Should You Consider Hiring A Virtual Assistant?

At a time when we’re all working from home, this week Almost Essential spoke with Lottie Mayland from our recommended PA finding service to get the inside scope about hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA).


First things first, what is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is someone who works remotely (i.e. not in your house) and undertake tasks for you that do not require their physical presence. Virtual assistants use all their own equipment and their work hours and schedule is agreed upon by both parties. Schedules can be as tight or loose as you both want to make them.


Does working with a virtual assistant require any specific technology? 

No, Virtual Assistants usually work by email and phone. They need instructions from you though and communication is key, treat your VA just like you would a normal assistant, give them instructions but don’t micromanage. You need to trust that they are doing the work you have asked for and will get in touch if there are any problems.


What are the advantages of hiring a Virtual Assistant over a standard PA?

The main difference is that a Virtual Assistant isn’t in your house, so if you don’t like the idea of someone turning up every morning and expecting instructions then it can be a great option. Furthermore, you don’t need a physical office – so if there is nowhere in your house for a PA to work then having them work remotely is really useful, it means they can get on with the work in their own calm, productive workspace.

Virtual Assistants are often suitable for individuals who travel a lot and therefore a personal assistant would be required to spend most of their time on their own anyway. With a Virtual Assistant you can work out a flexible schedule, allowing them to work for you only when you need them.


What tips would you give someone, who is considering hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Set your expectations at the beginning and review these regularly. Both you and your VA need to be clear about when they are working and what is expected of them. It’s good to set out your expectations regularly so you are both on the same page.

Keep the communication open – let your VA know when you are available as well as how regularly and by what technology channels you like to be contacted.

Adapt – like working with anyone new it will take a while for you to get into a rhythm with your VA and be prepared to adapt any original ideas that might not work in practice.

Selection – your relationship with your VA is crucial to the success of your partnership. A VA should not be hired lightly, and you need to be sure that they are a good fit on a work level but also intuitively with you and your lifestyle. The worry for many of our clients is that a VA could become more of a chore to manage than a benefit to have at your disposal but we will work with you to ensure this is not the case and that you hire a VA who is totally on your wave length and understands exactly what you want out of the partnership.

Thank you to Lottie for sharing her thoughts with us. If you are considering hiring a virtual assistant, then you can reach out to Almost Essential’s recommended PA and VA finders here. They have over 30 years’ experience of matching clients with their perfect assistant, they know what makes a good relationship and have a database full of talented assistants who are ready to start immediately.