Digital transformation, remote working, and AI are all causing businesses to re-evaluate how they operate. The pandemic showed a great need for businesses to be able to pivot and use business practices such as vertical integration.
Streamlining operations become more necessary as inflation soared, and business costs have risen. Now, virtual staffing is growing popular as a way to maximize efficiency and increase output.
What exactly is meant by virtual staffing, and how will outsourcing certain areas benefit a business?
How commonplace is outsourcing for businesses now?
Somewhere in the region of 37% of small businesses outsource one task now. Even the biggest enterprises outsource aspects of their operations today.
Remote working has become commonplace, so outsourcing could be seen as a progression of this. Reduced headcount means less need for office space, and in many cases leads to higher levels of productivity.
Virtual staffing is a new way to add to an existing workforce without actually recruiting anyone. Tasks may be outsourced, but at the same time give the impression that your business is larger than it is.
How do virtual office services fit in with outsourcing?
There are different types of virtual office services, and businesses may choose to utilize them in ways they see fit. Some virtual offices consist of actual brick-and-mortar addresses, often in prestige areas. Other virtual services involve outsourcing tasks such as reception duties to external service providers.
For example, your business might require a receptionist but only for a limited period. Therefore, you might use a virtual service provider to take your calls and pass on messages. Often, a business may use virtual staff to handle a whole department, while retaining one on-site employee to manage in-person appointments.
In what ways do virtual office services improve business operations?
Your business may choose to outsource project management so you benefit from an experienced professional. But, virtual staffing is more likely to take care of admin and other office roles.
This isn’t to say that virtual office services are basic. Virtual staffing can cover a wide range of areas including the following:
- Social media account management
- Reception duties
- Human resources
- Admin tasks including file management
- Translation services and interpreting
- Report creation
Virtual services can provide staff to fill in when there is a long-term absence or vacation. Or just to help with expanded workloads. Below you will see a number of other benefits of virtual staffing.
Virtual staffing is cost efficient
Instead of paying full-time salaries and benefits, virtual service providers can be used to carry out duties as needed.
Employee benefits range from $5,000 to $30,000 per individual, so the cost savings here alone are considerable. Then there is the reduced investment in computer systems and such equipment as VoIP. With virtual staffing, various tasks can be managed off-site if needed. This leads to lower overheads and reduced workspace.
Adding staff helps to share the workload, and allows full-time employees to concentrate on core tasks. In small businesses, employees are often expected to share tasks and generally muck in.
Using virtual receptionists will free up the time taken to manage phone calls, and take messages. Instead, employees can work on projects that are essential to the business’s growth.
Present a professional image
If you choose the type of virtual office that comes with a genuine postal address, your company can give a more professional image.
For example, your start-up would like to attract clients in the UK, but you aren’t ready to expand into other regions yet. However, a virtual office with a real address will give the impression that you have overseas branches.
The virtual receptionists at this site will take your calls, and even your mail, and pass on messages for you to chase up later.
Virtual office services provide scalability
The section above leads somewhat to scalability. Using virtual staff allows a business to expand when needed very quickly. If your admin staff leaves, they can be replaced fast with virtual workers while you recruit permanent employees.
Or, if business is slow, you can reduce your virtual staff to match your needs.
Virtual staffing can lead to better security
The more staff that have access to sensitive data, the less secure that information is. By using virtual staff, your business’s files will be accessed by a minimum of on-site workers.
There are plenty of cybersecurity tips for small businesses, and large. Securing access to data is essential to prevent breaches and theft. When you use virtual staff you control who has access to your records and network.
Reduce mundane tasks
Mundane tasks are the bane of many employees’ lives. And they affect productivity. Dull tasks often lead to discontent in workers and can lead to human error through repetition and boredom.
Filing, email filtering, and calendar management can all be tackled by virtual staff. Your employees will then have more time for the real matters at hand and will gain better job satisfaction.
In turn, this might lead to higher levels of staff retention, and increased productivity.
Virtual office services can be 24/7
Depending on which service your business utilizes, you could benefit from a 24-hour, 7 days a week service. Businesses that operate internationally or need to provide 24/7 customer support would benefit from virtual staffing.
Running operations 24 hours a day can be difficult, and finding staff equally so. Virtual service providers operate in the US and overseas. Therefore they are used to working in other time zones.
Virtual staffing is flexible
Not only will you be able to scale your virtual staffing to suit, but you pick the days and hours you need the services for. Some businesses may only need a virtual receptionist on Mondays for instance.
Finding someone willing to work just one day a week may be difficult. But, virtual staff may work for more than one client and will be scheduled as they are needed.
Remove the need for recruitment and training
Another way virtual staffing saves costs is by removing recruitment drives and training needs. The average cost of recruiting just one employee is $4,700. Add on the need for training, and the aforementioned employee benefits, and the financial advantages of virtual staffing become clearer.
Business spaces and meeting rooms
If you choose to go down the route of virtual office spaces as well as staff, then you will benefit from workspace and meeting rooms.
Sharing virtual receptionists and other staff with businesses in the same building is a growing trend. Expensive office space becomes cheaper, and headcount can stay low. Sharing these spaces may also lead to productive collaboration with other businesses.
Changes to how businesses operate will continue now with the advent of AI. Remote working appears to be here to stay. And companies have reduced office space accordingly.
Virtual office services may be the next big change after outsourcing. Virtual staffing allows a very flexible way to outsource tasks as needed. Virtual service providers allow companies to streamline operations, and increase productivity.
Improved efficiency is the goal of all businesses now as the financial environment remains difficult. Virtual staffing may provide the best way to maintain standards while cutting costs and not corners.