Frequently Asked Questions


General

+ What is a Digital Assistant?

Digital Assistants, a term coined by Scriba, are Virtual Assistants (VAs) with additional areas of subject matter expertise in addition to amazing admin experience. They provide administrative, operational, and personal support while working in long-term collaborative relationships with only a handful of terrific clients.

Using Zoom video conferencing, email, as well as other emerging technologies such as Basecamp or Slack, Scriba DAs support their clients' needs, across the board, without having to ever step foot inside the clients' offices.

We often joke that the only thing we can't do is put the kettle on!

+ Where are you located?

Scriba is fully distributed company. Our full-time, permanant employees work from their home offices, located around the UK. We currently have outposts in London, Peterborough, Brighton and Stansted.

+ What are your hours?

Scriba's core hours are from 8:30am to 5:30pm BST/GMT. During these hours, your DA is just a click or call away. We do offer assistance outside of these hours or on weekends with prior arrangement.

During the onboarding process, your DA will advise how best to reach them for unavoidable out of hours emergencies. We'll never leave you stranded if we can help it!


The Scriba team have a huge range of skills and take care of many different tasks. From diary management to website construction, they are the muscle that a developing business needs.
— Mark Nelson-Smith, Partner Argo St George

Getting started

+ What happens after I sign up?

Once we've agreed to work together and have completed the necessary paperwork, we'll suggest one of our amazing DAs to you. We pair clients and DAs very cautiously and take our time to consider communication and working styles, preferences and personality types. You'll be provided with your suggested DA's CV and have a chemistry call to begin your relationship.

Your DA will then send you an online onboarding survey, which is an efficient way to learn a lot about you in a short amount of time.

Once you've provided your DA with a company branded email account, the adventure begins! We aim to have clients up and running within three working days, assuming all client technology is easily accessible.

+ What about privacy and data protection?

Scriba's Terms of Business are quite robust when it comes to client privacy and IP. For anything not covered by our Terms of Business, we're happy to review and sign an NDA.

All Scriba employees are bound by the terms of our contracts with clients and are incredibly confidential. We will not disclose information on you or your business without your consent.

+ How does it work?

The Scriba team work remotely from dedicated office spaces set up with a 27" iMac, VoIP telephone, a scanner and printer. All staff have continuous connectivity and their working environment is expertly set up for virtual efficiency. As we work in the cloud, we use unbeatable data encryption to ensure our clients' work and sensitive data is never compromised or lost.

We seamlessly sync information, file and documents with our clients via the platform of their choice (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc), giving you 24/7 access to your clearly organised and versioned files, across multiple devices.


We recently asked Sophia to assist us with our Social Media strategy and to deliver some practical coaching for the team. Her approach was entirely tailored and she had clearly done her research and preparation to ensure that we got the best out of our time together. She was responsive - handling questions that were being fired from around the room and via a conference line, and also challenging in a really positive way.
— Jane Trotman, Director Companies in Motion

Digital Assistants

+ Will I work with one DA regularly?

Absolutely! We think the relationship between a client and their DA is really important. We encourage regular contact and discussions to foster this. If you work with one of our specialists, your DA will still be your main point of contact, although you're welcome to contact any of the team directly during ongoing work.

During initial discussions, your communication preferences and working style will be noted. We take chemistry, personality type and communication preferences very seriously and take these into consideration when suggesting an assistant.

Even though your DA is technically a contractor, he or she will be keen to get to know your key stakeholders. Scriba DAs are incredibly experienced assistants and are well equipped to easily handle standard admin tasks. However, if you have different requirements, we recommend you to spend time initially with DA to discuss and explain your needs and ways of working. Taking the time to educate your DA on your preferences and tasks in the beginning means your DA will be able to work with limited direction quite quickly. We're not mind readers, but we do try our best!

+ Can I choose my DA?

If you have one of our DAs in mind or have particular needs or require a certain skill set, we are happy to take requests. Please note that, at times, our DAs may have waiting lists, which we do our best to navigate quickly.

+ How do I get in touch with my assistant?

It's up to you! We truly believe the use of email in business is on its way out of fashion, so prefer to use Slack, Basecamp or other project management software as a portal.

During our onboarding process, your DA will provide you with his or her contact details which typically includes email, landline, Zoom and mobile numbers. Due to its encryption, we prefer WhatsApp for instant messaging but are happy to work with your preference of platform.

We're happy to arrange regular catch-up calls that suit your diary but are also happy to speak via Zoom (video conferencing) over the course of the day. It's how we keep in touch as a team, so our Zoom rooms are open during core hours, except when we're on a another call, of course.

You'll need to provide your DA with an email account from your company. If you're unsure about the right platform for you, especially if you're a startup, we're happy to advise. We're nerds, we can't help it.

+ How quickly will my tasks be completed?

We always aim deliver to deadline. Turnaround times generally depend on the complexity and urgency of the project or tasks at hand. Our turnaround time is same day, if not same hour, for most tasks. To start, your DA will always ask your priority for a given task. Once he or she knows you well, they'll act on your behalf with limited direction.

If your DA is unable to deliver excellent work within the allotted time frame, he or she will advise you immediately to re-negotiate turnaround.

We take great care not to overburden our DAs and aim to keep client numbers minimal to allow plenty of time for singular focus. Your DA will prioritise her work for you at all times.

+ What if I'm not happy with my DA?

As client and DA relationships take time to grow, we ask that you give your DA feedback (developmental and, of course, good) in the first instance.

If circumstances make this difficult, you're welcome to discuss any concerns that you might have with Scriba's Director of DA Services. If you are not happy with your current DA, we discuss moving you to a different member of our team. We do prefer, to keep such moves to a minimum, and will always seek communication and resolution first.


For the first time in 20 years, I took a holiday and didn’t have to check email. It was life changing.
— Nigel Clarke, CEO Morgan Innovation & Technology

Technology

+ What software do you use?

The question really is - what software DON'T we use? We're fluent in most common office software packages and work easily with the apps and platforms listed below.

That said, if there's something you use that we're not familiar with, we're super nerdy and are always keen to learn new things as required. We're an Apple shop, so to speak, but are happy to support both Mac and PC users. We're fluent in MacOS and iOS as well as Android.

Expert users of:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud apps
  • AWeber
  • Basecamp
  • Buffer
  • Canva
  • Dropbox
  • EventBrite
  • Evernote
  • GSuite
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Drive
  • Harvest
  • Hootsuite
  • LastPass
  • LucidChart
  • MailChimp
  • Office
  • Pipedrive
  • SalesForce
  • Slack
  • Squarespace
  • Trello
  • Typeform
  • WordPress
  • Xero
  • Zapier
  • Zoom

+ What about emergencies / BCP?

In the unlikely event of a business disruption, our clients are immediately informed and your DA's coverage partner will take the reins immediately. As Scriba is a distributed company and are not limited to working in the same city, building or office, true technical emergencies rarely affect us.

+ How do DAs time their work?

We use a robust timing app to track our team's client work specifically built for distributed companies. This allows our head office to review combined client work in an instant.

We're often ask what we time for and love being as transparent as possible about what we do and what we don't time for.

Our general rule of thumb is that we time whenever our hands are moving on your behalf. A phone call where you're giving your DA instruction on a certain task? We'd time for that. A phone call where you're asking your DA how her day's going? We wouldn't time for that.

If you're ever in doubt about what we clock and what we don't, please get in touch with Elizabeth, Director of DA Services.

+ How do we share files?

Your DA is happy to use whatever file sharing platform you prefer. As a team, we utilise Google Drive and Dropbox often but are also familiar with WeTransfer, Hightail and iCloud Drive.

We do not keep any copies of our work on our local machines and only work in the cloud where files are easily encrypted and password protected. We do this as a security measure and so our clients have global access to our work 24/7.


The fine print

+ How much does it cost?

We start all clients as Pay As You Go (PAYG) for the first three months. During this initial settling-in period, Scriba will analyse your work habits and needs, and from month four, if you require more than six hours a week, we suggest you move to monthly retained billing.

Our current PAYG hourly rate is £40 and our Retained hourly rate is £35. All prices quoted exclude VAT.

+ Can I cancel at any time?

Per our Terms of Business, Scriba's PAYG clients are required to give one week's notice to terminate service. The notice period for retained clients is one month.

+ Benefits of retained billing

From month four, all clients needing more than five hours of support per week are eligible to move to retained billing, which benefits from a lower hourly rate.

Moving to retained billing is always our preference as it allows us to set aside an appropriate amount of time for your work. It also allows you to set (and keep to) a monthly budget for support.

Our current PAYG hourly rate is £40 per hour and our retained hourly rate is £35 per hour (both exc. VAT) and our retained clients are billed mid-month.

+ If I'm on retained billing, do my hours roll over to the next month?

As we see retained billing as a long-term average, we closely monitor client usage and are happy to alert you when you're approaching or over your agreed hours.

Our billing is transparent and conduct quarterly utilisation reviews for all clients. If we notice a quarterly trend (up or down), we'll suggest raising or lowering your agreed hours.

Any unused hours do not roll over from month to month.

+ What happens if I go over my retained hours?

Scriba HQ reviews all client usage once per quarter. If we note a consistent overage, we'll get in touch to suggest a different retainer.

If you know you have a large project coming up, we can quote that separately so it doesn't throw your average use out of whack. For projects over three months in duration, retained projects benefit from a lower hourly rate.

For individual project quotes, please contact Pedro, Head of Operations.

+ Is there a start up fee?

Absolutely not. That would be silly.

+ What are your payment terms?

We invoice at the beginning of each month in arrears for PAYG clients and mid-month for retained with all payments due in 30 days.


Other

+ Can you help with one-off projects?

Scriba is not an admin temp agency. We prefer to establish long-term, ongoing relationships with our clients for admin work. However, for specialist services, like graphic and web design and development or social media strategy, we're very happy to work on a project basis.

+ Do you only support individuals?

Not at all! While we have a great track record of helping solopreneurs and individual clients with portfolio careers, we're also awesome at looking after teams and small companies. In fact, the majority of our team are ex-City and used to looking after very large teams in investment banking and media.

We handle full office management for many clients and are able to manage the office effectively but remotely. From ordering company-wide stationary and IT or VoIP solutions, we get to know everyone in the business. We're dab hands at organising company events, customer events and conferences.

If you would like your DA to attend company functions and meetings, that's not a problem. Please speak to your DA to arrange.