You are either looking at hiring a virtual assistant or have just done so but you haven’t utilized an employee or contractor through an exclusively virtual format. How do you manage them?
We will examine some best practices on how to proceed through the unfamiliar territory of virtual assistant services. The keys are the same as applied to traditional employees: communication, organization, process and procedure.
Communication is essential with any employee, but is especially critical when working with a virtual assistant. Set expectations for frequency and preferred format (email, phone, video conference, etc.) right at the beginning. An experienced virtual office assistant will prompt you for this information from their end.
This does not mean this is the only time you can expect to speak to your virtual assistant, it merely sets a base line. With this basic communication schedule in place, each party knows what to expect and is expected from them. Not setting a communication frequency will leave either you or the personal virtual assistant, or both, in the dark.
Organization of data and materials which your virtual assistant will need to complete their tasks is also key. If you have to make unscheduled communication with your virtual assistant to disseminate information that is needed to complete work, you are not only hampering their efficiency but yours as well.
A virtual assistant cannot simply walk up to another co-worker to get what else is needed. Therefore, being organized with everything for a virtual assistant’s tasks will prove invaluable.
Process and Procedure is important to make sure tasks are performed in the manner and order which you prefer. With these in place you can make sure that repetitive tasks will achieve the desired results. Even if it is not a repetitive task a general outline on how to proceed is extremely helpful.
Process and Procedure is often the last thing a small business owner or entrepreneur gets to but do not allow their absence to be a precursor to their necessity. If you do not have a process and procedure, take the time to create them or have your virtual personal assistant write them so you have visibility on how they are proceeding.
Managing a virtual assistant is not much different that managing a traditional employee. The only real difference is the absence of in-person communication. The nuances required to make sure they have all the tools needed to perform assigned tasks actually lend themselves to creating better efficiency within your business.
Not only will you set up your personal virtual assistant for success, you will likely discover and create ways to maximize the efforts of everyone involved.