Being able to manage your team of virtual assistants can be challenging but is key to the success of your business. We already know that it takes work to assemble a team of individuals that is motivated, honest, skilled and communicative, but once you’ve got them how do you keep them happy, productive and in regular contact with you ? Thankfully there is some help available with some great tools to assist you with smart online project management.
One such online project management tool is a program called “Basecamp”. Essentially it is a centralised communication system that allows you to stay in touch with your virtual assistants daily. Some small businesses will do this by email, but if you have a growing team this can be difficult to administer, emails can be lost or exclude some people from the loop and confusion can arise when people take holidays or don’t check their inbox. Communication breakdowns can and do happen.
Basecamp is an online project management tool by which you can manage your company’s communication in one place that everyone can access and keep updated. Basecamp mobile can be used on mobile devices like iPhone and Android with no apps required. You just use your phone’s browser.
With Basecamp each assistant can have their own “thread” with entries each day for what has been communicated between the VA and their supervisor, so even if the supervisor is away anyone can log in and find out what’s been done and what needs doing. These entries should include the Start of the Day (SOD) notes and End of Day emails, which we will go into more detail about now.
A good, detailed End Of Day email will include bullet points of all the tasks performed that day, the times these tasks have taken, what remains to be done (tomorrow’s work plan), any issues encountered or reasons why a particular task could not be completed and any other information or assistance the VA needs to get the job done. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes to write daily.
The great thing about EOD emails is that they can provide the subject matter for the SOD calls, the notes from which should also be logged in the online project management software. These calls can be made using Skype or GTalk and are very important to maintain a “real-life” connection with the VA. We should not under-estimate the amount of human contact that needs to go into making a relationship function well and a working relationship is no exception.
Daily calls will help to create a bond between the VA and the supervisor, can be motivational, can be instructional and can prevent misunderstandings from arising. They are a 2-way process. A 20 to 30 minute call each day will go a long way to making the distance separating the VA from the rest of the team seem irrelevant.
So there you have it. Using an online project management tool is just one of the ways we oversee the efficiency of our team. If you want to learn more of how we work with our virtual assistants, watch our free outsourcing videos at our YouTube channel.