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How to Manage Your Virtual Employee…

Made popular through webmaster staffing services, working with a virtual employee is an exciting, progressive approach to business. No matter what your business goals, working with a virtual employee can free up some of your repetitive tasks while giving you more time to focus on the areas of your business that you love the most. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the following:

1. Be a Great Communicator.
2. Train your Maven.
3. Be a dedicated Project Manager and team player.

If you commit to incorporating all three of the above aspects into your routine, you should have very few problems working while you are working with your Maven.

On Your First Day….

1. Establish Office Rules and Guidelines
Establish firm guidelines to set your Maven’s expectations for communication, infrastructure, work hours, interruptions, etc. Communicate your expectations to your Maven. Ask your Maven to reply via email stating that they understand and agree to the guidelines.

·         Agree to specific hours. Your Maven will be 12 hours ahead of EST (-4GMT).  Your Maven should work from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m

·         Agree to a specific mode of communication. We strongly recommend using a combination of email and Instant Messaging. Virtual Hires’ preferred method of communication is Skype.  You can download it for free. http://www.skype.com/download/skype/windows/downloading/

·         Request that your Maven is logged onto Skype during working hours. Your Maven can indicate when they need to step away from their computer by changing their availability to “away,” “not available,” or “do not disturb.”

·         Request that your Maven gives you advance notice of holidays and vacation days (when applicable).

·         Request that your Maven notify you if they are sick and unable to report into the office.

·         Watch for daily production and weekly production reports from your Maven.  Save the reports in the event that you have any questions. 

·         Verify that your Maven has the proper equipment. We will ask you what you need in advance, but it is always wise to double check. 

·         Establish a very consistent staff meeting time the first few weeks your Maven is on board. You may want to start with a daily meeting and a weekly meeting.  

o   Daily meetings may be to review daily goals, answer questions, review work, or address problems.

o   Weekly meetings may be to track project progress and to make necessary adjustments on the project.


2. Provide An Orientation Session

·         Introduce your Maven to your business.

o   Describe the challenges and opportunities within your industry.

o   Share trend information.

·         Provide resources where your Maven can learn more about your business.

·         Create a Job Description.  Outline tasks and how long you think that it will take to accomplish specific tasks.  This will help create realistic expectations.

·         Provide Training.  Though we screen and pre-train all employees, your Maven is still a new employee for your specific business.  You will need to provide training and instruction so that your Maven may be as productive and efficient as possible. 

3. Outline your goals business goals to share with your Maven.

·         Define short and long term goals.

o   Depending on your Maven’s level of experience, he or she may have advice and experience that they can offer to help you reach your goals.

o   Depending on the position you hired the Maven for, he or she may be able to offer improvement plans or share best techniques to help you grow your business.

·         Use the SMART technique for setting goals.

o   Specific

o   Measurable

o   Attainable

o   Realistic

o   Timely

Things to Keep In Mind….

1.       Set the Foundation for a Relationship

Personal relationships are an important part of the Filipino culture. Many business interactions start with an exchange of personal information.

Respect is a very important part of the Filipino culture.  Treat your Maven with the respect and gratitude that you would appreciate in your daily interactions.  Respect and gratitude go a long way in building good working relationships.

·         Share your work experiences and some personal information with your Maven.

·         Learn as much as possible about your Maven’s skill set.

·         Engage in small talk.  This sets the foundation for trust.


2.   Learn to Communicate Virtually
Communication with your Maven should occur frequently throughout your Maven’s tenure. When working with virtual team members, it is a good idea to establish communication guidelines.

·         What is the maximum amount of communications per day?

·         What are the best times or standard times to communicate?

·         Watch your tone when emailing or IM’ing your Maven.  It is not always easy to communicate tone in an email.

o   Use emoticons to convey feelings, like  : )  or : (  . 

o   When emotions run high, review your wording before hitting the send button.

You should not be afraid to call, email, or do whatever you have to do to understand what is happening on your project. When team members are remote, misunderstandings are more prone to occur. This is where good communication skills, and established guidelines play an important and critical role on projects.

Moving Forward….

Managing your Maven can be a rewarding experience with great results for your business.  By preparing in advance and following the tips above, your efforts will go a long way in contributing to the success of your projects. Remember the basics to managing your Maven: 

1. Be a Great Communicator.
2. Train your Maven.
3. Be a dedicated Project Manager and team player.

Remember that Virtual Hires is here to support you in working with your Maven. If you need suggestions, please contact us! 

 

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