Assisting the Assistant: Effective Ways on How to Manage Your Virtual Assistant
As everyone in the world adjusts to the new normal, so do businesses. This means remote work is now becoming more popular than ever, as it is safer to be within the four walls of our homes. Now that entrepreneurs start shifting their processes to adapt to working from home, so do the assistants.
If you have recently hired a Virtual Assistant (VA) to help you with your business or are looking to hire one, you’re probably thinking about how to manage them. Here are some of the best practices you can apply to help your virtual assistant assist you and your business better.
Building a Relationship
When starting with a new assistant, just like you would with your other employees, it is a good practice to build a relationship with them. Try to learn things about your VA. Such as what are the things that inspire them to work or their motivation. You can also talk to them about what stresses them out, how they manage their stress, their strongest points, and the skills they are struggling to improve.
By learning these things, you’d be able to gauge how well they would handle specific tasks better. You will also be able to know who to buddy them with to learn about particular jobs and the processes to execute these tasks before you let them do things with less supervision. This way, you get more time to yourself to do more important things.
Investing on Training
For many business owners, the need for training their employees usually always comes with the fear that they will learn too much about the business; and that they one day end up stealing ideas to begin their own. And while this does sometimes happen, we have to be open to the idea that every decision we make always comes with risks. And remember that having a business means having to risk a lot of things almost all of the time.
But no matter the risk, it is still best to train our employees the best we can to perform their job in a way we expect them to.
Before training a virtual assistant, you should somehow perfect your business processes first on your own before relaying information to them. While practice and discovery may be good teachers, knowing how to do things the way you would, would make your business processes easier and smoother for you. This will also save you more time in the future as their reference for all the ways to execute procedures are based on how you would do them.
When training a virtual assistant, make sure to have enough time for them to absorb information and practice them before finally letting them do things on their own. This way, should you decide to hire another employee, your virtual assistant would be able to train them, giving you more time to do the things that matter more.
Once you feel that your Virtual Assistant is ready to work with less supervision, it is now time to define your expectations from them. Let them know about their daily tasks and be confident to finally let go of some of the things you love doing, as they will now do it for you. Remember, you hired them so that you can have more time to do other things.
However, even though you already have pre-existing expectations from them, it’s good to be still open to your Virtual Assistant’s abilities and ideas which might help how your business works.
Make sure that you have a regular schedule in communication. Take meetings as opportunities to give and receive feedback from your employees, including your VA. Meetings don’t always have to belong, and you can schedule 30-minute weekly meetings to help you and everyone be on the same page.
When delegating tasks to your Virtual Assistant, keep in mind their strengths. You can focus on giving them jobs that you are confident they can work on, on their own so that you can focus on other things that have to be done.
When delegating tasks to your VA, you can also include other smaller, newer tasks that aren’t as urgent as the other ones so that they can take their time in learning how to do them. First, try a 90/10 ratio, where 90 percent are tasks they can do on their own, and 10 percent are tasks that you can supervise them on until they learn them.
This way, you gradually increase their tasks while improving their skills and lessening your workload. However, be careful not to overdo them, as they are also humans that have feelings and limits. Just as we don’t want to be burned out ourselves, let’s extend that care to our employees and VA.
Implementing Metrics and Tracking
Time Tracking. Having your Virtual Assistant set reminders or having a shared calendar of activities is a great time management strategy for you and your VA. This would help you make sure that no task gets forgotten to be done as both you and your assistant have access.
Aside from this, you can be more confident that no schedule gets bumped in an already busy workday or week. This can also help your business prioritize, as multiple people will check schedules.
Document Tracking. Tracking company documents is an excellent way to systematize your business’ procedures. Setting up a shared folder can help make everyone’s workflow easier as access to information is readily available.
These are only some of the practices you can apply, and there are a lot more, which you will learn as you go. Including getting and giving feedback from your employees and VA also helps manage your team and business better.
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