Virtual Employees vs In-Person: The Pros & The Cons

virtual employees vs in-person the pros the cons

Most small and medium business owners pride themselves on their personable, customer-centric service. When you’re ready to expand, hiring in-person employees feels like the right next step, but costs are significantly prohibitive. 

That’s where virtual assistants and related virtual services save the day (and the bottom line) while preserving your brand’s reputation as a personable, people-oriented company.

Risks & Benefits Of Virtual Services

The good news is that you don’t have to view it as an either-or. Virtual vs. in-person employee debates have more to do with:

  • Whether you have a brick-and-mortar presence
  • The feasibility of balancing what you’re called to do with what needs to be done administratively
  • Your business’s bottom line
  • Its ability to handle fluctuating workloads
  • Whether or not you can take reasonable time off for yourself (not that common for successful, sole-proprietor business owners!)

Working with a virtual services provider allows you to be flexible with how and when you utilize the services - always in alignment with your values.

Pros Of Utilizing Virtual Employees vs In-Person

There are several pros to starting with virtual services before making the steep financial (and energetic) commitment necessary when hiring in-person employees.

Cost efficiency

Profit isn’t the primary objective for most sole-proprietor and small business owners. You love your products and services, and you want to serve the public. However, financial viability is essential for your business to remain sustainable - not to mention for it to expand. 

Virtual services are effective, allowing you to invest only the amount needed to support you where you need it most. You only pay for the services you need, for the time you need then, without any obligation to employee benefits, workman’s compensation, employee PTO, retention incentives, and so on. 

Also, you can consider this a chance to “try on” virtual service options. Once you hand over receptionist, HR, and other administrative tasks, you can see where you may need in-person help and where you don’t. This helps you assess how you might be able to expand your business in bigger and better ways when you have the time and space to focus solely on what you do best.

Flexible support

Some clients use virtual employees vs in-person in a rhythmic or consistent way. For example, a virtual receptionist may take calls during regular business hours on a specific day or two of the week. Alternatively, a business may utilize virtual HR services exclusively, using in-person employees to staff the front desk in their brick-and-mortar office. Others use virtual support to enjoy a vacation or take extended time off - finally! 

Businesses with seasonal fluctuations appreciate that virtual services can be utilized during their peak sales or promotional periods and then scaled back again when things taper off. The ability to scale virtual services up and down as needed is something you can’t do with the same level of ease with payroll employees.

Customized services & language options

Virtual employees vs in-person services are tailored to the business’s needs and budget. The scheduling flexibility mentioned above also translates to service-oriented customization. Have a great in-person receptionist but need someone to handle HR? Virtual support is available. Do you prefer to be hands-on with the HR aspects but need a virtual assistant to handle the basic customer service intake and basic information requests? You’ll be paired with qualified virtual assistants who learn everything about your brand and adopt its tone and personality.

Think about how you might benefit from virtual assistance with:

  • Setting up Autoresponders
  • Calendar Management
  • Personal errands (online shopping, research, ordering, etc.)
  • Following up with clients/customers
  • Email management/filtering
  • Receptionist duties
  • Booking appointments with clients
  • Hotel and flight booking
  • Transcription
  • Translation and interpreting for international clients
  • Taking meeting minutes
  • File Management & organization
  • Database building
  • Research on specific topics for blog posts, newsletters, or others
  • Answering support tickets in 24 hours or less
  • Creating basic reports
  • Recruitment
  • Set up, manage, and post on social media accounts
  • Manage and update Social Media Accounts
  • Blog post publishing
  • Filter and reply to blog posts and customer reviews
  • Participating in discussion forums or message board

And what about the benefits of language services? Virtual services are available from fluent non-native English speakers worldwide, allowing you to provide support and communication in the languages that best serve your clients’ needs.

The Downsides Of Virtual Employees vs In-Person Services

The only downside of virtual services is that you don’t have a physical presence in your office. If your business relies on in-person interactions to complete certain transactions, you may need to hire part- or full-time staff. That said, you can still use virtual support to fill in the gaps in other areas to experience the best of both worlds. 

Zen Resources Customizes Virtual Services To Your Needs

Would you like to learn more about how virtual services can support the needs of your growing business? Schedule a consultation with Zen Resources. We’re committed to helping companies expand wisely without wasting a single precious dollar on services - or personnel - they don’t need.

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