A virtual office assistant is someone who provides all the services of an office assistant, but is physically located elsewhere. With computer networking, web cameras, and conference telephone calls, it is now possible for staff to work in a wide range of other locations, with no impact on customer relations. Making the decision to have a virtual office assistant is a big one, and there are three items that need to be considered: skill sets required, reliability and monitoring.
Make a list of the tasks that will be completed by the office assistant. Typical tasks include managing office correspondence, fielding and directing telephone calls, answering emails, basic accounting data entry and company correspondence. Explore the software programs and tools available to allow this type of work to be done from another location.
Office assistants typically have a degree in business or management. Look for someone who is very good with technology, self-motivated and able to think independently. This person should have an interest in learning new things and are comfortable working independently.
An office assistant is central to the organization of any business. The ability to assign tasks with confidence is critical to smooth daily operations. Reliability is critical and is especially important when the person is working from another location.
When using a virtual office assistant, the ability to monitor productivity becomes more important. Look at the different software available to track computer network access times, length of connection and amount of data transmitted. Follow up with customers and vendors to determine if phone calls are professionally managed in an efficient manner.
Monitoring of productivity is in the best interest of the employee and the employer in a remote work arrangement. It removes all questions and concerns regarding the quality of the services provided. It is very important to inform all job candidates that productivity monitoring tools will be used in this position.
There are a growing number of telecommuting firms that provide virtual office assistant services. These companies have a roster of qualified staff and they rotate the work within this group to ensure complete coverage. They are responsible for the management of employee productivity and for all monitoring activities. Entering into a virtual arrangement can save the company office space, hardware, and support costs in both the short and long term. The interest in this type of work arrangement is growing and is a great way to reduce commuting time, enhance work productivity, and improve employee flexibility.