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Virtual Assistants: The Future of Back Office Personnel

Written by Kimberley Startup | June 18, 2012 | 8 Comments

Hiring virtual assistants, benefits of virtual assistants, virtual assistant, benefits of VAs, VAs, business benefits of virtual assistantsIn this present state of economy, many firms have had to make the hard choice of laying off key employees in order to keep costs in line with their profit margins – leading to not enough hours in the day and more work to do than time to do it.

But hand-in-hand, the rise of the internet and cutbacks in public admin, education, finance, insurance and health, has now paved a hot new trend in business – virtual assistants.

For those of you who are not clear, a virtual assistant, typically abbreviated to VA, is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical or creative assistance to clients from a home office.

Because virtual assistants are independent contractors, rather than employees, there are a lot of advantages a business can get from hiring one.

Here are the top 5 reasons you need to hire a virtual assistant now.

Time management: As a business owner, you know that if you want to finish all your tasks by the end of the day, you need to manage your time effectively. This, however, is easier said than done. A virtual assistant can efficiently and effectively accomplish your time-consuming and repetitive tasks with minimum supervision – leaving you free to focus on the more important aspects of your role.

A host of skills: Virtual assistants work with clients from an array of businesses, and as such, they boast significant knowledge about many different fields. This means they will easily adapt to the demands of any tasks given to them.

Save money: Hiring a virtual assistant means you don’t need to pay taxes or create a benefits package since they are independent contractors and solely responsible for this.

Own office supplies & equipment: Another cost-saving benefit of hiring a virtual assistant is they have their own equipment, and therefore, you don’t have to pay for office supplies.

And last but not least, commitment to quality of work: Virtual assistants receive their income by being productive and delivering real value to their clients. Virtual assistants understand that their revenue is totally dependent on the positive execution of their tasks unlike full-time employees who get paid a salary sometimes times regardless of their effort.

Has a virtual assistant benefited your business? Do you think this evolving role of the office administrator is the future? Share your thoughts with us.

8 thoughts on “Virtual Assistants: The Future of Back Office Personnel

  1. Tabby on Reply

    This is exactly what I was talking about on the other blog I’ve just read. When there’s a project or work to be done in a short span of time, let’s say a few weeks or a month or two, VAs are the best thing to fit in the problem. They don’t need to be trained, if you get a specialist. They won’t take up space in your office and most of all, after the project, you can let go of them easily. Cost efficient and are able to do what are given to them.

  2. Romel Spielberg on Reply

    Hiring a virtual assistant comes with uncertainties such as prioritizing the tasks to be delegated, identifying the right time in a business’ development to contract those tasks, and locating someone reliable and trustworthy.

  3. Leona Matson on Reply

    Hi Louise – Thank you very much for your comments. Particularly in the downturn – it certainly seems businesses want something for nothing nowadays and it’s a real shame to hear of some of your colleagues not even being paid. That would definately be a threat of working on a self-employed basis and if people are considering becoming a VA – it’s definately something that should be taken into account and how you will prevent such thing from happening in the future.

  4. Louise Siwoku on Reply

    The biggest issue with either working as a VA or considering hiring as VA is the change in working culture and the trust that is required between both parties. Additionally, the name’ VA’ covers a multitude or skill sets and services and there really is a place for the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. If you are paying someone to do an Executive Assistant function but only paying £15 per hour then you really wont get what you require. However, in my experience larger organisations or even SMEs who really could do well with hiring a VA, seem to balk at paying £25 – £30ph. It’s a catch 22 situation and lastly, SMEs these days all seem to want something for nothing or even free. I’ve seen colleagues with signed client contracts who simply don’t get paid after the work has been completed and sent..sad but true. I’ve been lucky with all my clients and have enjoyed mutually beneficial business relationships, but finding these guys is like finding a needle in a haystack!!

  5. Leona on Reply

    Thanks Charlie – and thank you for your comments. They’ve been really helpful. Let us know how you get on if you do trial in the future 🙂

  6. Charlie Came on Reply

    Hi Leona,

    No I’ve not used VA’s but know of firms that do for call handling and message taking only. I work for a large corporate and therefore not really the target market for VA’s given theres a team of administrative staff already.

    I can certainly see the upsides from a small business prospective and would certainly trial should I find myself in that situation in the future.

    Charlie

  7. Leona on Reply

    Hi Charlie,

    Thank you for your comments. I completely agree with the sensitivity of information and how that can make it a difficult task when hiring a VA. And as you mentioned, a smaller business is likely to benefit more from this virtual help, and maybe even more so with the economic climate and the cut backs we’ve witnessed in back office personnel, despite the need for help still existing.

    Just wondering if your business has used a virtual assistant and whether or not it benefited you? And if so, do you get involved with the hiring and what do you look out for if so?

  8. Charlie Came on Reply

    In my view, the biggest blocking factor for virtual assistants in larger businesses is the need for data privacy and governance across these businesses. In highly regulated industries or even in most industries for execs the information being handled within calendars, emails, meetings agendas etc is confidential and sensitive so outsourcing this to someone who is home based is challenging given the security and audit challenges that come as being part of a larger business.

    As a smaller business though which often aren’t developed enough to have these governance issues I can see the appeal especially with email etc moving more into the cloud and therefore not requiring internal IT involvement to provide access to these sorts of resources.

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