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Guest blog by Fiona Portway – my role within Bay Tree VA

This is a new experience as I’ve never written a blog before, but I’m always up for a challenge! For those who may not be aware, I am delighted to announce that I have recently been appointed a Director of Bay Tree VA. My role means that I not only work with Jane on strategic development, but I also handle HR and manage any new Bay Tree VA (BTVA) joining the team. We have set up a system that works well for us:-

  • Receive VA’s Curriculum Vitae
  • Interview VA, preferably face to face but occasionally by Zoom/Blue Jeans/Skype
  • Arrange an on-line psychometric assessment of VA
  • Undertake an induction which includes setting the new BTVA up with access to:
    • an e-mail account
    • our time-keeping and file sharing systems
    • the Bay Tree VA online company handbook with protocols, reference material and top tips.
  • Arrange chemistry meetings between BTVA and a potential Clients.

Now that we have a team of 14 BTVAs and bookkeepers, we ensure a new BTVA has all the tools and support they need to quickly get up and running with their new clients.

It’s not all work though; I get to organise the company socials too. We recently met for cocktails and a meal in Bury St Edmunds – it was a great evening, sitting in the sun catching up with everyone.

I am currently organising our autumn training day. We have two each year and it is a perfect opportunity for us to share good practice which might include:

  • Apps for events
  • Which CRM system allows you the most flexibility
  • Mobile apps for travel
  • Safest file sharing methods
  • GDPR updates
  • On-line To Do list and project management software
  • Best translation sites
  • Filtering information to create on-line reports from the systems we use

As a group of individuals we all get on exceptionally well because we enjoy what we do and how we work. We have a lovely set of clients who work extremely hard and we endeavour to make life easier for them. We have all made a lifestyle decision not to work 9-5.  It enables us to have more flexibility to spend more time with our families or have the time to write that book we have talked about for years.

I feel very lucky to say that I enjoy my time at work and Bay Tree has made that possible.

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