Business Leader caught up with Hannah Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Virtual PA London, to talk about how they are helping businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
Firstly, can you tell readers about how you launched the business?
Sure – I worked in the city for over ten years as an Executive Assistant and following maternity leave in 2019, I requested to work from home a few days a week to have a more work/lifestyle balance. However, my request was rejected which lead me to resign. I have always loved working and I didn’t want to have to stop this just because I was now a mum. This is what inspired Jess and I to launch Virtual PA London – we have never looked back.
Virtual PA London started with myself supporting a few daily clients and before I knew it, I was receiving a high volume of requests and was quickly at full capacity – this is when it became a business and we have grown to a team of 20 in just under one year of trading.
I am a massive believer of everything happens for a reason – anything bad that happens, try and flip that negative into a positive.
What does Virtual PA London offer businesses?
Virtual PA London provides businesses and individuals with Virtual Assistant (VA) support to carry out various tasks. Our clients are assigned a dedicated VA to carry out all duties on their behalf, so that they can focus on their key priorities and business profits.
Although your VA wouldn’t work from your office location, you are able to contact your dedicated VA throughout core business hours via various methods – audio, email, WhatsApp and Zoom.
How do you feel the Covid-19 crisis will influence the approach to remote working?
Many businesses are now having to embrace remote working, but this is nothing new to us, as we’ve been supporting businesses that operate remotely for over a year now. We know what does/doesn’t work well and we’re seeing a huge uplift in the number of companies getting in touch with us to find out more.
Over the last year, we’ve seen a huge shift in the number of companies moving to remote working and this has naturally now been accelerated and when this crisis is over, we expect many businesses to stick with this new approach to working. It saves businesses money and allows employees to benefit from a better work-life balance; as well as reducing carbon emissions and wasting less time stuck in traffic.
We’re all now becoming much more familiar with modern-day technology such as Zoom and how we can potentially have six or seven meetings in a day, where we present a slide deck by sharing our screens opposed to spending hours upon end commuting; saving time and increasing productivity.
Can you expand on the services you can offer businesses and how they can benefit from them?
Yes, of course. Virtual PA London provides PA and administrative support virtually – we have clients across multiple different sectors and across the globe.
The way it works is that you can hire a dedicated VA from as little as two hours per day, five days a week. The number of hours you hire your VA for are covered throughout the day, opposed to in a consecutive block – this ensures nothing is missed and time isn’t wasted. Our clients feel as if they have a full time PA onboard, but at the fraction of the cost it would normally be.
The service is extremely cost effective and approximately 75% cheaper than hiring a full-time employee. You also benefit from not having any HR burden or expenses (i.e. pension, sick leave, annual leave) and you operate on a one month rolling contract. Our client retention rate is extremely high – we believe this is down to our effective model, hourly rate and the in-depth experience of our VAs.
How do you ensure that the PAs/EAs are of the highest quality?
All our VAs have a minimum of 10 years PA/EA experience – an extensive recruitment process is carried out when a new VA comes onboard to ensure they have the correct skillset and are able to hit the floor running.
Virtual PA London matches clients and VAs together based on their personality, skillset and sector they work in.
The million dollar question – do you believe the way we will work in the future has changed?