My full time VA from the Philippines, Jomvie, is doing a good job actually filling these 40h a week. At least for the first week.
No idling off into Facebook land, no working for other employers, and definitively no cheating himself away from work in any way.
All in all, it looked like good work ethics from my point of view. How do I know that? I am monitoring my VA using Hubstaff, which records a screenshot of his desktop every 10 min or so.
This week he is experiencing disconnects with his internet. That’s a common problem in the Philippines, especially during bad weather.
But how can I monitor his progress if he is offline…?
By the way, it’s much easier trusting your VA that he actually has internet problems if he proved his ability to work continuously before (like my VA did).
On the other hand, if a candidate fails to deliver the very first days, chances are you have a candidate that is more interested in excuses than in (hard) work. That comes from my experience with previous candidates before Jomvie.
Now, that wouldn’t be so interesting to you if I could not follow up with some alternative tips for monitoring the work output of your VA if he goes offline.
One of these tools is rescuetime.
This software at least tracks if your VA is working on Word files or goofing around on Facebook.
Granted, it is not optimal or does not replace screen monitoring software. For example, it does not give you as the employer the ability to look at a screenshot and immediately record a screen video to let him know about something he could do better.
But it does help. It also gives your VA a sense of accountability.
I will keep updating this post, both in the comments as well as in this post itself to reflect lessons learned about the subject of managing your VA when he goes offline.
Feel free to join the discussion in the comments!
Comments for Supervising your Virtual Assistant with Screen Monitoring Software
|Jun 03, 2014||One possibility: hours not logged with screenshots are not paid.
One solution which is actually the hardest of them all on your VA – but one of the biggest advantages from my favorite outsourcing service:Set the terms with your VA that hours not logged are not paid.
Be aware that this strategy can intimidate your candidates or break rapport. That’s especially important for VAs from the Philippines, in general.
|Jun 04, 2014||Internet downtime
It is certainly a bad event if your VA from the Philippines goes offline for whatever reason it may be.I can see this situation as an opportunity to solidify the relationship of both parties by going back to the very first pact that have been agreed upon in the interview process.
This may be a lesson on how to establish better contractual relationships between employers and VAs from other countries, esp. from the Philippines.
Here are some tips to avoid problems in monitoring & productivity when your VA goes offline:
-Establish an Alternative Method: ex. Rescuetime–as mentioned by the author (though I think RT doesn’t have the ability to work offline or whenever there’s no internet connection). I heard there may be other software that can monitor/record offline–just not sure w/c software it is.
-Maintain Productivity:In case of internet downtime & there are no available back-up software–make sure that every task assigned to him/her shall/still be completed–since the utmost concern of every employer is the productivity of their VA. Also, the VA should record its activities/updates he/she accomplished during the downtime, including the hours consumed.
-Offline Tasks: Continuous work even during non-monitored times ensures productivity.
I would like to end this by saying, this situation is all about trust, confidence and most importantly–productivity.
In this kind of employment, time and work output are always essential to the employer–making sure that every single cent that he gives is worth the job that is done.
I agree that having a monitoring software will be the best method to make sure the VA’s working capacity is maximized.
On the other hand, I believe having a time monitoring software is not the only solution for problems arising from this kind of situation.
|Jun 04, 2014||Great insights – agree on the productivity
Jomvie, thanks for writing down so many good ideas from your perspective as a VA.All in all, I agree. But some aspects are more complicated from an employer’s perspective. Especially for newly hired VAs, the employer doesn’t know if the VA is unproductive or a victim of bad circumstances.
Everyone can have a bad day. Everyone can be hit by external circumstances.
But for virtual assistants, since they are far away in general, there is no way to know for sure.
So all there is is trust. But trust must be earned. Can be deepened. Can be lost.
At the beginning, a VA should always be given the benefit of the doubt. Especially in the Philippines, you should know that the weather situations are tricky on a regular basis.
But some VA candidates misuse these starting points to have some bad excuses. That’s nothing against you, this is just an experience that I have made myself, unfortunately.
If the trust is not there from e.g. long standing solid work, where can it come from?
I think a list of offline tracking software or alternatives would add value to this discussion. Perhaps we can come up with one together in these comments!
But I agree to your bottom line. It’s not the “supervision” software that creates the trust. It’s the work and the work quality (and from the VAs side the working relationship with his boss and honest payments) that creates the trust.
Al Echegoyen says
I have been offering Virtual Assistant services since 2009 and, honestly, I still have learned so much from what you have shared here. I just want to appreciate you from one entrepreneur to another.