The coronavirus pandemic abruptly pushed businesses in the United States to switch to a work-from-home setup. 25% of professional jobs in North America are expected to be remote by the end of 2022 compared to the 15% at the year’s beginning.
Because of the constraints of the pandemic and the resulting benefits of remote work, more businesses are going fully remote or employing a hybrid model for their employees.
In scaling businesses, outsourcing services to virtual assistants is a great alternative to hiring in-house personnel when handling non-core business operations, especially in addressing the red flags of the economic shift this economy brought about.
This blog discusses the possible effects of the work-from-home economy on United States businesses, and how Magic virtual assistance services can help businesses going remote.
US Economy Changes Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Two years after the unexpected lockdown, three new economies emerged. Understanding how these economies came about should help you discover how they can affect outsourcing services.
The term “information economy” was coined by Marc Porat, co-founder of General Magic. Its purpose is to create and process information and be able to distribute the information effectively. Cambridge defines it as an economy where knowledge, information, and services are more valuable than manufacturing.
This economy existed well before the Covid-19 pandemic pushed companies to work from home to slow the spread and protect people from being exposed to the virus. Technology and the information economy accelerated the change of industrialized nations from manufacturing-based economies to service-based economies.
Communication and collaboration tools became necessary to facilitate the work-from-home setup. Remote work tools like Trello, Google Workspace, and Zoom became a need. Business owners and remote workers needed to be productive and updated on the progress of employees’ work so they had to find the right integration tools that fit their needs.
Outsourcing services can supply a remote team of virtual assistants experienced in service-based economies such as hospitality, financial services, health, human services, retail, education, and information technology. For health startup owners, check out these ten reasons why you should hire a VA.
The gig economy encompasses independent contractors, contingent workers, freelancers, on-call workers, and consultants. It also includes digital platforms that facilitate the exchange of services between professionals and customers. This economy is expected to grow and spread around the world. You can also expect more diverse kinds of services since the talent pool isn’t just limited to a nation or continent anymore.
In 2018, around a third of the world’s workers were part of the gig economy. In the US alone, this reached 57 million gig workers. That’s 36% of all American workers. By 2023, this is projected to reach $455 billion compared to the current value of $204 billion.
As far as outsourcing services are concerned, hiring personal assistants is available for gig workers who need help in coping with their booking and meetings schedules, marketing, and administrative tasks.
U.S. media coverage reported that businesses were pushed to alter the workplace due to the coronavirus pandemic. It forced many companies to transition to hybrid or remote work. This was to protect the employees from exposure to this virus and to continue business operations.
As a result of remote work, the working-from-home economy was observed. Gallup poll data reports a dramatic increase in Americans working remotely since March 2020. Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economist states that a mere 26% of essential service workers mostly go to the office to work. These workers are the ones required to interact closely with customers or need to work in the office to be effective. What’s more, many remote workers prefer to continue working remotely.
With more people choosing to work from home, business owners stand to benefit from outsourcing services to virtual assistants instead of hiring in-house personnel.
Outsourcing services help save on time. Instead of doing repetitive work themselves, businesses can hire a remote team to handle such tasks. Also, outsourcing services allow them to cut on training, office equipment, and other costs.
On the other hand, in-house personnel can learn about the company culture and limit miscommunications. The employees work face-to-face so working on strategic projects that need close interaction would be suitable for them. Lastly, business owners have complete control over who works with them since they can choose who to hire based on their technical skills and personality.
Red Flags of the Economic Shift for SME and Startup Businesses
There is an economic shift from manufacturing to work-from-home. Nicholas Bloom’s study reveals three possible red flags in a remote working setup. Startup and SME business owners should take these signals into account when outsourcing services since being aware of these possible red flags can help limit or eliminate unfavorable results when organizing a remote team, whether this involves employees or outsourced contractors.
1. Not all can do remote working.
Bloom’s study revealed that 51% of the respondents reported at least 80% efficiency while working remotely. They are mostly professionals, financial workers, and managers who can do their duties on computers.
2. Almost 50% of employees cannot work from home.
On the other hand, 50% of the respondents said they cannot do remote work. These are employees who work in transport, business, healthcare, and retail services who need to see their clients or work with equipment or products.
3. Lack of facilities or Internet capabilities to effectively do remote work.
Many Americans are either not fully equipped or have insufficient Internet access to do remote work effectively. In fact, more than 50% of the respondents who were already working remotely work in their bedrooms or shared rooms. 65% of Americans reported having sufficient Internet capabilities to support video calls. The rest of them have no or poor Internet connectivity, thus preventing effective telecommuting.
How Outsourcing Services to VAs Help Businesses
Outsourcing virtual assistants to do your administrative, marketing, and other tasks can help you and your in-house employees focus on the tasks that you need to perform yourselves. The tasks you choose to outsource depend on you. However, here are some kinds of Magic VAs with specific tasks that can be of great help to your business.
General Virtual Assistant
Startup and SME owners can employ a general VA to help facilitate your calendar and email management needs. Aside from taking care of your clerical tasks, you can assign them to answer business emails and calls for you. Basic bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing and tracking of payments, receipts, and bills are also some tasks they handle. Lastly, they can be in charge of basic social media postings for your business.
This VA can act as your sales development representative (SDR) and can do lead generation tasks for you. Their SDR tasks include talking to prospective clients and answering inbound calls. They endorse possible clients to whoever is responsible for closing sales. Plus, they can handle appointment settings for you and your clients.
Customer Support Assistant
Your virtual assistant is responsible for helping clients with their inquiries, orders, and needs. So, some of their tasks include chat, email, and phone support. They can also employ escalation management for orders, refunds, or complaints. They are trained to use positive scripting to ensure that they are giving the answers you would be giving. This way, you can limit customers’ frustrations while keeping the interaction productive.
Know what tasks and business goals you can assign to your in-house personnel and when outsourcing services to virtual assistants. If they can complete these tasks, then you can ensure their productivity as well even while working remotely or on a hybrid setup.
What services can Magic provide for Startups and SMEs?
Magic aims to be every business owner’s go-to provider of virtual assistant services. As such, we strive to provide the best virtual assistant match-up for every startup or SME owner who reaches out to us.
Outsourcing services by hiring virtual assistants in Magic affords you two main services:
- VA Services: Our Dedicated Assistants can cater to most virtual assistant tasks including admin, sales, and more. Whether it’s for business or for personal, we find the most suitable VA for you.
- Integration: Magic created the client portal to facilitate seamless and user-friendly integration. This way, you and your chosen virtual assistant can start any project as soon as you need them.
Being a startup or SME owner doesn’t have to push you to do everything by yourself. Outsourcing services opened doors to VAs who can help startups like you establish your business. Start by hiring a Magic assistant today.