For those of you whose been working with a virtual assistant for a time already, you probably understand this happens from time to time. Whether the VA themselves are sick, or a close family member is, an internet or power outage or a laptop breakdown. While these circumstances are understandable, this may lead you to a problem of delaying a project.

Today, I have outlined a few steps on what to do when your virtual assistant is missing in action:

Check In:

Whether its a research not turned in or coding your latest newsletter campaign on Mailchimp, it’s best that you always check whether your projects are done on time or consistently. The moment you noticed your VA is missing in action, email or reach out to them right away. Check in with them to see if everything is going okay from their end. Remember, be kind on your email. You never know what situation they are into and they might be fighting a serious battle in their lives.

You may use this template:
Hi (insert VA’s name here),
I noticed that the project (insert task or project name here) hasn’t been done which is very unlikely of you and how you work. I would like to check in with you to see if everything is okay with you. I understand that you may be busy at the moment but I really do hope that you are doing well and hope its nothing serious.

If you are kind and you acknowledge that you understand them, your VA will feel comfortable in telling you the truth about the project or his / her current situation. Refrain from being harsh or demanding as this may even drive him or her not to respond out of fear. Trust me, it wont be effective.

If you’re VA is sick or is going through some tough time in his or her personal life, respond with compassion and ask for his or her action plans while she is sick. There are VA’s who work with team mates or other VA colleagues that they can recommend to fill in their place while he or she is out recovering. Ask for a definite timeline as when he or she will be back to work so you can adjust your project timelines as well.

It is also important that you check your own to-do list and timetable to see if you can accommodate the tasks or projects affected. If not, try to look for a substitute VA. Remember to ask your VA for recommendations.

Chase

If the VA doesn’t respond to you within 48 hours of your email, then its time to start the chase.
Send one final email:

Hi (insert VA’s name here),
I hope you are well. I have been waiting for your reply on my email last (insert date) but I haven’t gotten any response. This is my final reminder just in case my email is ending up in your spam folder for whatever reason. I am placing our project on hold for the moment and pulled in help from another VA until I hear back from you.
I do hope you understand and I still look forward to hear from you.

Delegate or Take Action

After this, delegate the project to another VA or take time to do the projects yourself. Understand that you may or may not hear back from your VA after this, however, be open to the reasons as to why he or she has gone astray.
Ask yourself again whether this situation has impacted your working relationship with him or her. Weigh your options as well as the pro’s and cons of working together. If being absent has become a habit, then maybe its time to let go. But if it rarely happens and your VA has a valid reason, then maybe its worth giving another try.
Remember, your virtual assistant don’t operate 24/7. They have their own lives too and just like you, their lives are also filled with challenges and trials that at times throw them off their journey.

Remember: always be kind.

Do you have any similar experience working with a virtual assistant? How did you handle it? I’d like to hear your experience so make sure to post your comments below!

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