Contrary to popular belief, remote work can actually be more productive than office-based work.  

Think about it, if you’re chained to your desk from 8am-5pm, five days a week – are you actually productively working for every single minute of the 2,400 minutes you’re employed to be working?

When working remotely, your measured based on your output – in the case of the Admin Army’s team of virtual assistants and bookkeepers that is client tasks or projects completed.  

How do we work?

We have clients based all over New Zealand and all client work is completed remotely.

How do we keep track of tasks when we aren’t with our clients or the rest of the team?

There are some core pieces of software that the Admin Army team use to manage our workloads.  With all of these software solutions being cloud-based, everyone in the team can access them from anywhere.

  • Toggl – all time worked is tracked in this.  This allows me to see where our time is being spent, and just how long tasks are taking the team, as well as provide monthly reports to our clients.
  • Asana – for project management. All client tasks are logged in this – whether it’s by me or our client’s assigned virtual assistant.  Tasks are assigned to each virtual assistant, along with due dates.  All client requirements and task communication are logged against that task, so if necessary any of the team can pick up a task without minimal handover required.
  • Zoom – video conferencing software.  This is a lifesaver when it comes to maintaining that human contact element.  Zoom means I can have face-to-face discussions with both our clients and the team.  

Why remote work?

Benefits to my business

  • Working with the best (part 1) – the people I hire to be part of the team are selected because they offer the best skill set possible.  I’m not limited to hiring based on location.  

Note: I’ve personally placed a limit on this in that I don’t outsource any of our client work offshore as I want to create local jobs within New Zealand.

  • The team is happier and more productive – see benefits to my team below.  While these are all personal benefits to the team, they result in a happier workforce who are focussed and deliver great results.
  • Minimal staff turnover – there is a certain loyalty that comes from giving individuals the ability to better manage their lives around work.
  • We have a great culture – each team member takes ownership for their tasks and getting them complete on time.   It is very rare that I have to follow up any of the team about task completion and due dates.  They all want to deliver great results for both Admin Army and our clients.
  • I pay the team for the time they work – they don’t score points for sitting at their desks and it’s pretty much impossible to pretend to work.  Everything is measured based on output.
  • Flexibility – the majority of my team operate as casual employees or contractors.  This means I assign them work as it is available. I’m not paying them to fill in time.
  • The team are switched on – they self-manage.  I’m not always there looking over their shoulders.  They teach themselves new skills when they need to, which ultimately means we can provide our clients with more options and better service over time.

Benefits to my team

  • Flexibility–I asked one of my team what she likes about working remotely and her response is below.  It says it all really.
Working remotely gives me the flexibility to work around my family.  I love the variety of tasks and the ability to manage my own time to meet the deadlines set.  
  • Time – their time outside of working hours is their own.  A recent article on Stuff stated that some commuters are spending up to 750 hours a year driving.  That’s 31 days, or an entire month a year driving, and potentially not being paid for that time.  
  • Comfort – nothing beats being in your own space.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I can often be found sitting in my track pants and dressing gown.  The same goes for my team.  I don’t care what they wear while they are working.  When I mentioned this to someone recently and they asked me if I thought the team would be more productive if I ‘dressed the part’.  I laughed and strongly disagreed as surely the team is more productive and output more when they’re comfortable.
  • Work/life balance – or should I say life/work balance?  This is almost flexibility part 2, but the reality is there are days when their kids are sick, or they might have a plumber coming to fix a leak.  Work doesn’t have to come first – they can work around everything else they have going on.
  • The ability to operate as digital nomads – they’re not tied to a location.  One of our virtual assistants spends 50% of the year in NZ and 50% of the year in Belgium with her partner who is a professional sportsman.  There aren’t that many office-based roles that give you that sort of flexibility.
  • They work when they’re most productive – I’m not a morning person.  As a result, I generally spend my morning taking care of organisational tasks – project management, uploading a blog, etc.  But when I have a project to work on, my optimum time to work on this is between 6pm and 9pm.  During this time, I am laser focussed, with the added benefit of minimal distractions – phone calls or emails.  

Benefits to our clients

  • Reduced overheads – they’re not paying for us to maintain a fancy brick and mortar office or flash coffee machine.  This helps to keep the costs we have to pass on to them down, ultimately reducing our charges.  
  • Working with the best (part 2) – our clients are able to choose to work with Admin Army because we are the best fit for them, not because we are geographically the closest to them.  

Benefits to the environment

  • Fewer carbon emissions – global warming is one of the biggest issues facing our generation.  It’s basic math: fewer people commuting = fewer emissions = happier earth.  Every little bit helps!

With technology rapidly evolving there are more opportunities than ever to work on anything from anywhere.  The biggest barrier remaining is our attitudes toward letting go of our perception of what a workplace should look like.  The sky is the limit when we start to let those go and focus on the service we are providing our clients, rather than where we are providing it from.

What are the parts of remote work that are holding you back from taking the next step and operating virtually?

About The Author

Irene Bennetts

Irene Bennetts is the Managing Director of Admin Army – a team of Virtual Assistants and Bookkeepers who are dedicated to helping small business owners by waging war on their business admin.

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