until the next working day. Please don’t take this personal, it is called boundaries and should not be frowned upon.

If you would like daily updates or communication by close of play every day, for example, make sure this is communicated clearly. VA’s set their own routines and will have everything in place to ensure that having them there does not feel like a chore, but more a timesaver for you. Communication is key, remember working remotely is just that…remote. The person will not be in front of you, so it is important to ensure all parties understand expectations from the off.

No matter if you’re hiring in-house or outsourcing, there are steps that you can take to accommodate a virtual workforce. Encourage communication, don’t expect people to read your mind, and make time for that weekly meeting. These will help everyone including you —whether they’re across the office or across the ocean—feel valued.