Over the past decades, the work landscape has evolved, and technology is now deeply ingrained in everyday life of a modern employee. Gone were the days when offices contained rows of cubicles where employees were paid to sulk in the front of clunky computers for eight to over ten hours a day.
Nowadays, a typical office worker can be mobile and even bring their own devices to work, allowing them to do their job more comfortably and more efficiently. Known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), this approach has enabled many organizations today to enhance their employee productivity while at the same time generate significant cost saving as they no longer have to invest in additional equipment.
However, there is another shift in the modern workplace set forth by the ever-advancing technology and changing requirements of companies: The rise of Virtual Assistants (VAs). For years, VAs have changed the way businesses operate and plan their workforce. Yet, many companies – especially those in the small- and medium-scale spectrum – are yet to realize the potential impact of this new breed of professionals to their long-term success.
But what are VAs, anyways? Wikipedia defines a virtual assistant as a self-employed person who works online and provides a variety of support services to individuals and organizations who are in need of additional workforce. Often, the companies and organizations that hire a VA are those that have limited resources to hire an in-house employee or simply want to cut their overhead expenses such as employee benefits, insurance, equipment depreciation, rent, and utilities.
While it seems that the virtual assistant industry is just new, it has actually been existing for some time now. Just like other professions, the Virtual Assistant industry has its own colorful origins to boast and share with the world. According to VirtualAssistantInc.com, the term “virtual assistance” was coined in 1996 by life coach Thomas Leonard while he was having a phone conversation with Anastacia Brice. Brice, who was working back then as a home-based contractor, then borrowed the term to name the new emerging profession. In 1997, she opened the first organization for VAs called the AsssistU – which is still operating up to now.
In 1999, the first-ever international association of virtual assistants was formed – the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). This non-profit organization aims to respond to the ever-growing demand for the profession, and also to assist VAs all over the globe by providing them with education and benefits to ensure that the industry can function sustainably in the long haul. Ever since then, the virtual assistant industry has grown significantly. It is no longer a profession that is frowned upon in the business industry, but rather a much-needed solution in the ever-growing and ever-changing work landscape.
According to the statistic, there are now more than 4 million administrative assistants in the U.S. alone. Many of those are virtual assistants that offer a wide range of services for almost every aspect of the business. For instance, there are VAs that can be employed as Executive Assistants by top-tier business leaders to organize their day-to-day schedule. Their services can include managing calls and emails, acting as a liaison between the client and their employees and customer, responding to queries, making travel arrangements, and much more.
Aside from administrative tasks, VAs can also be hired to augment the Sales and Marketing workforce of the company. Often, the VAs employed for this kind of service are tasked to create a marketing plan for both prospective and existing customer, as well as to promote the business’ products and services on different online channels.
The cost of hiring virtual assistants for these certain services can vary depending on the tasks that will be delegated to them. Other factors that should be taken into consideration are the relevant experience on the task of the assistant, the deadline for the project, and the difficulty of the task itself.
Oftentimes, VAs charge higher for skill- and time-intensive services, such as copywriting, video production, and email marketing. The opposite can be said for more basic tasks such as schedule management, data entry, and flight booking.
That being said, most virtual assistants in the market these days charge anywhere from $1 to $100 per hour. However, there are virtual assistant solution companies that offer enticing packages even for start-up businesses. A starter Virtual Assistant industry solution, for instance, will only require a company to pay $50 per week for a 10-hour work, which is great especially if the tasks to be delegated are routine tasks that are not highly technical or time-intensive.
When planned thoroughly and carefully, a business can enjoy substantial benefits from hiring virtual assistants. First, they would be able to lower their operational cost because they are no longer required to provide any benefits, equipment, paid training, or bonuses. Furthermore, many reports have also shown that employees working remotely are actually more productive because they have better control of their time and spend less or no time traveling to an actual office.
These benefits clearly convey just how much Virtual Assistant industry can help businesses of all sizes and type to scale their operations without having to spend as much when they hire in-house employees. With a reliable virtual assistant solution offered by a trustworthy company, businesses can retain the competitiveness of their workforce and ultimately provide a more streamlined service to their customers in the long run.
Check out this infographic by OVA Virtual to learn more about the virtual assistant industry and the benefits it can provide both to businesses and aspiring VAs!