As your company grows, it won’t be easy to focus on what you do best if you’ve got your fingers in too many pies. You’ll need support to keep things running smoothly.
To accomplish this, you can either invest in an employee or hire a virtual assistant (VA). Both of these options can help you with a wide range of tasks: administrative, management, support, social media-related, you name it. But it’s not always clear which choice is best for you.
This article will break down the differences between a virtual assistant and a regular employee. We’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you make the best decision.
What’s the Difference Between a Virtual Assistant and an Employee?
Let’s start with the basics by defining these terms and outlining their differences.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a freelancer or independent contractor who provides virtual support and services to clients while working from home or another location. They need access to all relevant planning resources, including shared calendars, computers, mobile devices, and software.
You can hire this professional to perform selected tasks on your behalf from a different location. Some examples of what they can do are:
- Personal assistant tasks
- Customer service
- Content creation
- Administrative work
- Digital Marketing
- Website Edits
- Social media management
Their compensation will vary from project to project and may be based on an hourly fee or a set monthly amount.
What Is an Employee?
An employee is somebody who is hired to work, whether it be full or part-time, under an employment contract. They are vested with specific responsibilities and rights. This person is a permanent addition to the team and will have an important role to play.
Most of the time, employees work while physically present in your office or establishment. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t work remotely. Employers and business owners are required by law to provide their full-time employees with a salary that is either a predetermined amount each month or an hourly rate, as well as other employee benefits.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Virtual Assistant
Nowadays, virtual assistants are getting popular among startup and SMB owners. However, you should consider the advantages and risks of hiring a VA before posting a job ad or contacting an agency.
Pros of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants aren’t popular among businesses for no reason. Here are some of the things that make them lifesavers:
Wide Range of Skills
They can handle several administrative responsibilities, including data entry, organizing client meetings, bookkeeping, and more. Others also specialize in:
- Technical support
- Content writing
- Social media marketing
- Funnel Setup
- Online Courses
- Membership Websites
- Photo and video editing
Convenient Payment Scheduling
As an employer, the first and most obvious advantage is that you will only have to compensate a VA for time spent working or the number of tasks completed. You can also agree on a monthly contract, which means you’ll pay them a set amount each month regardless of how many assignments you give them.
If you need someone for a short period of time or for a specific project, consider a virtual assistant freelancer. Put it another way, you can get in touch with them whenever required, even during off-hours, on the weekends, or on holidays. If you own a small business or are otherwise strapped for cash, hiring a freelance VA can be a great way to save costs without sacrificing quality. As a result, you’ll be able to better manage your finances.
Minimizes Training Expenses
To better serve their clients, VAs work to improve their skill set and expand their knowledge base on their own time. Therefore, you won’t need to spend money on their training.
Vast Supply of Candidates
Since your VA can be located anywhere, you have access to a global pool of highly skilled workers. Because of this, you have better odds of discovering qualified people.
One of the best things about hiring a virtual assistant is that it won’t break the bank. Getting a VA eliminates the need to set aside funds for benefits, purchasing equipment, or renting office space. You will not be charged for anything beyond the actual service they perform.
Cons of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Although there are plenty of nice things to say about hiring a VA, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Here are some of the significant drawbacks:
Work Hours Are Challenging To Keep Tabs On
How you keep track of a virtual assistant’s time spent working for you can vary widely based on the system you use. One way of doing this is by monitoring hours through time-tracking tools. Your other option is relying on self-reported data, but this isn’t always accurate.
Remote work means there could be gaps in communication due to time zones. For instance, if you have an urgent task that can’t wait until your virtual assistant’s regular work hours, you might have to wait a while before they can help you. This means that your tasks might get held up.
Challenges Due to Technology
Since you have no control over technical issues on your VA’s end, they have the potential to negatively impact your productivity and work. Here are some of the technical problems you may experience:
- Problems with physical hardware, such as malfunctioning electronic devices
- Internet connection failures
- Possible steep learning curve for new apps and tools
A freelancer or independent contractor may have other clients or jobs in addition to working as your virtual assistant. Because of this, you might have to deal with a VA that occasionally struggles to meet deadlines.
Benefits and Drawbacks of an Employee
Even though having a virtual assistant has many benefits, some companies still prefer to hire employees. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of recruiting a full or part-time employee to meet business needs.
Pros of Hiring an Employee
As an employer, you can look forward to the following benefits of having an employee:
As a permanent part of your organization, they have steady employment and are informed of their rights, obligations, and benefits. If you can inspire loyalty and dedication in your new hire, they will likely do an excellent job for you. This is crucial to the efficiency and growth of any company.
Better Collaboration and Communication
As an employee works within your organization, the potential for misunderstandings is minimized. If you need to talk to them, get some clarification, or ask for assistance, you may do so without having to wait around for them to be around. This is made possible by the fact that most of your permanent employees work the same hours as the rest of your organization.
Employees are generally present when all members of their team are on the job. This helps them build interpersonal skills with their coworkers, something that virtual assistants lack. Most people are more productive and happier in their work when they have regular face-to-face interactions with their managers and colleagues.
Cons of Hiring an Employee
Before starting the hiring process, it’s important to understand the drawbacks of getting an employee instead of outsourcing to a VA:
It’s a Costly Investment
Hiring a full-time employee can cost a fortune. You also need to consider employee benefits like:
- Worker’s compensation
- Wellness programs
- Corporate discounts
- Parental leave
- Paid sick leave
- Performance bonuses
- Life insurance
- Fringe benefits
- Holiday pay
Need for Training
When hiring a full-time employee, you’ll have to shell out cash for their orientation and training. In contrast to a VA, it is primarily your job to train and develop this person’s professional skills. Not only that but it’s counterproductive if training has to be done during working hours. As a result, you could waste time and money.
Lack of Flexibility
Every day, an office worker or assistant needs to carry out a predetermined set of responsibilities. Although your business goals might influence how you rearrange tasks, a rigid work schedule can make it difficult for employees to respond quickly to changes in plans. However, the quality of their output may drop as a result.
Every worker needs to be paid every month, no matter how busy or slow business is. As a result, you’ll need to keep paying them the same amount even if they don’t have a lot of work to do. And if your employee has a fixed schedule and salary, you’ll need to provide overtime pay for extra hours of work.
Expensive To Replace
It costs money to find a new full-time employee in terms of reduced productivity during the transition period and money you spend on recruitment. You should also factor in the time and resources spent on training and orienting employees to their new workplace and coworkers.
Things To Consider When Choosing Between a Virtual Assistant or an Employee
Asking yourself the following can help you determine whether a virtual assistant or an employee will be ideal for your business:
Do You Require Full-Time Support, or Can You Get by With a Temporary or Trial Basis Option?
A full-time employee is your best bet for consistent and reliable support. But if you need short-term expert support, a virtual assistant is the answer.
How Much Is Your Budget?
If you’re on a tight budget, it may be more cost-effective to hire a virtual assistant. However, in-house staff is the better choice if you can afford to pay for an employee’s salary, benefits, and the overhead costs associated with having one.
How Complicated Are the Tasks That Need To Be Done?
A virtual assistant can be helpful if you have a lot of routine and easy tasks every day. But if they will need to collaborate with others on the team or receive frequent on-the-job training, hiring an employee is the better option, especially for dynamic projects.
If you’re a busy business owner, harried manager, or aspiring entrepreneur, you might have considered hiring someone to help you organize your day and get more things done. In the past, businesses had no choice but to find a new employee to fill a position. Thankfully, with the emergence of VAs, you can collaborate with professionals all over the world.
Identifying the unique requirements of your business is the first and most crucial step in deciding whether to hire a virtual assistant or an employee. Once you do, you’ll be able to compare the costs and benefits of the two. By doing so, you’ll be more equipped to make the decision that’s best for your company.
If you need extra hands for your business, Unlimited VA has a diversity of trained virtual assistants. At Unlimited VA, you are not limited to just one virtual assistant; you have access to a pool of talent, from writing to graphic design. Contact us today.