Taking Time Off As A Virtual Assistant: Pt. 3
In June, the Association of Virtual Assistants is devoting the blog series to taking time off as a virtual assistant.
This week we’ll be sharing how to ensure your clients are taken care of while you’re out of the office.
Let your clients know that you will be unavailable as far in advance as you can. This follows the rule of holiday time off. If you take the same vacation time every year, put it in your contract from the beginning. Of course, not all your time off has to be planned out like the holidays but a good rule of thumb is 30 days in advance for a week or more that you’ll be out of the office and two weeks for one to two days out of the office.
Planning well in advance gives the client time to plan as well. However, you shouldn’t rely on the client to remember. Set regular check-ins regarding projects if needed and nudge clients to meet deadlines before you leave the office.
Lastly, if you are not going to keep your regular business hours or not be as responsive the business day prior to taking time off, communicate this as well. It can’t be assumed by the client that the “quick” task or assignment that was sent over to you prior to the client thinking you were still working will be met by an out of office email, which could cause quite a stir over nothing.
Work ahead of schedule. Don’t simply work on schedule, work ahead of schedule and involve your clients in the process so that they don’t bottleneck you with work just days before you take off. Adding countdown days to their calendar and projects is a great way to remind the client not to procrastinate in getting the work back to you in a timely manner.
Provide your clients with quick tutorials and cheat sheets. No matter how much preparation you provide or how organized you keep files, it’s almost inevitable that clients won’t be able to find what they are looking for or do the thing that you make look so easy. Anticipating your client’s needs is what it’s all about. You might not have time to cover everything you do. However, looking at the client’s calendar and knowing what you normally do that week (or two) if you were working gives you some ideas of what would be most valuable. Even better if you can walk the client through these steps and they can be sure to have their questions answered.
Make your out office email count. Don’t merely let people know you’re out of the office, give them the resources they most often ask for in your absence, including how to book time with you. This is also a great time to mention if someone else can be reached in your absence, not to mention when you will be returning all emails – not simply when you’ll be returning to the office.
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