Working in an office carries a lot of secondary expenses. For instance, you have to pay for your transportation costs (gasoline, bus/train tickets, etc.), professional attire (suits, business accessories), and other related costs (lunch, makeup/deodorant, etc.). These costs can quickly add up, although they’re rarely considered. For business owners, who must lease or rent a space, the costs are much greater. When you use a virtual office, you can end up saving a lot of money.
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You probably have exciting plans and concepts that get derailed and diluted by worldly problems. Most people with entrepreneurial spirits would rather focus on creative business ideas than do paperwork and answer the phone all day. By hiring a personal assistant, you can free yourself to play to your strengths. Tasks that aren’t your strong points or that diverge from your real talent can be delegated to your assistant, giving you the time and space to do what you do best. A personal assistant can create a barrier between you and the outside world, allowing you to think, flesh out ideas and avoid distractions.
An automation service. Most jobs include at least a small amount of repetitive tasks that don’t require your personal input, such as transferring information from an email to a calendar or copying and pasting information onto a spreadsheet. For such tasks that use a lot of time and hinder overall productivity, consider an automation service. When simple tasks are automated, more time becomes available for tasks that do require your personal input. IFTTT and Zapier are examples of excellent automation services.
Depending on where you live, one of the first places to start is the US Small Business Administration, the Government website for Industry Canada or whatever small business agency your country has to provide resources. It is important to understand the specific business regulations and legalities to becoming a business owner in your own country. The International Virtual Assistant Association is another online resource for virtual assistants. The following qualities are important if you want to become a virtual assistant.
If you train your personal assistant well, you can develop a trusting relationship that can blossom into a long-term partnership. A good personal assistant eventually will learn the nuances of your business, as well as your dreams, aspirations and mental processes. He'll be able to anticipate your needs and those of the business. A trustworthy assistant can become a sounding board for your ideas and offer you insights you had not considered. The perspective can be refreshing and spark ideas or approaches that were invisible to you. A close, personal assistant can give honest, frank feedback that others might be reluctant to give.
Delegating some of your to-do list to a personal assistant relieves you of the stress and responsibility of getting them done. It saves you time and gives you peace of mind. You meet with your client and spend time with your family, a personal assistant will pick up your dry cleaning. You go on vacation or go for an extended workout, let a personal assistant monitor incoming calls and emails. You focus on figuring out the guest list, while a personal assistant makes your vision of the event come true.
Why do we see increases in productivity and efficiency in the virtual worker? Morale also goes up, and this is likely connected. PGI found that 82% of virtual workers had lower levels of stress than traditional workers. What’s more, the same study showed that 69% of virtual workers were absent less than when they had to report to a physical office.
The word “assistant” is often considered a synonym to the word “slave”. The truth is, though, that if you’ve landed a job as somebody’s personal assistant, you’ve become one of the most powerful people imaginable. You are now the gatekeeper of the castle that is your employer, and the more they trust you, the more they are willing to pay you. And since it probably took a while to train you and to establish a bond with you, they are not likely to let you go that easily.
Estimates claim that about 2.8% of the global workforce works from home at least half of the time. Although this number seems low at first glance, consider the fact that the number of people who work from home has increased 103% since 2005. There’s no denying that there is an upward trend of work-from-home flexibility in society today — and this trend does indeed come with many benefits, such as the following:
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Employees from the younger generations of workers--Generation X and Generation Y, in particular--find virtual work a tremendous benefit. Virtual offices and telecommuting offer flexibility, and the comfort of being able to work independently without conforming to work rules, such as a dress code and traditional work hours. Telecommuting is appealing to some workers because it prevents the often unnecessary and unwelcome interruptions by co-workers and managers that can impede productivity and attentiveness.
Collaborate about team expectations and goals. Be sure that expectations and goals are clearly stated for virtual meetings. If working in a team, allow everyone to work together to create the team’s expectations and goals. This will set the standard for what’s expected from everyone, and allow everyone to agree on meeting protocols, such as how to resolve conflict and make group decisions.
A collaboration and community platform. Virtual workers need a virtual office — a place where they can meet online and hold conversations. It’s easy for virtual workers to become isolated, so a central hub to communicate with colleagues is a benefit. Skype, Slap, HipChat, and Pie are all popular choices. The best collaboration and community platforms connect employees, give them a place to chat and discuss projects, leave feedback and suggestions, and more.
Virtual offices allow a greater number of employees to work at any given time. With a typical office space or location, you are limited by the size of your space. With a virtual office, space is not a limiting factor. Business owners can have however many staff they need. When used in combination with a physical space, a virtual office can free up more space in the physical office.
Increased productivity. Virtual collaboration tools allow remote employees to collaborate as if they’re in the same conference room. Employees can use forms of virtual communication in the workplace, such as video conferencing, as well as email, instant messages, and the telephone. Workers are more likely to work in excess of 40 hours a week if they’re working from home, and they also take fewer sick days. Employees working together across various time zones are more likely to achieve success if they’re able to collaborate from home. Business hours increase with more flexibility. Furthermore, business will continue as usual regardless of weather conditions that could limit productivity due to hazardous driving conditions.