As a UK Estate Agent, finding ways to maximise efficiency and curtail costs is the key to achieving long-term success. Nothing saves you more time than delegating tasks to a Virtual Assistant. Today’s Virtual Assistants are supremely versatile. If there is a task that can be done remotely, there is an appropriately skilled VA who is able to take it off your plate – from appointment scheduling and email management to market research, CRM, sales and letting administration, social media marketing and bookkeeping.

How can you make the most of working with a Virtual Assistant?

The answer lies in creating a daily success plan that alleviates the need to micromanage your VA while keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your business. Technology is very helpful in this regard, offering a range of online work and project management tools that allow for remote team interaction, project planning, implementation and tracking.  However, in the beginning, extra communication is key.

Here are five considerations when creating your daily success plan:

  1. Clearly define your VA’s role

Know upfront what you want from your Virtual Assistant. Is your VA full or half-day? Decide which of their duties have the highest priorities before guiding them in allocating their time and resources.

  1. Establish parameters for the working day

Establish the times when each of the team – both remote and in office – will be working and available for interaction. This should include the hours they will take breaks or be away from their desks for personal activities.

  1. Have realistic expectations − time is limited

To avoid your VA being overcommitted (which can lead to them being overwhelmed – especially as they settle into the position) work out how much time, realistically, is needed for them to complete each task.

  1. Be flexible

There is much research that supports the idea that the length of a workday is irrelevant. What matters is how people structure their day. People who take regular short breaks are far more productive than those who work without stopping for a break. Flexible work arrangements can offer an advantage to businesses and their people. Employees appreciate having flexible schedules, as it can make it easier for them to achieve work-life balance.

  1. Always rank tasks in order of importance and urgency
  • Prioritise tasks according to importance

If two projects must be worked on simultaneously, but one is more urgent than the other communicate which project is to be completed first.

  • Prioritise tasks according to urgency

If something must be done quickly, but not necessarily immediately, have your VA prioritise it accordingly in their to do list.

When creating a daily success plan, the more procedures and systems you have in place, the quicker and easier it will be for a Virtual Assistant to be effective in taking routine tasks off your shoulders.  For example:

  • Both you and your VA need to establish the hours in which you will and won’t communicate and agree to your response times to emails, texts, and voicemails. This will ensure you are both on the same page with clear expectations.
  • Establish the preferred method of communication, whether this is via phone, text, email or using a project management app such as Asana or Slack.
  • Set regular daily or weekly deadlines for the completion of routine tasks – and schedule any regular tasks to happen at the same time each week to build consistency.
  • Hold a regular team or individual check-in call at a mutually agreed upon time to answer questions, provide input and check on progress.

Once your Virtual Assistant is onboarded and brought up to speed, exercising trust is essential (as it is in any professional relationship). Open, two-way communication builds trust and will serve you well by keeping your Virtual Assistant up to date and aligned with your goals and expectations. It will also provide the opportunity for them to communicate needs and considerations with you. While you may have initial reservations about delegating important tasks to a VA, it is crucial to trust their abilities and the expertise for which you hired them.

In a nutshell, putting an efficiency boosting online management system and robustly upheld procedures in place, supported by regular open communication, will lead to a seamless working relationship between you and your VA.