What is a Virtual Assistant?

Today, more and more business is being conducted online. This is due to the ever increasing influence of the internet, coupled with Administrative Assistants are becoming increasingly more common online. Thus, a new career has emerged: the Virtual Assistant.   While an Administrative Assistant works in an office as an employee for a company, Virtual Assistants can work remotely as an employee for a company or work as an Independent Contractor on a freelance basis. Much like traditional Administrative Assistants, Virtual Assistants are employed within a broad number of industries. The only difference is that instead of working in a formal office setting, the Virtual Assistant works from the comfort of their own home with the ability to work for themselves. Virtual Assistants typically handle the same types of tasks as traditional Administrative Assistants who work in-office.
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What does a Virtual Assistant do?

Tasks provided by Virtual Assistants generally include answering calls and emails, various administrative tasks, data entry, filing, bookkeeping, payroll, and transcription. They may also do various marketing activities such as newsletters, desktop publishing, and event planning and coordination.

What kind of skills does a Virtual Assistant need?

Much like an Administrative Assistant, Virtual Assistants needs to be self-starters and able to work independently without direction. However, these skills are more important for Virtual Assistants as working from home requires more self-discipline and time management than working in a formal office setting. A Virtual Assistant also needs to be good at multi-tasking, problem solving, and prioritization.

However, while Virtual Assistants are on the rise, they are not thought to replace in-house Administrative Assistants anytime soon.

What is the current job market for Virtual Assistants?

Currently, there is an emerging “virtual working revolution”, as many new small business owners are seeking skilled workers with low overheads. This is due to increased opportunities for Virtual Assistants to find work online through job boards like Freelancer and Upwork. A survey by software brand Unify in 2016 found that 52% of ‘knowledge workers’ are part of virtual teams (teams of workers who are not located in the same office building, but communicate using digital and mobile technology). More than two-thirds of knowledge workers (69%) say that the office is less important than it was in the past and 42% say that virtual teams can be more effective than face-to-face groups. One in five knowledge workers trade as freelancers or contractors (www.raconteur.net/business/on-demand-freelanceworkers-are-on-the-rise).