Emails are predominately the way businesses communicate, this results in us spending more and more time in our inbox. Studies show that Executives and small business owners spend 38% of their day in their email inbox, this is a significantly high portion of our day.
The first step is setting up email so your virtual assistant can have access:
Creating an account in Gmail will immediately provide access, reply on your behalf and archive instantly no matter what device you are using.
You can manage your Gmail account from your smart phone, tablet, desktop and laptop anywhere in the world, on any computer. You can sign in anywhere and access your emails to commence work, which is perfect if you are travelling and need to remotely access your emails when you don’t have your usual devices.
You have a few options on how to share access with your virtual assistant. You can share your username and password or you can keep this private with a password protector service like lastpass.com. Another option is to provide access. Once you have created your Gmail account in account settings select “Grant access to your account” and this will provide access for your virtual assistant to read your email and reply on your behalf.
Once your Virtual Assistant is set up to access your emails, you now need to run through how you like your emails to be managed. We are believers of the one step rule. When your emails are open you must click on one of the options:
Don’t open, read, close then move to the next email. You are simply doubling up on time. Emails should be dealt with and then removed from the inbox, this keeps your emails at manageable size and you can be assured everything that has come in has been dealt with and items in your inbox are yet to be actioned.
You will need to explain the rules to your virtual assistant. Review all the emails that you have received over a period of a few days and make note of how you want the emails actioned. Which emails you want to deal with. Emails you want forwarded on to a colleague to follow up. Emails you want your virtual assistant to deal with.
Look into your discoveries and you and your virtual assistant will both understand what their tasks are.
Have your virtual assistant clear your inbox at the same time daily. This could be before you start the day at 9am. You will then know what you are expected to deal with and the other emails are removed and completed.
Have a signal process that your virtual assistant can highlight what are urgent emails that you need to personally answer. This could be simply ‘starring’ the email in Gmail. You can then respond to these emails at the start of your day, ensuring the urgent matters are taken care of.
Set up a filter for your personal emails. The emails that you regularly receive from friends and family, have them directed into their own folder named “Family & Friends”. This will then bypass your inbox and your virtual assistant does not have to read them and you can view at your leisure.
I can guarantee once these steps are implemented your time spent on emails will be significantly reduced. There are no rules with how best to work with your virtual assistant on this and there will be preferences that you will prefer to undertake. These are some simple steps that are proven to work effectively.