The Value of Virtual Assistant Post-COVID-19
As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.
The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”-an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors. Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.”
However, what will be the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work?
For the past decade or so, virtual assistance has seen a large rise in popularity. Virtual assistants offer a wide array of skills, and they can cater to your needs in ways office-based administrative assistants can’t. VAs can do regular office-related tasks like email management, bookkeeping, and schedule tracking as well as the more IT-related tasks like network management, social media management, and lead generation. Though not all virtual assistants have the same skill set, they still offer a lot of services you can’t get with office-based ones.
Due to their diverse skill sets, chances are there is a virtual assistant out there for every company. From large corporations to small startups, there are virtual assistants in nearly every business sector. More often than not, they can cater to your needs, and more. In 2017 especially, there was a boom in virtual assistance. Many companies saw the need for one, and virtual assistants all over the world got busier and busier. But there are still some companies out there that are hesitant to hire one. From their viewpoint, virtual assistants can be a risk considering they work offsite, and it can be difficult to monitor and guide their work.
But there is a reason why virtual assistance gets more and more popular every year. For a lot of people, the benefits of hiring them far outweigh the risks, and they are relatively more affordable to hire compared to an office-based worker. Some companies are seeing the benefits of getting a virtual assistant in, and we lay out some news in virtual assistance here.
What’s happening in the virtual assistance scene?
In any field or industry, it has been accepted that implementing smart strategies, as well as properly managing time and resources are the two most important factors for success. But in this day and age, despite the fact technological marvels are happening at a fast pace, business owners and companies are getting even busier. They have more things to do, and efficiently managing time is almost impossible for them alone. This is partially the reason why virtual assistants are getting more popular.
They have the skills and experience necessary to do tasks normal assistants can’t, and they have proven to be able to handle jobs effectively and quickly. For this year, there has been growing competition in online businesses, and more and more people are taking the risk in becoming entrepreneurs. Because virtual assistants are so effective and helpful especially to small businesses, they will become even more in demand here on in. Having a virtual assistant can streamline the work process to the point it flows almost flawlessly, and for a business that just started, this is crucial.
Virtual assistants are also gaining popularity due to blogging. The digital landscape is currently experiencing a trend where blogging is being acknowledged as one of the most effective strategies in content marketing. Virtual assistants are also useful in this, as they can be trusted to handle the scheduled posting of the content, as well as updating the plugins and WordPress itself. A lot of companies have already taken the chance to have virtual assistants create content themselves, showing just how varied their skill sets can be.
Presently VAs come from the younger end of the spectrum, but that may change within the year. A lot of stay-at-home parents who don’t have the luxury of being able to commute to work in the morning are discovering the benefits of working from home as virtual assistants. Aside from them, some retirees are also choosing to start working again as virtual assistants in order to have something to do, or if they feel their pensions are insufficient to support themselves.
A popular thing to consider when things come back to normal on how to increase sales and ROI is cost cutting. A lot of businesses will to cut down on office expenditures and other aspects of the business, where laying off workers will be the last resort. This is one reason why startups should consider hiring virtual assistants instead of in-office administrative staff. They are relatively cheaper compared to the latter, and their working times are flexible because some of them already work thousands of miles away. Experts have even calculated that choosing VA services can achieve around 40% savings in business expenditures, and this is only the beginning.
This is only for this year but I think for the future. The demand for virtual assistants is only going to get even higher due to the changes that have been brought about by the pandemic, like Social-distancing, etc. And with yet the lack of vaccines to treat the disease, our life as we used to live is not going to be the same again.
How does a virtual assistant provide value for a small business? Three primary ways:
1. They can complete projects quickly and efficiently and provide expertise that your business doesn’t have in-house. Many virtual assistants are highly experienced and specialized. Virtual assistants can specialize not just in administrative tasks, but marketing, paralegal work, bookkeeping, and real estate sales support. These VAs can complete projects that you may not have the expertise or time to work on. Second, even if you have the ability to complete the same task as a virtual assistant, your virtual assistant’s experience may enable her to complete the task faster and more efficiently. Virtual assistants become expert in the functions of everything from standard word processing software to cloud-based accounting software to social media platforms. Chances are you don’t have time to devote the same attention to learning this software while running your business.
2. You will have more time to spend on other important aspects of your business. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners spend a significant amount of time on mundane, repetitive administrative duties, leaving them less time to focus on growing their business, products, or services. Simply put – they shouldn’t. Their time is far more valuably spent plotting business strategy, growing the business, or, in the case of professionals, providing specialized services. Take a close look at all of the responsibilities on your plate. Even complicated tasks can often be divided into a series of smaller tasks, some of which can be delegated to a virtual assistant. For example, business development projects can utilize a VA by having them follow up on sales leads to sustain engagements and set up appointments. VAs can research suppliers and buying alternatives for your business so you can reduce costs. If you delegate blogging and marketing collateral to your VA, they can not only create initial content but optimize content for search engines and increased visibility as well. Some people balk at the idea of using a VA because they require time to integrate into a business’ operations. This is a mistake. Almost any new employee or type of delegation will require some training, and the initial investment pays off in the future as your VA will soon be able to complete projects autonomously.
3. You only pay them for the time they work and don’t have to pay additional employee costs. VAs work within an agreed upon budget. Unlike salaried or hourly employees, you only pay your VA for the actual time they spend working. As such, VA’s are a more flexible resource than employees and usage can easily be scaled up or down depending on need. You don’t have to factor in costs associated with having in-house employees either. There is no concern about the administrative costs of hiring an employee, such as running payroll or handling employee-related taxes or benefits. Virtual assistants work with their own equipment and technology, and there is no need to set aside office space. You never have to worry about spending money to provide a business phone or laptop, or paying utilities or internet for someone else to use.
One of the great virtues of virtual assistants is their flexibility. Virtual assistants can work in different ways for a small business owner who is trying to dig out from administrative work to grow her business, an attorney struggling to figure out how he can use digital marketing to grow his practice, or a small business needing graphic design or website optimization. You may not need virtual assistants for all things at all times, but they are a strategic tool to be customized and deployed in a way that adds value to your business.