How to Know if Your Virtual Property Management Assistant is Working
Published March 3, 2022. Updated September 18, 2023.
Having been in this business a while, this is a common question we hear: how can I know if my VA is actually working?
When working with a virtual assistant, it's important to make sure they're actually working — especially before you pay them for hours logged to an assignment. After all, you don't want to pay for hours they're not putting in!
We understand this challenge. So here are a few tips from our experience helping property management companies build and manage virtual teams for success! This blog should help you understand how your virtual property management assistant is doing their job so you can add to your team and pay VAs with confidence while improving your profits!
Define the Responsibilities
Before a virtual assistant can deliver quality work (and hours), they must understand their role and responsibilities. Whether you've added a virtual marketing assistant, a maintenance coordinator, or a social media manager to your team, their roles and responsibilities must be clearly documented.
So, one of your first steps toward ensuring they are "truly" working is to define what they need to do and ensure they understand it.
Take time to meet with your remote assistants soon after they start on your team to discuss the job and your expectations. Whether you've chosen a VA on a project-by-project basis or your new assistant has a long-term role, it's critical to establish expectations and how you'll evaluate the hours they work.
With this guide, everyone understands the VA's task list and can see if they are completing tasks (or not).
Establish a Training Plan
If your new remote property management assistant is new to being a VA or to the tasks you assign them, make sure to put an effective training plan in place. Even seasoned virtual assistants with property management experience need a training program that helps them understand your business, how you serve clients, and how they can do their jobs well.
Well-trained VAs are more likely to give you quality hours that help you feel confident they are truly working the hours they track toward projects and assignments. A good training and onboarding process also helps your contractors avoid confusion that could lead to redoing tasks (and paying double to complete a task that could have been done the first time correctly).
What Should Training for Your Property Management Virtual Assistant Look Like?
Virtual assistant training during onboarding should be comprehensive, covering both technical skills and soft skills.
Technical training should focus on mastering the software and tools used, as well as troubleshooting common issues. Soft skills training should focus on effective communication, including listening skills and proper etiquette for how you prefer your team to interact with tenants, owners, and other teammates.
A thorough training program during onboarding should also encompass data security protocols to protect sensitive user information. It's critical to familiarize new virtual contractors with the company's policies and procedures.
Regular assessments should be built into the onboarding process to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement. Lastly, a mentorship or shadowing program can be invaluable for new VAs to observe seasoned virtual assistants in action, offering a more holistic understanding of the role and responsibilities.
Another aspect of good accountability to ensure your virtual team members are working to your expectations is to connect with them regularly.
Have a weekly meeting to review key performance indicators (KPIs) for each virtual worker on your remote team. While some KPIs can be similar for all of your virtual assistants, it's critical to have individual expectations and methods of tracking performance for each VA.
Establishing this practice early on will help determine if virtual workers are hitting their targets and progressing as planned. You'll also be able to quickly determine if your VA is working quality hours vs. putting "fluff" time toward projects without the progress or quality you need to see based on the hours worked.
If you've struggled with a remote assistant who seems to put in a lot of work (but takes too long to deliver what you need), reviewing how you set deadlines for projects or tasks might be time.
Without clear deadlines, a 10-hour task that you need within the week could turn into a 20- or 30-hour job that you finally get in a few weeks (or longer).
Clear deadlines help virtual assistants understand how quickly they need to work and when they need to deliver a completed project. Setting timeframe expectations also helps property management company owners monitor hours and quality of work from their virtual workforces.
When you find VAs that can meet deadlines without logging excessive hours — while delivering quality work — you can trust that you're only paying for the hours they actually work!
Use a Task Management System
Using a task management system can be a game-changer for helping virtual assistants meet deadlines. These apps can also be good for virtual assistant time tracking.
These systems allow for the organization of tasks in a prioritized manner, along with setting due dates and reminders.
The visual layout helps quickly identify what needs immediate attention and what can wait, enabling better time management. Features like collaboration and file-sharing make it easier to work with team members or clients, streamlining the process of completing tasks. Notifications and reminders ensure nothing slips through the cracks, thus enhancing accountability and punctuality.
There are plenty of task management systems out there, including Asana and Teamwork, so choose a system that works well with your property management business and goals.
Keep In Touch
Tracking progress throughout a project's timeline or setting daily or weekly check-ins can help you monitor the hours a VA puts toward a task or project. This can also help your remote assistant track their time accurately and understand your expectations for completing the task.
Keeping in touch for tasks or project progression should be separate from weekly meetings with virtual team members to review KPIs (as mentioned above). Instead, these check-ins should focus on project deliverables, tasks, questions, and moving projects forward.
When starting a project, establish your expectations for how many hours you think your VA should take to complete it. Then, as you keep in touch throughout the week or duration of the task, check in with your assistant's time put toward the job so far.
While it's important to let your remote team member work without too much interference, staying in consistent contact can help you manage expectations and build a good working relationship.
Use tools messaging and communication tools like Slack, ZOOM, or Teams to touch base throughout the day or week.
From time to time, property managers might feel like a task took too long, or your virtual assistant logged too many hours into a project. If you're applying the recommendations we've already mentioned, your VA will improve the speed and accuracy in how they work to deliver the work you need more quickly (without sacrificing quality).
When you choose property management virtual assistants, ongoing training and feedback on performance can help these independent contractors become some of your most valuable team members! Plus, as they reduce the amount of time it takes to complete routine tasks on their plate, you'll see even better results on your bottom line.
Remember to highlight the good things about your virtual assistant's performance, along with areas where they can improve. Recognizing successes and progress helps boost morale and encourage VAs to keep doing a good job.
Using the right tools and management strategies helps property managers have peace of mind about the work their virtual assistants deliver!
Virtual Property Management Assistants Deliver Quality Work Through VPM Solutions!
VPM Solutions makes it easy to review the hours your virtual assistant works and pay only for the time they report accurately. With our dispute system, property management business owners don't have to risk paying for any hours their VA doesn't put toward quality work.
Begin your selection process with our platform to find thousands of available remote workers who could match your job postings. Choose virtual team members with confidence, then apply the strategies we've discussed today to help get the most out of your remote real estate assistants! Start your Free Company Profile today or reach out to learn more about how VPM Solutions works.
Set yourself up for success when hiring a virtual assistant! Download our free Real Estate Virtual Assistant Hiring Kit.