Part-time vs full-time virtual assistants (my dilemma)

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Hello, fellow Warriors!


I have many tasks that need to be done on an ongoing basis.



I've heard it's best to hire full-time virtual assistants if possible, so they only focus on my own projects.


But here's what I noticed:


The more hours someone works a day, the less and less effective they become as the day goes on.



This happens because mental fatigue accumulates throughout the day.


I would love to hire a programmer who works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week - but most of them cannot code for more than 4 hours a day (programming can become monotonous).


Same for writers. I haven't found someone who can write for 8 hours a day.



Most people I have worked with can write for 3-4 hours per day. I totally get it. Writing can be mentally tiring.


At the same time, I'd love to give my VAs full-time employment, and I know for a fact they would love to be able to work full-time (and get paid double).


I have thought of giving my assistants secondary fall-back tasks to do, that aren't as mentally tiring.


But honestly, those require completely different skill sets that would take someone years to master (writing ad copy for example.)


Or some tasks require very different "temperaments". For example, someone who likes programming while being "secluded" isn't necessarily the best person to also handle social media management (which requires someone to be more "social" and also have good command of the English language).


The "easy" solution appears to be to hire more part-time VAs who can each give me 4 "fresh" hours of work a day - rather than forcing my existing VAs to give me 4 hours of "fresh work" and 4 hours of "tired work" per day.


It's just that I like rewarding loyalty, and I'd rather have to manage few and not many people.


Have you come across this issue?


Any thoughts?


Thanks!
#assistants #dilemma #fulltime #parttime #virtual
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    All I see are generalities and assumptions.


    When it comes to programmers and writers - and other VA or freelance type work...that sort of work doesn't always fit into the 'hourly mentality' type of employment.


    Pay writers for the WORK done - not by the hour. Don't make assumptions about how long others can work or what they get done in - or when they might get tired. That gets into micro-management and does not yield the best results.

    Why are you focused on 4 hr or 8 hr increments? What is important is that the work gets done - well and on time. You have a 'job mentality' and that will cause problems when hiring creative people to work for you.

    No one is 'fresh' for 8 hrs a day - every minute. Same is true of 4 hrs a day. Hire people who can do the jobs you need done - and pay them for the WORK they do - not for the number of hours/minutes they work.


    Stop trying to guess at how people feel (tired) or how long they are 'fresh' ...hire people who are good at what they do...then let them do it.

    The term 'virtual assistant' gets used a lot but if you are hiring professionals to do programming or writing or other skilled work - pay them decently, treat them as professionals and have realistic expectations. If you want to 'reward loyalty' - raise the pay of those who produce the most work or meet all deadlines or produce the best quality work. If you don't want to give a raise - give the occasional bonus to your best workers.

    Also, keep in mind - when you are discussing the work with VA's - when you are explaining what you want and how you want it or asking them questions....that should be PAID time if you are on an hourly pay scale.
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    • Profile picture of the author perneali45
      Great points, Kay!


      Now allow me to clarify. :-)


      I do pay my workers for the work done. The "4 hours" or "8 hours" are just numbers to make a point. But I can see how my post may have come across the wrong way.


      I pay them for all the time it takes me to train them. And I give them raises, without them requesting them.



      After they are trained, I schedule several months worth of tasks ahead and I tell my VAs: "This is the work that needs to get done."


      Then, they get to work.


      They absolutely do quality work and we have a great business relationship. But things are moving kind of slowly. And the reason is they cannot do the work for more than a few hours a day (their words, not mine).



      This is frustrating to them, because they would like to be able to deliver more work (and get paid for it).



      Hope this makes sense.



      Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Can you cross train so half the work day is spent on programming or writing and half the day is spend on less 'mind stress' tasks....such a sending emails or placing ads or getting links? (This would be only for those workers who WANT to add more work/income).

    It does sound like you have your work well organized and providing work to be done into the future is something I wish more marketers would master.


    This thread is an example of how easy it is to form a wrong impression of questions being asked. My bad.



    You save time, money and frustration when you can give freelancers/VA's an overview of what is expected well in advance so they can work at their own pace. Also, though, part of the joy of being a programmer or a skilled writer, etc is the ability to work less hours and earn the same pay as with a full time 'job'.
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    • Profile picture of the author perneali45
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Can you cross train so half the work day is spent on programming or writing and half the day is spend on less 'mind stress' tasks....such a sending emails or placing ads or getting links?
      That's exactly what I'm trying to do - but to be honest, it's a challenge finding such tasks. I want to find tasks that will genuinely add value to the business, and not just "filler" tasks. I'll keep trying!

      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      This thread is an example of how easy it is to form a wrong impression of questions being asked. My bad.
      It's all good! I should have explained more clearly to begin with.

      Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    The 'cross training' could be tricky - it takes creative minds to program and to write effectively....those same 'minds' are easily bored with repetitive work.


    When I was freelance writing - I earned as much writing 4 hrs a day as I had earned in a very well paid full time job of 8 hrs a day. Maybe the answer is simple - give plenty of advance work - and those who ARE able to put in more hours can do more work and earn more. It doesn't have to be 4 or 8 - it can be 6 hrs, for example.


    My point is 'hours' don't matter in programming or writing - the product produced is what you pay for. But - you already know that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    Is it possible to tier the work so that more important or more engaging work is done first and less important or more rote work is done in the second half of the day? Or projects that require less touch from you are done first and projects that require more of your input anyway are done later in the day?

    It's difficult to help you design a workflow process without knowing the existing workflow. Can you provide a little detail as to your and your employees' typical day without revealing too much of your business?
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    • Profile picture of the author perneali45
      Basically, I let the workers do work at the time they see fit, since nothing of what they do currently is time sensitive.

      Originally Posted by Dan Riffle View Post

      Is it possible to tier the work so that more important or more engaging work is done first and less important or more rote work is done in the second half of the day?
      I like this. If I find the right tasks, I will definitely encourage the workers to do them later in the day.

      Or, maybe they will want to use the "lighter" tasks as ''breaks" between the main tasks throughout the entire day. Depends on the person. :-)

      Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
        Originally Posted by perneali45 View Post

        Basically, I let the workers do work at the time they see fit, since nothing of what they do currently is time sensitive.



        I like this. If I find the right tasks, I will definitely encourage the workers to do them later in the day.

        Or, maybe they will want to use the "lighter" tasks as ''breaks" between the main tasks throughout the entire day. Depends on the person. :-)

        Thanks!
        Makes sense. Each person is different. I like to sandwich my "heavy lifting" with easier tasks so that I start and end with light work and do my important tasks at mid-day.
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  • I prefer hiring VA's for 2 hours a day, that way it is easy to see if a person is working that 2 hours or not. Another thing is to always have multiple VA's that do the exact same job. That way you can compare, and if it something that you can do yourself, do a 10 minutes sample size on how much you can do during that time and see if VA is worth it or not. Recently I have canceled my VA's as after one week as they have been not efficient at all. I might come back to them but will always test them to see who is not only good but also fast. Hope it helps
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