Saturday, 16 July 2011

3 Key skills for VAs

A recent article by Darren Etherington at WebWorkerDaily highlights 3 core skills that all remote workers require, because of the nature of their job and the demands placed upon them in the workplace. It strikes me that this these are equally true for anyone providing remote admin and secretarial support, such as Virtual Assistants (VAs), and especially if they work alone, as many do. These skills are:
  1. Wide ranging technical skills and experience: absolutely true if working alone because you'll have to know about every aspect of the systems and applications your clients use, or be technically confident to quickly adapt and acquire the necessary skills on the hoof. If a VA operates as part of a team or, better still, has technical support to hand, then this is not such an issue. Having technical support to hand is ideal as PAs and Administrators tend to pride themselves of their organisational skills and efficiency, not their technical skills.
  2. Independently Motivated: this shouldn't be an issue with VAs because being self-employed and running their own business, they are naturally motivated to work and bill clients. However, problems can occur when a VA only works part-time or if they juggle work and childcare, and you have urgent matters requiring attention or tasks are date/time sensitive, relating to meetings and events.
  3. Excellent Communication skills: in the VA world, communication quality also means frequency and timing, to make sure you stay in contact over tasks, with the right balance of instruction and initiative, as well as keeping connected during periods of inactivity. Being part of someones virtual organisation or team, when perhaps you've never met your co-workers, is a skill in itself.
All of these points are important to know when selecting a new, especially for the first time. If you are considering  using a VA or in the throws of selecting someone, it's perhaps worth pitching them a few testing questions about their situation, skills and approach to the above points.

Read the original article, "3 skills that enable remote worker success" by Darren Etherington.

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