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Understanding How to Successfully Work With a Virtual Assistant: Plan Accordingly

Working with a Virtual Assistant can be a rewarding experience for both the employer and the Virtual Assistant (VA). However, in order to avoid frustration on both ends of the relationship, some patterns of communication and expectation need to be established. The sooner the two parties establish these working guidelines in their relationship, the smoother and more beneficial the relationship will be for both parties.

Establishing a Schedule

Setting up a basic schedule for the delivery of assignments and due dates for those assignments creates a routine that both parties can schedule on a recurring basis. Whether this is once a week, daily or once every two weeks, will depend on the needs of the client. If a VA knows that they will be receiving new assignments from a client every Wednesday that will be due the following Monday, they can be sure to schedule time in the end of their work week for that client’s projects on a regular basis. They’ll turn down or schedule other work, so as not to interfere with those priorities. This doesn’t mean there can’t be deviations for this schedule as the need arises; it just gives both of parties an understanding of what the ‘standard’ expectations will be.

Workload Expectations

When making assignments to a VA, it is important to understand how many hours they have committed and available for your projects during a given time period. To assume that you can increase their workload by 10 hours one week without prior notice is a bit presumptuous. Most VA’s have several clients they are working for every month. Although they may leave room for several last minute requests and extra projects, their available time does have constraints that must be considered when requesting extra work with a short deadline.

Time Off

Vacation days, holidays and sick days need to be accommodated when working with a virtual workforce, just as they do with in-house employees. Open communication and preplanning for these down times will help keep everything running smoothly. Clients and VA’s should notify each other of planned time off as far in advance as possible and whether or not they will be available for communication during that period or not.

Communication Is the Key

Detailed communication between a client and their VA regarding expectations and workload is the key to maintaining a positive and beneficial relationship. Confirmation of communications received and understood is important to make sure that both parties are in agreement on those expectations.

 photo credit: Courtney Dirk

Posted on January 14th, 2013 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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