What if you could double, or even triple, your productivity as a leader without stacking more tasks on your to-do list?
This question inspired us to start interviewing successful (and tremendously productive) executives and their remote team members to find out how they do it.
For the past six months, we’ve hosted a show called Making Remote Work where we feature those successful execs and their Boldly team members, sharing how they’ve made their remote partnership a solid win.
I’d have to write a pretty long book to share all of the great advice and tips I’ve learned from them, but if I was to summarize, I’ve found that the most successful remote teams have three things in common:
- Excellent Communication. Communication is the basis for great productivity and working relationships, especially for virtual teams. It’s how you get to know people and learn to work with them.
- Deep Trust. Remote work requires real trust. You have to let go of some control, and trust your team to represent you and your company well.
- Incredible Expertise. Experience and expertise needs to already be in place. Training remote workers isn’t the same as in-person training. Initial onboarding is mostly about learning communication preferences and expectations.
You’ll see these common threads in the following videos, but you’ll also discover some thoughtful tips on productivity, and ways you can make remote work actually work for your team.
How Erika And Tracy Time Block For Maximum Productivity
Erika’s company, which works with nonprofits, saw an increase in client demand during the pandemic. She was feeling overwhelmed, but luckily a client recommended using Boldly to find an executive assistant.
Erika was hesitant, but when there’s growth, there’s pain! Something had to be done—right away. With Boldly, Erika was quickly matched with Tracy, a perfect complement to her work style.
An active inbox and lots of client requests for Zoom meetings were her immediate pain points. Tracy could see that Erika was in danger of being in back-to-back zoom meetings all day, and never finding time to do her actual work. This led Tracy to focus on protecting Erika’s time, and getting a strong hold on her calendar.
Remote work can cause you to lose track of time. An unlimited number of clients can message you throughout the day, demanding your attention and keeping you from being productive.
Tracy set up a system of time blocking, where parts of the work day were set aside for Erika to do her work. Clients couldn’t request Zoom meetings through the scheduling system because those time blocks were marked as busy.
In the background, however, Tracy and Erika were in constant communication and messaging through text and other tools.
Tracy also took over Erika’s inbox, which got thousands of emails a week. Erika had more time to get work done, while still being able to touch base with clients. The only difference was structuring her time.
Key Takeaway: When it comes to remote work, time can easily get away from you. Use time blocking to structure your work day for both client and team meetings, setting aside time to get the work done that comes from those meetings.
How Thana And Jenny Mastered Onboarding To Get To Work Immediately
Thana runs a growing executive coaching business, with a focus on C-Suite clients. She realized early on that trying to manage her ever-complicated schedule was taking up too much time that could be spent with clients.
She turned to Boldly, and for the last three years, Jenny has been irreplaceable as her executive assistant.
Thana’s biggest challenge has been what she calls “calendar gymnastics.” In the coaching business, appointments are often fluid as busy clients own schedules change and must be adapted to. She also has to keep track of where she’s at with each client, knowing when a coaching series is ending.
Jenny started out by getting an understanding of what Thana expected of her schedule. Thana filled her in on the days and times she did (and did not) want to schedule client appointments.
Jenny also saw a need to keep a real-time document that tracked where Thana was in her coaching series with each client, so she could see everything she needed to quickly and properly structure her sessions. Thana was able to completely focus on coaching her clients.
Thana also discovered that the new remote work culture was a great fit with her coaching business. She was able to save time doing coaching sessions remotely, while trusting the details of scheduling and client management to Jenny, without trying to micromanage.
Key Takeaway: While your remote team might have amazing expertise, personalized onboarding still has to happen. Explain what you expect of them, never assuming they know how you want something done. Then, trust them to do their work without micromanaging.
Also, embrace the benefits of remote work. Use real-time communication and management tools, whether it’s a shared document or a project management system. Unlike in-person work, you have the ability to always be available for input with a remote team.
How Matt And Tasha Have Grown With Flexible, Subscription Staffing
Matt’s coaching and training company was poised for massive growth. Unfortunately, at the exact same time, his assistant left for a new job. Wary, but pressed for time and unable to devote months to a hiring process, he turned to Boldly.
He put trust in Boldly’s vetting and matching process, and was rewarded with a great working relationship with Tasha. One of the first things he did when starting out with his new virtual assistant was provide Tasha information on his work style and expectations.
Tasha, as it turns out, had so much expertise that she was quickly handling much more than just basic administration work.
Experience in HR and marketing meant there were times that she was able to help Matt see what his company needed before he could put words to it.
They learned to communicate not just verbally, but in a way that meant Tasha knew what Matt would need or expect before he asked. Whether Matt specifically defined what he wanted, or only provided a general idea, she made it work.
Their working relationship perfectly hits the three key traits of successful remote work I mentioned at the start. That high level of communication builds trust, the kind of trust that meant Matt didn’t have to worry about Tasha managing his emails or writing the employee handbook.
Key Takeaway: Like Thana, Matt found that remote work enhanced his coaching business. Subscription staffing removed a lot of headache, both in hiring and in financial flexibility.
To really make remote work click, though, you need to be purposeful about staying connected with the team, whether Zoom meetings to touch base as a group, or just to have a pure social connection.
Communication has to be open; if you can’t talk to someone, it isn’t a good working relationship.
Make Remote Work Like Magic With Boldly
Remote work can be embraced as something positive.
When everything clicks, and you have the right mix of communication, trust, and expertise, there’s no need to micromanage or worry.
Remote work becomes incredibly freeing, and provides an amazing work-life balance even as you grow your company.
Are you ready to take the steps that Erika, Thana, and Matt took?
Getting started with a top-notch executive assistant is as simple as clicking a link, and you can find the perfect subscription staff member that fits your budget and personality today.