As technology progresses, the work force is changing and evolving in ways that couldn’t have been predicted 20 years ago. Virtual assistants are now in higher demand than ever before, but what exactly is a virtual assistant and why would you ever need one?
To put it plainly, a virtual assistant, or VA, is a secretary that works from an outside location, most often her own home. Now, just saying that they’re distant secretaries isn’t doing them enough justice; a virtual assistant can handle a wide array of tasks that wouldn’t normally be given to a normal office secretary. For example, one of the biggest reasons that offices and business owners are hiring virtual assistants these days is to deal with transcription work. Every business meeting, client phone call, and conference call is usually recorded, and most businesses need a record of these conversations and transactions in a written format. The VA will then listen to the recorded audio and then transcribe it into a written document.
The reason a lot of businesses are opting for the off-site assistant is that there are a lot of different advantages, both monetary and legally. For one thing, virtual assistants are typically hired as contract workers. They might receive a higher paycheck than in-house secretaries and clerical assistants, but that money is saved in other places. There’s no time that needs to be wasted training a virtual assistant because they step onto the job with a thorough knowledge of all the tools and tasks that they will likely have to use. Business save a lot of time by working around the red tape of having a full-time employee as well; there’s no need to set aside funds for medical or dental insurance, there are no paid vacations or sick leaves, and the burden of taxes falls on the VA rather than on the business itself.
You also need to consider the overhead costs too if you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant to work for your business. The most immediate thing you might think of is that there’s no need to spend money on office supplies. You don’t need a chair or desk for your VA, and you don’t even have to spend money on office space to accommodate her. On top of that, there are strict regulations for having on-site employees. You need to have separate bathrooms for males and females, not to mention the hundreds of other small, yet important, regulations that you might not think of.
Obviously, larger offices and businesses will already have these things, like separated wash rooms, but small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have any of those facilities. It just makes a lot more sense to hire an outside assistant rather than wasting time and money on the physical office space. This is a digital world that we live in, and more and more business is being conducted via the phone and the internet. It only makes sense that inter-office employees would soon start doing the same thing.
Barbara Jones is an enthusiastic virtual assistant blogger . She has a team of virtual assistant specialists who help her run her site as well as manage the many blogs that she contributes to. If you’re interested in Barbara’s virtual personal assistant initiatives or you would like to find out more on virtual personal assistants, visit her website.