Advice From a Virtual Assistant on Working Remotely

These are certainly testing times!

Coronavirus or Covid-19 has seen us move to measures not seen in modern times. I have worked in the Travel Industry on and off since 1991 and worked through many crisis situations including Foot and Mouth, Company Failures and 9/11. But nothing prepared me for this current situation.

That said, working as a Corporate PA for the last 12 years has taught me one thing and that is how to be organised and adapt to anything Business throws at me!

One thing I am also now extremely grateful for is that in my 9 years at Marks and Spencer I worked very closely with our Business Continuity Team and assisted them with training and implementing new policies. I was always the voice of reason and questioned them as to why! That experience has helped me greatly in staying calm and moving forward in the past week or so.

I want to use my experience as a Corporate PA and now Virtual Assistant to help Small Business Owners plan, organise and manage themselves better over the next few weeks. So, here are some tips to help you get more organised and some tools I use to help me stay on track in my Business.


Diary Management

Ensure you stay on top of your diary and meetings by following these top tips:

  1. Always send or request a calendar invite to confirm a meeting.
  2. If the meeting is taking place by video conference – whether that be Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts or whatever your Business uses – ensure the invitation has all the joining details needed.
  3. Always allow enough time for the meeting but don’t allow more time than needed.
  4. Always check and be clear on who is attending the meeting and be clear on why each person is attending.
  5. Always set an Agenda for the meeting so everyone is clear on the reason for the meeting – this also helps to ensure the correct people are in the room.
  6. Colour code your diary to make it easier and clearer to read and be consistent – set the tabs to ensure you always use the same colour coding.


Inbox Management

Keep track of the Emails most important to your Business and require action by following these top tips:

  1. Always remove or file any Emails that you no longer need or have been dealt with.
  2. Unsubscribe from any newsletters that you no longer read or find of value.
  3. Create folders to file Emails that need attention; by client, status and/or month.
  4. Create categories or tags to help you manage Emails easier.
  5. Set up rules to automatically move into the folders you have created.
  6. Set specific times to check and action your Emails throughout the day.
  7. Save important Emails into your cloud storage.
  8. Ensure you permanently delete old Emails after set times in line with your Privacy Policy and stay GDPR compliant.


Essential Tools for Working Remotely

If you are used to working in an office with all your colleagues around you, it can be a mindset shift to suddenly work remotely and have to rely on other methods of contact. These are my favourite tools for collaborative working:

  1. Microsoft Office 365
    • This is a tool that offers a solution for everything a Business could need including;
      • Email
      • Calendar
      • Contacts
      • Skype for Business – online meetings
      • Teams – online chat, meetings and file storage
      • To Do – online to do list
      • One Drive – collaborative file storage and sharing
      • Planner – create and share project plans
      • Dynamics – a contact records system
      • One Note – online note pad that can save notes straight from your meeting
  1. Good quality Wi-Fi connectivity – I use BT as I can also then log in at other locations
  2. Zoom – Online Meetings and webinars
  3. Password Manager – holds not just passwords but credit card and secure notes and can be used to share important and confidential information


Something else that is key when working from home is a dedicated working space – not always easy and this may be a corner of the bedroom, living or dining room. My home office is a converted water tank cupboard – yes really! And it measures no more than 3ft square. It’s all about how you use the space. Magazine Files, Folders. Keep things together so you don’t lose things.

But this said it is imperative that you do not forget about GDPR compliance – ensure you don’t leave papers with personal data lying around. Make sure you can lock papers away, shred what you no longer need.

Also take care to look after you own health and wellbeing.

  • Take regular breaks and stretch your legs.
  • Get some fresh air if possible.
  • Take the dog for a walk – if you have one!
  • Eat as healthy as you can.
  • Stay hydrated.


If you think you need help to stay in control or get yourself organised, do get in touch. I offer ad-hoc packages with no longer term commitment.

Anyone that gets in touch for support with their Admin before the end of Lockdown I have two special packages on offer – from just £49.00.


Author Bio

Jules TaylorJules Taylor set up Taylor Made PA in 2018. Starting her professional career working as a Travel Agent. Over 10 years, she worked her way up from a Junior Consultant to Branch Manager before moving into Sales & Marketing roles, firstly in Travel then in Professional Sports. After being made redundant in 2009, she used exceptional organisational and administrative skills to start working as a Personal Assistant. But after 12 years of commuting and a lack of personal development opportunities for Personal Assistants in the corporate world, she started her VA Business, finally giving up her Corporate PA role in April 2019 to run the Business full time. Jules also offers an ABTA Bonded Travel Booking Service. Bookings are ATOL Protected and 100% financially secure. A career highlight was being given the opportunity to be a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics, working in Event Services at Greenwich Park.

Visit Jules’ Website and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.