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Case Study

The Age of Virtual Assistants Is Dead: The Future of Remote Work for Your Business


Have you considered hiring a virtual assistant? You and everyone else.

After COVID-19 slowed down the world’s pace, remote work was the only option and as a result, the demand for virtual assistants skyrocketed.

Virtual assistants (or VAs) have been around for the longest time, but most people had their doubts about outsourcing from developing economies. Then the pandemic forced companies worldwide to trust their employees to deliver while working from home. The result was an increased level of trust in virtual/remote work and open-mindedness to outsourcing.

VAs became especially appealing because businesses were trying to stay afloat during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic (and even now) companies headed to markets like Fiverr & Upwork to outsource - and while we loveeee contractors, you can’t build a cohesive unit with only contractors. People needed full-time staff.

Who could turn down an option that saves their company the bulk of hiring costs? All the reasons employers were hesitant to hire VAs were quickly losing their potency in the light of “the new normal”.

For countries like The Philippines & others in Latin America (considered the best places to find VAs), their economic & employment climate also created a gap of unmet needs for their talent workforce. With the number of highly skilled workers there seeking employment and/or flexible hours, the VA craze got even crazier.

Oh, nothing to see here. Just a suspicious VA VA-ing. (Just kidding)

But should you hire a bunch of Virtual Assistants to grow your business? No way. I’ll explain.

When Athyna started, we were part of the early advocates for employing VAs.

We believed our Virtual Assistants would help early-stage founders get more time back in their lives by taking over some of their (very many) tasks. But our focus has always been on good and healthy work culture, and so we quickly discovered this: hiring people as VAs and treating them as such was not helping them at all.

Now, this is not to throw dirt on people who have worked successfully with and as VAs for years, but what exactly is the standard job description for a VA?

There isn’t any.

VAs do anything from data entry and calendar management to graphic design and even digital marketing. Their job description depends on what their employer needs and what skills they have to offer. Just like any other employees, right?

So why shouldn’t they be given the same career opportunities as everyone else in your workforce?

Since we realised that we were doing a disservice to our employees, we upgraded our hiring model. We’re constantly striving to improve how we care for our people because we know we can’t do anything without them.

Taking advantage of a gap in our economies is not to say that we hope the disparity remains, rather, we want to do everything in our power to support the people who are supporting us to live full, happy lives.

Typically, people see VAs as a super cheap hiring option. How would you feel about being considered a dirt cheap hiring option? Not great, of course. No one would. It also caused people to treat their employees with disregard and disrespect, which isn’t great especially considering the gaps in opportunities we were born into.

We knew there had to be a better way, and what we found was better than we imagined. 

Today, Athyna has an average engagement score of 88/100 on CultureAmp, which they refer to as “write-a-book-on-culture” high. So we’re pretty good at this, the data says.

So what is the future of remote work for your business?

Remote employees. Employees, just… remote. 

Now, there’s a global market of talent ready to handle anything from community building on social media to high-level accounting and even executive positions. Anything that can be done on a computer, there’s talent out there for it.

We’re a hiring company, so we know just how hard it is to find good talent. The next generation of startup giants is branching out into the global market to find the calibre of talent that can help them build strong, meaningful companies. After working hard to find superstar talent overseas, it would be a shame to treat them any less. You’ll lose out on so much.

So, *beckoning* here are industry secrets on how to hack remote hiring:

Talent Kombat!

  • Give them a compelling salary: Partner with them and they’ll give you their best. At Athyna, we believe in leaving the floor open to negotiate what works best for our talent & clients. That way, we can be sure we’re compensating them well.
  • Offer remarkable benefits: Give them more reasons to stay and support your dream. You need them around, don’t understate it.
  • Cultivate a heart-warming company culture including them: Especially because work is done from gigabytes (don’t quote me) away, you’ll need to be proactive about onboarding and ingraining them into your team. Neglecting it is a costly mistake.
  • Trust their expertise and let them make mistakes: Just like you, they’re great at some things and not so great at others. And even with their superpowers, they’re still going to need to know that it’s okay to mess up and make mistakes. We’ve seen it do wonders at Athyna.
  • Listen to their work & personal needs: Employees come to work for their own reasons. The better you understand their motivations, the better the experience you can provide them with, and the better their relationship with their job.
  • Provide them with helpful and timely feedback: They need this to become highly attuned to the nuances of the roles you need them to perform. Don’t sleep on this.
  • Map out a clear-cut career path for them: If there’s nothing to aspire to, there’ll be no motivation. Capice?

If we’re going to have to work to survive, we might as well enjoy the darn thing, don’t you think?

Now, just before you leave with fresh resolve and gusto, I have something interesting to tell you. 

We can hire, manage & retain the world-class talent you’re looking for in 10 days. From full-time global staff to contractors, we’ll help you hire superstars from anywhere in the world.

Good talent is hard to find, but we know where to look. Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch with you lickety-split.

Typical US Salary
With Athyna
Walo Olapoju

Copywriter/Full-stack creative at Athyna. Leonardo da Vinci's archnemesis.

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