The virtual assistant is a job title that has risen drastically in profile in recent years, correlating with the prominence of remote and hybrid work models. In a virtual work environment, there are seemingly always tasks stuck in transit, emails to be sent, and data to be collected.
Since working with VAs is becoming more commonplace, it’s no longer a question of whether you should hire one and more: what are the best ways to manage them?
The most obvious answer is with virtual assistant software, since technology and productivity go hand in hand. However, if the software is new to you, you might not get the most out of your investment.
In this guide, we’ll help you identify the best tools and features in virtual assistant software so you can settle on the right solution for you and maximize the office productivity of your VAs.
Why Use Virtual Assistant Software?
In case you’re new to this type of software, or still on the fence as to whether you should invest, let’s briefly examine the main reasons it’s worth using virtual assistant software:
- Outsource Work About Work - Work about work: it’s the culprit of many a wasted hour, so why not outsource it where possible? With the right software, you can hand over the reins with admin privileges and let your VA take care of the busywork that bogs down your work day.
- Spend Less Time on Communication - VA software is all about creating shortcuts. Take Slack, for instance, a channel-based communication tool that simplifies contextualized conversations. With it, you can drastically cut down on the time it takes your VAs to communicate.
- Monitor VA Activity Effectively - You don’t always know what your VA is working on, but with VA software, you can track their activity from the moment they clock in. That way, you can examine their productivity, but also make judgment calls regarding how their time would be best utilized.
Top 6 Virtual Assistant Software Features for Managing VAs Effectively
After you’ve made the decision to invest in VA software, you’ll want to make every effort to ensure you select the option that best reflects your needs. To do so, it’s worth knowing what features to look out for and which tools can provide the highest ROI.
With that said, here are some of the top 6 features for managing VAs effectively with virtual assistant software:
Real-Time Activity Monitoring
The idea of hiring a VA is to save time, so why rely merely on the assumption that this is the case?
To sidestep any doubts you may have about your employee productivity levels, you need VA software that offers time tracking. With user activity monitoring software Insightful, for instance, here’s what you can do to measure your VA team’s performance:
- Use regular screenshots to rest assured that there’s minimal idle time
- Establish a remote worker surveillance plan to review time data on the employee timeline, which will show you when each VA was most and least active during the day
- Monitor employee activity with a glance at the activity chart to quickly understand the balance of idle time versus productive time
- Schedule shifts in advance and receive notifications when a VA shows up late or clocks out
- Go into the logs tab to see what each VA has been working on according to various filters such as the computer they used, the websites they visited, or the apps they spent time in
With staff tracking software, you’ll never again question the value your VAs bring, since it’s made plainly obvious how they spend their work hours. A home office monitoring software solution like Insightful can provide detailed insights into how and when your VAs work best.
There’s nothing more frustrating than the lack of centralized communication with your VAs. Email is inadequate for the job, since it all too often ends in lengthy threads and important nuggets of information can easily get buried.
Tools like Slack do an excellent job of bringing communication together for different teams, departments, and projects.
With context-specific chat channels, like those Slack offer, what you get is a simple way for you and your team to ping your VAs and keep the information about different projects and teams separate.
Just as the ability to hop on a video call or directly message your VAs can be important, it’s equally as useful to have access to means of asynchronous communication.
By asynchronous communication we mean any form of contact that doesn’t require the other party’s presence in the moment, for example:
- Task labels
- Project-related comments
We live in an increasingly global world, and as such, it’s not uncommon to hire VAs that live in different time zones. With that being the case, you need ways of communicating that don’t require the recipient to be online.
With labels, notes, and comments for instance, your VAs can let you know what has changed with regards to individual tasks and projects, saving you the need to hop on a call. Likewise, if you can record quick videos with your VA software you can provide instructions for your VAs ahead of time.
If you regularly review a personal or team calendar, then calendar syncing is an essential VA software feature to look out for.
Calendar syncing ensures that to-do lists and project deadlines translate to dates on a calendar, so all actions your VAs take show up in an easy-to-digest format. This can remove any friction there may be in communicating information, and keeps everyone on the team up to date with project and task statuses.
While real-time activity monitoring provides you with data you can act upon in the moment, it’s data reports that inform you of VAs activities at the end of the work day, week, or even quarter.
With data-packed reports, you can pay your VAs for every hour worked, and make judgment calls if necessary.
Insightful makes it effortless to review performance, since time tracked is linked to activities and app usage. Time data on its own is useful but doesn’t reveal the whole picture. When you can see what apps and websites your VAs rely on most heavily, you can form a clear idea of what their day-to-day workload looks like.
Just like with email, files can provide a stumbling block for teams and VAs.
Because sending them back and forth is inconvenient and time-consuming.
Wouldn’t it be much easier if you could co author documents on the fly, sign off on VA changes, and share access with a click?
If you want to cut down on “work about work”, finding VA software that lets you edit and share files easily is a great place to start. Some solutions will even let you create wikis or knowledge bases where you can, for instance, provide instructions for how your VAs should complete various tasks or activities.