With technology, you can work with a virtual assistant based anywhere in the world. Since your virtual assistant could be anywhere you need to adopt best practices when managing your virtual assistant. Below are a few things to keep in check:

  • You know that negative mindset of, “I want to save money, so I will do it myself”, or “if it is going to get done right, I should do it myself”, or “it is going to take too long to bring someone on board and teach them the ropes”. Don’t fall victim to these statements.
  • Communication is essential. Establishing good channels of communication with your virtual assistant is the crucial first step in building a mutually beneficial relationship that will help your company prosper and grow. It has been said that “the art of communication is the language of leadership” and it’s hard to disagree. Communication is important in any workplace and when it comes to the virtual world, it’s actually the backbone. Daily communication between you and your virtual assistant is a must and you need to be conscious of the fact that the results that your virtual assistant ends up delivering are only as good as the systems that you have created for them to use and how well you trained them on using the systems. Now let’s review two communication tools available: email and voice chat.

How to use email effectively:

  • On a weekly basis send an email setting the expected deliverables for that week.
  • Send an email on a daily basis requesting status updates on each deliverable.
  • Get your virtual assistant to reply to each email so that you can track the progress of each task.

How to use voice chat effectively:

  • State the main purpose of the discussion.
  • Set out the details that you expect on a deliverable item.
  • After each conversation, ask your virtual assistant to send a summary so both of you have an understanding on the points discussed during the conversation.
  • Know how long it should take: how long should a task take? To know how long a task takes and before you start outsourcing you should do it yourself. You should also allow time for the learning curve.
  • Treat your virtual assistant as a team member. Feeling part of a team and working towards a common purpose is important to retain an efficient virtual assistant in your team. Virtual assistants like to be part of the bigger picture and be kept abreast of important decisions.
  • Set clear goals in every work assignment. Virtual assistants need to have a purpose and need to have a clear understanding of what the aim of their role is. Setting goals is a great way to achieve what you desire. A few ways to do this: record a training video – this will save you time and your virtual assistant will acquire the required marketable skills. Create a checklist. This allows your virtual assistant autonomy as well as provides training for future virtual assistants.  Create Google documents. Google Drive for documents is a great collaboration tool. Build a Trello board. Use Trello to organise tasks, steps, checklists, etc.

Avoid micro – management. The point of hiring a virtual assistant is so that you have more free time. You lose this advantage if you micro-manage. Your systems are bad. Go back to your requirements and documentation; write out how you want something done, what you expect, how it should be done, what the result looks like and how you want them to communicate this. If you’ve done that, there should be no need for micro-management. Give your virtual assistant power to make decisions.