The U.S. Census Bureau released a study earlier this year showing that nearly 14 million American employees are working from home at least one day per week. That number will likely continue to increase as businesses find ways to cut office-related costs. In 1997, only 9.2 million people in the U.S. worked from home.
Many companies are willing to let some of their employees work from home so that they can skip out on long commutes in congested cities. The practice may also result in better retention rates of key personnel.
Additionally, innovations within the past decade (such as video conferencing) have allowed work-from-home employees to collaborate with their colleagues more effectively through web applications.
Higher productivity results in differentiation during an employee’s performance review, and may lead to compensation rewards such as bonuses and promotion. The hiring of virtual assistants is also a tax deductible expense. Therefore, it’s effectively subsidized by Uncle Sam.
Those who use virtual assistants are able to provide their employers with several competitive advantages:
- Projects can be completed faster
- Client individuals can focus on critical deliverables by outsourcing smaller tasks
- Employees can cheaply scale their workforce on a temporary and flexible basis
- Virtual assistants can be utilized during evenings and weekends, especially when deadlines are approaching
Those who advocate outsourcing typically advocate retaining high value added processes within the client organization. Processes and activities perceived to be of lower value are delegated to third-party providers for less pay. In theory, the client organization improves its enterprise value by focusing on more difficult and challenging tasks.
Solutions providers such as TaskBullet offer virtual assistant services whose sole mission is to help telecommuters improve their productivity in a highly competitive marketplace and workplace environment.
Administrative tasks such as appointment setting, emails, and data entry are outsourced to English-speaking assistants in the Philippines.
The outsourced virtual service allows employees, small business owners, and departmental managers to maintain traditional office support without the cost of a full-time U.S.-based secretary. Clients who use virtual assistants are primarily motivated to increase productivity for the fraction of the cost. The differentiation usually won’t go unnoticed by boss.
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