When you first started your business, you probably never imagined being in a situation where you would need to consider hiring extra support. Now here you are, desperately in need of an extra pair of hands and not sure where you’re going to find them.

It’s completely normal to feel reluctant to start the rigmarole involved in advertising and selecting a new employee. You’ll probably also feel put off by the thought of all the formalities that are essential responsibilities of a good employer. It can all feel very daunting. So, you’ll be pleased to hear, taking on a permanent employee isn’t your only option.

Before you post your job advert, have you considered hiring a Virtual Assistant instead of a permanent employee? It may be a new option for you, but it’s not as ‘out there’ as you might think. In fact, you’ll probably find it makes a whole lot of sense.

Virtual Assistant vs employee

Before we jump into the benefits of a Virtual Assistant over an employee, it’s important first to clarify this – what’s the difference?

An employee. This is an individual you recruit as a permanent member of your staff to perform a specific role. They usually work physically alongside you at a desk within your premises. You pay them a salary and offer a range of employee benefits.

A Virtual Assistant. This is an independent worker whom you contract to undertake specific tasks for you from a remote location. You pay them a fee based on the work performed. That’s it. They look after themselves in most other respects.

Why you should hire a Virtual Assistant

Now, your Virtual Assistant may not be able to physically deliver a coffee to your desk every morning, but there are definitely many other benefits of recruiting flexible, remote support. Here we outline five of the biggest benefits of choosing to hire a Virtual Assistant over a permanent staff member.

1. A Virtual Assistant can adapt to fluctuations in workload

Do you have seasonal busy periods, but some quieter times in between? Maybe you have new product plans on the horizon? Or is there a big event in your calendar that’s going to take more than a bit of overtime to deliver? Using a Virtual Assistant gives you the flexibility to scale up support when you need it and reduce it when things calm down.

2. Employing staff is usually more expensive

Have you considered the total cost of employing a permanent member of staff? To start with, they’ll need space at your premises, a desk, IT equipment and a phone line as a minimum. Add to this their NI costs, various benefits, holiday pay and sickness cover. Suddenly, it becomes blatantly clear that a salary is only part of the cost of a new member of staff. In contrast, a Virtual Assistant comes with zero overheads. All you pay is their fee.

3. You get more skills and experience for your money

With a Virtual Assistant, you often get much more than an administrator that works from home. For example, every member of our Virtual Assistant team at Virtually Priceless is a highly experienced PA. They come with all the skills you need. No further training is required. They also offer a whole range of add-on specialist skills that go way beyond what you probably expect from an administrator. This may be social media management, project management, event planning or email marketing for example.

The years of experience and enhanced skillset you can find in a Virtual Assistant are often beyond what you can afford to pay for in a permanent employee. So, before you place a job ad, ask yourself this – is the salary you’re able to offer going to attract an employee with all the skills you really need? Can you really afford to invest in the training to help a new employee develop all of the skills for the job?

4. You don’t pay for their tea breaks

Have you ever considered the wasted time you pay employees for when they they’re chatting by the water cooler? Or eating their lunch? A Virtual Assistant will only bill for the time they’re actually working for you on a task or project.

5. Virtual Assistants understand running a business

Virtual Assistants are also business owners themselves. They understand the pressure and the rewards. They can use this experience to help you run your operations more smoothly.

Why you should recruit a permanent employee

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes employing a permanent staff member is definitely the best way to proceed. For example, if you want to specify exactly what hours and where someone works for you. Or maybe you need the physical presence of someone in your office? Perhaps you feel it would be better to have more freedom to train and mould a person to exactly fit the role you need? Developing a team member can certainly be very rewarding.

However, it’s sometimes worth taking the time to decide whether employment is 100% the best option. It’s much harder to go back once contracts are signed and they’re on your payroll. For this reason, some of our clients decide to use a Virtual Assistant to help them work out if they really need a permanent team member to perform a role. This allows them to experiment with various types and levels of support so they can make a carefully considered decision.

Virtual Assistant vs employee: Which option is right for you?

If you’re in a quandary about whether to opt for a Virtual Assistant or an employee, we can help you decide on the right option. Whether you have budgetary concerns or are simply unsure if a Virtual Assistant is a good fit for you, arrange a consultation and we can talk through our approach and how our services could benefit your business.

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