Using managed services and outsourcing tasks is commonplace now. Remote working has become normal rather than being the exception. And virtual staffing is rising in popularity.
All manner of businesses are seeing the benefits of remote support with their IT needs or for software development. But, virtual staffing could help with all manner of business operations.
From temporary staff to help with increased workload, to specialist talent to bring fresh ideas to a project; remote support is seen as the way to go.
What are virtual office assistants though? And how will remote support help your business, and is it better than in-house staffing?
What Are Virtual Office Assistants and Why Use Them?
In the past, businesses would use in-house assistants to manage day-to-day operations like answering phone calls or collating reports. Customer inquiries and scheduling appointments would be handled by these employees so others might handle more technical tasks.
However, in the new age of remote support, businesses can leverage virtual office assistants and other services remotely. A telephone answering service could be handled by virtual receptionists based off-site. Operations may be streamlined and overheads reduced.
A virtual office assistant is a remote worker who provides admin support, and even technical assistance to a business from a different location. Remote workers offer numerous benefits including cost savings as you will see.
What Areas Could Virtual Office Staff Be Used In?
Although the term virtual office assistant is being used here, these remote workers are able to handle numerous tasks. Think of it as outsourcing. Your business could outsource complicated projects or it might outsource accounting. Virtual staffing helps businesses with many departmental tasks.
- Data entry
- Social media management
- Email management
- Email marketing
- Scheduling appointments
- Human Resources
In addition to this, businesses might choose to outsource other support functions like IT or customer service. Many businesses operate remote customer service units which are completely off-site.
These virtual workers will answer calls from your customers in the manner that you request. As far as any caller is concerned, they are employees of your company.
Using virtual office services also helps to present a professional image of your company. You may not be ready for an in-house customer support team and call center. But, with the lower costs of virtual staffing, you may be able to utilize these services.
How Can You Utilize Virtual Office Staff?
After choosing which processes to outsource, you have a choice of how to utilize these remote support workers.
Virtual staff are based off-site and work remotely from another location. New challenges may appear at first. But, there are numerous benefits to remote support.
You may choose to have a mix of in-house and remote staff. Or, you might want to solely have remote workers or only a skeleton crew on-site.
For example, you may have someone on-site manning the front desk and scheduling appointments. But, your calls are all being handled from a remote call center.
What Are The Advantages of Employing Virtual Office Assistants?
Remote support lets businesses save money on hiring and training, and remove the problems with staff turnover. At the same time, businesses gain from having fully vetted professional help.
Here are some of the gains that businesses will see with remote support:
Fewer Overheads – Able To Scale Back
Operating costs will be slashed as less office space will be required. There will be less need to invest in new equipment also. And staffing levels can be scaled back while still meeting customer demand.
With fewer full-time employees, the outgoings on staff benefits will be reduced, as will labor costs. The biggest cost to business is labor. Labor accounts for about 70% of a business’s spend each year. But, many remote workers are based overseas where labor costs are not as high.
Lower Carbon Footprint
By using virtual staffing you will be lowering your business’s carbon footprint. Less staff commuting to your office will reduce individuals’ carbon footprints. And with a smaller operation in place, your physical business will produce fewer carbon emissions.
Using remote workers helps to protect the environment from the damage done by daily commutes. In the US, the average car releases 650g of CO2/km. Virtual staffing may benefit the planet.
Reduced Turnover Rates
Employee retention is vital for keeping the best talent in-house. But, the average person switches jobs after about 4 years. Using virtual staff removes the need for staff retention as you will have access to a large pool of professionals who can support your business.
Access To Specialized Talent
The agencies that supply virtual staff have strict vetting systems in place. Businesses, therefore, benefit from having the choice of not only professional, experienced workers but also specialized talent.
If a business wants virtual office receptionists then this can be achieved. But, if your business needs a dedicated software development team then there is remote support for this too.
Virtual staffing brings increased flexibility. Staffing levels may be adjusted when demand fluctuates or times are hard. The pandemic led to many staff cuts and in situations such as this, virtual staffing gives the flexibility needed to scale back.
Another benefit of remote support is flexible working hours. Your business could operate certain functions outside of traditional working hours. Customer support could run 24/7 for instance.
Remote workers are more productive than in-house staff. They have fewer distractions and fewer interruptions. Remote workers are able to focus on the tasks at hand easier too. Delegating tasks helps manage staff productivity and outsourcing helps here.
Wasted man-hours will be reduced through virtual staffing compared to the traditional office environment. But, there are some challenges to virtual staffing which need a proactive approach. Then will get the best out of remote support.
How To Get The Most Out of Virtual Assistants
Your business may need to make some adjustments at first. This will help you to get the best out of remote support. Fortunately, the changes are simple and beneficial.
During the pandemic, many businesses started to rely on instant messaging and Zoom meetings as remote working grew necessary.
This leads to certain challenges as does overseas remote workers:
- Working outside traditional office hours
- Varied time zones
- Need for video conferencing
- Switching to instant messaging
- Ability to be flexible
Your business will gain from the flexibility of virtual staffing, but due to its nature, you will have to introduce some flexibility to get the best out of remote workers. from virtual assistant services. Your virtual office assistants may be in more than one time zone for instance.
You may also have to invest in video conferencing and start using instant messaging. Scheduling meetings may prove to be a little trickier than before. However, these are small changes compared to the cost savings that remote support will bring.
Virtual office assistants and remote workers give many benefits to businesses. Operations may be streamlined and overhead costs reduced. While there may be some challenges in incorporating virtual staff into a business, taking a proactive approach will make remote support a success.
When virtual staffing is used with thought, it will lead to increased productivity, reduce costs, and a more efficiently run business.