A global productivity study has estimated that office professionals spend an average of 552 hours per year on administrative and repetitive tasks. That’s about 70 workdays, which could have been used for other activities that improve a company’s bottom line.
For the most part, in any business, getting more tasks done is always a top priority. This is why full-time employees need to have an environment where they can be more productive, strategic, and resourceful with their work hours. Hiring a virtual assistant for your business can be a viable solution if you’re looking to save your overhead expenses. Outsourcing can also help businesses grow, as it enables in-house teams to have more time focusing on their companies’ core functions.
By outsourcing a support team, the burden of most (if not all) secondary tasks will be taken off the shoulders of your key players, allowing them to be on top of their game. Customers of your business will also appreciate your efforts in ensuring that a customer support team is available 24/7 to assist them with their needs.
What is a virtual assistant (VA)?
A virtual assistant is a self-employed professional working from a remote location or a home office. Virtual assistants can offer a plethora of services, and they can cater to your company’s needs in ways office-based administrative assistants are unable to. Virtual assistants possess multiple skills, although not all virtual assistants have the same skills and expertise.
Among the everyday office-related tasks that virtual assistants can do are the following:
- email management
- basic research
- schedule tracking
- expense reporting
- network management
- social media management
- basic follow-ups
- preparing/formatting presentations
- lead generation
The list goes on, as many VAs can do practically anything virtually.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors and not regular employees. That means you don’t have to compensate them with insurance benefits. Clients also don’t have the responsibility of providing VAs with office space, work equipment, or supplies.
The number of VAs has been increasing globally. The profession is growing in centralized economies with “fly-in, fly-out” staffing practices. Clients can work with virtual assistants individually or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. They pay for 100% productive work. Virtual assistants commonly work for other small startup businesses, but they can also support busy executives.
How prevalent is the practice of hiring virtual assistants?
Because of their diverse skill sets, virtual assistants are in the market of catering across businesses or industries. There are virtual assistants in almost every company, from small startups to large corporations. Virtual assistants adhere to productivity tips to address various business requirements, making them in demand in the services market.
Still, some companies are hesitant to hire and rely on virtual assistants. Since they work offsite, some companies suspect that virtual assistants can be a security risk and can be complicated to regulate in their work.
Why would a business or an executive need a virtual assistant?
Having learned about the functions, trends, and accomplishments in virtual assistance, it is apparent how beneficial it would be for a growing business or a small team of busy executives to consider employing the services of a virtual assistant.
The following are five excellent reasons that hiring a competent virtual assistant would be helpful to your business:
1. You can enhance productivity, as well as avoid the possibility of burnout.
Some business owners who just started encounter times when work becomes too much, making them wish they could just quit. This happens because such young company owners fill multiple roles to support their fledgling business. They are still trying to do as much as possible because their business is just beginning.
Everyone will need a break every once in a while, no matter how skilled you are at what you do. Investing in virtual assistants will earn you that much-deserved break. This strategy can give you more time and energy to spend on other pursuits as you have someone assisting you in repetitive and consuming tasks.
2. You can earn more and at the same time save money.
Hiring a virtual assistant is like hitting two birds with one stone. Companies will always need resources and prefer to get them at cheaper rates. Despite virtual assistants having a broad skill set, they are relatively more affordable compared to office-based employees. The more competent and experienced your virtual assistant is, the more you earn and save because you get more things done at a lesser cost.
3. You only have to hire virtual assistants as necessary.
Virtual assistants are versatile, and they can be ideal candidates, whether it’s for a temporary or semi-permanent type of project or contract. This setup works in favor of startup companies looking for help with light work and not really in the market for someone to work full-time. There can be a scarcity of part-timers, for this kind of opportunity is usually given to virtual assistants.
Other times, companies experience periods of peak business activity, and virtual assistants are highly suitable for this. You can hire a virtual assistant for hours, weeks, or even months. This kind of flexibility can be tough to find with traditional hiring, but it is what a company sometimes needs.
4. You can make use of their services round the clock.
Gone are the days when business operations heavily rely on their employees to work and deliver within the traditional eight-to-five shift. Customer-centric companies attend to their valued customers at all times of the day and week. Therefore, having a virtual assistant who lives in a different time zone is an excellent strategy to keep the business going and customers well-taken care of.
Outsourcing work to virtual assistants is a massive gain in such a situation because they will maintain regular working hours on their end. At the same time, your employees are unaffected by your customers’ demands after their working hours.
5. You’re already lagging.
Many successful and thriving companies have relied on the services of virtual assistants for years. They have been reaping the advantage of this practice by saving more time and money and spending them in other ventures while getting more work done. This advantage is all due to their ability to assess risk and adapt.
They are ahead in the competition for a reason, and it is for you to learn how they have navigated their business operation by using virtual assistants. You can start by identifying an aspect in your company where a virtual assistant can be valuable. Don’t rush on the decision or else you only risk spending more. There’s also the need to be aware of what qualifications you are exactly looking for in a virtual assistant to fit them in tasks that will improve your business operation.
The hiring of virtual assistants by companies large or small has become mainstream for practical and sensible reasons. Intelligent business owners recognize the need for VAs, and it has worked to their advantage. Competent and experienced virtual assistants are capable of managing multiple tasks to help keep your business running smoothly.
Another benefit of hiring virtual assistants is that they are more affordable than expanding your office-based team. You will not be responsible for additional employee-related expenses and taxes as you would with regular employees. You can also use the difference in time zones to your advantage since you can find VAs from different parts of the world. Besides, there are also no strings attached with them as you only hire them as needed.
The bottom line is that virtual assistants make great support for any business to help the operation run more smoothly. With careful consideration, you will reap the many benefits of hiring virtual assistants, such as saving more time and money, which can be invested in other things, while getting more work done.