The best virtual assistant is one who can complete all tasks assigned to him or her. However, every now and again, that superstar VA may come across a hefty workload that gets on top of them. That’s not to say they’re not the best at what they do, but there are only so many hours in a day.
Because virtual assistants can often be considered easily replaced by some employers, they may be too scared to speak up. However, there is such a thing as too much work, and it may be a matter of speaking to your supervisor to organise the work into low priority and high priority categories.
If you don’t speak up, you’ll never know there’s a solution to your problem.
Below are five ways virtual assistants can work together with their managers to tackle a tough workload.
Your boss, in staff of virtual staffing solutions, has no idea you’re in need of help if you don’t speak up. You may be feeling undervalued, overworked and tired, but how is your boss to know? They will keep firing work through at a rapid pace, expecting it to be done. After all, it’s your job. They may not know you’re working all hours to get it done under the impression it’s of critical importance. How do you know that’s the case, at all?
That’s why communication is key. If you find yourself in a situation where there’s so much work, and so little time, it’s time to make a phone call. You don’t have to tell your boss you can’t do your work; you just need to ask them to prioritise the workload. Are there some tasks that can wait until next week? Are there some that need to be completed within one to two days? Find out. The sooner you do, the sooner you can let that feeling of stress just melt away.
Believe it or not, your boss is probably just as overwhelmed as you are. They may be firing tasks through at a rapid pace, but they might not have a current system in place to track it, or to find out how much they have actually sent you. A virtual assistant is tasked with all matters of work, and a boss can easily and often absentmindedly send bulk work through without realising it could cause the VA a lot of stress.
You can avoid this problem by creating a shared document with your employer, outlining the work assigned, and its deadlines. If there’s a good system in place in the first instance, the feeling of being overwhelmed may never come up. You know exactly when work is expected, and you can focus on the most important tasks first.
If there is currently no system such as this one in place, set one up. Don’t wait for your boss to do it. Set it up, share it with him or her and follow it up with a phone call and instructions on how you would appreciate work being sent through. It’s a beneficial system for both parties so the business owner is sure to cooperate.
The hard thing about working from home is having so many hours up your sleeve to work. Sometimes it can become all too easy to work at all hours of the day and night. After all, your work is at home, and so is your leisure time. It’s only expected that occasionally the two will blur. However, for your sanity and the risk of burning out, it’s important you set a limit on your working hours. Most people work 40-hour weeks, so there’s no reason why you can’t as well. Being a virtual assistant gives you the flexibility to work the hours that suits, but you need to make sure you don’t burn yourself out by working too many.
You also need to make sure your boss is aware of your limits, too. In a position such as his or hers, they are paid to work the long hours. That doesn’t mean you have to as well. They may send work through at all hours of the day or night, but ensure they don’t hold the expectation that you should drop your private life in order to work at his or her beck and call.
The best virtual assistant is one that knows how to maintain a professional and private life, equally.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of having too much work, sometimes there can be too much work without clear deadlines. If you were to look at all the work you completed during an average working week, you would see you’ve accomplished a lot. So, when the boss sends through a substantial amount of work all in one go, it pays not to get overwhelmed. Chances are, that work is to be completed over one week.
However, how are you to know? Virtual staffing services are put in place to make the life of a business owner much easier, and the life of a virtual assistant far more flexible. But there needs to be clear deadlines in order to make the business relationship work. If your boss gets in the habit of firing work through haphazardly with no instructions and/or deadlines, try and re-train him or her. Ask for deadlines and specific instructions to be sent through in a separate document so you know which project is more important.
This means you won’t need to stress about too much work, as you can set yourself daily goals to meet in order to get the work completed.
If you’ve tried all four steps above and you still find you’re working too many hours with no reprieve, ask for help. You need to contact your manager and explain the situation. If he is tracking your time automatically through software, he is sure to see for himself that the workload is too much for one person. If he is dubious about hiring a second virtual assistant, offer to train them on the processes yourself, if that’s what it takes.
Life is too precious to spend it overworking and burning yourself out. If you still, after all this advice, find yourself unable to cope, it might be time to move on. You’ve tried your best to make the situation better, but not all managers are going to be the best at making a workload manageable for staff. Don’t think of yourself as a failure, simply do as much as you can and begin looking for work elsewhere.
Have you been stressed as a virtual assistant? How did you combat the problem? Let us know, we’d love to find out your tips and tricks on how to make it through the hard times.