Every minute you spend on work tasks that can be easily delegated is a minute you could be using to grow your business or spend quality time with your loved ones. Handing over routine backend tasks to a Virtual Assistant can be a game-changer for business growth and work-life balance. But to set yourself up for success when working with your VA it is essential to build a strong work foundation.

Here are 5 tips for working well with your Virtual Assistant from the get-go:

1. Establish communication channels

Effective communication with your Virtual Assistant is crucial for the success of your professional relationship. First off, everyone has a way they prefer to communicate, whether this is via phone, text or email. Establish your preferred methods of communication right away. On an ongoing basis, regular communication and touching base builds trust by demonstrating that you value your Virtual Assistant’s work and are committed to working in collaboration towards success and a common goal. Regular communication also allows for immediate recognition for a job well done. Feeling valued and appreciated will boost your Virtual Assistant’s motivation and engagement.

Here are 3 more benefits of establishing consistent communication:

  • Regular communication enables you to provide feedback on completed tasks.
  • When issues or challenges arise, open communication allows for quick problem-solving.
  • As your needs change, clear communication helps your Virtual Assistant to adapt.

2. Delegate effectively

Working well with a Virtual Assistant requires you to effectively delegate tasks. To do this requires that you have a strong understanding of your Virtual Assistant’s skill sets. Use your first onboarding calls with your VA as a time of exploration, getting to know more about them and their strengths.

Always clearly articulate your expectations and goals. Providing detailed instructions and timelines, as well as any specific requirements will reduce the chance of misunderstandings or mistakes. Providing context will help your Virtual Assistant understand both what a task entails and how the task is important to the success of the business. Delegation also requires you to trust that your VA will understand the jobs requirements and work to the best of their ability. There is no point in delegating a job to your VA and then doing it yourself.

3. Set realistic deadlines

Setting a deadline that is achievable for you may not be realistic when working with a Virtual Assistant who is new to your business. Providing your VA with a reasonable timeframe ensures they can produce high-quality work while getting up to speed with the company, their job and your priorities. Prioritising tasks and establishing clear deadlines for each one will help your VA to use their time optimally. VAs who are quick on the uptake will soon master what is required and pick up their pace.

4. Embrace technology that supports easy collaboration

Collaboration can have far-reaching benefits for your business and team members. When you and your VA (or team) effectively communicate and collaborate you will be more productive because sharing ideas, resources, and expertise actually helps in completing tasks more efficiently. Use a suitable digital platform – such as Google Drive, Slack, Trello or Monday.com – to share records and facilitate seamless collaboration with your VA. Ensure your Virtual Assistant is trained on the tools you will be using for efficient project management and task execution.

5. Streamline workflow

By employing the right digital tools, setting clear communication guidelines, defining the scope of work, establishing deadlines, monitoring progress and providing feedback, you will have gone a long way to building an effective workflow between you and your Virtual Assistant. One of the great benefits of taking on a VA is that they are typically skilled in using digital technology. It is very likely that they will help to bring you up to date in automating and streamlining task management, administration, CRM and other aspects of your business. This will have a knock-on effect of boosting productivity and being enabled to offer exceptional support to clients.

A trusted Virtual Assistant can become one of the most valuable assets in your business. Keeping track of their progress is essential, but as a busy business owner you should not have to focus too much on when your Virtual Assistant is working but rather on their deliverables. Once your VA has proved themselves, make yourself available for any questions they may have and trust them to complete their tasks subject to routinely touching base and regular check-ins.