When your business takes off and you find yourself overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks that have nothing to do with your job role but everything to do with running business, consider hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant typically works from home and provides personal, technical, and administrative assistance to their clients. Read on to learn how to utilize a virtual assistant’s skills effectively and how to create a solid atmosphere of team communication even with someone who may be hundreds of miles away.
How Will You Communicate?
When you hire a virtual assistant, establish your preferred mode of communication up front. You won’t be running into the assistant in the hall, and you won’t have a chance to just get up and walk down to his or her office to ask questions or give directives. Instead, you need to establish a sort of virtual hallway. Will you email? Text? Use standard communication software like Slack to communicate? Keep in mind the advantages and limitations of each of these modes. Often offices prefer email, but email can quickly get backlogged with inner office and client emails. And your direct communication may get lost. Text can work well, but this also adds a whole new level of distraction with the inception of the smartphone. It also intrudes on all aspects of life as you take your phone wherever you go. According to a report recently released by the McKinsey Global Institute, 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way. Check out some of the newest options to help you as you see ways to improve communication with your virtual assistant.
Make Policies and Expectations Clear From the Start
The very same policies that make an office run smoothly should apply to a virtual assistant as well. Consider the team communication tools and policies you already have in place, and then communicate those clearly to the assistant. Consider basic policies like:
- No complaining without offering a suggestion
- Time frame expectations such as not expecting a response after 5 pm or before 7 am
- Deadline policies such as what happens when the VA doesn’t meet a deadline
These basic policies will create the necessary boundaries so everyone comes into the team with the same expectations.
Value Your Assistant
Your assistant is there to help you. Communicate clearly and effectively by first treating him or her as a human being. So, as you dole out tasks, form a relationship as well. Make a connection by asking questions and not just ordering the assistant around. Ask the virtual assistant for his or her opinion.
Final Thoughts on Team Communication
Remember to check your pride at the door. You’re hiring a virtual assistant because you do not have the time to complete all of your tasks. They’re there to help you. The VA may see things that you do not see. Effective team communication means both speaking and listening well. We’d all do well to remember the Steve Jobs quote, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Remember, you hired a smart person, so listening to them will only boost your team communication. Contact us for all of your small business needs.