It’s a common occurrence; as the projects and deadlines start to stack up it gets increasingly difficult to get to the bottom of your inbox let alone move ahead with organising the work that actually needs to be done. Keeping on top of the correspondence and coordinating a team has a knack of becoming an on-going struggle rather than an ever-lightening load of productivity. It’s almost as if having an extra team member on hand to help specifically with the administrative aspects of your role might make perfect sense.
Get a Virtual Assistant. Or at least consider it.
Virtual Assistants (VAs) are self-employed individuals who offer professional, admin, tech or creative services to their clients remotely from their own home offices, potentially in a different continent altogether. The advantages to setting up this kind of relationship make it a proposition that merits some serious thought:
1. Due to fact that VAs are private contractors as opposed to on-the-books employees you don’t need to make all the necessary arrangements with your HR department regarding taxes, insurance or benefits. Nor do you need to speak to Site Management about desk space and a workstation with supplies. VAs will invoice you for the hours worked or tasks completed, meaning you get much more productivity for your pennies.
2. The nature of work that you are able to delegate to your VA is quite broad and it all really depends on what you think would assist you in maximising your own productivity. VAs are commonly taken on to answer phone calls (which can be handled remotely via VOIP software), curate and answer emails or pull together documents. Clients also delegate VAs tasks of a more creative nature; speccing PowerPoint presentations, creating a website and assisting with marketing support.
3. It’s a scalable/retractable working model. The VA’s services can be engaged as when you feel it necessary, otherwise their services can be put on hold until further notice.
Applications for ELT? Let’s see:
This method of working might instigate the outsourcing of some of the less specialised tasks that need to be done in ELT publishing, for example, extracting audio scripts from manuscripts, collating data and customer feedback or checking requested corrections have been made to content or assets. They could even be asked to perform a “cold read” on content enabling you and your team to run it by a fresh pair if eyes.
Your assistant could take care of booking studios, actors or transport for conferences or video shoots/recording sessions. They can be tasked with setting up meetings with suppliers, using their access to your schedule to coordinate a time that works best for all involved.
If you engage the services of a VA who is on the other side of the planet (the Philippines is a growing supplier of very experienced VAs) then you could find such tasks completed for your review in your inbox first thing in the morning.
It’s an interesting proposition and one that might get more traction as publishers look for ways to work more cost effectively or just more productively.