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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
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The rise of remote work has led to an increase in virtual assistant demand

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 In the past year, the number of people who worked from home increased exponentially as small and large businesses alike discovered the benefits of the remote working model. What started out as a temporary solution soon became a long-term option: for 2021 and beyond, most companies either plan on going fully remote or will implement a hybrid model where they will allow employees to spend as much time as they want as the office. It's one of the biggest trends to shake up the workplace, and the fact that it's happening in all corners of the world makes it all the more important to watch.

When something as big as this comes along, it's bound to affect multiple areas of the economy. For example, some jobs might disappear, others may be in higher demand. Virtual assistants belong in the latter category. Although businesses needed their services before the pandemic, too, the demand skyrocketed in the past year, when businesses found themselves working from virtual offices and often struggled to make a seamless transition to WFH.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant can do most of the tasks of a regular assistant, only virtually. More often than not, virtual assistants are trained freelancers who work with agencies and who can provide a wide variety of services, including, but not limited to:

  • Administrative tasks
  • Email management
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Travel planning
  • Event management
  • Human Resources administration
  • Project management
  • Executive support
  • Social media management
  • Internal communications

In other words, if a task can be done on a computer or over the phone (and the pandemic has proved that most things can be done remotely), a virtual assistant can do it.

Virtual assistants can be trained in different areas, so executives can hire a virtual assistant based on their qualifications and previous experience. For example, finance startups can hire a virtual assistant who has experience working with banks and financial institutions, law firms can hire a virtual assistant who has experience in the legal field, and so on. Broadly speaking, a virtual assistant can do anything from posting updates on social media to scheduling Zoom meetings, but before you're tempted to hire a "jack of all trades", keep in mind that the virtual assistant might not excel at everything. Ideally, you shouldn't hire freelancers and, instead, you should work with a virtual assistant agency that will recommend someone for the job based on your unique needs.

As the term suggests, virtual assistants work remotely. After hiring one, they will start working for you right away, and you don't have to worry about integrating them into the workplace, buying them an office, or offering training. It's precisely this convenience that makes virtual assistants one of the most in-demand jobs of 2021. Plus, virtual assistants are already used to working remote and can make the transition easier for you.

How can virtual assistants help virtual offices?

When the pandemic took businesses by storm, most executives were thrown into a nightmare scenario. Even the companies that had previously started the digital transformation process needed some time to adapt because the pandemic shook the very foundation of what used to be a normal workday. Thousands of executives found themselves working from home, trying to keep in sync teams that were also working from home, all while navigating the stress and responsibilities that came with the pandemic. The virtual office suddenly became more chaotic, and, especially in those fields that experienced growth, such as IT and digital marketing, businesses were short-staffed because there were a lot of things to do. Here's how a virtual assistant can help in this scenario:

  • Save time. Many of the tasks that virtual assistants are hired for include administrative tasks that take a lot of time: answering emails, scheduling meetings, recruiting, and so on. These tasks are obviously important, but if you're already a busy executive who can barely fit something into their schedule, they will prevent you from seeing the bigger picture and making strategic decisions because they eat away at your valuable time. A virtual assistant can take care of these tasks for you so that you can focus on being a leader and driving business growth. Basically, a virtual assistant offers an executive's most valuable resource: time.
  • Save money. Hiring a virtual assistant is much more affordable than hiring a regular assistant. VAs work remotely. They already have an office, and they can do all their tasks just as efficiently from home. You don't have to worry about finding a place for them in the office, buying them a computer, or training them. Most executives confessed that they could benefit from an assistant's services, but they didn't have the funds to hire them. Since virtual assistants usually cost less, they can provide all those much-needed services without the financial stress.
  • Flexible solutions. If you're working on a bigger project or going through a busy period, you can hire a virtual assistant to work for you on an hourly basis. This way, you only pay for the services you need, whether that's for three months or three years. Many times, executives find it hard to hire regular assistants on a project basis and end up keeping them for more than they needed, which drains a hole in their budget.
  • Access to better talent. Not all executives failed to hire an assistant because they didn't have the resources. Many had them, but they couldn't find an assistant who was qualified enough. This was a common problem, especially with businesses in remote areas or businesses in disruptive fields where talent is harder to find. Because virtual assistants aren't tied to a physical location, you can basically hire people from all over the world.

In the past year, many virtual assistant agencies have reported surges up to 300% in demand, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. For better or worse, the modern office has changed, and most tasks can now be done remotely. As more and more businesses embrace the remote or hybrid work models, virtual assistants can become long-term partners to your success.

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