The First Week with a Distant Assistant

The First Week with a Virtual Assistant

How do you get started after hiring? What are the next steps to take? In this post, we discuss some suggestions on what you can do during your first week with a distant assistant (DA).

Note that every business has a unique set of needs. These suggestions are not intended to fit everybody’s concern. Review your systems and processes to see how they apply.

1. Establish timelines

Training your distant assistant is a crucial step after the hiring process. Determine what areas to train your DA and how long the training will run. Establish a timeline of activities that you can follow.

Below is an example timeline:

  • Day 1 – Orientation and introduction to workflows
  • Day 2 – Initial assignment and feedback
  • Day 3 – Second assignment and feedback
  • Day 4 – Performance evaluation and weekly huddle
  • Day 5 – Delegation of responsibilities

Keep in mind that training usually takes sixty (60) days in a typical office setting. Give your distant assistant the same preference by staying updated on her performance and incrementally delegating the responsibilities.

Allocate the first day solely on orienting her about your business. Introduce her to your workflows and ask her to review them for the day. This will help sort her priorities as you work alongside each other.

Set the succeeding days for mock assignments and feedback. It will gauge the distant assistant’s capacity and attitude towards work. Your feedback on those assignments will inform her of areas that need improvement.

Spare some time to catch up with your distant assistant. Ask her about how she has been adjusting so far and about any concerns she has. Encourage transparency in communication and service.

Related Episode: How Communication Affects One’s Culture

2. Discuss what to expect

Expectations set the groundwork for successful collaboration. You have to give your distant assistant a clear directive. Be particular about what needs to be done with regards to the following:

  •  Job role and responsibilities
  • System, processes, and workflows
  • Software and tools to use

Encourage your DA to ask questions when something is unclear. A buy-in from her and other members of the team is rewarding. It simplifies work, increases productivity, and sets the bar for quality.

Also, share with them your vision and define the goals yourself. Take full responsibility in your leadership by showing them the ropes. Give them time to adjust and to understand the ins and outs of your business.

Related Episode: How Your Leadership Style Impacts and Influences Others

3. Set up initial assignments

The first week with a distant assistant is an opportunity to know your new hire better. It gives you a glimpse of what to expect in the next couple of days. It is also an opportunity to set the right expectations about her role in your business.  

Gauge your distant assistant’s readiness by giving mock assignments. Make the assignments as close as possible to her actual work. The output should reflect the quality of work and skills required.

Be very clear about what you want to measure. Determine how many assignments to give her during the first week. Keep in mind that you need to set aside time to provide her feedback.

Good distant assistants usually desire constructive feedback from their clients. They value the services that they provide and desire to follow through their role. The first week weighs heavier in importance than the succeeding ones.

4. Set up regular meetings

A new distant assistant on board is like having a new member of your team. They fill in either a part-time or full-time position in your business. Make them feel welcomed as you would any other member.

Set up regular meetings for them to attend. These meetings can be as short as 10 or 15-30 minutes, just enough to stay updated with one another. You can talk about your work wins, personal wins, challenges, things you are grateful for, and almost anything under the sun.

Meetings set the mood in a remote workplace environment. They highlight the kind of culture that your team upholds. You can laugh together, cry together, and get to know one another better.

Have at least one of these meetings during the first week with a distant assistant. It presents an opportune moment to officially introduce her to others.

Notify your team in advance about the new hire. Let them know what to expect and discuss how to work around any changes in your business.

Related Post: 5 Ways to Use Zoom Video Conference Software

5. Evaluate regularly

Regular evaluations, especially during the first week with a distant assistant, keep the DA’s performance in check. Inspect what you expect, as people say. Review your distant assistant’s outputs.

What skills did she apply in her mock assignments? How is she getting along with the team? Is she able to communicate effectively?   

Evaluations guide you to the next step with your DA. They give you a better understanding of her current role in your business. They also inform you and your DA about the necessary improvements.

What challenges came up during the week? How did your distant assistant deal with it? How is your team dealing with the transition?

Call to mind also any wins you had while working with her. How are you in a better position now? Evaluate how expectations were met and map out plans to move forward with your DA.

Final Thoughts

The first week with a distant assistant gives you opportunities to set the important, first impressions with your DA. It is a period that introduces her to your team, ideals, and setup. It also gives you the time to prepare her for her actual role in your business.

The way you train her makes a ton of difference. It gives her the boost she needs to be familiar with her newly acquired position. Her skills can still be honed to better fit your specific needs.

Be ready for challenges, and make sure to have contingencies in place for critical situations. By the end of the first week, your distant assistant should have achieved the level of familiarity expected of her in her given position. The only condition is that you train her accordingly.

What questions do you have about working with a distant assistant? Think you are ready to hire? Get started with a free consultation.

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Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.


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