When you are outsourcing work to a virtual team, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain communication about your small business project. In order for the work to be completed in a timely fashion, you need your remote staff to be able to remain in regular contact with you. An excellent tool that can be used to help with this, is a program called Basecamp. It is a centralized communication system that allows you to stay in touch with your virtual assistants daily.
Emails are one way to maintain contact, but these can get misdirected and lost and do not provide a safe and reliable method of communication. By contrast, Basecamp is an online system that can manage your company’s communication in one place that everyone can access and keep updated. If every person is given their own individual thread, it is very easy to follow the progress of the work and find out exactly where everyone is up to in terms of their own virtual project management efforts. If one supervisor happens to be away for the day, it is a relatively easy process for someone else to step in and discover what has been completed and what still needs to be done. The thread needs to include the Start of Day notes (SOD) and the End of Day emails.
An End of Day email will include what the assistant has done for the day, what is left to do and any questions she may have. When the tasks accomplished are listed, the time that each task has taken should also be listed. The reason the time each task has taken is asked for is you will have a fair idea about how long each task should take.
If the assistant takes longer than the average, this is not an opportunity to berate her and accuse her of taking advantage of you. You simply ask her in detail how she is going about the task. If she is taking an hour and a half to write and article, for example, and this usually takes an hour, you can point out to her that perhaps she is spending too long on keyword research, or obsessing too much about the wording of a headline. You can then give her some tips about small business projects and how she can use her time more effectively. She should list any issues she has encountered and point out anything she needs.
An alternative way to structure the End of Day email is to first list the aims for the day, that is what the assistant hoped to accomplish. Point two is a list of what the assistant actually got done and the time it took to finish those tasks. Point three can be what she didn’t get to and why. This may be because she was waiting on information from another team member or maybe the service was down. The fourth point is what she is planning to do the next day. This is generally what she has left over from that day. The fifth and last point is what are she is waiting on from the supervisor. This may be a simple request for some time off over the next few weeks.
This helps the supervisor to find out what the assistant accomplished each day and what are the sticking points, so that these can be changed to make the whole process more proficient.
Basecamp is a great way to facilitate communication between the virtual assistant and her supervisor and the Start of Day and End of Day emails can be a great adjunct to this communication regarding small business projects.
Using Basecamp greatly helps small business owners manage his staff and their tasks. If you want to learn more of how we use it in our company, then watch our free outsourcing videos at our YouTube channel.