Five Strategies to Help You Work Efficiently With a Virtual Assistant

outsourcing virtual assistant Jan 22, 2019

You’ve hired a Virtual Assistant (VA) and are excited about to bring them on board. What next? Some will have the VA start working right away. But have you considered finding a way to ensure you both work efficiently and productively?

In this post, we share some of the ways to ensure you get the most out of your new working relationship with the VA.

Allow enough time to learn

Learning about your business/company goes beyond the job description to include an introduction to your working culture. Allocate the first week for this and answer any questions they might have concerning the set expectations or nature of work.

If the VA will work with a team, let them know right from the beginning. Things may change along the way but be clear on what they expect their typical work to look like in your company.

Make use of VA tools

There are many tools that you can use to ensure that you’re both productive and time is well utilized. For example, project management tools such as Asana, Coworker and Basecamp lets you allocate tasks to different teams and get notified when the work is done.

If the VA is working on an hourly project, you will need time-tracking tools such as Harvest. Hiring the VA through sites such as Upwork will provide you with these tools. You can also discuss how long the VA will take to accomplish a task before assigning it to them especially for recurring tasks. It helps you avoid disagreements when some tasks take longer than expected and you’ll have to be billed.

Depending on the nature of your company, you might also need document sharing tools such as Dropbox and Google Docs. Other common tools are conferencing tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom. Most of these tools have a free option and will only require an internet connection to run.

Build trust and relationships

Working online relies heavily on trust between the parties involved. At this point, I assume you did all the necessary vetting to ensure you hired a trustworthy VA by checking on previous clients testimonials or gauging how they work in a given test period. You have also to trust the VA and minimise the room for doubt, especially when using the time-tracking tools. It’s entirely right to check the screenshots, but it creates mistrust when you have to over-scrutinize everything they do.

This also means you have to give clear feedback on their work and progressively discuss how they can improve the quality of work delivered. What matters most is the commitment to the assigned task. Some VAs have extensive knowledge gained from working with clients in the diverse field; thus you’ll want to have them involved in some processes which also builds trust between you and the VA.

Communicate clearly and effectively

The remote nature of a virtual assistant requires you to create documentation and be clear on the expected deliverables. Ensure the VA is familiar with the tools you use and communicate any changes in the job description whenever necessary. It avoids back and forth and saves your time.

A weekly chat/video meeting on an agreed time helps ensure you’re all updated and your work is running smoothly especially when you’re in different time zones. Also, agree on a regular time to meet with the VA to solve anything that comes along as the way.

Plan ahead

Avoid the last-minute emergencies by planning and letting the VA do the work in advance where possible. Set realistic deadlines and be flexible in finding a timeframe that works well with both of you.

Remember they might have other clients to attend to thus you’ll want to work to be handled with professional by allocating quality time.