Are you ready to work with a virtual team?

Hint – if you think they’re employees, you’re not ready!

With the world pretty much going online in recent times, more and more businesses are learning how to work remotely. With directives to work from home where possible, companies needed to find ways to get their employees set up and working from home.

And many have successfully done this, learning how technology and software programs can allow you to run a virtual team.

If you’re working remotely and you’re still working as an employee for a company, that’s great. But today, I want to point out some differences with employees to contractors.

As a business owner, you can choose to outsource parts of your business to contractors, or a team of virtual contractors. They’re not your employee, they are business owners too, and they are providing you with a service.

If you’re looking to outsource any of your work to a virtual contractor or team, and you’re thinking of them as employees, this is the number one sign you’re not ready to outsource!

A quick rundown on how virtual contractors work

If you’re new to the world of working with virtual contractors, it may take a little adjusting, especially if you’ve been used to working in an office environment with employees.

When you’re working with virtual contractors, you’ll be a client of their business. They’re providing you with a service which you’ll be invoiced for. You may have agreed set hours that they’re working for you or it may be more of an ad-hoc type arrangement.

Either way, you need to understand that although you’re important to the virtual contractor, you’re one of possibly many clients.

For example, the Off-Site Reception team manage multiple clients throughout each day. We have capped our client intake so we can make sure our clients all receive the care and attention their business needs.

And we have guidelines set in place, so our clients know what to expect.

The top 5 things to consider when working with virtual teams

Every virtual contractor will have their own regulations about working with them. As a virtual reception and admin provider, the Off-Site Reception crew have some guidelines that we discuss with our clients when we’re onboarding them.

Many of these will be standard in virtual businesses, so if you’re new to outsourcing, here are some things to consider:

  1. Respect working hours
    Virtual contractors will have set working hours. Please be respectful of this. Yes, you may know they’re working from home and have once sent an email after hours (that was their choice), but please don’t overstep the boundaries by asking for work or calling them before or after hours. If you do have something urgent, discuss this with your contractor but be prepared to be charged accordingly.
  2. Book time if you need to speak on the phone
    Depending on the service your contractor is providing you and others, they may not be available to speak on the phone every time you call. Phone calls can be very distracting when you’re in the middle of working (hence why we offer clients reception services!). Make sure you check how your contractor can be contacted and if you need to discuss things with them, book in some time, so they allow time during their day.
  3. Ask about urgent tasks
    Your virtual contractor will be juggling multiple clients and is likely to have their day planned out to fit everything in. But they’d also know that from time to time, you’ll have urgent work that needs to be done. Many virtual admin workers understand this and will be able to get the job done for you. You may, however, face additional charges as they’d have to rearrange other work.
  4. Give your virtual team time
    When you first outsource, you’ll need to allow your virtual team some time to get to know your business, your processes and how you work. At Off-Site Reception, we run through a thorough onboarding with our clients, and we have a specially designed portal where we store your individual requirements (i.e. your rates for sessions, etc.). If you make any changes to your processes, please allow your virtual team enough time to familiarise themselves with the change. Please don’t expect your virtual contractor to be a mind reader or instantly know about your updates.
  5. Be respectful, and you’ll feel the love
    You may not physically see your virtual contractor, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a human! As you would with an in-house employee, you should be respectful, just as the contractor would be towards you. If you’re not happy with the service, speak to the business owner, and you’ll find that most times, you can sort things out. Being rude or aggressive will get you nowhere and remember, you’re a client and they don’t have to work with you! You’ll find that you can form great bonds with a virtual team, and once you’ve built that trust and respect, you’ll love working together for many years.

So, are you ready to outsource your reception or business admin?

The great news is, we’re opening our doors again shortly, and we’ll be able to onboard a couple of new clients. If you want this to be you, please get in touch soon before these limited spots are once again filled!