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I have hired a full-time personal assistant for myself, so that I can delegate my work to him and stay super productive Before starting on the delegation, I have a doubt in 2 areas on

  1. Email Sharing
  2. List item

File Sharing

Email Sharing – What should be done?

  1. Give my user id and password with complete access
  2. Create a new user id and password user name of PA firstname.lastname@gmail.com and forward only delegated mails
  3. Create a new user id and password with common id pa2companyname@gmail.com and forward only delegated mails

File sharing - What should be done?

  1. Give my user id and password for dropbox and google docs
  2. Create a new a/c for PA for dropbox and google docs and share all files with him
  3. Create a new common a/c for PA for dropbox and google docs and share all files with him

What is your recommended suggestion? There would be few pros and cons for the above options.

Note –

  1. I would to like have complete trust on Personal Assistant.
  2. Even if he leaves, it should be easy for handover and easy switching.
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1  
What exactly are you asking this personal assistant to do for you which would require him/her to have access to your e-mail and files? –  Josh Bruce Mar 26 '13 at 18:11
    
@josh - Since my personal assistant will reply on my behalf, and even reply to few of the simple to reply emails. I want to know how to do it in a better way. I update most of my stuff in excel and word hence would like him to do the same on my behalf. As of now I have given him Andriod tablet and using my own a/c for the play store. –  Arun Apr 1 '13 at 18:25

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've tried all of the methods you mentioned.

Email Sharing

1 Give my user id and password with complete access

I would lean away from this option as it not only gives access to everything but also limits your future options for what you can send to this account. Its also complicated when you and your assistant part company.

2 Create a new user id and password user name of PA firstname.lastname@gmail.com and forward only delegated mails

This is not a bad option but still not my favorite. The biggest issue for me was when my assistant moved on, even if I retained the account, it was in someone elses name. Which means that your next assistant would need a new account. Not too big a problem if all you do is forward emails. But if you have filters setup with forwarding rules (like in Gmail or Outlook) you will need to change all of those when your assistant changes.

3 Create a new user id and password with common id pa2companyname@gmail.com and forward only delegated mails

This is my personal favorite. Since you are using the company name you are less likely to end up in a dispute over whose inbox it is when your assistant leaves. It's also easier to use in a client-facing manner because they can associate the address with your company.

To make this option even better, I use it with aliases (as recommended by Aymeric). Aliases allow you a lot of flexibility in how you setup your flow of emails. In some email software you are able to put two addresses in for an alias (or a list) which allows you to setup an email "channel" that goes to both you and your assistant. I've found this very helpful in some situations.

One other issue to consider here is historical data. Your assistant will likely be receiving responses from clients, vendors, associates, etc. You want to make sure you can retain all of this data for reference and possibly auditing. If you change email addresses repeatedly you will need to figure out how to transfer or backup your old inbox each time. So this is another good reason for retaining the same inbox.

Also, keep in mind that many email clients (including Gmail) can check additional email addresses that you configure. This provides some additional possibilities that would allow an assistant to have an independent account that pulls emails in from your central PA account. If you consider this option you will want to use two important configuration options. 1) "Send As" which will allow the assistant to Send Email as though they were sending from the central PA account (or even your own account), and 2) "Leave Copy On Server" which will leave a copy of each email message even after your assistant downloads them into their individual inbox.

File Sharing

1 Give my user id and password for dropbox and google docs

Again, for the same reasons mentioned on #1 in Email Sharing, I think this is the least attractive option. It is simple though. Worst case I suppose you can just change your password when it's all done. I prefer options that afford more control, consistency and flexibility, especially in the event of a change in your staff.

2 Create a new a/c for PA for dropbox and google docs and share all files with him

In a general sense, for file sharing, this option would work as well as the central account. It keeps you in control of the access. If there is a change in assistant you can easily get on and change the access for the PA account.

3 Create a new common a/c for PA for dropbox and google docs and share all files with him

As with email, I like this option the best. These common accounts are also good in the event that you sell a business. They are much easier to transfer than when you are using a personal account.

Also, on Google Drive, use the share folder option. That way all files under that folder are automatically shared with your assistant.

Side Note: If you use DropBox, consider signing your assistants up with your affiliate link. This adds free space to your central dropbox account. ;)

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Thank you Rich, sometimes my psyche mind is not able to think clearly for things which are of these matter. You have put it very elaborately. –  Arun Apr 1 '13 at 18:31

Having done something like this in the past, I create new accounts (dropbox/googledocs/gmail) for the COMPANY, and direct all mail there. The assisstant has access to the company accounts, and if there's anything that requires my attention, he or she would forward it to me or place it in a designated shared folder.

I've found that a system like this allows the assistant as full of an access as I like, but still allows me privacy for things I may not want an assistant to know about. Having an alternate email address tied to the company may also come in handy if you need to administratively lock out an assistant if there's a disagreement and you part on bad terms.

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  1. Use Google Apps for your emails, it is great and will allow you to have access to Google Drive too

  2. Create a specific account for your PA (marta@yourdomain.com for example)

  3. Create aliases to her account like support@yourdomain.com and publish these email addresses online. She will receive the emails related to support, not your personal emails

  4. Forward to her the emails you receive that you want her to work on.

  5. Use Google Drive to share files.

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Rule of thumb: Trust is a weakness in computer systems

Email

2: Create a new user id and password user name of PA firstname.lastname@gmail.com and forward only delegated mails reason being, if he were to ever turn his back on you, he would not be able to blackmail you. I have seen a lot of havoc being wreaked cause someone shared their password with someone else cause they trusted them.

Also, there is the added benefit of you being in-charge of the password policies and the secret questions. Not saying that this can't be bypassed but still much better.

File Sharing

2: Create a new a/c for PA for dropbox and google docs and share all files with him
Now, I have no idea how you would manage sensitive files that are to be kept secret. If you read the privy statement of Google, it says that all the documents, even private, can be searched from the internet.

Now with emails offering unlimited storage, I would rather store my files in a folder in my email. Smartphones let you download stuff, too, so yeah the problem is solved to a large extent :)

Easy Switching

Now if you create separate accounts for both email and docs for him, switching is going to be an issue. A workaround can be that when he wants to leave or you want to fire him, you should change the password and secret questions and other password recovery mechanisms and do not let him leave till all has been sorted out.
What if he says he wants to leave, you let him go and he changes the password and the secret questions ?

Trust

Also, what is the guarantee that he will not copy the sensitive files and emails to his disc when he is at home ? I recommend that you ask your clients to mail you sensitive stuff right to your email rather than to the P.A.

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Dropbox is definately a great solution, however if you are not confortable with placing confidential files on a public cloud then you should consider ownCloud at http://owncloud.org/

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