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Virtual employees and contractors or assistants are not new but are part of an increasing trend for both small and large companies. Today’s virtual “assistants” possess a wide range of skills from data entry to arranging your national company’s yearly meeting. In two weeks. In Budapest. Burn the steno books, this is not your father’s secretary anymore.  And technology makes communicating with virtual workers easier than ever.  

Some of the benefits to the business engaging the virtual world? No sharing office space, no buying additional computers or equipment (I literally come with my own mini Staples- that was easy), no payroll headaches, insurance, or benefits.  Small businesses may only have a few hours of bookkeeping, creative or other tasks a week – not enough to hire an employee-so this option allows them the opportunity to get what they need done.  Larger businesses just may not have an employee to stretch into yet another role.  And for any size business, it’s not a boss/employee relationship – which apparently has at some point in time been an awkward experience resulting in giant governmental posters that wallpaper break-rooms across America.   Instead, the company is my client and I have a vested interest in helping them find solutions and grow their business. If they don’t…well,  then I don’t. Do the math.  Me + Loss of Money = No Cheerios.  

 I once overheard a few young, new candidates seeking their way into the workforce comment on how virtual workers take away jobs from people. Huh? Now, I know they were just feeling a little worried, possibly in shock, because they recently traded in their red plastic cups and keg deposits for monthly payments on $100,000+ in student loans, but I’m a little hurt. I’m people too. Virtual workers become who  they are for any number of reasons: to take care of their family’s young, old, or disabled, they are themselves disabled, their region is hard pressed for jobs so they use their ingenuity to keep their families supplied with Cheerios, or they just have an entrepreneurial streak they prefer to live out instead of working for others.  Virtual workers are just that – workers. Hmmmph. HOWEVER, if businesses hire virtual assistants from other countries then THEY are taking away jobs from American people who might need the work here. But that’s not me. I’m as American as…wait for it…pie.

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