What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA), or virtual office professional (VOP), is a skilled, self-employed, professional who provides administrative, creative, organizational, and technical business support services remotely from home or distant office.

Virtual assistants do, on a daily basis, what onsite employees do periodically when they telecommute, or work from home.

This work arrangement is becoming quite common with the rise of the virtual assistant industry and now that companies are allowing their employees periodic or regular telecommuting as a perk and to aid work/life flexibility.

Value of a Virtual Assistant

Clients do not need to hire a permanent full or part-time employee and are free from the responsibility for employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits for virtual assistants.

Once a relationship is established with a virtual assistant clients can invoke the services at any time, within reason and based upon agreed engagement practices.

Clients gain access to skilled professional services that would otherwise not be available because now they can draw from a workforce who may not be local to the business location.

Virtual Assistant Methods

Communication and product deliverable tools include the Internet, e-mail, phone conferences, online web meeting and collaboration spaces, video conferencing, voice over IP (VOIP) and sometimes fax or US postal mail.

Work is done on a contractual basis and long term cooperation can be established for recurring arrangements where VA services are invoked regularly over time.

As with any project or telecommuting arrangement, clear communication, thorough planning, clean documentation, regular meetings, and wise time management all contribute to job success.

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