How to make your relationship with your Online PA a Personal Relationship

Establishing a personal relationship with a PA you will actually never see in the flesh may seem a bit peculiar. This post will give you some guidance as to how how it is possible to feel like your Online PA is part of your team, even if you never do have the opportunity to shake hands.

Hiring a Online PA is an investment of your time and your money on behalf of your business. It’s important to spend time on training and developing their knowledge base so that they provide you a return on your investment. If your PA is committed and excited about your work, and you develop a strong relationship with them, then you have the opportunity to make tremendous progress toward your business goals.

How do you foster this commitment and relationship growth? Here are some tips:

Basic Congeniality

Take a moment to get to know your online PA. Besides focusing on your needs, your PA has another life that may involve a family, hobbies or interests. Why not ask them a few questions?

A personal relationship with your PA is built in the same way you build personal relationships with colleagues in a traditional office environment. While you may not be leaning over a water cooler or pouring a cup of coffee, the fact remains that to get to know colleagues on a deeper level, we must ask about non-work topics.

A survey by Robert Half (http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2013-11-20-Survey-Reveals-Employees-Most-Thankful-for-Friends-at-Work) showed that aside from salary, employees are most thankful for friendly co-workers. Even though you aren’t in the same room, being friendly on the phone and on the computer will help grow your relationship and increase your like-ability. This is especially important when you don’t spend time in an office together daily. 

Keep the communication channels open and regular

Stay tuned in to how your online PA is feeling about the work they are doing. Check in with them regularly by setting regular weekly meetings. Skype video or FaceTime make all the difference. These face to face meetings may feel a bit awkward at first, but they make a huge difference and will help the relationship grow.

Help them understand what your company is all about

While all Avirtual’s online PA’s research your company in their own time before they start work with you, it is a wise idea to allocate some of your AVirtual hours to a competitor research project. While competitor analyses are always useful to an organisation, it will also provide insight for your assistant in terms of the industry and what you’re up against.

Make them part of the team

Add your Online PA to your inter-company networks, Facebook, Slack Groups, etc. Let your PA feel part of the action. Similarly, when they have done something well, share this success with the rest of your team to add to their sense of achievement.

Invite your Online PA to join in remotely when you have all staff meetings or off-sites. Help them get to know more about your company and your team. Scribing the event is a sure way to increase their knowledge.

Ask for feedback. Make it clear that you appreciate their opinion. By allowing your PA to understand that their ideas and recommendations will always be considered, you empower them to seek out new opportunities on behalf of you and your business.

Be patient

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders tend to work at lightning speed. Managing and delegating to an assistant, particularly one who isn’t physically in your space, requires a certain degree of explanation and an openness for questions.

Rather than dropping a line about what needs to be done, it is important to include some additional information. What is it that you need exactly?  Why is this task important to you? Ask for questions, and make sure they are aware that you are expecting more questions along the way. Keep the lines of communication open so that they are not wary of contacting you while they get to grips with your needs.

Finally…

Is it possible to make your relationship a personal one? It is possible. But like all relationships, you will only get out of it what you put into it. However, it’s important to make this relationship a strong one because providing your Online PA with a positive work environment will have a tremendous affect on productivity for both of you, as well as making work a more pleasant experience for everyone.

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