Hiring virtual assistants is one of the quickest ways to scale your business. From accounting to digital marketing, they can handle a wide variety of tasks.
It allows you to focus on urgent business matters and devise strategies for the upcoming months. Additionally, you can handle the growing workload of your thriving business without causing employee burnout.
That’s why you need to keep tabs on the latest virtual assistant trends making waves in the virtual assistant industry.
In this article, we’ll cover the top six virtual assistant trends in 2021 that will continue to shape business decisions in 2022. We’ll also highlight the key takeaways from each of these virtual assistant trends.
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- 6 Virtual Assistant Trends for Businesses to Consider in 2022
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6 Virtual Assistant Trends for Businesses to Consider in 2022
From taking customer support calls to uploading blog posts, virtual assistants can come in handy for businesses across various sectors.
The virtual assistant market has been expanding, and here are the latest trends you should watch out for in 2022.
1. The Growing Army of Remote Freelancers
The worldwide COVID impact has led to a steady rise in freelancers working remotely and participating in the gig economy. Be it for project management or administrative tasks, an increasing number of freelancers are stepping up to offer virtual assistant services.
According to the 2020 Statista report, 50% of Generation Z employees are doing some form of freelance work.
Many full-time employees have switched to freelancing and provide virtual assistant services for the tasks or fields they specialize in. In fact, the 2021 virtual assistant statistics reveal that 59% of virtual assistants are full-time employees. They enjoy the several benefits of remote work like a flexible schedule, better work-life balance, higher work productivity, and so on.
Consequently, businesses can hugely benefit from this flourishing virtual assistant market. Whether it’s for handling your business’s social media marketing or conducting market research, you can easily find the right virtual assistant from the growing pool of freelancers.
Further, companies can save more by hiring virtual assistants as they don’t expect any perks or medical benefits.
It’s also highly likely to get good referrals for a particular job from a freelancer you’ve previously hired. Since freelancers handle various projects and clients, they develop a wider professional network with people across different departments.
As a business owner, you can leverage their connections to save your human resources’ efforts and find the perfect virtual assistant for a given job.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s why businesses should rely on the rising number of freelancers and the virtual assistant market growth:
- Freelancers are habituated to work independently and require the least supervision from your end.
- You have the flexibility to hire freelancers on a contractual basis if you require their virtual assistant services for a specific period only.
- Before hiring a virtual assistant, you can assess their work quality and experience on several virtual assistant websites like LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
2. Increased Reach of High-Speed Internet
Developing economies in Latin America and the Asia Pacific (like India) are reporting better internet connectivity with each passing year. As per the 2019 Our World in Data report, the online world is gaining 27,000 users every hour.
The internet has created job opportunities for people residing in remote corners of the world. Individuals have a platform to connect and collaborate with industry experts from the comfort of their homes.
The US government will be spending approximately USD 150 billion to improve the digital infrastructure over the next decade. As a result, virtual work is on the rise, and the virtual assistant market is hugely benefitting from the implementation of hi-speed internet and wireless networks.
And a 2019 Statista report reveals that a third of the internet users worldwide are between the ages of 25 and 34 years. Naturally, this makes it easy for companies to harness the working population with internet accessibility.
It’s giving more people the option of remote work and encouraging an upwards market growth for virtual assistants.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can profit from the widescale installation of internet and WiFi services:
- Good internet connectivity helps you stay in touch with your remote workers and get regular work updates.
- Your virtual assistant can access, download, and share data and other official documents while working from anywhere.
- The internet encourages self-learning and eliminates the need for additional training.
3. The Rise of Remote-friendly Startups
According to a Statista survey among Southeast Asian startups, 20.9% of employees worked remotely in 2020. More importantly, the virtual assistant statistics from a 99firms.com survey reveal that a startup or small business is more likely to hire virtual assistants.
Startups are always looking for smarter, cost-effective solutions that can help them get better results at lower prices. And a virtual staff can help you save more money by eliminating the need for a larger office space.
To be precise, they can save you up to 78% in operating costs every year.
Additionally, their broad exposure to several industries and work practices help them develop diverse skills and business acumen. Incidentally, your business can utilize this quality to drive higher profits.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how remote-friendly startups can benefit from the market growth of virtual assistants:
- Virtual assistants can quickly familiarize themselves with the digital tools used at remote workspaces as they have prior experience working in a virtual environment.
- Remote companies can access a wider talent pool and recruit a virtual personal assistant from any corner of the world, as long as they meet the criteria.
- Virtual assistants usually follow a flexible work schedule, perfect for remote startups that generally don’t stick to strict working hours. So virtual assistants can help you with urgent tasks even during the weekends if the need arises.
4. Plan For Outsourcing and Cost Savings
Due to the widespread COVID impact, many businesses have incurred huge losses, both in terms of clients and capital. It has compelled many organizations to prioritize cost savings and embrace the trend of outsourcing.
Deloitte’s 2020 Global Outsourcing Survey reveals that 70% of organizations began outsourcing with one objective in mind – to reduce costs. This trend plays a crucial role in the virtual assistant market too.
Many companies in Europe, North America, and the Middle East have been outsourcing and hiring virtual assistants who can offer them top-notch services at affordable prices. It allows them to outsource tasks of an administrative assistant.
In the face of the ongoing pandemic, offshore outsourcing and hiring of virtual assistants increased by 41% in 2020.
Even real estate and e-commerce business owners can outsource any task requiring particular expertise like graphic designing, customer support, social media marketing, and so on.
Most importantly, any virtual assistant can offer virtual assistance for these tasks by working far from their home base. In turn, they can assist any end user or customer of real estate, retail, healthcare, and BFSI (Banking, financial services, and insurance) sectors.
Outsourcing work to a team of virtual assistants can significantly bring down your business costs. For instance, you won’t have to pay them any monthly travel allowance or offer reimbursements for any work trips.
You only need to pay for the exact working hours and don’t have to cover the costs of medical benefits, office equipment, and other expenses of maintaining any full-time employee.
30% of the IT companies that outsource their tasks to virtual assistants claim that it effectively cuts costs.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can generate more profits by outsourcing virtual assistant jobs:
- The demand for offshore virtual assistants will constantly grow as more companies adopt remote and hybrid work models.
- Outsourcing accounting and administrative tasks can free up your time and resources, which you can dedicate to complex tasks.
- An outsourcing vendor brings in specialized knowledge and assures quality deliverables for your business.
5. The Shift Towards a Flexible Work Schedule
A flexible work schedule gives remote employees the freedom to work during their most productive hours. In fact, a survey by Boston College in the USA reveals that 70% of managers and 87% of employees believe that a flexible work schedule positively impacts their productivity.
So as a business owner, you can utilize this trend to your advantage by hiring virtual assistants and remote workers who can help you deliver better results.
Instead of logging in for 40 hours every week, virtual assistants can choose to work for 20 hours, depending on their workload.
Allowing your virtual team to work flexible schedules can help you retain and attract talented resources. It enables you to build a team of highly motivated employees and promotes a healthy work culture.
It’s no wonder that 80% of the world’s enterprises plan to increase virtual hiring as per the Intuit 2020 Report.
Additionally, hiring virtual assistants and giving them the flexibility to work from anywhere ensures they’re able to keep themselves in good shape.
As per the data gathered by a Canada-based Insurance Company in 2018, virtual assistants and remote employees experience 20% less stress than cubicle workers.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can improve work productivity by offering flexible work schedules:
- A flexible work schedule improves job satisfaction levels.
- Offering flexible work arrangements helps you build a positive brand reputation and enhances your business’s market size.
- It helps your employees avoid traffic and commute stress and makes more room for their work and relaxation.
6. Integration of Digital Tools
Digital tools can help you scale daily business operations, reduce paperwork, manage payrolls, and streamline team communications. You can also make real-time updates, access customer insights, and unlock advanced automation capabilities.
Additionally, integrating digital tools can help companies manage their remote employees and virtual assistants with absolute ease.
As per the 2021 Statista report, 79% of employees, including virtual assistants and remote employees, have been using digital tools for improved collaboration.
For instance, Time Doctor is one such productivity management tool that can help you increase the efficiency of your virtual assistants.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful time tracking tool used by large enterprises like Ericsson, as well as by small businesses, like Thrive Market, to elevate organizational performance.
You can access Time Doctor’s detailed reports to analyze your employees’ daily and weekly working hours. This way, you can understand the amount of time they spend on each task.
It saves virtual assistants’ time preparing manual timesheets for their work hours as a bonus.
These tools give you increased accessibility so that you can reach out to your virtual assistants at any hour of the day. Moreover, virtual assistants are more adept at working with digital tools and require the slightest assistance from you.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s why businesses should integrate with digital tools for managing virtual assistants:
- Digital tools like project management software give your virtual assistants easy access to information, data, and files in one centralized place.
- You can easily discuss project briefs, weekly tasks, and client updates via video, call, or chat.
- Digital tools can help you with the online scheduling of tasks and meetings and streamline internal team communication.
The recent virtual assistant trends emphasize the significance of hiring a virtual assistant, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID crisis.
It can help your business deliver well even on a low budget, increase the profit margin for your services or products, and ultimately raise your market share.
Once you align your business with the virtual assistant market trends we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be able to manage any task. With the support of the right team, you can establish yourself as one of the key players in the market and make your mark in this competitive landscape of business.