There are a lot of problems arising when there is no consistency or set of standards followed when working with a client. As a virtual assistant, you should remember that at times, it is you, who should be taking the first step in ensuring problems will come out of a lack of organization. One good example is when you do not agree upon a schedule with your client.
It is true that there are virtual assistants who tend to work on a flexible schedule. It does work for some, but there are instances, it will not.
One good way of explaining this is with an example situation:
Imogen and Claire just started working last week. The former is the client in this circumstance, wherein Claire is the virtual assistant. Apparently, Imogen complained about not getting responses from Claire via their chosen messaging platform last Friday. However, when Claire’s side was obtained, it was found out that she already worked beyond her hours, which is four hours per day. It is also added that Claire informed Imogen that she will be starting her work at 9:00 A.M. PST, but the client is complaining of not having a response by night time at 10:00 P.M. PST.
After further investigation, Imogen has been used to sending messages to Claire almost the whole day from Monday to Thursday, while the virtual assistant has no complaint in attending to it. In other words, the client got used to getting replies and at one time, she did not receive one, she already panicked.
If you will analyze the situation above, it is apparent that lack of schedule could result in unnecessary complaints and unfair treatment to the virtual assistant (though this is not the intention of the client). There must be a boundary all the time, and the best solution is a strict schedule to follow. In such way, the client will be aware that the virtual assistant is obligated to respond during her working hours. On the other hand, he or she has the freedom not to respond to client’s inquiries not until her next shift.
Clients should be aware that a virtual assistant is not a round-the-clock employee. They may work in a flexible manner, but they also have the right to obtain some hours of personal privacy away from work.
Of course, virtual assistants, most of the time, should initiate setting up a schedule. It is one way of protecting one’s self from the aforementioned issue. One cannot blame the clients all the time, for once you get them adapt to a certain routine, they will definitely anticipate it to occur going forward.