Here at YEC, we leverage our team of 17 Uassist.ME virtual assistants to save time on our to-do list and maximise productivity. That’s why we created this series of posts that showcase our best tips and practices for getting the most out of your VA (virtual assistant) experience. Each week, we’ll explore a different outsourcing topic and offer our advice on what we’ve found works best.
While you’re constantly on the go, remember that your VA is there to assist you with all of your pressing tasks — from setting up travel accommodations to managing personal finances — leaving you the time to focus more closely on your business.
As with any colleague, communication is critical and cannot be handled over email alone. Below are our tips that will enhance the quality of your VA relationship and guarantee your success with this exclusive benefit.
1. Schedule a daily stand-up
Before your day even gets started, hold a daily ‘stand-up’ meeting with your VA to discuss what your day ahead looks like and what needs to be done. A quick conversation — by phone or by Skype — gives you a chance to tell your VA what the daily priorities are.
Some quick, deliberate questions to ask your VA during your daily stand-up include:
“Which open tasks do you still need to finish?”
“What new tasks are you going to begin today?”
“What (if anything) are you stuck on or need help with?”
The YEC tech department finds Tatsu (a stand-up meeting app that integrates with Slack’s instant messaging service) to be tremendously useful for keeping everyone connected.
2. Utilise instant messaging services like Slack
Your inbox is a sea of unread emails, meaning communication between yourself and your VA would be buried if you were to work with them solely via email. Try workplace instant messaging services such as Yammer or HipChat (as mentioned above, YEC uses Slack as the IM tool of choice for VA communication).
You’d be surprised at the amount of back-and-forth this will cut down on — ensuring nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure it is mobile-friendly and, ideally, compatible with your phone so you can leverage the help of your VA wherever and whenever you need it. Need a way to communicate with your VA while you’re travelling and don’t have immediate access to a WiFi connection? Frantically searching for your gate at the airport in order to make your next flight? These tools also keep the conversation moving in times where speed is critical.
3. Communicate with it as you would any other member of your team.
Even though your VA isn’t in the office with you, consider your VA a key member of your team and communicate with them as you would anyone who works in your physical office. As with any right-hand colleague, it is critically important that you work closely with them to help them understand the details of your project as well as document your processes for them to use as a guide once you pass the baton. Really put in the time to think through ways you can eliminate wasteful systems and make your VA a more successful member of your team.
For example, at YEC we ask that our VAs document every new task we teach them with step-by-step instructions in a Google doc so we can review their notes later and give advice for how to improve how they work. It’s also helpful to have these docs as you grow your business and bring on new team members.
Ryan Paugh was named a “cult legend in community-building world” by Mashable and a “Gen Y employment champion” by Fortune. He has helped thousands of young professionals and entrepreneurs in their career pursuits. Prior to YEC, he co-founded Brazen Careerist.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organisation comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
Also Read: How Slack improved our company culture
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