Freelance employees, independent contractors, virtual assistants, whatever the term may be, are all becoming increasingly popular and high in demand for businesses. Interior designers are also getting on board - hiring remote assistants (virtual assistants for lack of a better term) as opposed to an in-house assistant. They are essentially getting the benefits of a design assistant minus the extra body in your studio, along with a few perks on the side. There are a number of different reasons why interior designers are moving towards the future, I mean, virtual assistance.
Here are just a few:
One of the perks to hiring a virtual assistant is the option to pay by the hour, as opposed to paying a part-time or full-time employee. Another perk, your virtual assistant is an independent contractor, so you are not responsible for providing benefits, paid time off, or added incentives. You’ll be the only one leaving the studio with a bonus!
Hiring an assistant can be a lengthy process. In fact, hiring an employee period, can be quite daunting. First, you need to advertise or get the word out that you are hiring. You then have a stack of resumes to filter through, applications to be filled out, narrowing it down to one or two applicants, and only then can the interviewing begin. Tick Tock.
More likely than not, you will find virtual assistants are more flexible when it comes to a schedule and deadlines. With the ability to work from home, a 9a-5p timeframe no longer applies. And if you’re lucky, you may find an assistant who is willing to help you meet that Monday morning deadline on a Sunday evening. (just sayin’.)
For the business owner who has never hired a remote employee, they may feel quite skeptical committing to this approach. "How do I know my tasks will be complete", "How do I know I am hiring someone competent without meeting them in person?" These are valid questions, so here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind.
Make sure you are provided with a contract. An independent contractor (your virtual assistant) should always be able to provide you with ironclad paperwork to cover both of your backs.
If you find yourself with a candidate that seems too good to be true. You are probably right. An experienced virtual assistant offering services for $10/hr may not be the ideal candidate.
As with any healthy relationship, communication is key. Just because you aren't working with someone face to face doesn't mean they aren't a human. Encourage communication outside of emails, via phone, Skype or FaceTime and even text messages.
In short, do some research and join the future bandwagon.