Increased productivity. Virtual collaboration tools allow remote employees to collaborate as if they’re in the same conference room. Employees can use forms of virtual communication in the workplace, such as video conferencing, as well as email, instant messages, and the telephone. Workers are more likely to work in excess of 40 hours a week if they’re working from home, and they also take fewer sick days. Employees working together across various time zones are more likely to achieve success if they’re able to collaborate from home. Business hours increase with more flexibility. Furthermore, business will continue as usual regardless of weather conditions that could limit productivity due to hazardous driving conditions.
A virtual assistant is either self-employed or an employee working offsite in a home office. Virtual assistants are considered independent contractors instead of employees for a company. Due to this status, the client does not take any taxes out of the pay compensated to the VA. Such assistants are responsible for paying in their own quarterly tax payments, as well as obtaining their own independent contractor’s insurance and medical benefits. Virtual Assistants can work independently or as an employee of a multi-VA firm. VA clients can include small businesses, corporate offices, medical practices and entrepreneurs. According to statistics, it is estimated that there are approximately 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide and that number is growing daily. (Source: Wikipedia)
Depending on where you live, one of the first places to start is the US Small Business Administration, the Government website for Industry Canada or whatever small business agency your country has to provide resources. It is important to understand the specific business regulations and legalities to becoming a business owner in your own country. The International Virtual Assistant Association is another online resource for virtual assistants. The following qualities are important if you want to become a virtual assistant.
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This chatbot is one the best AI chatbots and it’s my favorite too. Evidently it is the current winner of Loebner Prize. The Loebner Prize is an annual competition in artificial intelligence that awards prizes to the chatterbot considered by the judges to be the most human-like. The format of the competition is that of a standard Turing test. You can talk with Mitsuku for hours without getting bored. It replies to your question in the most humane way and understands your mood with the language you’re using.
There’s an obvious appeal that comes to mind when you first think about telecommuting. Many global companies — including Aperian Global — allow employees to telecommute. The benefits of a remote workforce stem from allowing employees to spend more time in their comfort zones, but does it always lead to increased productivity? Most recent studies point to “yes,” but there are many considerations to make when deciding if telecommuting is right for you or your company.
Reply is one of the best AI chatbot platforms. It is an enterprise level bot-building and management platform. And it enables B2C communications at scale. Their visual bot builder makes it easy to build bots. The dashboard has built-in CRM, machine learning, and real-time insights to make smarter and faster bots. You can expand bot functionalities across the whole customer experience.
Don’t completely neglect face-to-face meetings. If it’s possible, organize a face-to-face encounter for the first meeting. It’s possible to be successful without ever meeting in person, but there isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact in person. Meeting physically allows people to share a deeper personal connection. Eye contact, proximity, voice, and body language allow people to connect more closely than they would if they met virtually. If meeting in person for the first time isn’t possible, consider holding an annual gathering or other event to keep employees in touch.
Virtual work or telecommuting requires self-discipline, motivation and a tremendous amount of focus. Individuals who do their best work independently are often the happiest with telecommuting than workers who need to have regular contact with others. The managers who supervise telecommuters bear a large responsibility as well. Managing employees remotely can be very challenging, and it is ultimately the manager's responsibility for determining which of their employees demonstrate the necessary skills and traits for performing successfully in a remote location.
A virtual, or remote, personal assistant manages your life from afar. Like a really great fairy godmother that you never have to make a cup of tea for. Which has huge benefit if you’re a one-man or woman band, if you don’t have a physical office to put them in, or if you don’t want to be responsible for holiday, sickness and other HR headaches. Managing your PA virtually is about as simple as setting a task list and watching it get ticked off. Without you having to do a thing.
Movies and TV shows from the likes of Devil Wears Prada to Rules of Engagement make us laugh and feel sorry for the personal assistants. Their lives are consumed by ego-maniacal tyrants paying them no more than a couple of funny pennies per hour. Luckily, apart from the odd unfortunate exception, the reality is much different. Yes, sometimes personal assistants are asked to do menial tasks ranging from the humiliating to the humdrum, and they are often asked to be on duty round the clock, but it usually pays off in more ways than one.
A greater part of the day can be devoted to job duties, projects and other work-related responsibilities because commuting time is eliminated. In some densely populated areas, commuters spend upwards of 10 hours each week just going to and from work. Telecommuters could put to use the saved time by dedicating more of their time to office work, or to achieving a work life balance by spending time with family.
A decision-making tool. Sometimes teams struggle to come to a decision, and this is especially true in the virtual setting. A helpful decision-making tool can alleviate the stress that comes with making difficult decisions, because it will allow team members to easily vote, tally the results, and present everyone with the final outcome. Loomio and Tricider are helpful decision-making tools that allow members to vote and quickly understand the likely outcome.
While home-based businesses are starting to become more and more acceptable, with several major enterprises, such as Amazon, having started out as home-based businesses. As such, having the physical address that comes with a virtual office will add legitimacy to your business since your clients will be privy to a location that isn’t simply someone’s home.
Think about your to-do list. There’s likely tasks piling up. Only those that rise to the top because they can no longer be delayed get done. Often times, this delay causes something that might have been inexpensive to increase in cost. For example, putting off scheduling the furnace cleaning may lead to needing to have the furnace replaced. It’s also pretty likely that you’re not going to ask for help with these seemingly “small” tasks. You don’t want to bother people, or maybe you’re not sure who to ask. Lucky for you, that’s where a personal assistant comes in.
Establish an onboarding process. Be sure that every employee who collaborates virtually has the same onboarding experience. They should be given access to the same communication systems and handbooks that explain the company processes. Everyone should be given the same advice and tools for success as they’re brought on board. If possible, it can even be very valuable to have an initial onboarding done face-to-face in an office location.
Employees from the younger generations of workers--Generation X and Generation Y, in particular--find virtual work a tremendous benefit. Virtual offices and telecommuting offer flexibility, and the comfort of being able to work independently without conforming to work rules, such as a dress code and traditional work hours. Telecommuting is appealing to some workers because it prevents the often unnecessary and unwelcome interruptions by co-workers and managers that can impede productivity and attentiveness.
Driving Team Performance: This program is specifically designed for teams that have been together for six months or more. It includes an in-depth assessment and unique benchmarking activities to monitor progress. You will receive internal and external feedback about how to improve your team, as well as specific feedback for the team leaders. The team will be given time to create an actionable plan for improvement. Focus points include developing a shared vision, skill building to improve areas of weakness, and more.