Productivity has several facets: framework, method, strategy, mindset… it’s made of many layers and you can apply it to any area you want to improve.
And of course, one of the foundations of productivity in a business is based on building a team and helping them to be efficient.
If your team isn’t aware of your productivity processes and goals, they won’t be able to help you improve your results.
Things get even trickier when part of your team works remotely and/or part-time — as most virtual assistants do.
So how do you improve your VA’s productivity? How do you get them on the same page as you without spending endless hours training them?
If these are the questions you’re asking yourself, you are in luck. I’ve had many team members working remotely — and many VAs — throughout the years.
The more I worked with them, the more I developed and refined my onboarding process to bring them up to the productivity levels I expect in my business.
You might have hired a VA part-time to take care of one or more specific tasks.
They may be simple tasks and you felt like you could delegate them easily so you make a quick hire and send over that one simple task.
But from my experience, VAs end up being given more and more tasks and being trusted with more responsibilities.
If you think long-term, you will soon realize that proper and up-front training is always the best move, even if you are hiring your VA for just a few hours a week.
They won’t only learn their specific task, but also your organization’s preferences in terms of communication and processes, which they can then apply to all new parts of their job.
This is especially the case for quality employees who have been carefully selected to become a great asset to your team. And if you want to know how to always employ the right fit, make sure to check out my pre-hire checklist.
Get on the Same Page
When I say that you should be on the same page, I mean it.
The productivity training can be as short and direct as a one-pager. Use your favorite tool — Google Docs, an app for to-do-list. etc. — but make sure that they can find all the essentials of their onboarding in one place.
You can cover the processes they will need to learn as well as the tools they will use. On one hand, this will make them speedier and more productive (professionally and, in some cases, even in their private life) on the other, they will feel valued and invested in.
Wouldn’t you like this and value it if you were on the other side?
The first days working with a VA are the best to dedicate some time being upfront about communication and questions.
Some you should even ask yourself before turning to them.
For example, what is your favorite communication tool? This is something you may want to establish before starting to work with other people.
If you prefer Slack to emails, if you’d rather deal with all non-urgent matters after 4 pm, you should tell them straight away. Knowing what channels you use and how will make work smoother for both of you.
Don’t forget to discuss method.
I’ll give you my case as an example.
I am always open to questions from my team and I understand that, especially at the beginning, there may be many.
However, I always ask them to double check if their question is not covered by my training material — and even Google — before they get in touch with me. It’s a method that not only minimizes distractions but also solves issues faster.
Thinking about these points will only take you 10-15 minutes. You know your business better than anyone, what works for it and what doesn’t.
Then, putting in the additional 30 minutes to make a quick one page on boarding document covering the areas I’ve covered will quickly bring a new part time hire up to speed and save miscommunication, misunderstanding, and other issues from cropping up.