Virtual Assistant Vs Personal Assistant: What’s The Difference, And Which One Do You Need?


Virtual Assistant Vs Personal Assistant


Due to technological enhancements, many businesses see the advantages of hiring a virtual assistant to do the tasks that an in-house personal assistant would typically do.

As the name suggests, a virtual assistant is a person who works virtually. By contrast, a personal assistant works as a full-time employee based in-house.

But it’s important to understand why you would choose one over the other.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with each one.

Benefits Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant

1 – You Will Save Loads Of Time

Hiring virtual assistants can save loads of time for business executives and managers.

Even small admin tasks take time over the working week. That’s time that could be better spent trying to attract additional business for your company.

Without the distractions of constantly focusing on mundane and time consuming admin tasks that distract from being dollar productive.

2 – More Cost-Effective

All businesses want to save money, and the cost efficiency of hiring virtual assistants is seen as one of the main benefits.

When you hire someone who works remotely, you pay them per hour for the tasks you want them to do and don’t have to worry about additional costs like holiday pay, sick pay, or a pension plan.

3 – VAs Work From Anywhere

Thanks to superfast broadband, virtual assistants can work from anywhere.

Most remote workers are based in countries like The Philippines and India.

The person you hire will work remotely and in a different time zone, but this can be an advantage because they can work on tasks outside your standard office hours.

4 – They Offer Several Different Services

You may want to hire a virtual assistant to work on several short-term projects which require a different skill set from your in-house staff.

A great virtual assistant can offer various services at a lower cost than you would pay for a fully employed staff member.

If you hire a suitable remote administrative assistant, they can do multiple tasks for you, including data entry, digital marketing, project management, etc.

5 – Productivity Will Increase

Hiring a virtual assistant will increase your productivity as you are not dealing with mundane tasks.

Not having to answer the phone every five minutes will significantly help you and your full-time employees, allowing you to concentrate more on high-end business tasks.

This productivity can make it easier to deal with multiple clients at the same time without resulting in a drop in quality standards.

Downsides Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant

1 – Communication Problems

There can be several communication issues, such as a poor broadband connection.

Encountering internet problems through power outages will prove a problem for you and your VA because communication happens via email, instant messenger, and video call, and they will lose connection to your business network.

Another issue that happens is some things get lost in translation due to the VA speaking English as a second language.

2. – Personality Clash

Even with the best intentions, sometimes personality clashes happen in the workplace, which is no different when dealing with virtual assistants.

An excellent working relationship is built on respect and understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

However, sometimes a problem can happen due to misunderstanding the tone of an email or phone call. When you don’t see your VA in person it is hard to gauge if there is a real problem or if it has just escalated through overthinking and miscommunication.

3 – No Personal Supervision

Working with virtual assistants in general works well, but problems can arise when tasks need more hands-on supervision.

Business owners often use time tracker software to track their virtual assistants’ progress, but some tasks need in-person support.

The quality of work virtual assistants produce can only really be viewed when they have completed the task. Then, if the quality is not up to standard, you ask them to correct it or fix it yourself, which takes time and effort.

4 – Data Security Risks

Doing extensive background checks is essential to ensure you hire the right person for the job.

Virtual assistants will work in countries where the broadband connection may be open to hackers, proving a considerable data security risk to your company.

As a business owner, you must be able to trust your staff with sensitive pieces of information.

VAs working in other countries may also feel pressured into passing on sensitive company data to unlawful third parties.

5 – Lack Of Loyalty

Loyalty is everything in business. So if your workforce is well looked after, they will likely stay loyal to you and your company.

Your virtual assistant will have other clients they work with, so you must treat them right and try to be as flexible as you can with the hours they wish to work.

However, if your virtual assistant has other clients paying them more, they prioritise their work over yours.

Benefits Of Hiring A Personal Assistant

1 – More Free Time

Many company owners hire personal or executive assistants as they don’t have time to handle all the administrative work themselves.

Employing a personal assistant to do administrative tasks such as email inbox management, scheduling your calendar, and preparing presentations will allow you time to deal with the core elements of your business.

Running a business, you can neglect critical personal matters. Employing an office-based personal assistant will allow you more family time.

2 – Access To A Broad Range Of Skills And Experience

You may employ a person as your assistant to handle primary office administrational tasks but quickly find that they have additional skills which make you promote them to an executive assistant.

Employing a multiskilled personal assistant opens up opportunities for your company you hadn’t even thought would be of benefit. They may be able to perform high-value tasks that were not even included in their job description.

3 – Delegating To A PA Develops Management Skills

When starting in business, you will quickly find that you can’t do everything yourself. So one of the first things you do is employ a personal assistant to help with office administration and even running errands.

Learning to delegate tasks takes a lot of trust as new business owners often think only they can do a specific job to a high standard.

Giving responsibility to your assistant will help you develop your people management skills.

4 – Flexible Personal Assistant Availability

When a business employs personal assistants, it gives them a certain degree of flexibility. For example, a good assistant can have the skills to fill in for other staff members during holiday periods.

Working well as a team is critical to how well your company performs, so your assistant may make travel arrangements for other staff members to attend conferences.

5 – Improved Admin Capacity

Most companies make personal assistants full-time employees because, in most cases, they quickly realise that they have improved their admin capacity.

An excellent personal or executive assistant can offer additional support by acting as a sounding board for ideas or helping you prepare presentations.

Once companies decide to employ personal assistants, they quickly realise the difference they make and couldn’t envisage working without them.

Downsides Of Hiring A Personal Assistant

1 – Cost Contributions

You incur many costs when you make your assistant a full-time employee. For example, you have to pay them a full-time wage instead of an hourly rate for each task they complete.

There are other financial benefits you as an employer must pay, such as holiday pay, sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, sick pay, tax, and company pension contributions.

All these contributions soon add up and are money eating into your profits.

2 – Finding The Right PA

Finding the perfect personal or executive assistant for your company can be a minefield. The process of sourcing, hiring, training, and managing personal and executive assistants can be long-winded.

The temptation is to rush the process, which means you employ someone unsuitable for your company’s needs.

It is advisable to set a probation period before employing someone on a long-term contract.

3 – Time Constraint

Often employees, including personal assistants, only work eight hours a day. Of these hours, an hour is taken for lunch, and additional time is wasted on tea/coffee breaks and chatting to fellow staff regarding non-work-related topics.

There is also only so much work a person can do during set working hours, and often if you require them to work additional hours, you will need to pay them overtime.

4 – Office Space

Office space can be an issue for many small companies, but if you employ a personal assistant or executive assistant, they will need to have their own office.

Most businesses have open-plan offices, but the company director and executive assistant have their own office, given the sensitive nature of their work.

5 – Confidentiality

Personal assistants often work with sensitive information, so confidentiality could be compromised if the proper training and practices aren’t implemented.

The last thing you need as a business owner is any sensitive information about your company being leaked to competitors or the general public.

Let Us Help You Find The Ideal Virtual Assistant

There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring a personal assistant vs a virtual assistant, but ultimately the choice is down to you. Virtual assistant companies like ours have vast experience sourcing, hiring, training, and even managing VAs.

We have a great talent pool of VAs that can take on many different tasks to make you more dollar productive. And we can have you set up with a great new team member within just a few days.

Call us today for a free consultation and to discuss all your VA requirements.

Take your business to the next level today! ENQUIRE NOW

Click to access the login or register cheese