Summer’s here! Everyone is excited about going to the beach, frolicking around in the pool, traveling to places for adventure, engage in a sport or hobby that they love, or just relaxing at home. Unfortunately, “everyone” includes your own employees. During this exciting time, employees usually ask to take a leave so they can enjoy summer.
While there is nothing wrong with granting them a leave—indeed, it shows them that you are a caring employer—your operations may suffer. This is especially true if you have a small- to medium-scale business where your operations revolve around a few critical people. For instance, if your sole writer takes a leave for a week, no one will be able to write articles, news items, press releases, and other Web content. Your client’s website would remain incomplete or unfinished because the Web designer does not have text content to migrate to the website. Without text to work with, there will be no text or articles for your SEO specialist to submit to platforms. There would be no one to help you edit text or screen entries submitted by clients, causing publication delays.
Thus, how do you solve this problem? One effective way is to hire the services of a virtual assistant (VA). A virtual assistant is a dedicated contractor that can offer you a wide range of services full- or part-time including, but not limited to administrative work, online chat support, direct marketing, creative assistance, social media assistance and technical expertise. Because VAs are usually stationed outside your country, you communicate with them through e-mail, landline, fax, VoIP, chat, etc.
There are many advantages in hiring a VA to fill up a temporarily vacant position.
- Businesses that require flexible temporary labor will find that hiring a VA makes good sense. You don’t have to pay taxes and regular benefits to the VA. You do not have to worry about employment laws and unemployment. Think of your VA not as an employee but a third-party service provider.
- Generally, when hiring a VA, you are outsourcing your work to people living in areas where labor rates are more affordable. Thus, you save money. For example, hiring the right VA halfway around the world where labor rates are very competitive gives you more financial freedom than hiring a full-time administrative assistant in the big city where labor is very expensive.
- Because a VA works in their own location using their own equipment, you do not need to set up equipment or supplies for them. Because your VA has her own setup, you can cut down a large chunk of your overhead cost.
- Since most VAs are already computer trained, they can assist you with your specific business trends. They offer you a wide variety of services, from simple data encoding or basic word processing to complex ones such as programming and web design. The number of services they can offer you is virtually endless!
- In many cases, employers custom-train their virtual assistant to go beyond administrative support and become their marketing support and client development arm.
- With a qualified VA, there is a lesser chance of your operations to be disrupted. Let’s take our example of your sole writer who is out for a much-needed vacation. Instead of waiting for him to come back so you can continue your operation, your VA can write the needed articles and content for you. Thus, your programmers and Web designers don’t have to wait for your writer so they can continue with their tasks.
- Without a VA to temporarily do the job of your vacationing employees, you would be forced to take over the assignments of the absent employees—writing articles, organizing your files, sending out e-mails, etc. These minor, redundant, but necessary tasks stray you from focusing on from the more important things you need to do. A VA alleviates this dilemma by doing the tasks for you. Thus, you increase your productivity and efficiency in doing the things that matter most.
And most importantly, the right VA gives you the chance to optimize your work-leisure balance. You can have your own summer vacation and enjoy life! If you hire the right VA, he/she can help you with your tasks, freeing you some precious time to take a break or do the things you really love.
Hiring a virtual assistant a good idea all year long, to meet temporary business peeks without necessarily hiring directly regular employees and to keep your business more flexible and cost-effective.