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Are Virtual Employees A Legitimate Business Option?

With small businesses struggling to survive, it’s no surprise that financial expenditures are being shifted to keep your business afloat. After the mass layoffs in the last decade, you may be looking for alternate ways to save a buck and stay in business.

Whether your business is just getting off the ground or someone who has been struggling for a long time, you should consider virtual employees. A study presented by Mashable found that a whopping 44% of companies have used Crowdsourcing and 83% see the potential. Virtual employees can be beneficial for you in a variety of ways; you’ll just need to find that one that makes the most sense for your company.

Virtual Administrative Assistant:

Virtual Administrative Assistant
Virtual Administrative Assistant

If you’ve created a growing small business, you know the importance of getting phone calls through, faxes sent and contacts connected. However, running a business on your own, and taking care of these general duties can be time consuming.

As the economy worsened, a new breed of employees emerged from the woodwork known as virtual assistants.  A virtual assistant’s duties range with what you need and what they or the company they work for you provides. Often these are people who have been in an office setting for years and simply can’t get back onto the job market. So, for less than it costs to hire someone full time at minimum wage, you can be in touch and on track. What can a virtual assistant do for you?

  • Take phone calls, act as an operator and patch calls through to you or your employees
  • Screen and manage emails and faxes
  • Send out sales leads
  • Be involved with your social media efforts

Virtual Office Workers:

Virtual Office Workers
Virtual Office Workers

If your business can run without cubicles, this is a great way to cut costs while keeping valuable employees. Career Search Database found that out of 85 companies, employees are allowed to work from home at least 20% of the time.  When deciding if you should allow telecommuting, consider these options:

  • Part-time telecommute: If you feel your employees still need to spend some time in the office, cut down costs by keeping them at home the half of the week. You eliminate some of your utility bills and boost employee morale. Everyone likes being able to roll out of bed and work in their pajamas.
  • Full-time telecommute: This is a smart way to eliminate a large amount of overhead… without needing rental space, you have no utility bills and no rent. In this case, there may be an element of funding for your employees for supplies such as ink, paper, and phone costs.

Crowdsourcing:

Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing

This type of virtual employment isn’t really employment at all. Yet, it is great way for your business to get work done. Through a large community of volunteers, when you sign up with a site like Crowdsourcing.org, you can put a task out onto the net and wait for them to offer their time and talents.  So, what can you get done with this service?

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Content work for your website, blog, etc
  • Design; logo, website, products, blog, ads
  • Product testing

The downside: you may not be able to find someone to create work at the level you are looking for. However, if you do find someone who is able to provide work that fits your standards, you can work with that person more often. Either way, you could be saving significant payroll.

Virtual employees come in all forms, whether they already exist in the company or are sitting in their living room across the country. At a time when budgets are tight, choosing to go virtual can be a smart financial decision. With so many options, there are plenty of ways to make it work for your small business.

About Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics including social media. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VOIP phone systems for lead generation resource, Resource Nation.

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