Posted by on March 4, 2017

With the increasing trend in the freelancing workforce, there’s an important rule that most employers and even freelancers fail to realize, that is – COMMUNICATION IS KING. This leaves us with an important question – how can an employer promote effective communication in a virtual team? 

Apparently, if there is ‘seen-zoned’ in Facebook Messenger, there’s also this ‘I don’t know what I don’t know’ excuse in the virtual world. And so, this article offers some valuable tips to address the question and eventually foster effective communication in a virtual team.

  • GIVE CLEAR SET OF INSTRUCTIONS

    The online job description doesn’t capture the depth of the work involved. And so, more detailed instructions are given to a VA when hired. But what’s the catch? As an employer, it is important to read and understand the instructions from your VA’s perspective. Ask yourself this – would you know what to do after reading your own instruction set?

  • DEFINE YOUR GOALS

    How can your VA help in your growing business? Why exactly did you hire one? You have to clearly define what you want to achieve, relay the goals to your VA and work with him/her by creating tasks to accomplish such goals.

  • USE ORGANIZATIONAL SOFTWARE

    Emails sure get things lost easily and well- messy. Thus, as much as possible, never use email for task-driven communications. There are tons of different packages that offer free trial versions. All you have to do is try it out for a couple of weeks and stick to the software that fits your team’s needs.

  • COMMUNICATE YOUR PLEASURES AND DISPLEASURES, PROFESSIONALLY

    It’s not easy to work virtually, and so, as a rule of thumb – be straight forward. Give compliments when it’s due. This will certainly boost your VA’s confidence and assure him/her that he/she is doing the job right. On the other hand, if you think your VA is overcharging, underworking, or doesn’t understand something, state it simply (and professionally) such as,

    “I noticed you clocked [hours] on [project] – can you provide a breakdown of the hours and the end-product?”
    or
    “The [task] didn’t come out quite right – [list bare-bones facts].”
    or
    “Let’s have a quick chat to go over it”.

    You can’t expect your VAs to do an extremely good job at all times. Like any employed professional, they may also slack off in their job. And so, if your Spidey Senses are tingling, don’t wait until things actually go wrong before you say something.

  • TRY NOT TO ASSIGN BLAME

    It’s understandable that there’s a certain amount of displeasure when errors happen, but it’s important to leave out accusations. Why? Primarily because they only serve to undermine your VA’s confidence and can only increase errors down the line.

    If you’re very upset with your VA, or a major error has happened, take a few minutes to ponder whether you’ll be able to work well with this VA going forward. If ‘trust’ has been broken beyond repair, then perhaps it’s best to let him or her go and find a new VA for the job. Read through some tips on how to interview and select the best VA out there.

Your VA is a cornerstone of your business. He or she keeps track of your deadlines, your calendar, and all sorts of other small but crucial details necessary to keep your business running. Thus, aside from working together to achieve your business’ goals, it is only imperative that your lines of communication stay open and clear. Know that your success – both that of your company and your VA – will certainly depend on it.