Working with a Virtual Assistant: Why Times Have Changed and What You Need to Know

August 28, 2017

In the last decade, the business world has changed tremendously. As it relates to the world of technology and communication, we’ve seen amazing progress. We’ve also seen the consequences of poor economic management and a lasting recession.   All these factors together have led to a sea of change in the way that business owners run their operations and plan for future growth.

Today, it’s no longer necessary to maintain a costly office setup, with a variety of full or part-time staff dedicated to specific areas of expertise. Not only is it not necessary, but by doing so you can set yourself up at a competitive disadvantage, as rival organizations see the advantages of streamlining and outsourcing.

This has actually triggered the speedy ascendancy of the virtual assistant. Actually, there is very little the virtual assistant could not do compared to a “real-life” admin assistant sitting at the next desk or in the nearby office.

When local business owners make a sensible contrast of expenses the difference comes to be rather clear. It makes no sense from a logistical and financial perspective to continuously preserve a costly “traditional” office anymore.

There are many hidden costs associated with hiring somebody on either a full or part-time basis. Some of these costs include benefits, contribution to a pension, payment for sick leave, paid holidays, annual vacation. These are some of the payments necessary to keep an employee happy and to conform to legal requirements. Yet these costs only reflect part of the problem.

When a business owner commits to hiring somebody full time they also commit to training and ongoing development.  In order to keep the employee happy and to ensure they don’t start looking around for other positions, they need to provide a platform for growth. Investing in a full-time employee is also a commitment made without being fully sure of the future. It can be challenging to scale up or down your requirements as a small business owner and it can take a long time to replace somebody who leaves. When your business is not firing on all cylinders due to staff shortage or training this can once again place the organization at a competitive disadvantage. In short, the keyword for all companies these days is agility and this is not an easy accomplishment to achieve if the organization cannot easily manage employee growth.

As a business grows its needs by necessity will change. Therefore, the ability of the business to grow will be determined by how quickly it can change direction and how easily its employees can be retrained or in some cases replaced.

There is one final point to consider and keep in mind when it comes to hiring employees versus virtual assistants. It can sometimes be difficult to make the necessary decisions related to employee engagement, due to perceived feelings of loyalty or even personal attachment. By contrast, the relationship with the virtual assistant is by definition more remote. Even though either option represents a professional relationship, it is often easier to consider the virtual assistant simply as the provider of a professional service, as the relationship is usually engaged at a distance.