Working from home as a Virtual Assistant can offer a host of advantages to both employees and businesses.
Virtual Assistants can set their own schedule and pace, work when they are most productive, and enjoy independence and autonomy. For businesses, working with Virtual Assistants can cut costs and broaden the potential labor pool exponentially.
But Virtual Assistants can encounter a number of pitfalls as well.
Some common mistakes include:
1) Infrequent communication and socializing. Virtual Assistants miss out on the camaraderie fostered by daily interactions with colleagues. The resulting isolation can impede motivation and commitment.
2) Letting home and office overlap. A Virtual Assistant’s office is often in the home, and separating those two spaces can be difficult. Spouses, children, and household chores are just some of the many distractions that can interrupt a VA’s concentration and pull him/her away from work.
3) Working too much. Virtual Assistants who work from home are “always at work,” because they never truly leave the office. When they fail to set firm boundaries, VA’s can spend all of their evening hours, weekends, and/or vacation time at their desk or on the phone.
4) Failing to keep a schedule. When working remotely, it’s easy to start work late, run errands, or find other distractions from work. These distractions can be especially alluring when they offer a chance to interact with the outside world.
5) Failing to get help or direction. When help is needed, a VA cannot simply walk down the hall to consult a colleague or superior. It takes precious time to get information, especially when the source is not immediately available, and so Virtual Assistants may too often try to go it alone.
6) Inadequate technology. Virtual Assistants need to have up-to-date and even state-of-the-art technology available to work and communicate effectively from afar. Investing in, installing and supporting these tools can be daunting for both the VA and their clients.
To avoid falling victim to these pitfalls, Virtual Assistants needs to be sure to stay connected with outside communities and set firm boundaries between home and office, work and life by establishing a work schedule and sticking to it.
“Just say NO” to distractions, even when they come in the form of spouse or children. And finally, invest in a good Internet connection, a webcam, a robust handheld device, and other relatively cheap web-enabled tools (like GoToMyPC) to keep your technology effective and up to date.
A Virtual Assistant’s office can be just as productive – and even more so – as a traditional office if you treat it like the latter.
Maintain boundaries, balance life and work, and make an effort to keep in contact with the “real world,” and you’ll enjoy the best that working from home has to offer.