5 Best Practices When Working with a Virtual Assistant

If you have never worked with a Virtual Assistant before, the idea of releasing access to sensitive documentation, your diary, your emails, and indeed, your carefully created business brand and social media presence, is a terrifying concept.

So here are 5 key practices to put into place when you get started.

Choose a Virtual Assistant that shares your core values

There are many thousands of qualified virtual assistants in this world. Not all of them will be a good match for you and your business. Perhaps your fear of this has been a key factor in your delaying the hiring of good support?

It is vital, that you take the time to have a thorough interview with a potential VA. This is necessary even when someone is referred to you by a trusted colleague.

In all honesty, it is likely that a good VA will be just as thorough in ‘vetting’ you. A Client-VA partnership has the potential to be life-changing…or business-changing… for the better if your business values align, and if you can quickly establish a good rapport.

Equally, a ‘bad match’ will quickly unravel any good that may have existed, and leave both parties bruised and bitter. Ask the questions that mean the most to you, and don’t be afraid to find someone who ‘gets it’ when you explain your goals and vision for your brand.

Establish your preferred communication methods

Picking up the telephone, or sending a text is not going to cut it!

We live in a world heaving with GDPR and privacy and confidentiality concerns, legal expectations around record keeping, and more and more people leaning heavily into setting healthyboundaries.

According to Michelle from Virtual assistant company Virtual Hand “To ensure you and your VA maintain positive, clear and recorded communication, it’s best to choose a system that is encrypted, readily available to both of you, and can be muted after hours!”

If your business relies heavily on project or campaign planning, it may be worth discussing, with your VA,  the best software to suit your requirements and team dynamics. Using these systems will ensure the relevant people are alerted to updates, and all records are kept securely within one location.

Your VA may have their own preferred ways of communicating, but most will work to what you know works best for you, or gently suggest improvements to alleviate pressure and time wastage, to allow you to breathe easier.

Discuss both your AND your VA’s working hours and boundaries

Someone who has not had to share their schedule before, may not realise just how many activities they fill their day with. It’s really important to take a long honest look at how your days are filled, andallow your VA access to a detailed digital version your calendar. This ensures that at no point should there be unwanted interruptions or double-bookings.

Likewise, it’s important to remember that your VA will likely be navigating the dynamics of their own business. They will have their own core working hours, commitments, and unavailable dates.

Being fully aware of each other’s availability sets a firm foundation that avoidsunnecessary frustration.

Document each task in writing

At all costs, try to never pass on a request verbally, in passing.

Clarifying expectations in writing will limit misunderstandings, give both of you reference points, and allow you to see just how much you have accomplished as time goes on. It is not, in any way, a derogatory practice, and your VA will be grateful for the practice.

It may be worth ensuring that right from the start of your relationship with your VA, that one or both of you make notes which are then shared, during every conversation.

Ideally, entering each new task into a shared planning tool – such as Trello, or Asana – gives both of you live, accurate records of ongoing and completed activity.

This will also aid in understanding timed invoices, and planning work for the month ahead.

Deadline your tasks

When you meet your admin-hero, it is easy to relax into the relief of knowing they will most certainly be able to manage all of the ‘nitty-gritties’ that have been hacking away at your precious time. As such, it is tempting to precursor each new task with, “when you have a chance” or “when it suits you.”

While your faith in your VA will be appreciated, it is wise and much more conducive to good practice all round, to document and put a deadline to each task.

This gives the VA a framework to work with when planning their own timeand alerts them to tasks and activities that are more urgent to you.