The business environment has changed a great deal in the last decade. We’ve seen amazing progress in the world of technology and communication.
We’ve also seen the consequences of poor economic management and a lasting recession. These factors combined have led to a sea of change in the way that businesses run their operations and plan for future growth.
Today, it’s no longer necessary to maintain a costly office setup, with a variety of full or part-time staff dedicated to specific areas of expertise. Not only is it not necessary, but by doing so you can set yourself up at a competitive disadvantage, as rival organisations see the advantages of streamlining and outsourcing.
This has given rise to the meteoric ascendancy of the virtual assistant.
In truth, there is very little the virtual assistant cannot do compared to a “real-life” assistant, sitting at the next desk or in the adjacent office.
When businesses make a realistic comparison of costs the difference becomes quite clear. It makes no sense from a logistical and economic point of view to continue to maintain a costly “bricks and mortar” office anymore.
There are many hidden costs associated with employing somebody on either a full or part-time basis. Some of these costs include benefits, contribution to a pension scheme, payment for sick leave, paid holidays. These are some of the payments necessary to keep an employee happy and to conform to legal requirements. Yet these costs only reflect part of the problem.
When a business commits to employing somebody full time they also commit to training and ongoing development. They need to provide a platform for growth, in order to keep the employee happy and to ensure they don’t start scouting around for other positions. Engaging a full-time employee is also a commitment made without being fully sure of the future. It can be difficult to scale up or down your requirements as a small business owner and it can take a long time to replace somebody who leaves. When your business is not firing on all cylinders due to staff shortage or training this can once again place the organisation at a competitive disadvantage. In short, the keyword for all companies these days is agility and this is not an easy goal to achieve if the organisation cannot easily manage employee growth.
As a business grows its needs by necessity will change.
Therefore, the ability of the business to grow will be determined by how quickly it can change direction and how easily its employees can be retrained or in some cases replaced.
One other point should not be overlooked when it comes to hiring employees versus virtual assistants. It can sometimes be difficult to make the necessary decisions related to the employee, due to perceived feelings of loyalty or even personal attachment. By contrast, the relationship with the virtual assistant is by definition more remote. Even though either option represents a professional relationship, it is often easier to consider the virtual assistant simply as the provider of a professional service, as the relationship is usually engaged at a distance.
What I have seen this year is an increase in not only SMEs, but also corporate and multinational businesses using our virtual assistant services and those of other freelancers too. They get the comfort of a reusable, quality and reliable team, to pick up and put down when they need to without the commitment and overheads.