Managing a virtual assistant can be challenging. You are separated by different times zones, lack of real-time communication which makes it harder to monitor your remote employees. However, there are software which allows you to gather all your staff in one network, check their activity and provide instant feedback. We at AFA Technologies swear by Podio – we have used it for years and so far it is the best activity management software we’ve tried.
In this tutorial, we are going to show how to manage your virtual assistant using Podio as your main and only software.
Every company needs automated processes to run their business smoothly. Now the question is – which software should you use for it? There are many CRM and task-management software available like Zoho, Trello, BaseCamp, etc., but the final choice depends on the company needs, really.
We’ve chosen to go with Podio and it works well with our business. Patrick Collins, the founder of AFA Technologies, and a CEO of Patrick Paul Collins marketing agency manages both of the businesses and other projects on Podio, and here are his reasons to use it:
- Ability to create workflows for your team
- Possibility to automate all business processes – manage, assign tasks and oversee the task lists
- Create your own apps
- Get immediate responses and updates about projects from your team
- Chat and have video calls within Podio
- It’s very cost effective
For every new project, we begin by creating a separate workspace. These are used to structure your work and invite your team to collaborate with. For example, we are going to be working on “Project X” – we will go ahead and create a new workspace for this project.
> Click on “Create a new space”
> Name your company and your workspace
> Make your workspace open or private and finish off by clicking “Create workspace”
Here you go! A new workspace has been created. You can access it at anytime by typing in the name on the top left-hand side of the page (or use a trick – hit “G” on your keyboard and it’ll automatically bring all your workspaces).
If you need to modify or delete a workspace, just click on the wrench icon and select “Workspace settings”.
You are not done yet. You have to finish off building your workspace. Podio has an amazing option to create different apps within your workspace that suit your business processes. For our “Project X” example, let’s say we are going to need an app for data reports. To create an app, click on the green + on the top of the page
The rest is easy – type in the name, item name, select the icon and choose app type as “Standard”.
You can build as many apps as you want – as long as you are capable to manage it all.
We understand that Podio may seem complicated at first because you are building your employee network and workspaces from scratch and you don’t know where to begin. For that Podio has another feature (which some companies will find really handy) called App Market, where you can search through hundreds of pre-made apps and packs which will take seconds to install.
You can get packs for project management, marketing campaigns, recruitment and many other.
To get the pre-made app or a pack, click on “Get Pack” or “Get App” and here you have it. However, these apps should only act as templates and will not always be 100% fit and ready to go; therefore, use them as a reference and customize it according to your needs.
Now let’s invite your newly hired virtual assistant to join the workspace. Click on the green plus sign that says “+ Invite”
Set tasks for your VA
To keep on top of the things, we highly recommend setting tasks for your VA. If the project is big and requires more work than just data entry, break the tasks into smaller sections and assign it to your VA.
Hit “T” on your keyboard to bring a pop-up window for creating a task. As per example below, you have to name the task, assign it to your VA, select the deadline for it and add any additional comments. Setting deadlines is a great way to ensure the project is delivered on time. It also allows your assistant to plan their work schedule.
Once you’re done and filled in the details, click “Create task” and your VA will automatically gets notified.
A little note here – make sure that the task is clear and understandable. Be specific, add relevant links or examples. You don’t want your VA to comment on the task every 5 minutes asking what did you have in mind or what exactly needs to be done – it’s just a waste of your precious time.
You can oversee all the tasks and check if there are any overdue ones in your task panel. Hover over to the top of the page and click on the square tick sign to open up all of your tasks.
Your virtual assistant can comment on the task or notify when it has been done by clicking the task off. What you are getting from it is the real time communication and updates about your project, you can instantly reply, check the progress, provide feedback or suggest changes.
Real time communication
As a business manager, having everything in one place is a big time savior. Podio has a built-in chat function which is REALLY convenient – you don’t have to log in to another software when you have everything in one place. Access your chat on the top right of the page.
Podio chat has the same functions as any other communication software – you can start a video chat, add a link or a file. What is great about this function is that you can also assign a task via chat – just click three dots above the message field as shown below.
To sum it up
We’ve just outlined one of the ways you can manage your virtual assistant. Having all-in-one software means you have smoother communication and transparency in your business. It also means that you have fewer tools to master and can focus on building a network for your employees.
If you’ve never tried outsourcing and are tempted to, contact the AFA Technologies team and we’ll find the best virtual assistant to help your business.