As someone who hired a virtual assistant, you should be aware of your boundaries when dealing with them. Indeed, they are totally flexible compared to the office-based workers you have in your firm at present, but remember that they are still humans that deserve to be treated with due consideration.
There should be no discrepancy in terms of dealing with either remote or office worker. They also get tired, their skills may be limited to certain fields, and you cannot push them to produce something unimaginable or time will not allow.
One good situation to explain the aforementioned thought is this:
Anna just hired a social media manager for her accounts, specifically on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The virtual assistant or the person, whom she assigned the tasks to, is Julie. Indeed, Julie has this relevant experience in marketing via social media platforms. However, Anna set an impossible goal: Julie must see to it that with one hour every day, her social media accounts have at least one fresh post. Furthermore, the VA must be able to engage with people on her account.
The end result? Julie appeared to have failed the expectations of Anna although she deserves to be provided with more hours to prove her skills.
What Anna asked for is totally unachievable, given the fact social media posts may be easily lodged onto someone’s account, but it does not mean that these only take minutes to be created. Be reminded that creating content for social media accounts requires careful research, analysis of one’s industry, consideration of the target audience, determination of the client’s wants for the posting, content writing, and graphic design. Apparently, these tasks will never take an hour.
Also, engaging with people on one’s account will not last a few minutes at all. There are cases that inquiries may even call for coordination with the management itself or other departments of the firm. For instance, the questions are relative to products or services on hand, which the Virtual Assistant may not be able to respond to accordingly without further confirmation of information.
Be reminded that when setting expectations with your virtual assistant, it is best to have a meeting with him or her and clarify things out. For instance, you could ask the VA to give you an estimate of hours for the work completion. To be assured that you are not being led on (i.e. for the VA to acquire more hours than necessary), require a concrete explanation on how the hours will be spent.
You will know that a virtual assistant is telling the truth based on how they give details on their steps. They will certainly provide you with specific activities entailed on the task you have given and their corresponding required time.
From this perspective, you can see that setting expectations is also accompanied by trust – trust that your virtual assistant will work accordingly without spending more time when not necessary.