Virtual Executive Assistants—Cost-effective Access to Expert Assistants

Updated: 28 Oct, 2021 | Bill Peatman

The virtual assistant market is booming as executives and teams look for cost-effective ways to offload distracting administrative tasks. A model that is increasingly attractive to larger executive teams is a managed virtual assistant service. Under a managed service, the service provider hires, trains, and manages assistants and the company's administrative layer.

"There are a number of reasons why organizations take advantage of Virtual Assistants, and they mostly mirror the reasons why organizations might opt to outsource more generally," said Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a global staffing consulting firm. Chief among those reasons, SIA said, are:

  • Lowering costs. "Transitioning roles from a waged to an outsourced hourly basis means that you can carve out precisely the support you need at a price you can afford. Clients can save money on training and other employee benefits, payroll processing and desk space (potentially lowering office rents)."
  • Tapping into third-party expertise. "Virtual assistant firms specialize in offering skilled workers in specific categories and organizations that use these services prudently can gain a competitive advantage. Also, as mentioned previously, most firms will provide support in areas beyond general administrative duties and some of these touch upon more highly skilled roles that can often be more readily sourced on a remote basis."

These are generalized benefits of any virtual assistant service. Let's unpack these two benefits of a managed service.

How Managed Virtual Assistant Services Lower Business' Costs

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an executive assistant is $68,000 per year—about $34 per hour. That is just the salary. Typically, a fully loaded full-time employee's benefits add about 25 percent to that cost to the company. Virtual executive assistants are usually hired on a fractional basis, as SIA noted, from markets where labor is less expensive.

There is also the cost of recruiting, hiring, training, and managing the employees. There is overhead for HR and for executives, assuming each executive oversees their assistants. Some businesses use a Chief of Staff to manage the administrative layer of the company. A managed service requires no HR or management overhead. The provider handles salary, benefits, and performance management.

A managed virtual assistant service starts at about $25 per hour for offshore VAs—included in that are all training, HR, benefits, backup support, and performance management.

Then there is the cost of office space. It costs about $11,000 per year per employee to provide office space. The service provider bears that cost. In the managed service model, the VAs are not independent contractors working from home. They work in secure facilities with company-owned computers and networks.

How Managed Virtual Assistant Services Deliver Expertise

With a managed virtual assistant service, you do not just get executive assistant expertise from individuals and teams that have supported executives for thousands of hours per year. You also get experienced managers who understand how to build processes and workflows to make the service as efficient as possible. The managers also coach assistants and provide quality control of their work.

This management layer is vital because few businesses have in-house managers equipped to manage executive assistants. Management usually falls to the executives, which becomes another administrative task they do not need. Expert assistance and expert managers make a managed virtual assistant service more efficient and more effective for businesses.

Getting Time Back

Executives spend 16 hours a week on administrative tasks, SIA said. Multiply that across multiple execs, and you have a productivity problem. Access expert administrative assistants and managers give you back that time with minimal effort and cost. Companies are finding that the expense of a managed virtual assistant service is minor compared to the 40 percent gain in time for the work that matters most.

To learn more about working with a managed virtual assistant service, check out this guide.

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About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.

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