If you are launching a new business or find your current business needs some further help, you can hire a virtual assistant or an employee. This will be a big decision to make, but if you know about the differences between each, you can make a more educated decision about what may more meet your needs. Below we have outlined some significant differences and things to consider when looking at a virtual assistant versus an employee.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants are people who you choose to do tasks remotely. This allows you to hire a wide array of individuals worldwide if you so choose. You can typically find their information and experience levels online through various freelancing websites or companies that screen them. This has become a great option for companies, as many tasks you require may not need face-to-face contact and can be done on the business’ online systems. Virtual assistants are more often employed with administrative, marketing, or social content tasks. Some responsibilities they have may include:
- Scheduling appointments
- Managing calendars
- Reply to emails
- Take calls or check voicemails
- Book travel
- Plan events
- Design presentations
- Complete reports
- Send invoices
- Complete research
How Are They Different From an Employee?
An employee is under a contract with you and has protected recognized rights. A traditional employee is usually physically in the office, although they can work from home if the arrangement allows. They are often residents who know the area and often have resources in the region. For example, they may know of churches or food kitchens that can benefit those looking for event planners. They are paid hourly or salary and often have medical or dental coverage benefits.
Pros of Working With Employees
One of the greatest benefits of working with employees is that you will see and interact with them regularly if you choose. This means you can better judge their character by interviewing them in person. They will also be more aware of the area and may provide you or your customers with helpful resources or personal connections. Since you will be in-person, you will monitor productivity more closely, and it can be easier to communicate. Regular face-to-face interactions can make a large difference in company morale and culture.
Cons of Working With Employees
When you hire an employee, it is something you are investing in. Not only are you paying for their salary or hourly wage, but you are also going to finance any training or benefits. You are also paying for the building, although many businesses may require that regardless. If there is not a substantial amount of work for the employee to do, you need to find new things for them to do that fit within their job description. Typically, an in-house employee will work a scheduled set of hours with established holidays and pay dates. It is more of a 9-5 routine than most virtual assistants do.
Pros of a Virtual Assistant
There are many advantages to having a virtual assistant. Often, a virtual assistant will be paid for the entire project you hired them for or for actual hours worked. If you have a job that isn’t long-term, this is a great option since you can hire them specifically for the job that needs to be done. There are a few different ways to keep track of their work, with some hiring platforms having it included for freelancers. This also lets you keep an eye on their work progress and productivity.
Additionally, you can view multiple candidates much more easily than you would for in-person staff. This can allow you to choose a more specific set of talents or skills that an assistant would have, such as marketing or social media management. Financially, there is less risk involved with a virtual assistant. If they cannot, or do not, perform to your standards, you can easily terminate their contract and find a replacement. Since you are not paying for benefits, paid leave, administrative costs, or payroll taxes, you will usually save on overhead costs with a virtual assistant.
Cons of a Virtual Assistant
If you prefer meeting and interacting with someone face to face, you may prefer to have an employee instead of a virtual assistant. Productivity and company morale can often be improved by physically engaging and communicating with those around us. Non-verbal communication is a key to our understanding of language, which can be missed for those discussing work projects remotely.
Tracking work progress may be challenging, as it will require some effort in different systems than you may be used to. Some platforms do provide a way to keep track of hours. However, this may not always be the case. Lastly, if your virtual assistant has technical errors, such as when their internet goes down, your business may be at a disadvantage, and you may be required to take over. Since they are paying for this service, you will not have as much control over approaching troubleshooting.
How Do You Choose?
When you are looking at hiring an employee or a virtual assistant, there are a few different things you should consider, such as:
- What you are willing to spend
- Preference as to in-person communication or remote communication, like zoom
- Length of project
- How do you want to track work progress and productivity
- Office or building expenses
- If you want to provide benefits
While there are many factors to think about, these will help guide your decision. Both have benefits and risks. If you are considering a virtual assistant, you can use helpful companies like MedVA to help you choose the right candidate. Contact us today to discuss your options!