The corporate workplace and how people work within it is changing and large corporations are beginning to realise that no matter how or where an employee’s work gets done, it can still produce great results for the business. Given the flexible and remote nature of my business as a virtual assistant, this is great news, especially as over the last year or two we are now seeing this willingness to filter through to business support roles.
Historically, virtual assistants (VAs) have usually been hired by SMEs or individuals who are not looking to take on the commitments that come with being an employer. However, corporate companies are now recognising the talent pool that lies within the rapidly expanding VA industry and choosing to capitalise on the benefits that working with remote business support brings.
One of the most publicised corporates to be championing remote business support is PwC who are transitioning many admin roles to virtual. Their VA roles are still on an employee basis but are based at home four days a week, with the fifth day being in the local PwC office.
Other corporates are going one step further and hiring traditional VAs on a contractor rather than an employee basis. But why? Well, in short, there is both a cost and skills advantage to this.
Over the last few years, many top-level PAs and EAs have stepped out of the corporate ring due to the inability to be able to sustain a career and raise a family due to inflexibility by employers. High level VAs will rarely have an hourly rate lower than an employee but it’s important to remember that you only pay for the time you use with a contracted VA so you rarely end up paying a VA for the same number of hours per week as an employee (and if you do, you will want to consider changing to an employee due to tax reasons!).
Many corporates can’t or don’t want to pay the going rate for a top-level PA or EA (often £50k plus for a full-time role in the City) and thus by using a virtual assistant (or a pool of VAs) they can get seamless remote business support from highly experienced individuals for a smaller investment. On the flip side, the VAs taking on these such positions get to enjoy the fast-paced corporate environments they’re used to but with the flexibility that allows them to sustain a suitable work/life balance.
Circle Research recently partnered with Vodafone* to conduct some interesting research into how the world of work is changing and it’s highlighted some interesting statistics, the main one for me being that 70% of employers with active remote working solutions for their team have found them beneficial. Additionally, out of those with active remote working solutions 54% expected reduced costs and 57% expected a more productive organisation – surely that’s a win win scenario for businesses of any size?!
“Companies worried about losing productivity and control if they create a flexible and remote workforce, are probably going to find that they are the losers in the future because it is the way that the world of business is going. It’s critical that organisations respond and move proactively towards technological change.”
Dr Patricia Hind, Business Psychologist & Member of Faculty at Ashridge Business School
So what other corporates are endorsing a remote working pattern? Here follows a list of corporates you are likely familiar with that are either actively advertising virtual positions or publicly promoting flexibility within their working culture:
- Amazon – offers roles with virtual locations.
- American Express
- Dell – offer flexible work arrangements from full-time remote to select days on campus.
- Lloyds Banking Group – offer multiple ways of agile working and state that over a third of their workforce already work in an agile way.
- Open University – not only do they offer remote studying but also agile working for staff including flexibility with hours and location.
- Rank Group
- Thomson Reuters
- Transport for London
- Willis Towers Watson
- Unilever – offer agile working including working remotely and flexing own hours
If you are working within a Corporate business and would like to know more about how a VA or VA team can benefit your business or how it would work, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07760 222906 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to book you in for a free 30 minute consultation.
*Full report can be found at https://www.vodafone.co.uk/cs/groups/public/documents/webcontent/vftst160221.pdf