Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

Personal Assistants: Should We Seek Virtual Help or In-house?

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Design Toolkit (103-slide PowerPoint presentation). Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

* * * *

Elizabeth_Banks-betty_brantPersonal assistants can be very useful.  In the office workplace, they have always been an essential to any boss who is overrun with the amount of tasks they have to complete every day. It used to be obvious what to do if, as a boss, you felt you had too much on your hands. You would simply just hire a personal assistant and they would help ease some of the responsibilities on your back.  Now, though, due to the development in technology. there are other services available that could potentially be more accessible for smaller businesses or SMEs. The relatively new service of a virtual PA is what now has become a genuine alternative to an in house personal assistant; it has changed the structure of the workplace and can offer the same advantages to having a in house PA. Even though virtual assistants can be just as advanced as your normal PA, it is important to weigh up your decision before you opt for one or another.

In-house personal assistants can be a lot more useful for those of us that are slightly less “techy.”  It means that you can simply approach your personal assistant to delegate tasks to them or discuss with them how things are coming along. This physical presence within the office can often make it easier to handle tasks as more of a team and build better communication. Obviously, with better communication, you can also help build further team spirit in the work place and allow everyone to collaborate on tasks together–rather than each person being just an individual, they become more of a team.

Of course, there would not be the opportunity for Virtual PAs if they didn’t have their advantages.  These advantages can be made use of by any company, but tend to be even handier if you are in a SME. These are things such as meaning you can contact your PA and work with them from anywhere, there should be no point during the working hours where you can’t get hold of them no matter where you are.  This serves as a good benefit to have if you are out talking to clients, arranging deals, etc. On top of this, it also means that you don’t have to accommodate for an extra person in your office.  As most business owners will know, hiring someone is a lot more than just paying a basic wage. It means that you have to make space for them in your office, and provide them with the adequate computer equipment to do their job. Hiring someone is an investment, so sometimes a virtual PA can be beneficial as it cuts out the responsibility of fully investing in someone new. Some people might argue that there are also less distractions, accompanied with how specialised in their job virtual PAs are.

Learn the secrets to selecting and hiring a best-of-the-best team from “Mr. Roche,” Charles Fiaccabrino.  Mr. Fiaccabrino is credited by many of Roche’s former CEOs as being a major driver to the company’s growth into a $250B company.  Read about the Fiaccabrino Selection Process here.

If you are looking for a personal assistant–virtual or in house–then your decision is completely down to you and what you feel would be most effective in your workplace. If you need to have a team that all works together and a personal assistant that with immerse themselves with the rest of the team, then an in-house PA may be the perfect solution for you. On the other hand, you might be the type of owner who would rather have someone which is more specialised in their position, yet works remotely.  This could suggest that a virtual PA is the perfect solution for you.  You can find more information on how a virtual PA works on websites, such as SmartPA and Wikipedia. Virtual PAs are often useful for a while, whilst SME’s are growing their businesses.  If you can’t warrant a full wage on a PA, it might be ideal for your business.

79-slide PowerPoint presentation
This document provides a holistic approach for undertaking strategic planning. While covering the traditional strategic planning approach, the document touches on adaptations that may be used in an unpredictable environment. Contents: 1. Strategic Planning Overview - Key questions and [read more]

Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?

You can download in-depth presentations on 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.

For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

70-slide PowerPoint presentation
Organizational Design (OD) is a structured approach to aligning the structure, processes, and systems of an organization to achieve its strategic objectives and enhance performance. It encompasses various components, including defining the purpose of reorganization, determining supportive [read more]

32-slide PowerPoint presentation
Excel workbook

About Aedan Kiernan

Aedan Kiernan is a Digital Marketing Executive from the marketing agency, Reflect Digital.


Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Connect with Flevy:


About Flevy.com   /   Terms   /   Privacy Policy
© . Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.