Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) stated that by 2022, four years from now, robots may replace 75 million human jobs and, in parallel, the shift to automated services will open another 133 million new positions in the marketplace.
Even if we consider some variation in this data’s accuracy, it is very likely that the common workplace will develop new ways of working. The WEF report stated that the positions of the future will be based on a model of professionalism, part-time or professional work for freelancers and contractors.
It may sound odd but this revolution has been forming slowly but surely for years now…
To share more on this topic, I asked Heftziba Glatt, CEO of Moneypenny, a virtual assistant service provider, to share her insights on this revolution from her point of view.
Tim Ferriss’s best-selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which was published more than a decade ago, was among the first to change the perception about the workplace and introduced new and innovative ways in this sector.
In his book he shared how he managed a successful business which he had to work in for only four hours a week. The rest of the time he got to travel the world, practicing and winning dance competitions in South America, mastering martial arts in Japan, learning new languages and simply living life to the fullest while running his own business. All his readers wanted to know was how he did it, and how they can do the same.
Ferriss explained that he created an automated system that managed his business for him. His products were kept in a warehouse that received orders through another provider. At the heart of his business were professional virtual assistants from India, who systemically managed his global operations for him and reduced his involvement in his business. Most importantly, while his virtual assistants worked for him, Ferriss could focus on he was really good at and loved doing. And that is exactly what startups and business owners are supposed to do most of the time.
Do what you do best and outsource the rest
The popularity of virtual assistant services has been growing in Israel in recent years. That being said, there is still a great need for the right implementation of such services among startups, small business owners, and companies in general.
Heftziba encounters various comments. Some of them are more supportive and some are doubtful, for example:
“How can I really replace my secretary with someone who’s not physically in the office?”
“I can’t really know what she’s actually doing.”
“I’m not sure that the secretary would know how to meet my company’s specific needs.”
In order to clarify what the virtual assistant role is all about, she shared a few insights regarding working with a virtual assistant:
- How can you actually work with a virtual assistant?
“A virtual assistant (VA) is basically your employee. She does all of the tasks you need based on the time you define for her. She can work in a full- or part-time manner; She’s in touch with the company throughout the day as needed, and sends out a report with the tasks’ status. However, a virtual assistant is way more than that. They’re actually becoming an integral part of your company. Your team can consult with them. Their job is to think bigger and find innovative solutions to challenges that your company is facing. The VA usually quickly develop a personal connection and jokes come to the air as she is becoming a true partner.”
“The interesting thing is that the connection, commitment and bond is happening through daily video calls, messages, and emails. In addition, the virtual assistant is a part of a company; therefore, she brings an experienced team with her that backs her when needed and thinks with her on relevant solutions for you.”
- In what areas can a virtual assistant help the company?
The expertise of a virtual assistant, for the most part, is around the administration, operation, and ongoing management of the business. For example:
- Managing the office and handling HR
- Financing and collection
- Managing calendar and schedule
- Supporting sales
- Helping organize events and conferences
- Managing social media
- Why should I hire a virtual assistant over an in-office secretary?
“It is important to say we have great respect for an in-office secretary. They have a great responsibility and a lot of crucial information reaches their desk. In some types of companies, such as corporations, an in-office secretary is crucial. That being said, the character of startups and small businesses is a bit different. Some companies work in a lean format, hire a small office space or pay-per-sit at co-working spaces. Some of them work from their garage or home. For a small company, the money spent is being measured by value, productivity, and cost. Virtual assistants can save the cost of office space, stationary, additional payments for full-time employees, and more.”
“Virtual assistants must have great work experience in order to do their work, and in addition to having their office team to support each other, they bring greater value and can make processes way easier and faster in a relatively short time. Most important of all, for your virtual assistant, your success means a lot and she’s there for you and your company.”
At the end of the day, virtual assistants allow the CEO, and all team members in the company to focus on what they’re good at and what they specialize in and do more of it – whether it’s product development, sales, managing development teams, and so on.
The workplace and the traditional structure of businesses have been changing over time. Now is just the right time to start testing such opportunities, see what works best for you and enjoy the possibilities that our digital-evolving world provides us with, to grow as a company and as professionals.