The coronavirus is already changing the way companies are working. Mounting fears over health and safety have them suddenly expanding their remote working policies. While some companies have the technological infrastructure for certain staff members to work remotely, most are struggling through a company-wide switch to keep things running any way they can.
At VaVa Virtual Assistants, we’re prepared to help our clients transition to a remote workspace quickly, and offer support to executives and entrepreneurs who have lost some of their support employees because of sick leave or mandatory quarantine. We know this is a difficult time for businesses, but working remotely is convenient and cost effective. It can save companies a lot of money by eliminating the major cost of rent and other overhead fees. Not to mention, remote workers are statistically healthier and happier. You just might find you never want to go back to the office.
Here are several ways a Virtual Assistant (VA) can help your business and employees stay connected and organized when you’re transitioning to a virtual workspace.
General Support and Executive Assistance:
A virtual assistant can help you establish new remote office procedures and tie up loose ends so you can stay organized and minimize downtime as you transition. They can also help train your office administrative support staff, like HR and reception, in software and techniques to aid you out of office. VAs can save you time by managing your emails, responding to anything urgent that may concern the health and safety of your employees and customers, and cleaning up nonessential messages by categorizing or deleting them.
Like everyone else, you’re probably overwhelmed with trying to get ahead of the quarantine to protect your business. Between company departments shutting down, restructuring your procedures, and juggling cancelations and delays because of the virus, you’re probably overwhelmed to say the least. A virtual assistant can save you time by organizing your calendar, confirming or rescheduling appointments, travel, deliveries, and shipments, and ensuring your employees have support as they move into their new virtual work routines. They can help you put out fires and prevent new ones from starting so that your business can go on operating as normal as possible.
Set Up for Remote Work:
In an ideal situation, you would have a remote work policy polished and ready to roll-out, but that’s probably not an option right now if you’re transitioning employees to a remote work environment immediately. A VA can help you draft a document for all employees that outlines expectations, guidelines, and the logistics around the new virtual workspace. They can support employees through the transition by answering questions and helping with software and account set-up.
Should you need to purchase new software, home office equipment, or a specialized product to do your work remotely, your VA can research products, get pricing information, and make sure you’re set up properly and understand how to navigate your new office system.
Working in an office allows easy access to a variety of office services that can include printing, shipping, and free office supplies. As you and your employees won’t have a fully functional office setup at home, like industrial printers or mailing centers, your VA can help you secure convenient online resources where you can order printing and shipping services to continue operations without missing a beat.
Communication and Customer Service:
Excellent communication between staff members and to customers is critical for running a successful remote operation. It’s the most essential part of your new work procedures. Platforms like Slack and Asana provide both project management and chat capabilities that are perfect for teams. Your VA can help you get your company accounts set up and send instructions to your team so everyone is up to speed at the same time.
A virtual assistant can also respond to customer and employee concerns or questions on your behalf so your customer service or HR staff aren’t overwhelmed as they try to adjust to remote work. They’ll help customers and employees keep abreast of company service and product updates and respond to customer inquiries through emails, newsletters, and phone calls. In addition, they can update your customers’ profiles and info, send “thank you” cards on your behalf, and conduct customer surveys.
Medical experts, scientists, and the American government speculate that this quarantine may need to last much longer than first thought. If your business is new to working remotely, you may be concerned that the output of productivity or incoming revenue won’t be what it used to. However, it could be better. With these big changes, which could end up being semi-permanent, VAs can collect necessary market research, data collection/analysis, website traffic data, and surveys that can help you make adjustments to your virtual business to ensure it’s as profitable, effective, and efficient as before.
In addition, VAs can help you with other research or data collecting tasks that will save you time and stress. For example, if you need affordable website hosting or to purchase new bookkeeping software, your VA will find options, check out reviews and recommendations, and create a shortlist of contenders for your review using your budget, preferences, and specifications. They’ll comparison shop, find the best deals possible, and even arrange the purchase with your permission.
You may already have an entire department that manages your business’s social media presence, but on the off chance you don’t, a specialized VA easily can. Social media marketing for business is a must and you can’t afford to let it fall to the wayside now. Your customers want to know if they can still purchase products and services from you, and your Instagram or Facebook page is likely how they connect with you the most. Even if you’ve had to cut back on marketing expenses, you can still maintain a powerful online presence with a VA’s help at a fraction of the cost. Whether you want to focus on one platform or multiple, a VA can help create and manage your sites. They can create, edit, and post content, keeping your customers up-to-date in real-time. They can also monitor and respond to messages that come in via your social networks to make sure everything is being answered. If your company website has a blog where you share updates or industry information, you can have a VA with writing experience create and post blogs on your behalf.
Financial Support and Bookkeeping Services:
As many payrolls and bookkeeping services are online, you may not need to do anything to keep these running right now. However, keeping your finances in order is crucial to your business’s success and growth. You can’t afford to drop the ball on this one, especially now that the United States is in crisis mode, so it doesn’t hurt to have a support plan for backup. A VA that specializes in accounting and bookkeeping tasks can make sure your accounts are always in order and alert you if something doesn’t add up. They can also help with payroll concerns so you’re not overwhelmed with employee questions during this difficult time.
Paying bills, cutting employee checks, and processing client invoices are never-ending tasks that pop up weekly, monthly, or annually. Your VA can set up auto-pay services and payment authorization for you. They can prepare payments and enter them into accounting software that you can view from your own computer. A bookkeeping VA can provide you with reports, develop a budget, balance your bank charges, etc. to help you stay on top of your finances. They’ll also work with you or your accountant to set up lines of credit with vendors and keep credit information current and accurate so nothing gets held up with your suppliers or contractors.
Working remotely can help lessen the risk of spreading coronavirus. Fortunately, there are many resources to help you acclimate to a remote workplace. A virtual assistant can help you develop and execute strategies and tools to manage your new virtual team effortlessly and efficiently. Your business will now be set up to adapt to any economic or industry changes without costing you extra time, money or energy, and your operations can continue as normal. Download our guide for more ways a VA can help you keep your business running smoothly, even in a state of emergency.