Admin Holiday Cover has always been needed but with the introduction of virtual assistants are they a good replacement for temporary staff from an agency?

This a brief expose of the benefits and disadvantages of both options for those of you who are planning ahead for the Christmas holiday period or have left it to the last minute for Summer holidays!

Whether you run a recruitment agency, a trade business, a marketing firm or just about anything in between, your staff announcing annual holiday strikes panic into the heart of most business managers.

Alternatively, you may be well versed in the intricacies of covering a vital member of staff and have it all in hand.

However, if you in the first category, this overview may give you comfort and some food for thought.

Let’s begin.

When it comes to holiday cover for your administration staff, there are generally two main options – besides over-stretching your other staff. These are to use temp staff from an employment/recruitment agency or public advertisement or to use a virtual assistant from a trusted source. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider which option is best for your business.

Temporary Staff

The Advantages of Temp Staff

Employment agencies can help you find qualified candidates who are available during the period that you need them and manage all of the employment factors and remuneration.

Temporary staff are often grateful for the role and keen to please. They may be prepared to be in-house for the entire period, which helps with one-on-one training and supervision, as well as the opportunity to build a good rapport with the rest of the team.

The role of admin holiday cover is one they are very used to covering and have a bank of likely candidates.

The Disadvantages of Temp Staff

Integrating a new member of staff into your team, especially when everyone knows they will only be there a short time, can be difficult.

Added to this, if your temp is taking on the role while looking for further employment, they are unlikely to be fully engaged.

If using an agency, temporary staff come at a considerable expense. This cannot be understated.

You will also be trusting that the employment agency are dedicated to matching you with someone that will integrate well and be able to pick up the role and all it entails, quickly and competently.

Admin holiday cover is an essential role that is to be filled with the right person – the wrong person can do more damage than good.

Virtual Assistants

The Disadvantages of Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are business owners, themselves. They will be confident in their ability to take on the work you present and this can be disconcerting to a business unfamiliar with working with freelancers.

Virtual Assistants manage their own time, and it is sometimes unnerving until they see the results or insist on online co-working.

For many businesses, a remote person is not going to work, especially if your company culture and service is specifically face-to-face.

The Advantages of Virtual Assistants for Holiday Cover

If your business ran through the Covid-19 lockdown period, you will be well aware that your business can function remotely. VAs successfully run businesses in a virtual setting and they will set your mind at ease on this from your initial conversation through project meetings and deliberations.

Virtual Assistants make it their business to become integral assets to the companies they work with, learning your brand, culture, your people and practices. VAs are masters of time management, accountability and feedback. Once you have established your expected goals, deadlines, and standard operational procedures, your VA absorbs those details into a dedicated system just for you.

VAs excel at managing multiple email accounts, diary management and customer service through to bookkeeping, recruitment and HR support, as well as full project management and events coordination.

Yes, they are likely to have other clients but they are extremely used to balancing commitments and agreed terms with each of you.

Costs for admin holiday cover

This brings us to the question of cost. In this scenario, it must be considered that you are weighing up the costs not just against the typical expense of hiring a full-time employee – HR, pension, training, perks, CPD, equipment, insurance, etc. – but also against the significant cost of hiring through an employment agency.

A Virtual Assistants charges – whether hourly or package rates – are inclusive of all business expenses and you do not have to consider any additional setup costs or equipment, other than licenses and tools particular to your organisation.

Self-employed or directors themselves, VAs are happy to be contract on short term basis and their businesses allow for this. The contract simply ends when the holiday period is over.

Virtual assistants are typically highly skilled and experienced professionals who are used to working independently. This means that they can often get up to speed quickly and start working on your projects right away.


Highly recommend. Used services for holiday cover and left mobile at home! Covered phones, emails, updated CRM and had everything covered. On returning from holiday inbox had been managed. – Joanne


In conclusion, for businesses in the UK and especially for the managers responsible for sourcing holiday cover in the latter part of the year, using virtual assistants and using temporary staff from an employment agency are viable options, both worth serious consideration.

Depending on your specific needs and circumstances, it may very well be worth your time to book a call with a Virtual Assistant or VA Agency that catches your eye. Pose the questions that most disturb your sleep in this regard! You may be delightfully surprised to find out just how ideal a VA could be for your business over the holidays… and beyond! Contact Michelle today to discuss what this could look like for you and your business.