Trending…The Role of Virtual Assistants in the Workplace
Fast growing companies, startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs often believe they can’t afford or find the right full-time administrative assistant. Perhaps they don’t have adequate office space for another person, or perhaps they feel they cannot find someone with the right skills at an affordable salary in the labor market where their office is located.
In today’s world, however, there is a solution to this problem – the virtual or remote assistant. Even small businesses or businesses in a tight labor market can afford quality administrative support thanks to the talented pool of virtual assistants available. From highly qualified administrative managers to personal assistants, to specialists in social media and technology, whatever you need in an assistant can be found in the virtual or remote assistant world, Once you realize that the person doesn’t need to work in your physical office, your geographical requirements disappear and you can look almost anywhere for the talent.
Benefits of a Virtual Assistant
When you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, it is important to look at the pros and cons. Whether you already have an office full of employees who work on site or whether this would be your first employee in a small startup venture, there are myriad benefits of a virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant allows you to:
- Find qualified candidates from a wider universe. If your business is located in a geographic area where the type of expertise you need is not available, you can significantly expand your selection of candidates by considering a virtual or remote assistant.
- Source candidates from places where there may be more candidates than good jobs. This is especially relevant if your office is in an area where the labor market is highly competitive.
- Add needed administrative help if you do not have additional space in your current offices and do not want to add overhead paying for additional space.
- Pay less for administrative help – A virtual assistant may cost less than an in-house assistant because they may be willing to take a lower salary in order to work from home and skip a long commute. They may also live in a less expensive area of the country where the cost of living is lower, and therefore be willing to work for less.
- Find candidates with specific skill sets that you sorely need but can’t find in your local market. Your virtual assistant or assistants can fill gaps in your current capabilities – i.e. social media management, certain software skills, etc. Additionally, you can hire virtual assistants for temporary tasks if you need help in specialized areas.
- Benefit from highly-skilled professionals – Many virtual assistants have worked in an assistant role for many years, and are very easy to train and get up to speed. Many of these more experienced candidates choose to live in less urban areas. So, by expanding your pool of candidates geographically, you will benefit from their skill set and professionalism and will reduce the time needed for training..
- Save your time for high-value work – When you spend your time on low-value tasks, you are compromising your earning ability and the growth of your business. Let a qualified virtual assistant take care of low-value, time-intensive tasks so that you can more fully devote yourself to the tasks that only you can do.
- Reduce turnaround time for communication – If you are juggling everything yourself, balls are bound to get dropped. Oftentimes, this presents itself in the form of delays responding to emails and voicemails. Your virtual assistant can tighten up this turnaround time and add value for your clients.
Cons of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
While a virtual assistant is fantastic in a number of ways, it is not the right choice for every task or for every individual. Some potential downsides to consider include:
- Your virtual assistant cannot run physical errands for you – Remember that most things like ordering food to be delivered or buying gifts can be done online, and so your virtual assistant can still help in many ways. But if you need someone to physically set up meetings, greet guests, deliver coffee, or pick up office supplies and stock the supply closet, those tasks will need to be done by someone in-house.
- Paper-heavy offices may have problems – If you still have a lot of paper filing, your virtual assistant cannot help with that. It may be worth considering going digital at this point in time, but if your business requires paper contracts and other items that simply cannot be digital-only, you may need an in-house assistant to help with these tasks.
- There is a bit of a learning curve – You may need to acquaint yourself with various telecommuting software that will ease the working relationship. Your virtual assistant will likely already have software they can suggest to you, but you may find a slight learning curve when getting used to communicating solely online and over the phone.
- You will not see them in person – This one seems pretty obvious, but if you highly value in-person communication, this may be difficult for you. Tools such as videoconferencing can help a lot in this regard, and are worth considering, as the virtual assistant can be very valuable and worth the adjustment.
What Can a Virtual Assistant Do?
A virtual assistant can do, with the exception of the “cons” listed above, everything a regular assistant can do. What’s especially great about virtual help is that you can hire multiple people for different tasks, if you require highly specialized knowledge, or hire someone who has experience assisting in your industry.
Tasks your virtual assistant might do include:
- Managing travel
- Organizing and answering email
- Taking phone calls
- Scheduling meetings and managing your calendar
- Transcribing meetings
- Handling billing and bookkeeping
- Preparing, printing, and mailing paper documents, such as proposals, marketing materials, contacts, etc.
- Preparing and sending out mass email correspondence and newsletters
- Managing client requests and communication
- Ordering office supplies, gifts, etc.
- Managing social media accounts
Essentially, whatever you would have an assistant do in person, short of picking up coffee and filing papers, a virtual assistant can do remotely.
What Can I Expect From My Virtual Assistant?
You can expect a virtual assistant to work in whatever way you would want an employee to work. The more flexibility you provide, the more highly qualified applicants you will attract, but virtual assistants really run a wide gamut.
If you want someone more highly skilled than you could afford to hire in person, you can do that remotely and not have to provide office space, and benefit from a larger geographic talent pool. You may work with a virtual assistant from another time zone, which you can take advantage of for clients wanting to reach you during non-traditional hours. You may employ someone full time or on a part time basis. You may allow them a flexible work day and allow them to get their work done on their own hours, or choose to have them work the same hours as your in-house employees. The sky is really the limit when it comes to your virtual assistant.
If you have decided that a virtual assistant is right for you, the next step is to find them! C-Suite Assistants has a huge pool of talented virtual assistants in our network, and can work with you to determine exactly what you want in your virtual assistant and fill that need. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us find you the right virtual assistant for you.
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