Why You Need to Consider a Virtual Office Assistant

We know what you’re thinking. A virtual office assistant? Really? How can someone be a full-time office assistant if they’re only at your place of work on a virtual basis? But you’d be surprised. Someone who works from a home office can still take on many of the typical “assistant jobs” you see around the office, including everything from data entry to bookkeeping and administrative support.

For many people, the idea of hiring an office assistant only comes with one option: bringing on someone who can physically be there. But we’re about to show you why it doesn’t have to be that way. With a virtual office assistant, you can have someone who’s fully productive, cost-effective, and skilled enough to take on every office task you need. Here’s how.

Outsourcing to a Virtual Office Assistant: Basic Tasks

First things first: what can you actually have a virtual office assistant accomplish? The short answer is that they can take on any basic administrative jobs around the office that don’t require their physical presence. No, they can’t lift boxes for you—but they can lift a major part of your company’s load nonetheless.

Here are some of the most important tasks that virtual assistants can handle:

  • Travel arrangements and scheduling. Need to schedule a flight to attend a conference? Hotel? Car arrangements? You shouldn’t necessarily have to do it yourself if you have an assistant who can make those arrangements for you. A virtual office assistant can handle the arrangements for you and an entire team at your office.
  • Data entry. Data entry can be one of the biggest obstacles for growing businesses. If your top people are spending too much time on tasks they shouldn’t have to handle themselves, then they aren’t pursuing the high-reward actions that make your business grow. 
  • Bookkeeping. Managing expenses and tracking income to keep the books is the duty of any office assistant, who should have the skills and experience to effectively handle bookkeeping with minimal distraction.
  • Follow-up. Haven’t heard back from that one client? Need to make sure that you remember who to contact after a long weekend? Put a virtual office assistant in charge of following up and you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your most important communications.
  • Phone calls. Placing and taking phone calls often means double duty for a young, growing business. But a virtual office assistant can easily handle your phone call needs from the comfort of their home.
  • Managing office supplies. Need to find the best prices on the latest office supplies? Need to shop across multiple outlets to find the most affordable printer ink? That’s the exact kind of time-consuming task that saves money and works perfectly for a virtual office assistant.
  • Managing spreadsheets. If you need a spreadsheet formatted, created, or need to track any essential office tasks, a virtual office assistant is ideally suited to the task. That’s why it’s so critical to make sure that you hire someone with the specific skills and experience to handle spreadsheets, including experience in working with top programs like Excel.
  • Email inbox management. Your inbox shouldn’t be a labyrinth. It should be a quick and easy way to reach out and to have customers reach out to you. But managing the inbox itself can be a tough job, full of data entry, contacts management, and more. That’s why it’s important to outsource your inbox to a virtual office assistant.
Young Female Virtual Office Assistant

Virtual Office Assistant Job Description

Here's an example virtual assistant job description -- one that we use here at Delegated.com for bringing in top talent:

Preferred Skills:

  • Project and database management
  • Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, 360)
  • Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Calendar)
  • CRM experience (Hubspot, Salesforce, AirTable, etc)
  • Email marketing software experience (Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc)
  • Accounting software experience (Quickbooks, Wave, etc)
  • Ability to work well in a team environment, and to work with different personality types

Technical Requirements:

  • Computer 3 years old or newer running the most recent operating system and up-to-date security software (no Chromebooks)
  • Access to high-speed internet (at least 10MB down / 2MB up)
  • Wired high-quality noise canceling headset
  • Self facing computer camera (optional but preferred)

Why Hire a Virtual Office Assistant Over a Full-Time Employee?

Young Male Business Owner

Everything we’ve listed thus far might sound great to you. But what if you’re still not sure that a full-time employee wouldn’t be better?

That’s where we like to introduce some specific benefits to hiring a virtual assistant. While they can’t provide what an in-person administrative assistant can, you’ll find that there’s far more overlap than you ever imagined. And the benefits of going virtual are myriad:

Lowering Costs

There’s a reason that even large corporations are planning to expand the number of freelancers and remote workers they use, to the tune of 80%. They lower costs. A freelancer like a virtual office assistant doesn’t require retirement benefits or health care benefits from you—they only require the hourly rate. This does more than simplify your bottom line. It helps make sure that you have more flexibility.

Consider that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the worker’s average hourly cost includes $11.48—well above the minimum wage—just to pay these benefits. That means that for what you pay in benefits, you could afford to hire a freelancer who worked full-time.

A virtual assistant with specific office administration skills should command a fair salary. But when you factor in how much these other expenses can add up, you’re left with one conclusion: a virtual assistant is an affordable alternative to full-time help.

Increase in Productivity

There’s another benefit to hiring a virtual assistant: they can work exclusively on a part-time basis. That means that they can dedicate their productive time solely to your tasks. 

According to some statistics, the average full-time employee is only productive for three hours per day. That means that you’re paying benefits and a full-time salary for someone to work hard for just those three hours. That isn’t to say that your employees aren’t trying to do their best. But when it comes to honing in on the most important work of the day, a virtual assistant with a clear definition of their role can use those productive hours to give you the best possible bang for your buck.

Hiring a Virtual Office Assistant Today

If you’re already convinced, then the next steps are simple. But even though they’re simple, they can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never added someone like a VA to your staff before. That’s why we’ve created a straightforward process:

  • Sign up. Sign up with us and you’ll be able to kickstart the other steps in a flash.
  • Get matched with a customer success manager. Here’s where we like to keep things simple. You have a need, but you’re not always sure which hire might be best for you. Our customer success manager will be happy to come in and help you with this stage of the process, including identifying some potential hires that might be a fit.
  • Selection. Who’s the VA who can be your virtual office assistant, and maybe even a virtual office administrator? Match the skills and experience they have to your office needs.
  • Onboarding. Did you know that organizations with a good onboarding process tend to improve productivity by over 70%? Onboarding is one of the most critical steps in the process, because this is when you’ll give the VA everything they need to know to kick off their new position in your team.

Get Started with a Virtual Office Assistant

Already convinced that you know how and why you should hire an assistant on a virtual, full-time, or part-time basis? Then you’re ready.

See How It Works »

FAQs: The Ins and Outs of Hiring a VA

Still have questions? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Let’s look at some of the most common questions we come across:

What can a virtual office assistant do?

As long as a large portion of your business can be handled via phone or Internet, there really aren’t too many limits. A virtual office assistant can handle administrative tasks, data entry, email management, inbox management, scheduling, call-taking, and more. It’s important that you define these specific tasks before you hire the VA so that you know what to do next.

How do I get started? What should my onboarding document look like?

These two questions relate because the onboarding document is a key way to ensure that your virtual assistant knows how and when to tackle certain tasks. You’ll especially want to create an onboarding document that contains the following:
  • Contact information for your team
  • Relevant account log-in details
  • The expected outcomes of each ask
  • How to accomplish each task
  • Room for feedback and someone to contact regarding questions
Create an onboarding document with all of this information and your VA won’t have to guess their way through their first few weeks.

What kind of virtual office assistant should I hire? What traits should I look for?

The traits should match your needs. For example, if you already have an accountant on staff who manages your bookkeeping, then hiring a virtual office assistant with most of their experience in bookkeeping may seem redundant. You’ll want to find those people who have the skills to fit what your current holes are. That way, a virtual assistant won’t only help right away, but will become an indispensable part of your team.

How should I bring a virtual office assistant on board?

Try to create a two-week trial period in which your virtual assistant can ask questions and get feedback. During this period, make sure that you include those tasks that you’ll expect the office assistant to handle in their future role. This is the time to let them know what they’re doing wrong, what they can improve, and what they’re doing right. With this feedback, your VA will have a clear picture of what working for your company should feel like.