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Your email is one aspect in business that requires a virtual assistant. Actually, it has been found that this is one of the most taxing things to deal with and most business owners struggle with managing their email and setting aside time to properly organize everything on a daily basis.
A study released by McKinsey & Co. said that high-tier executives waste an average of 38% of their usual workday just looking over their emails, which is equal to around 4-6 hours. Imagine realizing at the end of those six hours that you still have so many things left to do and you could’ve used at least four hours of that time doing other important things. Stressful and frustrating, right?
So what better reason to get a virtual assistant rather than for email management? Instead of worrying about how you are going to deal with your emails, especially if your business has started to boom, try hiring a VA and start delegating tasks for email supervision so you can focus on other equally urgent stuff in the company.
Bear in mind though, this particular task might be quite the challenge for some business owners. Not because the task itself is extremely difficult, but because they most likely will be hesitant to let go and lose full control of managing something so confidential and sensitive. No matter how stressful it is for them, you would be surprised with how stubborn some entrepreneurs could be.
In this article, we are going to show you some tips on how to work with your VA in order to manage your emails in an efficient and effective manner.
Set up your email
If you want to be more productive in your business, you have to set up which email platform to use before you can actually start delegating to your VA. In this case, Gmail is probably going to be your best bet.
It gives you access to your email no matter where you are and which device you’re using. It will simply sync all items in your inbox so you can read and reply to all your emails instantly, as long as you have the app on your device. Because of this feature, you certainly can save your time and still keep your freedom even when you’re busy managing your emails.
Allow your VA to have access to your email
Now we have gone into probably the most challenging first step in any VA delegation. Keep in mind we are doing this for the simple reason for you to be able to breathe more easily and achieve freedom in email management.
Achieving email stress-free life means granting your Virtual Assistant access to your email.
It’s going to be a problem if you just want to forward emails to your VA. You have to be able to communicate with your VA to update the status of each task, no matter how small, which will only lead to more emails and a clogged inbox. Instead of decreasing your stress, you’re only amplifying it. Therefore, you really have no choice other than to trust your VA enough by giving them access to your email account.
No need to worry though, we perfectly understand the horror of the very thought of someone else reading extremely sensitive content so as a solution, you can always keep a private email address you can give to certain people. But as a rule, don’t let too many people in on this account.
Once you’ve made your decision and accepted that this is the only way for you to be able to entrust the entire email management to your VA, you can choose from two options. You can give them your username and password directly or choose settings option that says “Grant access to your account.” These two options are basically the same thing; it lets your VA read your emails and reply to them directly, as you.
Have a set of rules
Make sure that once you’ve given them access to your email, you don’t just leave them to figure out how to start and go about organizing your emails. Instead, you have to first orient them and give them a walk-through as to how what your style is when it comes to emails, so you can be aligned with each other and avoid confusion. You also have to have a set of rules you can give to your VA and have them strictly follow them.
One such example is letting your VA do only one action for every email. These can be to reply, delete, archive or flag. With this rule, your VA can save so much more time and work on your emails in a quick yet efficient manner. You also don’t have to worry about which action was used as your VA can easily remember and also take responsibility for her actions.
That last option, which is to flag an email, can be used if you agonize over the thought of letting another person respond to an especially important email. This can be easily managed by instructing your VA to notify you by flagging a letter if it contains complicated information or inquiry only you can answer.
Before you start writing down email rules your VA can follow, make time to sit down and look at your inbox and see what kind of emails you usually get in a weekly basis. By doing this, you can decide on what type of emails you want to deal with and which ones your VA can handle. As an example, your VA might be able to handle simple and general inquiries, reply to some emails with a short pre-written message, delete spam emails and other unimportant ones already handled, forward emails to people in other departments who are responsible for said type of email, and flag or star emails requiring your attention.
Seems fairly easy, right? By doing this, you can start concentrating on the important inquiries without having to waste so much time looking at other emails.
Now that we’ve talked about the rules, you also have to make sure your VA knows how to organize emails based on your style so you won’t be confused by your inbox when you check in on it. In the end, you’re still the boss in how you want your email to look and you can certainly work around with this with your VA. However, if you already have a hard time doing this task, trust your VA that they have the ability to follow simple filing rules, which you may find sits well with you and can leave you satisfied.
Other email cleansing tips
We’ve covered starring or flagging an email for you to reply, but there are still a lot of features you can utilize to make your inbox clutter-free. You can start assigning labels on emails based on a category, such as blue labels for invitations or yellow labels for product inquiries. In this way, you can be sure you can find things more easily for future reference.
Another way for you to de-clutter your inbox is simply to learn to press delete. Trust your VA and let them know they have the ability to decide for themselves whether an email is simply not worth the time. Of course, you have to make sure this decision-making is based on your company’s guidelines and overall business plans.
In conclusion, hiring a VA to manage your email is certainly an effective way to offload work. By learning to dive into this task, you and more entrepreneurs will come to learn how it can truly help you be more productive and efficient with the time you have. Another advantage is it helps you to be more in touch with your customers as they can receive faster replies from you which also results to a better image for your company.
Despite the tips listed above however, remember there is no single way to do email management perfectly. Everyone is different and you have to trust your VA to help you try different tactics that would eventually work for you.