By Merlyn Rodrigues
Have you ever wondered what the key is for work from home success? With the arrival of the pandemic in 2020, the organizational world, its processes, work dynamics and objectives have changed drastically. Remote work is here to stay so we have to adapt and find new ways to continue operations. In this process of change, many discovered the key to succeed as a virtual assistant, while others are still in a process of trial and error to achieve their professional goals. Wherever you are, in whatever stage, don't worry, in this article we’ll teach you 5 skills that all virtual assistants must have and some key tools to improve or develop those abilities, from the point of view of the lead recruiter at Cápita, the most important virtual assistant company in Latin America.
Although they’re different skills, together, they become the winner formula to effectively perform and achieve objectives. When working remotely, it's important to have the ability to identify what your work goals are and then put together a master plan. First of all, look for a place in your house that you can adapt as a work space, this will definitely motivate you to action and increase your productivity. Then, create a work schedule and stick to it! Even if you’re working from home, it’s important to create a routine where you define 10-minute breaks every now and then and designate your lunch time. This structure will help you maintain a balance between your professional and personal life, since you’ll be able to fulfill your daily work tasks and have time to carry out other activities or personal obligations. There are several tools that can help you with this; use a daily planner, create to-do lists or use Trello-like platforms to view your progress.
Effective communication with your team and supervisors is essential for the development of your activities and your wellbeing. Most companies have already implemented strategies to guarantee communication between teams, however, if this is not your case, try to go further: request a space in the week from your supervisor to clarify doubts, follow up on tasks, or simply to express any concerns. Communication is key in addressing problems on time and finding solutions. That's why at Cápita all our virtual assistants receive initial training to strengthen soft skills for leadership, communication, teamwork and more. Here are some recommendations: simplify the language you use, do not use very technical words, express your feelings or opinions without restricting yourself, be respectful and timely when something is happening to you, and above all, be an active listener! It's also important to find a space to maintain the synergy of the team, to feel that you’re part of a group and that you have their support. You can also create a Slack channel with your virtual assistant peers and have that space for socialization.
Although we establish a daily, weekly or monthly work plan, it's common for unforeseen events to happen in your day-to-day. First, identify what is happening, turn the situation into a linear process and identify the stages, this way it’ll be easier for you to identify where the problem is, what the causes are, and find a solution. Don't be afraid to consult with a colleague, an expert on the subject or even on Google! That way, you can have a broader perspective on the subject and can develop action plans. Believe it or not, these techniques will help you anticipate similar situations in the future.
When things don't come out as expected, we can often feel overwhelmed or stressed and that prevents us from moving forward or finding solutions. On many occasions this stops us or triggers a set of negative emotions. However, to improve this situation and be able to work effectively from home, it's important to understand that unforeseen events may arise, find a space where you can disconnect for a few minutes, identify what's happening, what you feel and accept it. Taking these steps will help you clear your mind and seek solutions. Virtual assistants who learn to tolerate frustration are those who accept that failures or unforeseen events are part of daily life, and have a more positive and proactive search for alternatives.
Work proactivity is a skill that allows you to think outside the box, go further, have an incessant curiosity for knowledge and do things differently to achieve goals more efficiently. It's important to have a clear organization of your activities, know what the final goal is, and have positive thoughts and trust in your abilities. With the advances in technology, we have multiple tools on our side that can help us improve our tasks or processes, it’ll only be up to you to investigate and adapt them to your needs and the company.
It should be noted that these are some basic skills that every virtual assistant should have, however there are two very important values that go hand in hand with these abilities, and they’re commitment and responsibility with work. Those who understand and become aware that their work and effort have value within the company, are those who manage to meet their goals. Undoubtedly, working in this new modality requires several skills and changes both for the company and its remote employees, however, we all have the ability to improve and develop them if we motivate ourselves and commit positively to the changes.