The seven signs your virtual assistant needs a break
It is not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed at the end of a workday. The feeling of being exhausted can lead to frustration, anger, and burnout. It is why employees need to take time off from work now and then. However, some professions require constant availability, such as virtual assistants or customer service representatives. So how do you know if your VA needs a break?
If your VA is complaining about their workload
A virtual assistant is responsible for handling back-office tasks. If they are complaining about how overwhelmed they are, it means that their workload has gotten out of hand. Thus, it’s time to take action. However, there may be other reasons for this.
The VA may not have a fully clear responsibility and be unclear about what their tasks are. When they feel that there is no end in sight, the VA would become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Lack of motivation for work or hostility can also accumulate when they feel like people who do similar work get more appreciation for the tasks they complete.
Somehow, the VA feels their contribution is taken for granted. Additionally, more demands from other departments can add to this feeling of being overworked. There is a feeling of tiredness at home, which makes it hard to focus on work and give it due time and energy.
If your VA appears stressed or frustrated regularly
Your VA should always present an upbeat attitude even if the work gets tough. If their frustration or stress lasts longer than a day, they might need a break.
It often takes time to acclimatize to new environments – your VA may not know how to take care of you or may feel unproductive. Speak with them and see what you can do for them. When the two of you do things that balance out their workload, they’ll be happier and more productive.
And tell them that it is natural for anyone in a new environment to experience some stress – no one feels right at home the minute they walk through the door. Providing reassurance will help make sure they enjoy working for you!
If you notice your VA is making careless mistakes during work hours
Virtual assistants are responsible for a lot of tasks, and some of them can be quite complex. It’s understandable for your VA to make some mistakes from time to time, but if they are making too many mistakes they need to take a break immediately.
Try to understand the cause of the errors. After this is established, it may be best to lower their assignments and set them up for success with appropriate strategies. Try to work with your VA on a plan that will help them avoid burnout and regain control of their workload without you immediately sacking them when they make one or two mistakes in a row.
Instead, what you need to do is find out why they’re making these errors in the first place. Then, figure out ways that they can solve their problems before causing more harm (or getting sacked for not doing well).
If you notice that they’re not as creative or efficient with their work anymore
If you’re feeling like your VA is lacking some of the qualities they used to possess, there are a few things that could be causing this; some of which can often be solved quickly.
If it’s burnout-related, one of the most important things you can do is give them an extended break away from their computer.
Emergencies aside, if your VA feels overwhelmed or unproductive on one particular task or towards the end of the day/week/month, consider giving them different work to keep their morale up and brain challenges.
When the quality of their work has declined significantly
If a VA’s work has declined due to burnout, chances are the long-term performance of this engagement is in question. To better ensure a great long-term outcome with your VA, it is advised that you first try to understand what set off the burnout. It means taking time out of your day to listen and connect emotionally with this individual, as deep emotional needs may not be met elsewhere.
Communicate with your VA about exactly what is expected of them and any changes in work requirements that might be necessary (requesting their input).
Also, reduce their workload. This may be necessary to help them out until they feel ready to return.
When they start taking more and more time off from work
Your VA might have started taking more time off from work starting with lunch breaks or even days of absence. If you notice this in your VA, it is important to establish the cause of this sudden change.
Most likely you will have to do some work yourself to figure out what’s going on so that you can try and improve the situation. Remember that your VA needs time away from work too. They’re not machines! Make sure your VA knows how much you value them and communicate with them clearly and consistently.
When their response time slows down significantly
If your VA takes a long time to respond to simple emails or questions, this could be a sign of burnout. It is important to take this seriously and try to understand what’s going on with the individual; if their health is well, it might be smart to ask them if there’s anything you can do to help make things easier for them.
You can’t expect a VA to always be available on-demand – you need to set the boundaries and rules of engagement. Try to work with your VA if possible so that they can continue doing a great job for your business.
If you believe your VA to be in a state of burnout, it’s best to take the time to handle the situation so that it doesn’t get worse. Depending on whether or not they’ve taken care of themselves, this may involve changing their schedule and limiting what they’re doing for you – but also giving them time off and ensuring that their vacation days are taken.