With everything we do moving in to the virtual sphere the need for adding the “virtual” edge to our office and administration becomes more pronounced. In times when companies are accepting telecommuting employees and work from home as alternatives, virtual assistants come to the rescue of many a professional who is hard pressed for time.
Companies, particularly those engaged in the provision of information technology and related services have introduced the concept of work from home for full time employees. This has helped IT majors like IBM to cut down on real estate costs and keep women (who otherwise would have to take a sabbatical due to pregnancy and child care) to stay in the workforce. Virtual offices empower organizations and their employees to work with efficiency and flexibility.
A virtual assistant takes this flexibility several steps ahead. Hiring a virtual assistant is like outsourcing. In fact, it is outsourcing tasks to others. These tasks could be anything, from highly specialized jobs like graphic design to boring, mundane and repetitive tasks like managing your MS Office and MS Outlook, basic internet research, sales support, managing social networking sites, creating blogs, and e-newsletters.
Shifting from a regular employee to a virtual one makes economic sense. It helps you get things done without having to shell out a monthly salary. You save on perks and travel allowances which you have to give regular employees. If you don’t like the work your virtual assistant is doing you can look for other options on your next project. You can connect with him or her on the phone, over Skype or email. You don’t need to travel to see each other. Very briefly, the advantages are many.
- Savings: Hiring a VA means you save money because you don’t have to provide office space, furnishings or equipment. A VA works from his own home or office set up.
- No coordination woes: With a VA, you don’t have to worry about coordinating work schedules. Simply assign work with deadlines clearly spelt out and there is no need to worry about follow up and continuous feedback.
- Pay for Work Done: As a client you only have to pay for the actual time your VA spends on completing the task. You don’t pay for casual leave, maternity breaks or coffee breaks.
- Cut down overheads: With a VA, there is no need to pay for fringe benefits such as health insurance or vacation salary or employer wage deductions.
- No training required: VA’s are already proficient with the latest tools and technology the job demands. You don’t need to invest in training as is the case with regular employees.
Once you have hired a virtual assistant, you will have to manage him or her. While email and phone are the most convenient and obvious modes you can use, there are some tools that help you do this with ease. eSilverBullet and Basecamp are tools you can use. They offer a centralised communication system that allows you to stay in touch with your virtual assistants daily.
Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by 24/7 Virtual Assistant, but the opinion expressed in this article is entirely mine.