2020 is the year that changed the order of everything, either temporarily or permanently. People and institutions came to the realization that rigid work or education bureaucracies that were considered mandatory could be redefined into flexible practices and still be effective. Even the most skeptical CEOs, managers, and teachers accepted that remote work or online education can be sound options. In a nutshell, the COVID-19 pointed out solutions that have been there for years, but people refused to opt for them due to skepticism or lack of willingness.
Having something done and delivered by somebody living in a different country or time zone is now normal. Aren’t people normally asking for the assistance of Siri or Alexa to make life easier and be more productive at the same time?
If such apps can to some extent help people with a to-do-list, a human virtual assistant would be even more helpful. Virtual assistants definitely grew during the pandemic and it seems that they are going to linger even in the post-pandemic labor market.
Why hire a virtual assistant? Lessons learned from COVID-19
Even before the pandemic hit, VA strategies were used to provide optimal utilization of in-house resources, especially during the first business stages. Tedious and time-consuming tasks were delegated to VA or vendors that provide VA services. Hence, startups and small businesses were able to focus on being productive and efficient while saving time and money. VA services came in handy during 2020 when many companies were forced to lay off staff 2020 while continuing their operations in smaller teams.
Flexibility is another advantage of virtual assistants. This means that businesses can scale up and down depending on specific tasks or projects. This cuts various costs that would go to HR recruitment, employee training and onboarding, and risks of leaving mid-project.
Flexibility also means access to a global instead of a local talent pool.
VA can help de-stress workload in general and during moments of crisis in particular.
Top Tasks to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant
The answer depends on who the seller is and what his activity consists of. Sellers vary from individuals to startups and bigger companies. Meanwhile, the tasks have one thing in common. They are mind-numbing or unexciting, pick your adjective of choice.
However, there is a list of the top tasks to delegate to a VA
- Email management
- Creating basic reports
- Setting up autoresponders
- Text transcription
- Translation services
- Set-up social media accounts
- Social media management
- Phone calls
- Personal chores
- Prompt responses to customer/employee inquiries
- Manage live chat
- Schedule management
- Hotel and flight booking
- Manage marketplace accounts
- Data management
- Process returns, refunds, and cancelation
- Online research and lead generation
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Data entry
- Content generation
- Excel work
- Taking meeting minutes
- File taxes
- SEO tasks
- Optimize content for SEO
These and many other tasks can be delegated/outsourced either to freelancers or vendors providing VA services. Where? This depends on the seller’s needs, location, language, and other specific criteria. There are countries like Albania where it is possible to outsource such tasks to BPO companies or freelancers. A recent survey by the World Bank confirmed that on a per-capita basis, the penetration of Albanian freelancers on websites such as upworks.com already exceeds that of many advanced economies.
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