5 Common Mistakes When Handling Your Virtual Assistant
One of the most common assumptions people make when they first hear about a virtual personal assistant is that it refers to something like Siri. Nope. Close, but not really. See, Siri is not a real person; an outsourced virtual assistant is. They are real-life people with a job, family, and friends, and they should be handled accordingly.
That being said, here are 5 common mistakes made and should be avoided when handling virtual assistants.
Not getting to know your virtual assistant
Even though you only get to talk to them online, as previously mentioned, they’re people too. They have a life outside of work, and while you shouldn’t ask questions that are too personal, it would be good for your work relationship to engage in a bit of small talk every now and then, so as not to dehumanize him/her or yourself to each other.
Most Common Mistake
Not planning in advance
So you think you need an assistant. Ask yourself why. Assess whether you truly need an extra hand, or if you simply need to better organizational and time-management skills. Otherwise, figure out what sort of tasks you can pass on to an outsource worker should you get one. Always make your needs clear to the potential virtual secretary before hiring anyone. If you yourself are not the least bit organized, neither will your assistant be. Never underestimate the power or preparation, as it will save you a lot of time, money, and headache in the long run.
Treating them like robots, or hired help
Technically, they are (Hired help, not robots. Refer to Siri – VA contrasting in the introduction). But that’s no excuse to treat them like they’re any lesser than you or any of your other co-workers. Treat them as equals even when assigning tasks to them, and remember that they have their own limits too – never overwhelm an assistant, virtual or not, with tasks that are too many for one person to take. Yes you are paying for their services, but you are most likely not their only client. Be considerate enough to know your limits.
At the same time, you hired a virtual assistant for a reason: to save time and maximize your efforts. This is why it’s important to do an intensive interview or resume assessment with possible virtual assistants before hiring someone, to make sure that their skillset matches your needs. Explain, in complete detail, the output you’re expecting, then give them the appropriate amount of space and freedom to do their job.
Trusting a VA with delicate information too quickly
Trust is earned. Even within the company, you wouldn’t immediately disclose important information to the employees whose positions are lower than yours unless it was absolutely necessary. Keep company secrets a secret and handle any task dealing with those yourself. Once you have some assurance of your virtual assistant’s loyalty, then you can slowly start assigning more important tasks to them without revealing too much. It’s better to be safe than sorry!