Virtual Assistants


(Terri Handy) #41

For those who are wondering what “Teams” is, it’s a similar way of communicating within a team like Slack with the added advantage of being able to incorporate calendar sharing, daily tasks, etc. Is that right @jodie.stainton?


(Jodie Stainton) #42

Yep @terrihandy - it’s part of microsoft office 365 suite. I’ll take a photo of what mine looks like to give people an idea. If you have microsoft office 365, you really should jump on this. You’ll never go back to email.


This is a photo of the BDM team General area. Across the top you can see conversations (like slack, facebook group messenger, whatsapp etc), but then you can also see files, BDM systems (which is sharepoint which is like an intranet for all the docs, videos, checklists etc, BDM board which is an integration with Trello + more things (Karma - where we can give each other good karma and bad karma + more.) On the left, you can see chat, where I can chat (video/phone/text) with any member of the team, meetings, files etc.


Meetings is one of my favourite parts in that if I have a meeting with the team, I can set it in General and I don’t need to invite anyone. Everyone in the team can join and in the general area, it reminds the team that the meeting is going so people can just hit join and be on the video with us. Really smart what they’ve done there.
Looks like this:

And I love the notes part - looks like this:


Which means that everything the team needs is literally in the one area.

And then those actions in the notes, I transfer to BDM Board as cards to keep us all accountable.

Works pretty well.


(Terri Handy) #43

Wow, thanks so much @jodie.stainton This is great - if you don’t have a VA, I think this is still worth investigating for your team. It may transform your life!!! Maybe you could share this in the technology stream as well Jode.


(Jodie Stainton) #44

@terrihandy, yeah, I implemented this when we didn’t have a VA as I needed a way to speak to all the team easily + have everything in the one place. I can’t stand email having worked with the LPMA team and been exposed to all the tech I was. CAN’T EVER GO BACK!! LOL It’s very easy to use and set up. All of that was set up in under a day. Not hard and while the team were a little overwhelmed at first, (you should have seen our first 1-1 video calls), now they love it and also say they’d never go back. All of it can be accessed by the app on your phone (or watch!) - you’re completely mobile. And probably the biggest benefit is that we’re not clogging up emails with all our own chatter and getting lost in email trails. Pretty cool!


(Terri Handy) #45

Sounds so cool @jodie.stainton If I can access it on my watch, I am there!!! If I could just get my license somehow downloaded onto my watch or my phone, my life would nearly be complete :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I love that you are doing 1-1 video calls within your team - as humans, we use our eyes to gauge someone’s emotions, as well as our ears. You become so much more engaged with someone face to face and it is easier to empathise. There is no reason why we can’t regularly, for example, Facetime our owners, tenants, tradies, team members. We do it with our family (in my case, often accidentally, but still). I imagine there were be fewer misunderstandings if we did this. We have the technology people!!! We just need to use it.


(Adam Bettison) #46

Just had a good practical use of a VA so thought I would share.

  • 3pm Signed up a new management at the property

  • 3:30pm got back to the office. Scanned the EMA. Called VA on internal phone which is fully-integrated. “Hey VA I have just scanned a new EMA. Can you write a description, launch online and schedule an open for tomorrow in IRE?” VA: “yes sir Adam” PS today is Saturday. PPS no point trying to stop the “sir”

  • 3:35pm I get on with doing other stuff.

  • 5:30pm I call the VA. Property is online, open scheduled.


(Terri Handy) #47

Hi @adam.bettison

That is a great example of using a VA. Sounds like you have your process down pat :clap::clap:

I am really interested in the information you provide the VA so they can prepare the description. Do you have a template you complete or do they look at the photos and prepare it from there? Did it take long for you to have this process working smoothly?


(Adam Bettison) #48

This was with an experienced VA, so I gave her no instruction. She would have used RP Data, Pricefinder, internet searches etc to do it all. She has been working for us almost 2 years.


(Terri Handy) #49

Excellent @adam.bettison. That is great. There is so much information that is accessible these days without having to walk through a property. Sounds like your VA is an invaluable part of your team. I’m also impressed with the Saturday bit too.


(Adam Hooley) #50

Thanks for sharing @adam.bettison you do sound like you have this streamlined. Just following on from @terrihandy. What are the processes you built to make this work so efficiently?


(Adam Bettison) #51

Actually I dont have it streamlined, it just looked that way in this example. I have a couple of VA’s who are experienced and better than some Australian staff (at the office stuff, of course not the field stuff). For the less experienced staff i need more and better checklists, like what others have posted here from their Trello etc.

But in general, keys would be integrated phone, email and scanning, so the staff are as close as possible. Treat and train them the same as an Australian staffer, effectively the same as an APM would be here in Australia, minus the out of office work.


(Adam Hooley) #52

That seems to be a consensus here @adam.bettison. Treat them like they are your own, just in a different office.