Getting your VA to work autonomously isn’t as hard as it seems. The ultimate goal for every employer is to strike a balance between having a VA work with minimal management whilst still completing tasks and remaining accountable.
It’s clear that there’s little value (nor time saved!) in having a VA work for you if you’re the one constantly chasing them up.
Watch this video as our Outsourcing Specialist, Linh Podetti, shares her top 5 tips to get you on the path to setting your VA up for autonomous working.
Tip 1: Set clear tasks and priorities
Make your instructions for tasks and clear as possible – this will minimise your VA’s confusion, and save you the hassle of subsequently chasing them up after realising that they’re struggling through an unclear assignment. It doesn’t need to be spoon fed instructions. But your VA does need to know:
– What needs to be done
– The general purpose
– What you expect from them, and of course,
– When should the work be done by
Also, make sure to be clear about which work should be prioritised. Despite what it seems, this won’t always be clear from the deadline you’ve stated, so take the extra minute to let your VA know what needs to be done first and what can wait.
Tip 2: Set Standards
If you don’t want to be chasing your VA, let them know your expectations from day 1. Tell them that you’re hiring them with the expectation that they will eventually work independently. That you want them to be proactive about informing you on task progress. That you will need them to update you daily on how things are going and what they’re planning to do the next day.
Your VA is very capable, but you can’t expect them to read your mind. Let them know your general expectations and what you expect in terms of communication and they will follow.
Tip 3: Progress Updates
As part of the standards you set, state a regular system of how you’d like to be updated. This might be through regularly scheduled Skype chats during times of the day (maybe once every two hours), or after completing certain tasks, whichever suits you best.
This way you won’t be the one going to the VA for updates, they’ll be coming to you.
Tip 4: End of Day Reports
At Outsourcing Angel, we usually give our VAs a template to use to update either us or the client that they’re working with specifically. It’s easy for business owners to forget which tasks that they had assigned during the day, so this snapshot of their working day is incredibly useful.
Our basic template includes: which tasks they worked on that day and the time it took, their planned work for the following day, any challenges they faced, and any comments or suggestions they might have.
You’ll be able to check which tasks still need to be completed, spot any tasks taking too long, and address challenges before they become any worse. The short time you commit to working through these reports at the end of the day will guarantee a smooth, hands-off session the next day and smooth operations in the long run.
Tip 5: Empower Them
Just like how you’ll be clear about the standards you will hold them to, let your VA know that you’ll be empowering them with ability to work autonomously, to make decisions, and to be the one communicating with you. Unless you are clear about the power you’re handing to them, it will only be natural for them to wait on your instructions about updates, priorities, and deadlines.
So, if you want to set your VA up for autonomy, empower them.
Don’t forget that this whole system won’t be smooth on the first try, so take these top tips on board and work through them gradually. If you follow these steps, you’ll have your VA working effectively and autonomously before you know it.