Remote work is slowly becoming the norm now. People are getting accustomed to the new ways of working. Virtual platforms are providing numerous opportunities to businesses to take some of the load off their shoulders and get help by outsourcing some of their work. So if your business is not making the best use of the remote work model, you may fall behind your competition.
Not all your business operations can be handled remotely and that’s true for most businesses. Certain areas like manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, and others have to have people working in the field. But there are several areas that do not need people to be sitting in an office and can make good use of the virtual work environment instead.
Virtual staff or virtual assistants are not uncommon in the professional world today. They are handling numerous responsibilities from some other end of the world and still delivering the desired results for big and small businesses.
A virtual assistant is a professional who provides various services to entrepreneurs and businesses remotely. They don’t have to be present in your office to complete the tasks they are assigned. You can communicate with them online and assign your virtual assistant work that they can later submit online as well.
As many areas of businesses have turned digital today, hiring virtual assistants is a logical thing to do. Virtual assistants are usually independent contractors, which means they are not your full-time employees. They will not be on your payroll but will charge per hour or per task. Some virtual assistants may also settle for a fixed monthly payment if your work assignments continue to flow in.
To complete the work that you assign, a virtual assistant would need access to resources and documents required for it. If your business stores documents and files on the cloud, sharing them with your virtual staff will be a lot easier.
There are several benefits of hiring virtual staff for certain business functions. Here are a few you might be interested in.
During times like the recent lockdowns that we faced, your business does not have to stop because you can’t find people to hire. Hiring a virtual assistant means that your work can continue remotely without your staff having to come in to the office.
Hiring a full-time in-office employee means having to provide them a good salary plus benefits, workspace, stationery, traveling allowance, medical allowance, and more. For work that can conveniently be handled online, you are bearing unnecessary expenses here.
A virtual assistant is going to cost you a lot less. They usually charge much less as there is no travel involved and no added benefits are asked for. Operating costs are lower because you won’t have to provide office space, stationery, internet services, and the likes. So small businesses can save significantly with virtual staff.
For a small team, it becomes all the more difficult to manage all business functions efficiently. A single person is usually assigned multiple responsibilities and though they may be highly efficient, they are bound to feel overworked. This compromises the overall productivity of your team.
Moving some of the non-core activities to virtual staff tasks can ease the burden on your team. Outsourcing these support work leaves your core team with more time to focus on essential functions that they are specially qualified to handle.
Hiring virtual staff means you don’t have to worry about their geographic location. They can work from anywhere around the world. When this barrier of location is broken, you get access to a lot more talent from all over the world. You have more options for hiring the best talent.
You don’t have to worry about training them either because, being independent contractors, they usually take care of their own professional development. They keep themselves current with the industry’s demands and keep upgrading their skills to ensure their services remain relevant and useful to their clients.
Another major advantage of hiring virtual staff is the flexibility they usually bring along. You may remain busy all day with your in-office team and only have time in the later hours of the day. Hiring a virtual assistant from a different time zone can align your working hours so that you can sit for virtual meetings and calls to get work done with them.
Even if your virtual assistant is from the same time zone as you, they are often open to adjusting their working hours according to your requirements. This is not possible with in-office staff who usually have fixed working hours.
Most companies prefer to hire virtual staff for taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. These include all the business support work that you need, such as –
There is a lot more in this category that you can get done by a virtual assistant. As the name suggests, a virtual assistant can handle nearly everything that an assistant in your office does.
Digital marketing is an integral part of every business’s marketing strategy these days. And content creation is at the core of digital marketing. Your business needs content for its website, blog, social media pages, YouTube channel, marketing material, and more. This is one task that is best outsourced.
Content creation requires some special skills, be it written content or some other format. So the best decision here would be to hire a skilled freelancer to manage your virtual staff tasks of content creation and management. A skilled content writer/ marketer can take care of your SEO requirements, content strategy, as well as content marketing requirements.
A business’s social media presence plays a very important role in building its brand image and following in today’s world. Managing your social media accounts and ensuring that your pages are active is crucial. But for small businesses, having a dedicated social media team isn’t always possible.
Outsourcing your social media management work to a virtual assistant can help you save time and costs. The virtual assistant overseeing your social media management can ensure that posts are published on your pages regularly. They can engage customers and prospects on your posts by responding to their comments and queries.
They can also keep track of the latest social media trends and make sure that your content is following these trends to remain relevant. They can monitor customer interactions and analyze statistics to determine what kind of content works best and update your social media strategy from time to time.
An important business area where more and more small businesses are outsourcing their work to virtual staff is customer support. Customer service executives no longer need to be in-house. With most of your customer relationship work being handled on cloud-based CRM software, any skilled professional from anywhere can attend to your customer call and address their concerns.
You can have virtual assistants handle the basic customer service calls. If there are issues that they cannot offer a solution to, those calls can always be escalated to your in-house team. This takes a bulk of the work away from your team, freeing up their time for more important work.
Web development is another area where the professional does not need to be in office. Since all the work needs to be done on the web or at the developer’s end, it can very conveniently be outsourced. You have a much better chance of finding excellent web developers at very reasonable fees in the virtual setting.
They can not only help design your website but also help maintain it on an ongoing basis.
Business development refers to activities like finding potential leads and engaging them in conversation to increase your business’s reach. You can hire virtual assistants to oversee business development tasks remotely. They can research potential leads online, on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, collect their contact information, monitor their online behavior, interests, concerns, etc. These insights can help you build a target audience persona for your content and digital marketing campaigns.
You can also assign your virtual assistants tasks like promoting your content among prospects, contacting them over email, and so on.
Many small businesses outsource their finance and accounting tasks today as hiring an in-house accountant is too big an investment during the initial stages of a business. A virtual assistant overseeing accounting for your business can help with bookkeeping, invoicing, collecting accounts receivable payments, following up with vendors/ clients, etc.
Yes, you can hire a virtual assistant to do your research for you as well. It is what a business development assistant is doing for you too, after all. You can outsource any kind of research work that you need. If you are creating content for your blog, or making a presentation for an important meeting, or writing an e-book, you can have your virtual assistant help you with the research. They can collect all the relevant information, data, statistics, etc. they find online and offline, compile it, clean it up and share a comprehensive outline that you can use for your work.
Not just small businesses but businesses of all sizes are constantly trying to cut down costs and save time. Outsourcing and virtual assistance in some of the key business areas can help businesses achieve great results at much lesser cost and with very little effort. While you may be concerned about whether virtual assistants are reliable and can you expect quality work, hiring a skilled professional from a trustworthy freelance site will change your perception for sure. All you need to do is identify the areas of your business that you can outsource and do a little research of your own to find the right match for these tasks.