Time and again, it has been said that nothing is constant in this world but change. And with the advent of technology, this has become increasingly true to date. To say that technology in the last two decades has grown is an understatement and at its current rate likened to the speed of light, it is showing no indication that it is anywhere near done. Because of this fact, it can safely be said that no one was born a techie – defined as a person who is an expert in or enthusiastic about technology since technology in itself is dynamic. However, this ever evolving element of our lives has given us no choice but to adapt and move towards being techies as it has had a profound effect on all aspects of life including how we interact with our world. Now, almost everything is mobile and paperless from bank transactions, education and learning, shopping, communication, business and processes and not adapting to these changes may cause us to be stuck in a way of doing things that technology could have improved in terms of efficiency and productivity if we only let it.
In the realm of virtual assistance, which is primarily technology-based, dependent on a computer and an Internet connection, technology is a way of life in itself. But as partners to small to medium scale businesses, being technology savvy takes on a whole new level.
As VAs, we get to handle most of the back-end operations of our clients’ businesses as well as manage a lot of personal matters in terms of organizing calendars and financials and with such a wide and varied work scope, technology sure does come in handy whether you are an experienced VA; a seasoned veteran in a previous field or a first time employee – virtual or otherwise.
The younger generation are admittedly more technology-savvy perhaps because they were exposed to it more than the earlier generations but they do not have a monopoly of tech-savvyness as the older generations have slowly but surely followed suit because of the need to stay connected and develop individual capacities.
Laine, part of 2013’s graduating class, joined The Help almost a year ago for her first real job and she acknowledges that her interest in anything online and the urge to explore everything she finds in it has indeed helped her in adjusting to VA life. She adds that because she loves to explore online applications and software, she got used to it and discovered tricks in using these applications which allowed her to fast-track her immersion into the world of virtual assistance because she did not have to be trained in the basics and instead jumped to being trained on more complicated features of applications and the specifics of tools VAs use; making training and eventually, tasks time efficient.
Yoli, on the other hand, a veteran in the field of writing and the corporate world definitely enjoys being tech-savvy because it allows her to understand the language of the web which according to her, is very helpful in case of glitches which most often than not, also have their answers on the Internet. Secondly, she uses technology to communicate with friends and writing colleagues around the world and allows brainstorming easily and economically through web-based applications. It is also a big factor for a writer like her because she gets to use writer-friendly applications that can help avoid distractions and puts notes and documents in one place hence, increases productivity.
Most of the tasks handled by virtual assistants involve managing the client and their business’ websites, social media content, mobile applications, newsletters, smart phones, quick response links as well as shared infrastructure and cloud documents and softwares including blogs, webinars and video calls and tutorials. All of these are technology-enabled and would need a savvy VA to handle and master with flying colors. Plus the fact that at times, VAs also serve as the alter ego of their clients and as such, they have to be well-versed in the different technologies available in the market that will make clients’ businesses grow and prosper. Also being able to give clients their personal opinion of the software or application in terms of functionality is a big plus for a VA.
Being tech savvy has these succeeding advantages:
1) Being a techie can simplify daily life as you get to use technology to be more productive, efficient and accurate. In case of unfamiliar tasks, a regular employee can search for resources on the Internet or ask more experienced employees. The techie also searches for resources but upon learning of an application that she can use for the task, does not stop there and instead, digs deeper and discovers the full functionality of the application to the task on hand and for future tasks. We are then given the means to get work done faster through technology and producing more means more money or income.
2) Being technology-savvy opens doors we have not imagined possible and allows mobility and flexibility. Decades ago, we may never have imagined being able to work through our phones or being able to exchange messages in real time but these and many more are present realities. We now get through tasks both online and through mobile phones making management of tasks, appointment, dates a lot easier than they were before, even away from our desks. Client calls can be done in the comfort of our home offices and we can even see the other party across hundreds of miles through video calls and conferencing. These were deemed impossible before but are now a reality, providing a window of what the future has in store for us.
3) By embracing technology, you make yourself more valuable. Because efficiency and productivity are such big terms in this world and age, being familiar with anything and everything that can make you more efficient and productive in the eyes of clients, makes you more valuable. The battlefield of business has shifted to the virtual world as the global market has become accessible with its reach a whole range wider through technology. The employee who is tech-savvy is an added asset because they do not only understand technology but is able to use it and base informed decisions on it; therefore, making way for the successful completion of projects.
With virtual assistants easily able to access necessary information and make quick reactions to their various needs, clients can better manage their businesses and focus more on inspiring and captivating their target markets and managing global decentralized networks and leverage the competitive arena of their respective businesses.
The many possibilities opened by technology can be daunting for a non-techie, much more to a non-techie VA but the good thing about technology is it is right there at your fingertips. You just have to have an open mind and the willingness to give it a shot by simply knowing how to maximise your resources and the results could spell the difference. Besides, with each passing day and month, the non-techie VA will notice her skills exponentially multiplying and in a virtual world such as hers, this has come to be expected so she really has no choice but to learn as fast as she can. After all, technology is a reality and it is here to stay. There is no escaping it. Technology and the wealth of knowledge it unfolds is literally a click away, bringing a world of endless possibilities closer and giving us a tool to manoeuvre the virtual world to become valuable virtual assistants.
Tech savvyness is just the first in a list to get into this industry but to be a successful virtual assistant, you need to combine it with communication – oral, written and non-verbal cues; proactivity – to clients, to superiors and to team members and compassion and empathy for your team and the business of your clients – all these we will explore in succeeding articles and together, let us discover the world of virtual assistance.
Written by: Kathrine E.- The Help