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Is the traditional 9-5 role dead? Full time employed PAs vs Virtual Assistants

Working with a wide variety of businesses has put us in the unique position of being able to spot interesting trends as they happen. One of these trends, which will come as no surprise to our regular audience, is the move away from full-time employees to contracted services.

Whether it’s the arrival of the gig economy, with more and more people working for themselves, or the rise of remote and home working as a viable alternative to the traditional office, business models are ever-shifting.

Today, PA Business Support works with many clients and candidates whose businesses do not suit the standard 9-to-5 model. For example start-ups, and companies going through growth transitions, tend to require support at random times, and often at very short notice. Other businesses may have variable start times and workloads, or a client/customer base that demands disciplined, yet sporadic, focus. What all this means is that their administrative support needs are not suited to a typical, full-time – or even part-time – hire. In which case we provide them with a Virtual Assistant, on a flexible basis (with a bucket of hours), for a monthly fee. For our other clients we have helped them to fill a permanent PA role, for a one-off fee. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, here’s our breakdown of things to consider:

It depends on the size of your company

Maybe you’re a start-up, maybe it’s just you on your own, or maybe you’re simply a small company – in which case, a VA (Virtual Assistant) is for you. This service offers you the flexibility to have quiet or intense periods of work without feeling you’re spending money needlessly. Conversely, a larger business may benefit from having someone there all the time, so a full-time PA would better meet that need.

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It depends where you are on your hiring journey

We know from experience that many companies just aren’t ready to start expanding their workforce yet. Full-time permanent positions can be a costly investment and require a level of internal HR and legal support, so you need to be sure. Paying a monthly retainer for a flexible Virtual Assistant is the perfect interim step.

It depends on your company culture

If your company is still adhering to the typical 9-to-5 culture, then a full-time PA will fit perfectly with your routine. On the other hand, if everyone in the company is working remotely and no-one works the same hours, a flexible Virtual Assistant service will probably give a better return on your investment. This will offer you more flexibility of working hours and your VA will be prepared for sporadic contact.

It depends how predictable your business is

If you’re pretty confident that you know where you and your business will be in a year or two’s time, then you probably have a good notion of how much support you will need. In this case a full-time, employed PA will suit you. If not, then perhaps the VA route may be a better option.

It depends on the nature of the work

There is a very specific reason why you might want to go for an employed PA over a VA service – the urgent nature of your work. If your typical work day involves plans constantly changing and you find yourself in “drop everything and do X” situations a lot, then a full-time hire, while financially more of a commitment, ensures that the PA will always be ready to go, or change tasks, at very short notice.

In conclusion, every company is different, and while the above are some of the main factors you should consider when deciding between a full-time hire or a contracted service, bear in mind that it can come down to the individual quirks of you and your business. In short: employed, permanent PAs are popular with medium to large-sized office-based and established businesses with a predictable workload, while a Virtual Assistant is the perfect interim solution to many who are going through a particular period of transition, i.e. waiting for investment, growth, downscaling, or simply changing the business model.

If you know what sort of recruitment service you want, or if you’re having trouble making your mind up, and simply want some advice, we’re very happy to chat – contact us now.

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A bespoke approach to Executive & Personal Assistant recruitment in London & Internationally
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