One of the most common questions when working with a virtual executive assistant is “What can I give them to do?”
If you’ve been working on your own for quite a while, it’s often difficult to conceive that yes, you can delegate many tasks. Doing so will enable you to be more efficient and focused on key tasks.
Fortunately, executive assistants arrive highly competent and capable of tackling even some of the more tricky tasks you may have. Where can you start? These are our top three suggestions for tasks to give your virtual executive assistant:
Calendar management falls under “must be done, but you’re not adding any value by doing it.” You’re likely spending a lot of time on managing your calendar that could otherwise be spent on other things.
This should be one of the first tasks you give to a virtual executive assistant because typically, calendar management is one of their specialties. Top executive assistants are very familiar with juggling schedules, coordinating different stakeholders for meetings and ensuring that important appointments don’t get missed. They can usually even help you with things like making sure you’re there for important times outside of work (like that baseball game you promised your kid you’d be there to watch!). A friendly “you need to leave now if you’re to make it on time” is often all you need.
It’s important to delegate calendar management from day one so that your executive assistant can spend time getting to know you, your habits, and your preferences. They will probably need some initial time to shadow you and learn your routines.
Once your virtual executive assistant has learned your routines, they can ensure that your calendar is managed as efficiently as possible. For example, you might need time blocked to deal with emails, meetings and calls grouped together in your schedule and certain types of meetings held at certain times of day. With your executive assistant knowing you and understanding what you need, you’ll be free from any back and forth over scheduling.
Process Design and Management
One of the biggest efficiencies that many businesses could benefit from is having solid processes in place. Processes mean that work gets done consistently and following the same procedure each time.
Among the benefits of having proper process design, you can:
- Have a set of “best practices” within your company that are easily shared.
- More easily delegate work out because there is a set of standards for someone to follow.
- Analyse your business and find any inefficiencies or redundancies that lurk within what you’ve been doing before.
- Implement some KPIs that are meaningful and clearly connect with your goals.
- Find repeated tasks that are ripe for automation. Any time you can automate a task, you improve the chances of the task getting done efficiently, AND you can free up time for people to be doing more meaningful work.
- You can discover any areas of your work where you might be at risk. For example, what if one person is always doing Task X? That means Task X could be a bottleneck for everyone else in the company, and should that person be away, it could escalate the situation.
We would put process design and management as one of the first three tasks to hand off to your executive assistant because it’s potentially a big “bang for buck” job. Consider the impacts of finding new efficiencies – how would it affect your bottom line? How could it improve the general work atmosphere?
A virtual executive assistant is an expert at analyzing processes and procedures, designing processes to be efficient and taking over management of those processes. If you have a new EA coming in, they would usually take some time to examine your current tasks, systems and processes and identify where improvements could be made. This is something they can start from Day One. You’re not going to have a whole new set of processes on that day, but after a few weeks of analysis, your EA will be able to come to you with some key ideas for process design.A virtual EA is your process design and management expert Click To Tweet
If you were to pause to reflect on your inbox, what state would you find it in at any given moment? We’ve reached a point where email inboxes are often out of control. Studies over the last few years have found the average worker has 199 unread emails, and it’s often worse in executive inboxes. (A quick check online finds several similar stories: “Help, my boss has 10,000 unread emails, where do I start?”)
Fortunately, an executive assistant does know where to start. Lofty goals of reaching inbox zero may seem out of reach, but an EA excels at prioritizing and clearing emails.
A great executive assistant will not only clean up your inbox, they’ll create a good process for managing it, one that they’ll usually implement and manage themselves. One of the major problems with crowded inboxes is that you might miss important emails and opportunities. An EA will create a system to ensure you don’t.
Another potential benefit to having your EA take over management of your inbox is that you may feel better enabled to take time off. Let’s be honest, we all need a break from time to time, but many executives or managers feel bad about it. There’s often a fear that important things might get missed and that everything will go off the rails if you’re not there to take care of things.
Your EA is definitely the right person for the job. They’re not going to let an important message slip by and you can be assured that if something needs escalation, they’ll do it!
Your next tasks to delegate…
Those are our top three tasks that we recommend you delegate first to an executive assistant. Why? Because these tend to be areas that are ripe for them to make a significant impact from early on.
Where might you go from these first three tasks? One of the great things about executive assistants is that they’re highly skilled professionals. There can be a multitude of different tasks they can get done, including some based on specialist skill sets they may have developed. The better an EA gets to know you, the better they become at anticipating your needs and knowing how best to help you. To give you some examples, here are some tasks our executive assistants have been known for:
- Reaching out via their networks to secure lucrative tickets or restaurant bookings so that their boss can entertain an important client at the last minute.
- Securing conference speaking roles for their executive. EAs can research appropriate opportunities and take care of the applications to participate.
- Booking all travel and accommodation. This is often a juggling act in itself, ensuring that the executive is booked at a desirable place and has any needs such as meeting space and dietary requirements taken care of.
- Drafting and preparing meeting materials or presentations, including booking space and inviting all attendees.
In short, an executive assistant is a wizard of the workplace. They make your life easier and help you to reach your goals. If you’re in need of an excellent executive assistant, get in touch with us at Worxbee. We work to ensure you’re paired up with an EA who will work well with you.
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