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Virtual PA myths, debunked

facts and myths

When it comes to virtual PAs, a lot of businesses remain wary. This is mainly down to the fact that there is a lot of misinformation surrounding virtual PAs, but the fact is, that they can take firms to the next level.

Using a virtual PA is about much more than merely reducing cost - it has been shown to increase productivity levels and improve the quality of work. It will also give your business a greater amount of flexibility, which could prove vital if you're a start-up business looking to grow.

So, in order to help you make sense of whether or not a virtual PA would be the right move for your company, we've taken the time to debunk some of the myths surrounding virtual PAs.

1. An in-house PA will get more work done

A lot of companies believe that hiring an in-house PA means more work will get done. Studies have shown, however, that office workers generally have relatively low productivity when compared to virtual PAs.

A study carried out by the Bureau of Labour Statistics found that the average office worker was productive for an average of just under three hours during a typical work day. That means that over an eight-hour work day, five hours are spent on non-productive tasks. However, with a virtual PA, however, every single minute of time you choose to allocate to them is wholly productive.

If for example, you find that your virtual PA's tasks for the day could be realistically completed in just two hours, you can be assured that these tasks will be accomplished within that timescale. The reason for this is that virtual PAs are paid differently: unlike office workers who will usually have a set salary, virtual PAs receive remuneration based on how productive they are.

Download: How businesses can save by outsourcing [Report]

Put simply, they have to be productive. This means you don't waste any money when using virtual PAs. With an in-house PA, it's worth remembering that you're paying them for every time they go to the bathroom, chat, check their phone or take breaks that go on a little too long. If you're a company that's looking to grow, can you really afford to be throwing away money so unnecessarily?

2. Collaboration doesn't work with remote workers

A few years ago, the statement above may have been true. Without some of the conveniences on offer today, having a PA working virtually whilst trying to collaborate with in-house staff would have been difficult.

Times have moved on however, and although it's true that having someone working from a remote location will take some getting used to, technology has evolved so much that there really are no barriers when it comes to collaborative working from different locations.

Video calls, with clear audio and video, are now easier than ever thanks to Skype and other similar services, meaning you can relay and receive messages with your virtual PA just as easily as you could if you had them in the meeting room, or in another part of your office building. At SmartPA, we offer high quality virtual PAs who are able to seamlessly fit into your business. All of our virtual PAs are used to working on collaborative projects from remote locations, so you can rest assured that there won't be any issues in making a transition.

Find out how you can hire a virtual assistant.

3. A virtual PA throws up more problems than solutions

A lot of business owners see a virtual PA as a way of cutting costs, but, at the same time, believe that because they are cutting costs, they will be faced with more problems over the long term. This couldn't be further from the truth.

A virtual PA will simplify your business rather than complicate it. By having a virtual PA on board, you don't have to worry about your PA calling in sick or not meeting the required deadlines; everything is delivered on time and to a high standard. The virtual PAs that SmartPA provides are highly experienced within a wide range of businesses and can provide you with a level of service that will ensure you don't require or miss, having an in-house PA. 

4. There is a lack of talent with virtual PAs

Another common misconception is that there is a lack of talent in the virtual PA industry. People believe that virtual PAs generally provide a lower level of quality than in-house members of staff, but the fact is, that there is simply no evidence for this.

In fact, there has been a steady increase in demand for virtual PAs over the past five years, and that trend looks set to continue. It is estimated that by the time 2020 rolls around, over half of the workforce will be made up of virtual assistants and remote workers; a huge change that has seen the number of virtual opportunities grow dramatically. This growth in the industry has been put down to the fact that no matter what the size is, all companies are looking for effective ways to save money. So, if a business can get the same or an enhanced level of service for the fraction of the cost, it makes sense to go with a virtual PA, when compared to the costs involved when hiring an in-house one.

Read on: What services does a virtual assistant provide?

The increased vacancies available for virtual assistants have seen high-quality workers crossing over towards the virtual world in order to capitalise on the opportunities available, and this has led to high levels of talent entering the industry from a wide variety of backgrounds. Ultimately, there has never been a better time to hire a virtual PA, simply because of the array of talent available.

We have virtual PAs from a huge range of industries, with specific skill-sets that could enhance your business. For those who believe that talent in the virtual PA industry is becoming increasingly diluted, the exact opposite is true. In fact, it's becoming more and more diversified. We know that no two businesses are the same and that every company has its own set of individual requirements. That's why our service will provide you with a virtual PA who can cater to any specific needs your company may have.

Overall, growth has been a good thing for the virtual PA industry; it has boosted the talent level, simply because more experienced PAs have chosen to enter the profession, excited at the opportunities it provides them.

5. Virtual PAs are only effective as full-time workers

This goes hand in hand with the misconception that you need an eight-hour day in order for your PA to get all their tasks done. The fact is, that virtual PAs do their work based entirely on productivity, and in order to be as productive as possible, you need to be efficient. It's those increased levels of efficiency which allow virtual PAs, such as the ones provided by SmartPA, to get projects and tasks done in a fraction of the time it might take an in-house PA. Our virtual PAs will look to get all of the tasks you set them completed within a specific period of time.

The support you receive from our virtual PA is entirely scalable, so if you have a lot of projects which need completing, you can simply request additional support from your virtual PA, whilst in the quieter periods you can simply scale it back. Most businesses have periods of the year when they are busier than others, and with a virtual PA, you'll be getting increased flexibility as opposed to an in-house worker who will cost you the same amount, whether you're busy or quiet.
So, if you're thinking about hiring a PA, it's a good idea to think about the tasks you will need them to complete on a day-to-day basis. How long do you realistically think the tasks will take? In most cases, they won't take a full work day, so it doesn't make sense to pay a full-time employee when you could hire a virtual PA for a fraction of the cost.

6. A virtual PA won't save you that much money

When discussing the merits of virtual PAs, another argument that occasionally comes up is that they end up not being that cost effective in the long run.

The reason given by some companies for not hiring a virtual PA is that they think they have to spend extra time re-doing and reviewing the work completed by a virtual PA. Although it's perfectly understandable that businesses will want to review any work that's completed by a remote worker, it's also true that businesses check the work that's completed by their in-house workers too. Regardless of where the work is carried out, quality checks will always be carried out, simply because they are the responsibility of the business owner. It's also worth remembering that, thanks to the levels of skill within the world of virtual PAs, the quality of work you receive is likely to be extremely high. So, the prospect of business owners spending hours re-doing a virtual PAs work is virtually minimal.

What cannot be argued with, is the fact that virtual PAs save businesses money overall, simply because the cost of contracting a virtual PA is much less than if a business was to hire a full-time PA. With a virtual PA from SmartPA, you will get a quote based on the service requirements of your company. Put simply, you only pay for the work you require. You are not liable to pay for any of your virtual PA's expenses, and, unlike office workers, you won't have to pay out for any benefits. In fact, it's estimated that the cost of hiring a full-time office worker is between 1.5 and 2 times more expensive than the cost of hiring a remote worker. 

7. Most virtual PAs have limited skills

Whether you need an expert in document production, Microsoft Office, a researcher, someone to take care of your bookkeeping, or something else entirely, SmartPA will be able to find a solution that works for you.

Thanks to the growth and diversification of the virtual PA industry, we're able to supply your business with a highly skilled assistant that will be able to hit the ground running. If you've been thinking about hiring a virtual PA, but have been put off as a result of skill-set worries, then SmartPA can help. We can alleviate those fears by providing you with a skilled and capable PA, who will be able to complete job-specific and highly technical work, should you require it.

8. You don't have enough tasks for a virtual PA

Whilst many companies believe that they have too much work for a virtual PA to handle, there are some that think they don't have enough. If this is the case with your company, then it's a good idea to think of a virtual PA as more than a service, because in actual fact, they can become a strategic partner.

Our PAs have high levels of experience and quite often have gained their expertise in companies similar to yours. Their experience has taught them a great deal about certain industries, meaning they know what's required in order to hit targets, meet deadlines and maintain profitability.

A lot of virtual PAs are much like the business owners they work for; they are business owners themselves, offering their virtual PA services. They will have their own objectives, and will know what is required to grow a business and make it as successful as possible. If you're after a PA who will do more than merely complete the tasks assigned to them, a virtual PA could be the way to go. With a virtual PA as part of your team, you'll have someone with knowledge of the industry you can frequently consult with. 

If you would like to find out more about SmartPA's market-leading support, contact us today.