Virtual Assistants Can Suit Large Companies, Too

To most people Virtual Assistants are synonymous with Telephone Answering, Typing and Virtual PA services, and working for individuals or micro businesses. True, but highly experienced and well equipped Virtual Assistants are finding a niche in outsourced admin services for large organisations too.


Large companies often have national agreements with recruitment agencies where the benefits of dealing with a single supplier outweigh the benefits of local resourcing. For others, the benefits of local flexible resourcing and more consistent temporary cover is greater.


As a manager, why would you consider hiring a VA?


For instance, if you use temps to cover busy periods, wouldn’t it be better to have the same person every time?… a familiar face who knows the job, with no re-training and quality issues.


Even better, when a member of staff goes sick or becomes pregnant wouldn’t it be better to have cover on-tap?… no more temps if it’s long term or co-workers getting over-stretched if it isn’t.


Temporary cover aside, large companies are turning to Virtual Assistants for routine admin work too. If you think about it, what jobs really need someone to actually be in the office? Providing you have access to your company IT systems, you can work from almost anywhere. This principle lies behind the smart, flexible working practices that many companies are adopting.


So, what are the common tasks and roles that Virtual Assistants lend themselves to?


Which admin tasks can be outsourced?


Virtual Assistants seem to be suited to Admin Assistant and Personal Assistant roles, which in themselves can require various skills depending upon the department concerned. The five most common tasking areas include:




  • General Office Admin: tracking assets and staff holidays, data entry, maintaining spreadsheets, re-ordering stationery and washroom supplies, etc.
  • Typing and Transcription: transcribing digital recordings of meetings, minutes and reports, report templates and formatting, copy typing, etc.
  • Purchasing Support: researching goods and services, sourcing suppliers, re-negotiating contracts, liaising with suppliers, making purchases, expediting, etc
  • Marketing Admin: presentations and proposals, market research, database cleansing, mail-shots and e-shots, tele-marketing, PR copy, etc.
  • Personal Assistant: organising meetings and events, diary management, booking travel and accommodation, monitoring and filtering emails, etc.


What are the benefits?


One side-effect of outsourcing your admin is discovering exactly how big a role really is. We’ve all come across “work stack syndrome” with staff claiming “…my workload is huge, I’m so busy, etc”, but when someone time-records every activity, you soon see how much work is really going on.


What’s more, you’ll find out what it’s like to give someone a task knowing that it will be done.


Managers are realising that Virtual Assistants are a flexible and productive alternative to permanent staffing. If you consider the time that staff spend time on “water-cooler” chats, ad hoc breaks, lunch times, etc, on top of sickness and holidays, it’s no wonder the prospect of only paying for the work that is actually done is highly attractive. You effectively get 100% productivity.


At first, a Virtual Assistant’s hourly rate may seem expensive, but taking account payment for employment costs, benefits, vacations and bank holidays, the actual cost per hour is far less. As a rule of thumb, employers have found that a Virtual Assistant can execute an average Admin role for less than 50% of the cost of a permanent member of staff.


Getting started…


If you are considering this option, then it’s important to hire a Virtual Assistant with the core skills you need, but who is also part of team. By hiring this way, you stand to gain far more than you would by hiring any single person, and the team will cover for each other too.


One way of approaching the appointment of a new Virtual Assistant is to first conduct a selection process, just as you would for sourcing a new supplier, and then conduct an interview process, just as you would for hiring a permanent member of staff. It tends to be a mixture of the two methods.


For more information about the best techniques and pitfalls of hiring and getting the best from your Virtual Assistant read our other articles or search our LifeSaver Blog for tips and ideas that could help save you precious time, money and hassle.


Denis Pelych is an E-Business Consultant and Operations Director at Office Lifeline. He helps business to exploit IT and the internet through virtual businesses and services. Office Lifeline is one such virtual office services company that helps business owners and company executives improve internal efficiency. Follow my Blog at http://office-lifeline.blogspot.com/ for tips and advice on how to spend less of your precious time and money on admin and other routine business tasks.
To find out how Office Lifeline can help you save time and money via a range of Virtual PA, Office Admin and Call Handling services, call us now on +44 (0)1926 659 120 or visit our website at http://www.office-lifeline.co.uk

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