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The Hybrid Workplace: Integrating Virtual Assistants into the Work Force

It used to be that virtual assistants were contracted by executives who needed administrative support and personal assistance services.

It used to be that virtual assistants were the cost-cutting option by small business owners who wanted to expand operations but were constrained by tight capital.

How times have changed over the last 5 years.

Today’s virtual assistants have enjoined the workplace of even the largest corporations in the world. Despite Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer’s failed telecommuter experiment, more companies have continued to integrate virtual assistants into the workplace.

The popularity of virtual assistants has spawned alternative terms such as telecommuters, freelancers and home-based workers. Essentially the meaning is the same; people contracted to perform tasks online from remote locations.

According to a 2015 study by Gallup, in the United States 37% of Americans have done home based work. This corresponds with the survey that many American companies have allocated 30% to 45% of their workforce for telecommuters or virtual assistants.

In the United Kingdom as early as 2011, 59% of companies surveyed reported that they were offering telecommuting work.

It is estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of workforces will be composed of virtual assistants or telecommuters.

Why are companies integrating virtual assistants into the office work force? Apparently there are several good reasons why it’s advantageous to have virtual assistance within a brick- and- mortar setting:

Reduce Cost of Operations – Hiring virtual assistants will lower the monthly cost of operations of a company through the following ways:

  • Lower cost of benefits; virtual assistants are not full-time employees and are not entitled to benefits.
  • No significant increase in costs of operations; virtual assistants are responsible for their own costs of business.

Increase Work Productivity – Research has shown that virtual assistants are more productive than office employees. Virtual assistants put in 24 more days of work versus office workers.

Office workers have been shown to average only 90 minutes of productive time per day.

A Virtual Assistant usually allocates 4 hours per client. On the average, a Virtual Assistant can complete 1 task every 90 minutes for a productivity rate of 75% versus 18% for the office worker.

Lower Attrition Rate – A study showed that home-based workers are generally happier and more productive. In another study, home-based workers were shown to be 13.5% more productive than office workers.

Happier workers are less stressed out and able to focus better on work. There are fewer distractions and concerns to worry about. Thus, companies that integrated virtual assistants into their workforce have lower levels of attrition.

Availability of Contingencies – Another advantage of integrating virtual assistants into the work place is that it gives companies contingencies in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

An example would be inclement weather in the form of snow storms, intermittent rains or flooding. It may be difficult for some employees to report for work. Having virtual assistants onboard will assure you there will be no work interruption.

Integrating virtual assistants into the workforce will continue into the near future. As long as business remains volatile and unpredictable, integrating virtual assistants will hedge companies against economically turbulent periods.

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