Small-business owners often wonder how they can work so hard all day and accomplish so little. Much of the problem is an inability to multitask. If you are doing important work in your office but are interrupted by an equally important call or question from an employee, for example, you’re forced to divert your attention away from the original project. In this way, your focus is strained and nothing receives the attention it deserves. A personal assistant can handle these types of intrusions so you can continue to focus on what's most important.

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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.
Increase cross-cultural awareness. People involved in global teams should know and understand the challenges that come with communicating across cultures. For example, an American multinational oil and gas corporation wanted to ensure their non-Iraqi employees were equipped with the cultural knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the Iraqi context. Aperian Global worked with corporation leaders and local Iraqis to design a workshop for multinational employees assigned to Iraq, and it was offered in the US and the Middle East. A pre-departure workshop was also created for employees traveling to Iraq. It addressed issues such as safety, security, and health, as well as business and cultural topics. The workshops gave leaders and employees the information, skills and confidence needed to successfully collaborate and conduct business across cultural boundaries.
GlobeSmart ProfileSM Debrief: Aperian Global offers GlobeSmart, the industry’s leading online cultural intelligence resource for improved cross-cultural understanding. This program will help business professionals leverage the GlobeSmart online learning tool and use cultural intelligence to work globally. Learning objectives include gaining knowledge into common behaviors influenced by culture, learning to overcome cultural gaps, and more. The GlobeSmart Profile is an online cultural inventory that allows users to learn about their own unique working styles, while also providing them with advice about working successfully with colleagues and people from other cultures. The profile is available in 13 languages.
Time management is one of the keys to a successful career. Many successful entrepreneurs and CEOs in the world have perfected the art of time management. Every day, they meet several clients, convene with employees, and talk to investors. At the end of the day, they still have the time to assess the day’s activities and prep for the following day. They can do all these tasks because they know how to manage their time wisely.
Fortunately, the next advancement in chatbot technology that can solve this problem is gaining steam -- AI-powered chatbots. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots can understand the intent behind your customers’ requests, account for each customer’s entire conversation history when it interacts with them, and respond to their questions in a natural, human way.
Are the travel bots or the weather bots that have buttons that you click and give you some query, artificially intelligent? Definitely, but they are just not far along the conversation axis. It can be a wonderfully designed conversational interface that is smooth and easy to use. It could be natural language processing and understanding where it is able to understand sentences that you structure in the wrong way. Now, it is easier than ever to make a bot from scratch. Also chatbot development platforms like WotNot, Chatfuel, Gupshup make it fairly simple to build a chatbot without a technical background. Hence, making the reach for chatbot easy and transparent to anyone who would like to have one for their business. For more understanding on intelligent chatbots, read our blog.

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.
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.

You probably have exciting plans and concepts that get derailed and diluted by worldly problems. Most people with entrepreneurial spirits would rather focus on creative business ideas than do paperwork and answer the phone all day. By hiring a personal assistant, you can free yourself to play to your strengths. Tasks that aren’t your strong points or that diverge from your real talent can be delegated to your assistant, giving you the time and space to do what you do best. A personal assistant can create a barrier between you and the outside world, allowing you to think, flesh out ideas and avoid distractions.
Engaging Virtual Meetings: If you’re interested in learning the skills needed to host and facilitate successful virtual meetings, you will find this program useful. It covers the four fundamental skills of virtual facilitation, information on how to properly prepare for meetings, and how to properly prepare for future meetings. The program was created for business professionals of any level.
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)

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A virtual PA isn’t like an employee. In that, if you need to switch PAs or even use a couple of different ones for different tasks, there’s no emotional aspect involved. At ibLE, we match entrepreneurs with the best PA for them, but as our Co-Founders know, changing requirements can mean that a different PA becomes more suitable for a more-developed business. In this case, it’s easy to work with the right person for the job.

Why do we see increases in productivity and efficiency in the virtual worker? Morale also goes up, and this is likely connected. PGI found that 82% of virtual workers had lower levels of stress than traditional workers. What’s more, the same study showed that 69% of virtual workers were absent less than when they had to report to a physical office.

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.

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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.

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More and more businesses are taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment, and renting virtual office space is one of the best ways to do so. Beyond the obvious reason of no air pollution being created from driving to the office, a virtual space will also cut down on the amount of waste being produced as all business will be done digitally.
Any kind of process will have its own pros and cons. Similarly, virtual office workers also come with their own advantages and disadvantages but it is up to the bosses and the organization to create a leverage and work on the cons and try to enhance the pros, so that the resultant workforce remains satisfied, stress free and the working environment is transformed into a fruitful one.
Employee engagement and motivation. Consider giving remote and office workers surveys to see who is more engaged and motivated overall. Ask questions about how they feel coming to work every day, find out whether they’re inspired at work and ask if they think their role within the company is important. Ask specific questions about whether or not they feel included in group decisions and ask if they feel as though their needs and concerns are considered and addressed.

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