What is a VA? An executive assistant who works from their own office, rather than yours.
Adam Fidler of Adept Executive Consulting defines the role of an Executive PA thus:
“I’m a neutral and independent advisor to my Executive who enables the day-to-day management routines that enhance the effectiveness of my boss and the organisation as a whole. I operate as a business manager in my own right – and I am an integral part of the management team.”
The difference between an EA and a VA (virtual assistant - often known as a virtual PA) is simply geography: the EA works in your office location, whilst the VA works in his/hers.
A VA will look after any aspect of your business you choose to delegate so that you can concentrate on what matters to you. Using a VA for tasks which take a lot of your valuable time makes economic sense. You will save on the cost of employing a secretary in your own office, since:
The purpose of our role is to make yours easier.
Improved focus: without chatty colleagues or distracting background noise, virtual workers can concentrate on work without interruptions.
Better communication: remote workers rely on a variety of tools and methods to work across teams. This means that they develop broader communication skills faster than in-office workers and build strong relationships with co-workers as they work through problems and make decisions together.
Less wasted time: to start with, no commuting. People who work remotely actually put in more hours - an average of four hours per week more - than people working in an office. When they do connect via video conferences or chat applications, they want to make the best use of that time.
Reduced attrition: virtual employees do not take this freedom for granted; they appreciate the ability to work from home. Research shows that turnover amongst remote workers is greatly reduced, compared to in-office staff.
You may be extremely talented, able to do all the tasks in your business - but that doesn't mean you should. Learning to delegate is not easy but, if you're spending large amounts of time on jobs that aren't strictly part of your role, then you need a VA.
Delegating to a VA can help you - and therefore your business - perform better. Outsourcing may seem daunting, but your business will reap the benefits of having each team member doing what they're best at. It's time to check out your options and here are some questions should you ask yourself:
If you're concerned about delegated work being done to your required standard, the answer to that (besides explaining your needs clearly) is process mapping. Rebecca Stevens of Work Brighter explain this issue well on her website - click here to see her advice.
A virtual assistant can be a true business partner - as a business owner herself, she understands the issues and pressures you face and can anticipate your needs. Then there's the benefit of the relief that comes with the knowledge that you've got reliable support which will leave you free to focus on what matters most to you.
Emma Cossey, a freelancer who employs a VA, says "The time I save by hiring a VA is time I now spend working on new projects which bring in more money" and she lists the benefits as follows: