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How to work in harmony with a VA

When you're teaming up with a remote PA, make sure you both know what's expected. Keep the communication flowing; set up regular chats and don't forget to cheer on victories together. Trust them to make calls, but be there to offer guidance. Offer support and feedback regularly to keep things running smoothly. Stay flexible to accommodate their schedule and needs.

There’s no doubt that virtual assistants are a big help to entrepreneurs. They can take over all sorts of tasks, from managing your email inbox to booking your travel arrangements. But if you’ve never worked with one before, it can be hard to know how to delegate effectively. Building on last week’s blog, let’s look at some tips, what your day might look like and some strategies on how to create your working harmony.

Choose the right person for the job

  • It sounds obvious, but make sure you choose a virtual assistant who has the skills you need. There are lots of different types of virtual assistants out there, so take the time to find someone who is experienced in the areas you want them to work in. If you’re not sure where to start looking, ask other business owners if they can recommend anyone. You could also try posting an ad on a site like Upwork or Freelancer.

Be clear about what you want

  • Virtual assistants aren’t mind readers – if you don’t tell them exactly what you want, they’ll never be able to do the job to your satisfaction. So, when you’re giving instructions, be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying ‘Can you book me a flight to New York?’, say ‘Please book me a return flight to New York, leaving on 17th July and returning on 20th July. I’d like to fly with British Airways, and I’d prefer a morning flight if possible’. The more information you give them, the less likely it is that they’ll have to come back to you with questions later on.

Give them the resources they need

  • Your virtual assistant might not work in the same office as you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide them with the resources they need to do their job. For example, if you’re asking them to write a blog post for you, give them access to your blogging platform so they can upload it directly. Or if you want them to manage your email inbox, make sure they have all the login details they need. If you’re not sure what resources they’ll need, just ask them – they’ll appreciate you taking the time to find out.

Trust them to do the job

  • One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is micromanaging their virtual assistant. Remember, you hired them because you thought they were capable of doing the job, so let them get on with it. Of course, it’s fine to check in with them every now and then to see how things are going, but don’t constantly look over their shoulder or demand updates every five minutes. Not only will they find it annoying, but it will also take up a lot of your time – time that you could be spending on more important tasks.

Give them feedback (but be nice about it)

  • If your virtual assistant does something that you’re not happy with, don’t just ignore it and hope it won’t happen again. Instead, give them some constructive feedback. However, it’s important to remember that the way you phrase your feedback can make a big difference. For example, instead of saying ‘You made a mistake here – you should have done it like this’, say ‘I really like what you’ve done, but I think it would be even better if you did it like this’. That way, they’ll be much more likely to take your comments on board and make the changes you want.

Of course, these tips aren’t just useful for working with virtual assistants – they’re also good advice for managing any team member. But when you’re working remotely, it’s especially important to get them right. So, next time you’re working with a virtual assistant, try putting these tips into practice – you might be surprised at how much easier it makes your life.

Now that we’ve covered some general tips, let’s take a closer look at what a typical day might look like when working with a remote PA.

Morning (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Start your day by checking your calendar and email. Your remote PA can help manage your inbox by filtering out any non-essential emails and flagging important ones for your attention. They can also respond to routine emails on your behalf, saving you time and allowing you to focus on more strategic tasks.

Next, have a quick check-in call with your remote PA to go over your schedule for the day. Discuss any upcoming meetings or deadlines, and make sure they have all the information and resources they need to complete their tasks. This is also a good time to address any questions or concerns they may have.

Afternoon (1:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

Use the afternoon to work on your most important tasks and projects. Your remote PA can help by taking care of administrative tasks, such as scheduling meetings, booking travel arrangements, or preparing documents for presentations. They can also conduct research, gather data, or create reports to support your decision-making process. By delegating these tasks to your remote PA, you free up valuable time to focus on higher-level work.

Throughout the day, stay in touch with your remote PA via instant messaging or email. If you need something urgently, let them know, but also be mindful of their workload and availability. Remember, effective communication goes both ways – be responsive to their messages and make yourself available when they need to reach you.

Evening (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm)

Before you wrap up for the day, take a few minutes to review your to-do list and prioritise your tasks for the next day. If there’s anything you need your remote PA to work on, make sure you provide clear instructions and any necessary resources. This will help them hit the ground running the following morning.

Finally, end your day with a quick check-in call or message to your remote PA. Thank them for their hard work and let them know if there are any changes to your schedule or priorities for the next day. A good leader recognizes and appreciates the efforts of their team, no matter where they’re located.

Working with a remote PA can be a game-changer for busy leaders. By clearly defining their role, communicating regularly, and trusting them to handle tasks, you can maximise your productivity and focus on what matters most. So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at the positive impact it can have on your leadership style.

Additional Insights on Working with a Remote PA (Personal Assistant):

Now that we’ve explored the fundamentals of optimising your collaboration with virtual assistants, let’s delve into the nuances of working with a remote PA, a crucial component in enhancing your overall productivity and leadership effectiveness.

Clearly define their role
  • Before you start working with a remote PA, take the time to clearly define their role and responsibilities. What tasks will they be responsible for? What decisions can they make on their own, and what decisions should they refer to you? How often will you check in with each other? By setting clear expectations from the beginning, you can avoid any misunderstandings or frustrations down the line.
Communicate regularly
  • Communication is key when working with a remote PA. Since you’re not physically in the same location, you need to find other ways to stay connected. Schedule regular check-ins, either by phone or video call, to go over any updates, questions, or concerns. Use technology to your advantage – instant messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams can be great for quick, informal communication. Also, don’t forget to celebrate successes and milestones together, even if it’s virtually. Recognizing their hard work and accomplishments helps build rapport and motivation.
Trust their judgment
  • Your remote PA is an extension of your leadership style, so trust them to make decisions on your behalf. Provide guidelines and parameters but empower them to use their judgment and expertise to handle situations as they arise. This not only fosters autonomy but also frees up your time to focus on strategic initiatives.
Provide ongoing support and feedback
  • Just like any other team member, your remote PA benefits from ongoing support and constructive feedback. Regularly check in to see how they’re doing, offer guidance or assistance when needed, and provide feedback on their performance. Be open to their input as well – they may have valuable insights or suggestions for improving processes.
  • Stay adaptable.

Working with a remote PA requires flexibility and adaptability. Understand that they may have different working hours or preferences due to their location or personal circumstances. Be accommodating and willing to adjust your communication or workflow processes as needed to ensure smooth collaboration.

By following these additional insights, you can further enhance your partnership with a remote PA and leverage their support to drive your leadership success in a virtual environment. Feel free to schedule a chat with us for some more valuable insights.

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