According to the World Health Organisation, one in three South Africans will suffer a mental health episode in their lives. Of these, 75% will go untreated. This is an issue that many corporates and businesses still struggle with. Their employees underperforming and not being productive because they are dealing with mental issues.
It said depression, anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and bipolar disorder were the most common mental health issues encountered.
According to the Mental Health Federation of SA, more than 17 million people in South Africa are dealing with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – illnesses that round out the top five mental health diagnoses.
Doctor Kobus Roux from the SA Society of Psychiatrists said global trends showed there had been a spike in the incidence of depression.
“The health systems are much more refined to pick up depression and more people are aware of it, but we aren’t sure whether the increase in the number is because people who have been depressed wouldn’t have received treatment in the past, and are now seeking treatment,” he said.
Abdurahman Kenny, central nervous system portfolio manager at Pharma Dynamics, said the growing incidence of depression and anxiety worldwide implied that there were other factors, too, that made modern-day society more vulnerable to mental illness.
He said trauma, bereavement and post-traumatic stress disorders were all well-known factors that increased one’s risk of depression, however, there were some “surprising every day” factors that affected our mental health that was often overlooked.
“Research shows being stuck in heavy traffic, spending too much time indoors, heavy social media use, lack of movement and even slouching could all be triggers that heighten our risks for mental illness,” he said.
Although, if you are not careful, managing your assistant can be a headache and take more time then doing the job yourself. It doesn’t matter if your Virtual Assistant is in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. These few simple tips can help you get the best out of your relationship:
It seems like 90% of all the problems reported about Virtual Assistants relates to this one issue. As the task giver, you must give clear detailed instructions to your assistant. Do not leave any room for your assistant to assume what you need.
The best way to give directions to your assistant is to write them down and send it to them a day or two before the work is to begin. This will give your assistant time to review the tasks and come up with any questions that they may have. After your assistant has reviewed the task sheet, set up a time to meet with your assistant either by phone or instant messenger to answer any questions they may have and to make sure that the assistant clearly understands your requests.
No matter how simple the task may seem to you, still take the time to teach your VA how to do your tasks. The best way to do this is to talk to them by phone or instant messenger, walking them step by step through the task. By doing this, you will make sure that they clearly understand what you are asking of them and that you are getting the results you anticipate.
Make it as easy as possible for you and your Virtual Assistant to stay in communication with one another. Your assistant should be able to have some way to reach you 100% of the time if they have any questions or need directions. Make sure that you and your virtual assistant share each other’s phone number, email address, and Skype/Instant Message screen name. For most small business entrepreneurs, instant messenger like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are the ideal. Instant messenger allows you and your assistant to communicate in real time without causing any major disruption to schedule.
When giving your assistant a task, make sure that you give a deadline for when you expect the work to be done. Then communicate this deadline to the assistant and make sure that it is feasible. Once you have both agreed upon the deadline, stick to it.
To make sure that your assistant is getting your task done in a timely manner, request that they send you two updates every day. The first one should be an email at the start of their work, letting you know that they have started your task. The last email should be sent at the end of the workday, letting you know what they have completed and how much time they spent on the given task.
Take the time to get to know your Virtual Assistant. By learning about your assistant, you will create a better work environment and help to create loyalty and trust. One of the most rewarding experiences of hiring a virtual assistant from different cities and cultures is that it helps you learn about new cultures and form lasting friendships.
When choosing a Virtual Assistant, it’s highly recommended that you work with a company of VAs. A reputable Virtual Assistant company like Maximus Admin Support is that the company will pre-screen its assistants before hiring them. This means that you get higher quality assistants that in fact have the credentials that they say they do.
Another reason to work with a VA Company is that if for some reason a certain assistant is not working out for you, the company can seamlessly assign someone new to the job. The last reason to work with a firm is that if your assistant is out ill or on vacation, a firm can assign another assistant temporarily to the job so that your service is not interrupted.
Virtual Assistants are the key to allowing small business owners to truly create a thriving. Before deciding to work with a Virtual Assistant there are six questions that need to be answered.
First and foremost, you must understand what the term means. Simply put, a Virtual Assistant is a business owner who offers administrative support, virtually. The International Virtual Assistant Association defines a Virtual Assistant as “an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional Virtual Assistant assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.”
There are many advantages! First, there are no hidden costs. The Virtual Assistant takes care of his or her own expenses including office space, equipment, computers and software, and all wage-related expenses. A Virtual Assistant is not like other employees; instead, he/she becomes a member of your team and has a stake in the success of your company. If you don’t succeed they won’t succeed.
Most Virtual Assistants have many years of administrative experience and can handle a variety of tasks. Many VAs work outside of traditional business hours to provide flexibility. With a Virtual Assistant on your team, you have an opportunity to grow your business rather than just maintain it. You can get back to the things you love doing; while the tasks on your ‘TO DO’ list are looked after.
Virtual Assistants can assist you with everything from basic administrative functions (document preparation, correspondence preparation, transcriptions services, etc.) to specialized services such as Website design and maintenance, bookkeeping, ghostwriting and editing services, marketing, and event planning. Each Virtual Assistant has his or her own skill set and services. Many have established connections with other Virtual Assistants and will contract out specialized work or direct you to another Assistant.
The most popular methods in communication are email and telephone; however, facsimile, courier, and postal services are often used. Many who have worked with Virtual Assistants have set up post office boxes that are accessed by the Assistant to ensure all client correspondence is handled directly by the Assistant.
Is there anything a Virtual Assistant can’t do for me?
A Virtual Assistant can perform any task that an in-house assistant can …except make your morning coffee.
At a time when internet access and download speeds are at their greatest, Virtual Assistants operate in a virtual forum and can carry out all traditional support functions saving your business time and money.
Client communication is usually conducted over the telephone or by fax or email. Documents and data are delivered through secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP), via the internet or through traditional means. Virtual Assistants are known to multi-task and are highly adaptable to suit your business needs. So why hire one? The simple answer to that is, because “A Virtual Assistant is just a mouse click away!”
Unlimited global market. Virtual Assistants fulfill secretarial and transcription roles online and can do so from any remote location. There is no need to have a Virtual Assistant physically in your office, crucially freeing up business space for you in your office. Businesses can hire Virtual Assistants from a wide range of locations and countries. This gives you a tremendous choice of skilled personnel and huge cost savings and advantages.
Frees up your time. Virtual Assistants are highly trained, highly productive personnel who are used to large volumes of output and offer quick turnaround times. They are ideally suited to pressures of deadlines and operate at a time when your business requires it, with a view to freeing up your time to increase your productivity.
VAs are Cost effective. Virtual Assistants offer an independent service to your business as and when necessary. They are not employees, you only pay for what you want, when you need it. This is a highly cost-effective option for your business, reducing the need to employ staff or pay full-time wages or taxes.
Reduce your overheads. Virtual Assistants work from home or from their own office. Virtual Assistants do not take up office space and your business can enjoy cost savings and reductions in electricity and utility bills employees accrue. You do not need to purchase additional equipment for their use, Virtual Assistants operate from fully equipped offices, using the most up to date technology. No need to incur additional postage or courier costs to outsource your work to them – telephone, fax and internet based technology provides an immediate solution.
Minimize employee obligations. A Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor, they are not engaged in a contract of employment. A Virtual Assistant is not a company employee, there are no ancillary employee taxes or benefits to be paid, providing a cost saving to your business. As Virtual Assistants are self-employed business owners they are responsible for their own taxation liabilities.
They Provide Critical cover. By engaging a Virtual Assistant, your business has the ability to outsource important work during peak periods or to meet pressurized deadlines when the need arises. Crucially a Virtual Assistant can be engaged to provide effective support and cover for staff absenteeism. A Virtual Assistant is a reliable and viable alternative to using recruitment agencies for temporary in-house staff.
Customized business service. A Virtual Assistant can fulfill the role your business requires whether it is a short time or long continuous period of engagement, either on a regular or ad hoc basis. This degree of flexibility is essential in an ever-changing business world. So whether it is a once-off digital transcription or ongoing administrative tasks, a Virtual Assistant is the most efficient solution for your business.
The diversity of Talent. Virtual Assistants come from a panoply of disciplines across the professional, business, academic, technical and support sectors. Your business can choose a Virtual Assistant according to the skill set that the task requires, whether it is highly specialized or generic. Virtual Assistants are creative thinkers and excellent problem solvers.
Outsourcing equals productive output. A dedicated Virtual Assistant is 100 percent committed to your business project. They are self-employed personnel and so are aware of the exigencies of performing tasks to deadlines. Engaging the service of a Virtual Assistant ensures that each hour of labour provided is of optimum productivity and effort.
Efficient use of time. Effective use of time management means your business can be served by a Virtual Assistant operating in a different time zone to meet your business needs. As your business day ends, a Virtual Assistant’s day can begin and this flexible time solution results in greater business efficiency and turnaround.
These are just some of the key reasons to engage a Virtual Assistant. The role of the Virtual Assistant is ever changing and ever expanding and is and will continue to play an important function in the emergence of a modern online business world.
Here is a selection of some of the typical tasks that a Virtual Admin Assistant offer. What a VAA offers, however, will obviously reflect on skills and talents, but most good VAAs will certainly offer the following:
Check out how a Virtual Assistant can help your business while saving you time and money.
You get the benefits of a full-time employee who understands your needs – without the overhead of health insurance, office space, equipment, payroll taxes and all the other expenses of taking on another employee.
One Virtual Assistant can often do the jobs of several different employees thus eliminating the need for additional full-time staffing. And you only pay when you use your Virtual Assistant. You can even pay your VA a small retainer to ensure she will be available whenever you want him/her.
Outsourcing not only frees up your time to concentrate on the income-generating part of your business, but you get your work done far quicker and perhaps with better quality, too.
You never have to worry about staff showing up on time each morning. No worries about coffee breaks, lunch breaks, vacation days, vacation pay, sick days, employee arguments, etc.
Have you ever suspected your employees are surfing the Internet while they should be working? You can be reasonably sure they are doing just that. This loses you and your business time, money and confidence in your employees. And it is not necessary, either. Hiring a Virtual Assistant to do some of your work will save you all the heartache and headache. You will find it far more convenient, cost-effective and time-saving.
Why not start to enjoy the freedom of running your own business without the administrative worries and hassles. It will cost you far less than you may think.
The payment method is usually Direct Pank Transfer after invoice, and for the tech savvy, PayPal is probably the safest and certainly the fastest way of transferring money in today’s world.
Simply log in to your PayPal account, select Send Money and send the amount you wish to the VA’s PayPal account. It’s that easy!
A Virtual Assistant is a business entrepreneur who is paid as an independent contractor. They work remotely and use technology to deliver services globally. No payroll taxes, no health insurance, no office overhead whatsoever for you to worry about. The fee depends on the job assignment and the VA’s level of expertise.
Virtual Assistants can charge anywhere from R90 to R750 per hour depending on the complexity of the assignment. However, there are certain countries where Virtual Assistants are the proverbial dime-a-dozen, and you have to beware of this as it might reflect in the quality of your work – bad English, bad grammar (or none at all), spelling errors, typos and so much more. Therefore it is worth taking a little more time and choosing your VA wisely, rather than go for the cheaper option. Most times this is a false economy.
Web designers or computer technicians, for instance, obviously charge more than administrative assistants. You are not only paying them for their time and effort, but you are also paying for their knowledge and skill.
If you wish to have a Virtual Assistant available to you on a regular basis, then you may reserve a certain amount of time with your VA each month depending on your needs. This time can be negotiated in advance.
So many companies are hiring Virtual Assistants. Your virtual assistant will be handling all your assignments by email or phone, so be sure to interview your assistant to make sure you truly understand what it is you expect to be done for your and for what price. Here’s a synopsis of how VAs work and what you should look for in your business association.
A Virtual Assistant is an off-site business associate offering small businesses the opportunity to outsource some of the everyday mundane work that takes them time and effort. In addition, this work costs many companies money both in staffing costs and time expended.
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is generally located in a remote location – anywhere in the world – and works for his/her clients on a day-to-day basis taking care of any work they assign to her.
VAs are normally known for their cost-effective and good quality. The affordability of their work makes it all worthwhile to their clients. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also known to be quite knowledgeable about much of the work they are asked to do.
A Virtual Assistant often knows a little about lots of various topics through previous research done for similar titles. In any case, Virtual Assistants are generally specialists in the art of online investigation, probing and in-depth searching for anything their clients wish to know about or have documented.
Virtual Assistants are not tempting – they are self-employed entrepreneurs who can handle almost all of your marketing and secretarial needs. A perfect way to keep your office overhead under control.
An ongoing association with a Virtual Assistant provides you with someone who has a working knowledge and understanding of your company and its goals. It’s the most cost-effective way to maintain valuable assistance while watching your expenses stay at a minimum.
They are as concerned with your business success as you are – as their success depends on you. You can expect a high level of commitment as most follow strict work guidelines and ethics promising you the best in service and protecting your interests at all times. Confidentiality is assured.