This is a guest post from Richard Walton, the Founder of AVirtual a company that provides virtual PAs
For most professionals, work life balance is an inaccessible dream. We live in a hyperactivity society that’s constantly communicating, demanding and querying. If you turn your phone on silent when you leave the office, you feel guilty for being a bad boss or employee. Here’s the secret: you can be a much better leader, employee, parent, friend or spouse if you prioritise balance and with a personal assistant it’s easy and cheap.
It took me twenty years as an entrepreneur to realise that. I was on sabbatical from work. I’d been working at such a high pace for so long that I found it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be properly unwind. Even though I wasn’t in the office, I still had all the day to day administration that comes with four children: planning a camping trip, renewing passports, even things like making a playlist for a family road trip.
On paper, those all sound like things that most parents are capable of handling, which is true, we’re all capable, but that’s not the issue. The issue is time. All of those tasks consume hours of your day and can be extremely frustrating and stressful. I hired a personal assistant to take care of those things so that I could concentrate on just being a father. My PA minimised distractions in my day so that I could focus my attention on playing with my kids or spending time with my wife. It was better for me and better for my family, so good in fact, that ironically that’s how I got the idea of supplying professional virtual assistants to busy people.
Usually, there are two things that hold people back from hiring an assistant. Number one, as always, is money. It’s an extra expense that small business owners or freelancers feel that they can’t afford. When you’re talking about hiring an in-house personal assistant, that’s probably true. The expenses of taking on a full time employee are astronomical. Aside from the salary, there’s the rent of office space, software licenses, obligatory national insurance contributions and the cost of office supplies. Number two is that busy people find it hard to let go. The thought of someone else running your diary, handling your accounts, planning your family holiday or ordering your aunt’s birthday present can seem a little intrusive. Plus, managing an employee is a responsibility in itself. Both those things don’t apply to virtual assistants.
A virtual assistant’s main job, like an in-house PA, is to help make your life run more smoothly. Thanks to technology, your dedicated assistant can manage your email inbox, pay your bills, make your travel bookings, book your next haircut and even send your family healthy recipes. You don’t have to provide office space, worry about payroll or even holiday leave. It’s cheaper because you only pay for the assistance you need and more reliable when you hire through a professional agency as PAs are monitored and selected for their ability. At AVirtual, we’re so picky that we decline 200 applicants for every assistant we hire and then each of our employees goes through our rigorous training programme, so we’re saving you time on recruitment and training too.
Then, it’s up to you how you define your PA’s role. If you’re looking for someone to support you professionally, your assistant can help to coordinate meetings, organise your diary, set reminders, pay bills, even reach out to potential clients or manage your social media platforms, anything that might save you time and boost your productivity. Or you might be looking for someone to help you with personal admin so that your social responsibilities don’t slip off the radar. Maybe you want to concentrate on getting fit or attending more cultural events. The best thing about working with an assistant is that you gain back time and head space to achieve what you want to achieve and to do the things you love. It’s a form of liberation.
Richard Walton is the Founder of AVirtual a company that provides virtual PAs to small business, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is regularly featured in the press talking about topics such as work life balance and productivity