A study in 2011 showed that people who work more than 11 hours a day are twice as likely to suffer from depression. Another study in 2009 by the University of British Columbia showed that workers who have their own office space, freedom to structure their day as they see fit, and the ability to control their environment are less likely to report mental health issues.
Your virtual assistant (VA) is a human being with feelings and emotions like you. Remember that even the best of us can get stressed out in our jobs. It’s easy to forget this fact when your VA is based in a faraway country.
So how can you make sure your VA is mentally healthy?
How To Keep a Healthy Mental Environment For Your VA
Encourage Rest and Break From Work
Your VA’s mental health directly impacts your business. For example, if your VA feels overworked or stressed because of their workload, they may make more mistakes or have a slower turnaround time.
The most common mental health issues are anxiety and depression, leading to poor performance. Stress from lack of sleep and poor eating habits cause those conditions to worsen, and they eventually take a toll on the body, which can decrease productivity.
It’s important to recognize that your assistant’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. Motivate your VA to refrain from overworking and spend more time with their family and loved ones. Initiate a “time away from the computer”, especially during holidays.
Be Mindful Of Their Workload
If you need to assign more tasks, consider the effects of increased workload on their mental health. Make sure you’re not adding tasks that are beyond their job description. If there is a need to increase their tasks, discuss their working hours and make sure they’re not working beyond their full capacity.
Recognize The Signs Of Mental Concerns
It’s your responsibility to take care of your employees.
If you notice that something is off, especially with their output, you can send them a message asking if everything is okay or if there’s anything that’s going on that’s affecting their work. Ask them if they need to take some time off, or if they need help.
Let Your VA Know That They Can Open Up About Their Mental Issues
Your virtual assistant is no less human than you are, so it’s important to remember that. Like any other employee, they have their own lives outside of work. They may seem to be very busy at work but they may also be going through tough times themselves.
It’s okay to reach out and ask about their well-being. This can help your VA open up about any issues they might be having and help address them before they get out of hand and cause serious damage to them or your business.
Provide a Healthy Working Environment
One of the most important things we can do for our virtual assistants is to create a healthy work environment. That doesn’t just mean checking in on their hours and deciding whether to give them a raise or not, although that is important too. It means setting aside time to train them effectively, being aware of how they’re doing or what they’re going through and respecting that, and helping them establish boundaries to keep their sanity.
In a remote team, a healthy work environment often means emotional support, balanced work, and a company culture that makes each team member feel they are seen and appreciated.
Break Free from Hustle Culture
Don’t get me wrong. Hustling is important. But over the past years, the word “hustle” has been overused and it has become a way to glorify workaholism. And workaholism often leads to mental health breakdown.
Teach your VAs by leading an example that hard work is important but it all comes down to working on the right things and taking a break regularly.
Mental Health Matters
Your virtual assistant (VA) is a real person, and they have feelings too. So it’s essential to set up your relationship with them healthy for both of you. A successful VA feels proud of their work, enjoys their work-life balance, and is happy to be working with you. You can help by ensuring your VA has everything they need to do their job effectively—including the right resources, tools, and emotional support.