hire a virtual personal assistant

Personal Assistant vs. Virtual Assistant [Is there a difference?]

You know that you need help with your administration tasks. Nevertheless, are you unsure about whether to hire a personal assistant or a virtual personal assistant? To decide on the best option, you must assess your needs, your management style, and the cost impact of either option on your bottom line. But firstly, let’s clarify the difference between a virtual personal assistant and a personal assistant.

The difference between a personal assistant and a virtual personal assistant

A personal assistant or PA is someone who assists a manager in accomplishing administrative tasks. This person has also developed soft skills such as good communication, customer service, problem-solving, and attention-to-detail skills. However, with the digitalization and the impact of globalization, a new breed of PA has emerged. This position has helped many large international businesses to become more agile and to operate much more cost-effectively.

What does a personal assistant do?

A personal aide is an on-site aide to a manager or executive, helping the boss with time-consuming administration tasks. These tasks can vary but normally include:

  • Acting as first point of contact – normally answering phone calls
  • Organizing the manager’s diary: setting up appointments and meetings
  • Making all travel arrangements for the manager. This can include flights, hotel stays, and transport for business trips
  • Assisting with arrangements for events or conferences
  • Helping to prepare presentations and reports
  • Acting as the link between clients, staff, and suppliers, and the manager
  • Other miscellaneous tasks

It sometimes occurs that bosses charge their assistants to purchase birthday gifts for their wives or collect their dry cleaning. Not being part of their job description can detract from time spent on directly work-related duties.

What does a virtual personal assistant do?

By contrast, a virtual personal assistant (VPA) works remotely. The assistant can be in the same country as their employer or in a completely different part of the world. The VPA relies on modern communications tools such as telephones, the internet, and various communication apps to communicate with their employer and complete their daily tasks.

A VPA can perform the same tasks as an administrative assistant but naturally cannot be present. In addition, a virtual PA normally works fewer hours. As the virtual assistant is paid hourly, the VPA is much more cost-effective, especially in the long run. For instance, PayScale has stated that a personal aide can cost a company $23k – $63k annually. Compare that with a VPA earning $21k – $57k per year. The cost to hire a virtual assistant is therefore much lower than for an on-site employee.

woman personal assistant at a desk

The pros and cons of hiring an assistant

Money aside, there are pros and cons to hiring either a personal assistant or a virtual personal assistant. For instance, a personal helper works during set office hours but can assist anyone in the office. In most cases, such an assistant is used to achieve in-person tasks such as making coffee and carrying out other non-essential errands. Conversely, with a personal VA, the shared duties can be conducted only by arrangement.

Therefore your assistant can be yours exclusively, rather than being available to other members of the team. This is important if you deal with high-level and confidential work you do not want to be leaked. On average, a virtual personal assistant is also less prone to taking sick days, which means a higher productivity level.

Many business executives, especially C-Level executives, have is getting used to the concept of a worker working remotely. This will align with the management style they were taught. Also, trust is imperative. Trust is not always instantly achieved. Research by Dirks and Ferrin in their paper, ‘The Role of Trust in Organizational Settings’ highlighted the importance of trust among members of the same team. Some steps can be taken to build trust between you and your VA. These include installing a time tracker which will record what they are working on, tracking the time spent. It is critical to have open communication between you and your VA. This means regular check-ins, similar to those with your in-person staff member. Not only will this build up trust levels, but you create a platform for a fruitful working relationship. 

desk with laptop for personal virtual assistant

Which type of personal assistant is right for you?

You should by now have a fairly good idea of the similarities and differences between a personal assistant and a virtual personal assistant. Therefore to know which option is best for you, you must decide on your needs, not forgetting the budget. The answers to these questions may help:

  • Do I require an in-person support? Alternatively, would a virtual assistant be able to take care of all my tasks?
  • Is there a need to have a face-to-face meeting with my assistant? Or would a video call suffice?
  • During which hours do I need an assistant?
  • What are my normal deadlines – are they short notice, hourly, or will a few days do? (A PA may best meet short notice deadlines; however, a virtual PA can help if the deadlines are a bit longer).
  • According to my budget, how much can I afford to pay my assistant?

You should be in a position to make the right choice for yourself and your business. At Aristo Sourcing, we pride ourselves on sourcing only the best assistants for our clients. Business owners wanting to book your free consultation please click here – we are here to help you.

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