Tanya Kuhrt, Virtual PA

By Tanya Kuhrt

One of the things I get asked about most as a Virtual PA is trust and confidentiality.

My job involves spending time in my clients’ inboxes and calendars and sometimes the content is personal as well as work related.

“Wow, that’s a big responsibility!”, people say. And they are right – it is.

So how do you know that you can trust your Virtual PA?

What people forget is, that in an office setting, whether it’s a small or a large company, the role of a PA (Personal Assistant) is precisely to be the executive or business owner’s right-hand woman or man, who can be trusted with absolutely anything. Things that not even the other directors, managers or partners will see. And it’s no different with a Virtual PA.

Yes it involves a certain mindset – to take the step of placing your trust in someone else is a big deal.

But people think little of it in a traditional office setting where the PA is a permanent employee.

There are a few reasons for this, including:

  • The person went through a selection process to get the role including being interviewed
  • Their CV was checked and references obtained
  • They were checked out on Linkedin and other social platforms
  • A contract of employment is in place
  • A non-disclosure agreement may also have been signed
  • The business is (or should be!) registered with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act

When it comes to a Virtual PA people are a little more hesitant.

However there is no reason  to be hesitant if they follow this same procedure when selecting their Virtual PA.A Virtual PA can be trusted with Confidential Information

Your Virtual PA should be interviewed by you, just as you would interview a candidate for a standard job. Ask them for their CV and get references! Have they worked in a position of trust before? Can those people vouch for them?

Here at The Office HQ we have of course already carried out a rigorous selection procedure when selecting the Virtual PAs who work for us.

However as well as being happy to provide copies of references and CVs for the individual PAs to clients on request, we issue standard Terms & Conditions containing confidentiality clauses. And where we are accessing particularly sensitive information such as emails we sign a non-disclosure and non-poaching agreement with our client.

In addition to all of this we provide our client with our Data Protection Registration details and give our staff training on client confidentiality and data protection.

That’s because we take our responsibilities very seriously, as all Virtual PAs should do.

When choosing a Virtual PA, always check that they are willing to provide you with these things as a minimum.

You can then move forward together and build a close working relationship built on trust that will stand the test of time!