Pros and Cons of Virtual Assistants
Last updated: July 26th, 2021
As your business grows, it can often seem like you’re trying to juggle a million things all at the same time. Keeping track of meetings, reports, new business, and existing management tasks can be incredibly draining and lower your overall productivity. In the long run, that impacts you and your business, and it’s often tough to balance so many responsibilities.
If you’re feeling this way, hiring a virtual assistant can help reduce daily burdens and help you focus on more pressing tasks. You can outsource some of your to-do list and gain flexibility over your day.
If you’re not sure whether a virtual assistant is right for you, we’ll walk you through some of the main duties and the pros and cons of hiring a virtual assistant.
What tasks can be handled by a virtual assistant?
Before we delve into the pros and cons, it’s important to consider the value that hiring a virtual assistant can add to your business. Virtual assistants can give you a lot of freedom by taking on repetitive and administrative tasks and freeing up time to attend to other aspects of the business.
With the right technology and communication styles, virtual assistants work in remote locations and can successfully take over tasks such as:
- Calendar management, such as booking meetings with clients
- Email filtering and management
- Data entry
- Client follow-ups
- Transcription and note-taking
- Social media management
- Recruitment tasks
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of what virtual assistant services can encompass. And as more companies move towards fully remote or flexible working, a virtual assistant can fit in seamlessly and essentially become your right-hand person in managing your day-to-day.
After almost a year and a half of remote working due to the pandemic, many executive assistants as well as executives have successfully transitioned to a remote working style and prefer it. From a recruitment perspective this can offer an advantage. If the job is defined as a virtual assistant role it means that the candidate pool you can source from can be much larger, offering you a better selection of talent and sometimes a less expensive option. To optimize this advantage, you need a staffing firm with broad geographic coverage with access to talent all over the USA and experience placing virtual assistants.
If you plan to hire a virtual executive assistant, you must decide if you need someone in the same time zone as yourself. Many prefer a virtual assistant in the same time zone. However, this choice can vary depending on the size of your company, the number of employees, and if it is operating across several time zones. Some virtual assistants may cover more than one time zone, or you can work together to come up with a coverage plan.
There is the impression that most virtual assistants are located overseas. This is not necessarily the case. Although this choice might be less expensive, there are several disadvantages. With the difference in time zones, it can be difficult to work live in “real” time with the executive they support. Also, the cultural, business and language differences may allow the delegation of only the most routine administrative tasks, limiting the value a virtual assistant can provide. Again, depending on the size of your company, the time zones involved and how much you want the assistant to do, a locally (same country) based virtual assistant can offer you the most support and the best value.
All of the virtual assistants C-Suite has placed with our clients to date are based in the USA supporting US based business operations, often for global companies. Frequently, they are hired to help with the establishment of a new office in the USA. Their support and efforts are critical to getting the new office up and running.
What are the advantages of virtual assistants?
There are many advantages to working with a virtual assistant, and they can have a significantly positive impact on businesses as you continue to work together. It can be an affordable way to boost productivity and reduce overall workload.
Help you stay organized
Virtual executive assistants can be instrumental in handling repetitive tasks and helping you and your business stay organized and operating smoothly. The major advantage of working with a virtual assistant is that it frees up your time so you can focus on more strategic aspects of your business. Virtual Assistants can take over recurring tasks such as newsletter management, follow-up emails, calendar management and travel plans so that you don’t have to.
Lower overhead and training
Another benefit is that you have lower overhead. You do not need to accommodate an additional person at the office. As long as they are experienced with remote working and proper tools and systems have been set up for remote interaction and support of their executives, they should be easy to manage. If the systems and technology are already in place to support virtual support, you can try and recruit virtual assistants who have previously worked with your business tools to streamline that process. This way they can hit the ground running. Alternatively, you can hire someone adept at learning new software and systems and they will be fully functional in a matter of days.
Assist with tasks that you might not be as familiar with
Many businesses employ virtual assistants with a diverse range of skills that the business may not have had previously or didn’t have the time to seriously maintain.
For example, some may choose to work with a virtual assistant with experience in social media who can manage posting schedules and engagement to help grow followings on key media channels. Or some may choose to work with a virtual assistant who can help with blogging and content alongside other responsibilities to increase marketing content. Experienced virtual assistants can also bring best practices from former employers and help you set up new software or apps that could boost productivity, collaborative work or project management.
What are the disadvantages of a virtual assistant?
There can be disadvantages to working with a virtual assistant. However, much of it can be mitigated by establishing communication styles early on and providing training at the start for the business tools being used. Understanding the pros and cons of working with a virtual assistant can be crucial in helping you understand what to expect.
Communication might be difficult
A lack of in-person meetings may make it difficult to work together, at least early on. This is particularly an issue if there are language barriers or if you are both operating in different time zones. In addition, technical issues and miscommunication can be challenging to manage if the virtual assistant does not have the right experience. In many ways, these challenges are not different from onboarding any new executive assistant, but in a virtual environment without the advantage of visual clues, it is more important than ever for an executive to specifically define their expectations and preferred working style.
Added supervision may be needed
Most virtual assistants can easily hit the ground running and meet deadlines as needed, as they have remote experience already. However, some virtual assistants may need additional supervision or management, especially in the beginning, to manage workload and understand what is expected of them, which may initially take up more of your time.
It can often be difficult to outsource work that you are so accustomed to doing yourself. Sometimes it’s a matter of building trust and having confidence that the virtual executive assistant can complete the work. Or it can be a general difficulty in giving up control initially, especially when you do not know someone that well. This can be mitigated if you hire a virtual assistant with great qualifications and references, as it can give you peace of mind that you can trust their working style and quality.
Contact C-Suite Assistants for your Virtual Assistant Hiring Needs
Ultimately, hiring a virtual assistant can be an excellent business decision that gives you a significant competitive advantage in the long term and allows you to continue growing your business. However, working with an agency such as C-Suite Assistants that has a successful track record in the placement of virtual assistants across the USA, gives you the best chance of finding the perfect fit.
With C-Suite Assistants, you can create a position description describing responsibilities and expectations and identify the specific apps or technologies the assistant is expected to know or use. This can help narrow down the search effectively. And, because we have national scope, we can ensure you find the right resource for your needs even if you are looking for a “needle in a haystack”. To learn more about recruitment for a virtual assistant, please get in touch today.
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