Virtual Assistant Vs Personal Assistant

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Published on March 16, 2018

A Virtual Assistant will do the job, but a Personal Assistant is always there for you! Click To TweetWhy are you hiring an assistant?

Knowledge is power and understanding why you need a personal assistant is important in determining what is going to work best for you. Think about the tasks you need your new assistant to do and your own preferences in hiring. Do you like to oversee and mentor people or do you prefer to distance yourself and let them find their own way?

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a personal assistant vs a virtual assistant?

What is a virtual assistant?

The term “Virtual Assistant” can be used to encompass a wide range of things, a program for your computer, an app for your phone or, as we will discuss in more detail here, a remote working assistant, typically working as a subcontractor to you.

Virtual Assistant Advantages

  • Lower cost, less overheads – Working from a remote location with no commuting.
  • Majority of contact via video call, email or telephone, at scheduled times which may be a benefit if you prefer to distance yourself from employees.
  • Virtual assistants are often self employed or work for another body, often for multiple clients simultaneously, removing any need for you to provide benefits, organise payroll or taxes.
  • Can manage many of the same jobs as a personal assistant might be asked to do, as many tasks normally require the use of computers and other electronic devices.
  • Your virtual assistant will have no interaction with any other members of your team, this can be advantageous if you wish to keep things separate and private.

Virtual Assistant Disadvantages

  • Their role will be highly defined without variation unless you take extra time to give additional instruction.
  • Generally they will be working for many clients simultaneously, so your work may not be done at a certain time of day, they may not be able to be as responsive as you might like. Particularly if you need something done quickly or if changes need to be made partway through a task.
  • May not be available when you need them.
  • May not receive all their time or loyalty.
  • Not available to meet you in person; you may never meet them in person if they are a significant distance away.
  • Will not be able to assist with the rest of the team or help the team out in a pinch.
  • Vetting a virtual assistant can be troublesome and difficult.
  • It is unlikely you will be able to train your assistant as such.

Personal Assistant Advantages

Having a person in your employ close by in the flesh has a number of advantages.

  • Loyalty
  • Available to you in the flesh; they may live near by or on your property. They may not be be seen all the time as their tasks are there to free you up to be elsewhere! But can be seen as needed and spoken to in person; you can oversee what they are doing with their time and mentor them.
  • Train them as needed to do other tasks and use the software you need too.
  • Understanding each other is often clearer in person and it can be easier to speak with someone you see all the time; commitment from all parties is clear.
  • You will be able to develop your assistant, providing growth to improve your company, picking up on those skills not on a CV!
  • You will receive 100% of their time.
  • Responsive, working for you at set times, so always available to you and able to adapt to changing needs quickly.
  • You will see them regularly, and, as your relationship develops, be able to preempt one another.
  • Trust you will know no outsourcing of the work has been done and your data is secure.
  • Speed: agencies can help find someone for you, rather than looking for someone reputable online to be your virtual assistant.
  • They will be available to you and, should their workload enable, help others too, such as family and colleagues.
  • The ability to interview them in person a number of times and carry out a trial to see if they are a suitable fit for you. A trial is a great no risk way for all parties to see if the assistant is the right person for the job. It is a very personal job working closely with the employer so it is very important to work out if both parties are going to be happy before making a long term commitment.

Personal Assistant Disadvantages

The cost of a personal assistant will be more than a virtual assistant and you will be responsible for employing them. But you will be receiving 100% of their time and whilst this requires a certain amount of administration on your part there are companies such as Staff Tax in the UK for private staff who can help with payroll, employment contracts and pensions. For an idea of how much a PA would expect to be paid you can read more here.

Finding the right fit of personal assistant is essential and a good agency will be able to reduce the time you need to invest in finding that person. They will sort through all the applications for you and guide you along the way. At Polo & Tweed we offer a tailor-made service to our clients to ensure we get the right match for you. There are some great pointers on the types of questions you might like to ask at interview here.

Once you have the right assistant for you they can save you more than 30 hours a week! Read here about some of the ways a PA can save you time, as well as 10 benefits of hiring a PA. For a personal view of how hiring a Personal Assistant can change your life, Polo & Tweed’s CEO talks frankly here about her own experience and the benefits she has seen.

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