Are we a remote PA? This is a common question that does not really have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Fortunately, we can start to break it down for you. So, let’s begin.
The easy answer is yes. A virtual assistant can do the tasks of a personal assistant.
However, the truth of it is, a virtual assistant is not a remote PA in the true sense of the role. This is a common misconception – that they perform the same functions and will have the same outlook.
There are a number of personal or executive assistants that work remotely. These people are dedicated to a single or just a few individuals within a business. They are able to perform all of the tasks that an in-house personal assistant would; manage all of the day-to-day tasks and are available at all times of the working day to that individual and their diverse needs; and tend to market themselves as Executive Assistants and they are usually employed members of staff.
For many business-owners, these may be the best people to look for if you have always had a PA or EA by your side and for whatever reason now are not based in an office or travel a great deal. Similarly, these remote PAs have often always worked as PAs and their work history is likely to have been in singular office environments, offering dedicated services to a singular boss or leadership team.
These particular people will likely have decided to work remotely, but in a similar fashion to how they have always worked. They may have chosen this route or been offered it by the employer as an alternative to redundancy or in support of family commitments, physical or mental wellbeing, or wider interests. Executive assistants have often refined skill sets based on their previous roles in particular sectors, namely the legal sector, education, coaching, etc.
This is where the paths of the personal assistant and a virtual assistant diverge.
Virtual assistants come from a wide variety of career backgrounds and may have not worked extensively as personal assistants. While some have had administrative roles, they may have been office managers or have dual roles within a business. Many come from complex professional backgrounds in marketing, human resources, sales, education, training, and many more.
Their motivation – while similar to that of the personal assistant – is to operate as independent business owners that can offer their diverse skill sets to many clients and their organisations.
Virtual assistants pride themselves on releasing the day-to-day load on a business owner and on the business they run. It is often the case that virtual assistants are well versed in up-to-date software to assist you and your team. From the daily admin tasks that a personal assistant would be well-versed in, to social media content creation, scheduling and engagement as well as business support as a business owner in their own right.
As with any addition to your team, it is important that in choosing to outsource the activities and campaigns that cause you overwhelm and stretch your capacity to breaking point, that you are still careful. It is vital that in selecting a VA to support you, you know they align with your business ethics and values. Personality is also key. Finding a virtual assistant that you can be confident will understand and integrate well into your company vision and team dynamic. Check out our blog on the Value of a VA.
While a virtual assistant is not a personal assistant, their role is to alleviate stress and free up your time to focus on your priorities. They will have clear methods to help you adjust to outsourcing the aspects you knew were clogging up your day as well as many you may not even have considered. But is a VA just a PA you don’t see?
Flexibility is key and VAs will usually have options to allow you to choose for outsourced work to be completed while being timed to the minute and charged for only what you need. They may offer retainer hours that allow the client to assign tasks as needed and see their time utilised to its best advantage. Some Virtual Assistants may offer packages which commit to particular types of assignments or campaigns over a given period of time.