A virtual executive assistant should hit the ground running on Day 1. With a training schedule that includes years of managing executives, detailed briefings on your working preferences and a face-to-face meeting with you, Fyxers come out of the blocks at full speed. Clients often ask what they can do to sustain this pace: encouragement from the sidelines.
It sounds obvious, but that’s because it is: regular catch-ups are a crucial forum in the virtual assistance world. This could be a Monday morning briefing where you discuss tasks for the week ahead or a fortnightly accounts call to consider income and outgoings. We also encourage clients to have regular brainstorming sessions with their Fyxer. A weekly video call, for instance, provides a chance to soundboard business ideas, whilst helping your Fyxer to better understand your vision for the company.
Catch-ups can be of varying length and through various mediums. For the latter, we recommend using visual communication where possible. Video calls on Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp or via video conferencing facilitate greater understanding for no extra effort. For the former, formulate three main bullet points you want to tick off during the call to ensure the catch-up is clear and concise. For a Monday morning catch-up, for example, consider asking your Fyxer about recently completed, on-going or future tasks and whether they require anything from you to complete them more efficiently.
Executives shouldn’t be afraid of over-communication, especially in the first few weeks of having an assistant. Whilst micro-managing is to be avoided, providing too much information is always better than providing too little. The same can be said for asking questions. For example, be clear and consistent when setting instructions for a task. If you are unsure whether it needs explaining, remember there is no harm in providing the explanation.
Your Fyxer will look to mirror your working style so that they think and act as if they were an extension of you. Providing feedback – with praise for a job well-done as important as tips on your working preferences – is crucial to developing this symbiotic relationship.
Opening a space for constructive feedback will also help your development. Your Fyxer has a wealth of experience managing executives and will be able to give you advice on honing an efficient working style. This could relate to communication channels, such as eradicating overly-wordy emails, to practical solutions, such as streamlining your Google accounts.
From the outset, you will establish basic operating procedures that fit with your needs and schedules, including the favoured means of communication, a time table of catch-ups and a shared management system. These systems, such as Trello or Asana, play a crucial role in providing direction and ensuring both parties are aware of the status of key tasks. As a result, executives should aim to set aside five minutes in both the morning and afternoon to update the shared checklist.
Your Fyxer will gradually start to assume more responsibilities than you originally expected. As you learn the extent of their abilities, you will feel increasingly comfortable handing over more advanced tasks, such as putting together presentations and devising promotional campaigns. These tasks will inevitably require bespoke training and executives should ensure they not only provide detailed instructions, but also convey the decisions, actions and thought patterns behind why this project is needed. Relaying the bigger picture to your Fyxer and showing how their work will have an impact, provides tangible value to a high-level task.