Protect your back health while working at home

Lockdown has forced thousands of people to start working from home, and for many of us this has meant swapping the desk and office chair for a corner of the kitchen table or a spot on the sofa. But if you’re finding that your new working situation is taking its toll on your back, you’re not alone – a poor home office setup can cause all kinds of discomfort and back pain.

Since it looks like we’ll be in lockdown for some time to come, it’s important to start looking after your back now, to prevent bigger problems down the line. So, here are 4 key ways you can protect your back health while working from home!

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What I’ve learnt from starting a business… in the midst of a global pandemic!

So, it’s October of 2019, when I realise the dawn of a new decade is approaching – and 2020 would mark the 10-year anniversary of working for the same company. It really got me thinking; do I want to be here, doing this for another 10 years?   The answer was no, so I did something about it.  For me, this was a huge leap of faith.  I’ve worked in the media industry for my whole career since I was 18.  It’s all I’ve ever known and those 20 years (OMG!) – as clichéd as it sounds- have gone by in a flash.

I started to build the foundations for Get Ahead VA – West Surrey in Jan 2020. Things were really starting to pick up and I was excited about where things were going when…BAM!  The covid-19 pandemic hit, business shut down and the world felt like it was stopping. 

Now, we’re five weeks (I think!) into the lockdown and although times are undeniably tough for a lot of people, I feel much more positive and am still glad I made the leap to work for myself.  This is what I’ve learnt…

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How to onboard a new VA

Amanda Johnson, business coach, mentor and trainer, is bringing us her advice about how to onboard a new virtual assistant in your business. Her award-winning VA business, VACT, was established in 2003, and she has been in the industry since 2012, so she has plenty of great advice to share!

I love helping business owners find virtual assistants (VAs), and people often ask me how to onboard new VAs as smoothly and effectively as possible. In this blog I’ll look at the onboarding process from the business owner’s perspective and share my advice with you.

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Nurture your mental health at home

The best thing we can all do right now, to stay safe and slow the spread of coronavirus, is to stay indoors as much as possible. However, this can have an effect on our mental health – being unable to go outside, being isolated from friends and family, and feeling uncertain about what the next few months will hold. Indeed, a number of mental health charities have already reported that this crisis has led to an increase in cases of anxiety.*

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to protect and nurture your mental health during this time. Here are 5 key things you can do to stay happy and mentally healthy during lockdown – all without leaving the house!

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Continuity, reassurance and value for money – why savvy business owners repurpose their content

A little while ago, we were invited to a celebration lunch with one of our clients. During the lunch, the company’s marketing manager told us she had been approached by the Sunday Telegraph who wanted to do a piece about them. The marketing manager was delighted that the VAs had created such a wealth of blogs and factsheets for her to draw on – all she had to do was copy and paste the right paragraphs and send them off to the journalist. We were delighted too – it’s this kind of repurposing that makes content marketing great value for money, as well as empowering our clients to take their own action.

Even if you haven’t been approached by a Sunday paper (!) it’s still a great idea to repurpose your blogs, factsheets, ebooks and social media posts.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

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How to avoid distractions when working from home

If you’re new to working from home, you might be finding it tricky to switch into ‘work mode’ when there are a thousand things to distract you – the kids, the washing up, the hoovering, the cat that just has to sit on your keyboard.

Here at Get Ahead VA, we know all about the challenges (and the joys!) of working from home, and we’ve got plenty of tips to help you minimise distractions and stay productive. So if you’re struggling with this new style of working, here are 7 top tips to help you adjust.

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Sharing space during self-isolation

We are now in our second week of lockdown in the UK, and everybody is still adjusting to the ‘new normal’. Because schools and many workplaces are now closed, a major part of life in lockdown is learning how to share space with the other people in your house, for longer than you would on a typical day. This can be tricky at the best of times, let alone at a time of major disruption and uncertainty, so we have some advice to help you and your family through. Here are our 5 top tips for sharing space during self-isolation.

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Mindful marketing during the coronavirus pandemic

A lot has changed in a week, and this continues to be a very strange time for the world. The UK government has now ordered all pubs, restaurants, cafes, libraries and gyms to close, as well as shops selling non-essential items.* Many businesses are feeling the impact of these new protective measures, especially small businesses and independents, and many business owners now find themselves in the position of trying to keep things running while also heeding expert advice.

If you are one of the many people trying to come to terms with this new reality, we’re here to help, with some advice about how to market your business, mindfully and sensitively, during this difficult time.

1. Acknowledge it

The first thing to do is acknowledge to your customers what is happening, and what your business is doing to respond to the crisis. This might include closing brick-and-mortar stores, having your staff work from home or – if your business is part of a key industry – introducing new safety and hygiene measures. Whatever field you are in, it’s important that you talk to your customers, rather than just continuing with business as usual.

2. Reassess your marketing

Chances are you’ve already planned your marketing for the next few weeks or months – perhaps you’ve drafted email newsletters, scheduled Twitter or Instagram posts, or written blogs. If that’s the case, now is the time to go back over all your content and marketing plans and rethink them. Are they still relevant, given what is happening? Can you replace them with something more appropriate? It is much better to put in extra work to do this now, rather than ploughing ahead with content or campaigns that no longer strike the right tone.

3. Be agile

Typically, we advise business owners to plan ahead and be prepared – this is still important, but the next few months will likely require you to be more agile and responsive in your marketing efforts. This is an unpredictable, fast-changing situation, so any content you prepare could become redundant after a few days or weeks. Instead, try to be more flexible, and be prepared to change your marketing quickly if required.

4. Keep up your presence

It may feel like the best option right now is to stop marketing altogether. But if you feel able to keep doing it, and it is appropriate to do so, then you can continue to promote your business. Perhaps you could adapt your offering to suit the latest advice (e.g. focussing on online work, or selling vouchers that can be redeemed later), but even if you have to close, you can at least stay present with your audience as things progress. Despite the current atmosphere of uncertainty, this is temporary, and your customers and clients will want to return to you once this has passed, so let them know that you will be ready to welcome them back.

If you need extra support for your business during this tricky time, please give Get Ahead VA a call on 01483 332220 or email us at office@getaheadva.com. Our team of virtual assistants is happy to help with whatever business and marketing services you need. In the meantime, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

* https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52010707

Going viral… How to be a responsible business owner during the coronavirus outbreak

When a news story breaks, many business owners leverage it in content marketing. We might be blogging about workplace bullying in the wake of Priti Patel’s dismissal, or crafting a really engaging meme for International Women’s Day (which is on Sunday, by the way). By and large, this is a good thing. Current content with an immediate appeal offers value for clients – it’s helpful for them to hear a different opinion, and it’s a great opportunity to show that your business takes a humane and inclusive stance on issues like workplace behaviour and equality. It’s good for SEO too – people Googling for the news story may find your content too and hey presto, lots of lovely conversions.

But there is another side to this. To be successful business owners, we also have to be responsible business owners. Some current affairs stories are inappropriate launch pads for content marketing. Coronavirus is one of them.

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How to work as a partnership

Get Ahead VA is very proud to have branches across the country, and we’re always on the lookout for ambitious, business-minded people who are interested in opening a new branch in their local area. Our Regional Directors are brimming with good advice about being your own boss. Today, Kristy and Suzanne, co-Directors of our Berkshire & North Hampshire office, are here with some advice about working together as a partnership.

When we set up our branch of Get Ahead VA in 2019, we decided to do it as a pair. There are all sorts of benefits to going into business with another person – companionship, shared workload, complementary skills – so if you’re thinking of doing this, here are some tips for how to make your business partnership work!

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