Office hours are the hours you’re available to your clients for things like emails, calls, etc. You’re in your office, similar to the hours you would work in a job. These hours don’t necessarily have to be the same time you’re doing client work, they could just be for answering calls for instance.
Things To Think About
#1 – What Services Do You Offer?
One of the things you need to take into consideration when setting your “office hours” are the types of services you offer. For example, if you’re doing customer service type work such as:
- Answering emails or phone calls.
- Support of some kind.
Then chances are you need to be available during “regular business hours”. Because you’re supporting your client’s clients and need to be available. Most admin-type work will fall into this category.
This is one of the many reasons I didn’t want to offer admin-based services. I wanted more time and freedom in my day. I wanted the flexibility to set my own hours, I was NOT interested in being tied to my computer or desk during regular business hours. Too much like a JOB.
#2 – What Office Hours Work For You?
Another thing you should do is set appropriate boundaries which include defining your “availability”. There are no rules here you could be available one day a week for say two hours only. But remember, it depends on the Virtual Assistant services you’re offering. If you’re offering admin-based services then I’m afraid you’re stuck.
#3 – Did You Include Them In Your Policies?
Your office hours should be included in your Business Policies document. This document summarized how you run your business in a clear concise manner leaving no gray areas for interpretation. If you’re not familiar with business policies be sure to check out my VA Template Bundle. It includes a robust business policies template full of examples.
#4 – Can You Stick To Your Boundaries?
If a client doesn’t like your “office hours” and wants to negotiate them, walk away. They are not your ideal client. It’s your business – you make those decisions not your clients. You want to work with clients that respect your business not try to change it.
If a client asks you to be available outside of your regular “office hours” you can say yes or no but if you decide to say yes, you can charge them an after-hours fee. For example, I had a client that needed me to be available during a launch on a weekend and I charged them an extra $150 for the 90 minutes they needed me.
Remember, you’re setting boundaries and expectations. Don’t be afraid to charge for after-hours time or even say no to their request. You have to value your time and expertise before others will, it all starts with you.
The bottom line is, that you teach your clients to work with you. Clients don’t dictate how your Virtual Assistant business works or what you do! Give yourself permission to set your own schedule and availability.
If you haven’t set your office hours, it’s time to do so! This removes any confusion in your working relationships with clients. You can learn even more about the processes and simple hacks that will help you to build a professional 1st class business relationship with your clients in my post, VA Client Management 101: How To Show You’re Worth Every Penny!
Thanks for reading and listening – Susan
P.S. If you're ready to invest in yourself and a professional future, please check out my VA Success Training. It's for people that are serious about running a successful Online Business. It includes everything you need from business set-up, getting clients, client management, a WP website, coaching, a supportive community, and so much more.