April 2, 2020

Virtual Assistant: Definition, Scope, Advantages & Disadvantages?

Anshika Awasthi

Virtual assistant is a self-employed professional who provides services to other businesses remotely. Besides, a virtual assistant is an independent body working part-time, full time or temporarily, while having access to necessary task requirements like documents, essential data. Virtual assistants have usually experienced employees from corporate office that started to set up their own virtual office. they vary in skills and experience.

Hence, we can break them into:

  • Generalised Virtual Assistant: They perform a basic range of administrative, technical or creative tasks. For instance:

Calendar management, Database building, Transcriptions, Managing website and social media etc

  • Specialised Virtual Assistant: They are experts in specific niches. They are often ex-employees who made a shift from a corporate office to VR. For instance:

Website designing and coding, search engine optimisation(SEO), graphic designing, ghostwriting etc

What can Virtual Assistant do?

The simplest answer to this is:

Mostly every task you can think of, if not then in the upcoming future it surely will.

There are a plethora of tasks/work by VA’s, so I’ve summarised them down for you:

Administrative work

A virtual assistant is capable of performing tasks which a normal administrative employee does. Companies usually hire VA for administrative work as it is a non-core task which by delegating to VA results in saving a lot of time. These can include:

  • Management – Finances, social media handles, website, basic HR duties, Email management
  • Scheduling – meetings, appointments & reminders
  • Database building & data entry
  • Calendar management & content creation

Research

Research is the basic building growth strategy of a company. Without insights, facts, data, and plenty digging a company simply can’t grow. However, business owners don’t prefer spending hours and days in researching, digging and data crunching.

This is when a Virtual Assistant can come in play. Companies can hire virtual assistant (VA’S) who specialises in researching maybe in some specific field, depending upon the requirement of the business.

A virtual assistant can do:

  • Market research
  • Analyse- consumer trends, competitor’s product and services
  • Screen application for affiliate programs

Moreover, assigning a member of a team could be a bad idea as they already have their hands full with other duties. That’s why business turn to VA’s for researching.

Customer services

Customer service is one of the first fields which made the market for virtual assistants.

Virtual assistant not only attends calls or chats with the company customers but they offer support with everything from personal dealings to paralegal. The inability of small or even big businesses to attend their customers personally leads them to virtual assistant assistance.

Virtual assistant can add value in providing a personal touch to your customers and help to manage the wait time between the customers and your service.

How to find and hire a Virtual Assistant?

With the increasing number of remote workers & freelancers, the web-based market has seen a proliferation growth in virtual assistance services. The web-based companies work as an intermediary between companies hiring and remote workers or freelancers.

Some dedicated remote worksites have enormous job openings portal for remote workers. People submit their resume to work remotely for any company they wish to work by applying to them. Other sites allow clients to post details about the type of task they are willing to offer with maximum pay rate they can work for. The selected virtual assistant may then have to submit their sample work for review.

Depending upon the company’s policy and term, a virtual assistant is paid either for the completed work or the numbers of hours they worked for.

Advantages and disadvantages of Virtual Assistant

Advantages

Time Effective

Virtual assistant saves time by off-loading time-consuming tasks without creating any hindrance with the in-house employees.

24/7 work service

Virtual assistant jobs such as customer care services come with a whole day long hustle. The companies can get their work done even while they sleep.

Cost-effective

Virtual assistant saves a lot as the money associated with recruitment, office supplies, space and much more is saved. This can turn out a great deal of saving for small business.

Expertise

Virtual assistant is skilled professionals who possess the knowledge and relevant skills to fulfil the task with proficiency. The entire skill gap in an organisation is filled.

Disadvantages

Confidentiality

Keeping information secure is one of the concern while hiring a virtual assistant. Companies don’t trust easily on a person outside of their office with essential data.

Geographical barrier

Virtual assistant working from out of your home country or any other state can create a barrier in communication due to difference in culture, time zone, language barrier and more.

Impact on in-house employees

Employees working in the company’s office can develop a resentful attitude towards their bosses for trusting virtual assistant over them for. This could even develop a lack of trust in the minds of employees even if a virtual assistant is hired to maintain more efficiency.

Bottom line

Finally, as the world is shifting to remote work condition we can see that the requirement for a virtual assistant is on a verge to increase at an amazing rate. In future tasks would be preferred remotely more and more. Getting work done at a lower cost is a win-win situation for both- the business and the clients.

About the author

Competitive, real; loves to keep working for what it wants. An extrovert who lives by her own ideas and methods.


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