Twenty-four hours. That's it; that’s all we get in one day. And some days, you’d swear that you blinked and it’s already tomorrow. If you consider that, on average, you spend over an hour eating each day and nearly nine hours sleeping – insert the laughter of parents of small children here – that leaves roughly 14 hours for literally everything else.
THINK: leisure, sports, domesticities, civic and religious activities, shopping, caring for loved ones, education, phone calls, mail, email … and more.
And as a church leader for a small to mid-sized church, you likely know all-too-well how many directions you can be pulled. Your job is not to check email, update social media, write and send out newsletters, or proofread the program. Your job, at its absolute simplest, is to connect with people.
But scope creep is real. Day-to-day administrative tasks shift church leaders’ focus from ministry to the menial because many budgets simply don’t allow for administrative support.
Or do they?
Where once church leaders were relegated to either juggling all the plates and wearing all the hats or ponying up a salary for an on-site administrative assistant, virtual assistants can now provide ministries with the same – or arguably better – support, and at a fraction of the cost.
Seriously. Hear us out.
Virtual staffing is the way of the future. Currently, 60 percent of organizations offer their workers options to telecommute according to a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, with more than 40 percent of employees spending at least some of their time working remotely.
And though we’ve said it countless times before, it bears repeating that if you don’t have an administrative assistant, you are the administrative assistant. And we’d venture that you didn't become a church leader to manage vendors; you became a church leader to shepherd those God has brought through your doors.
But we get it: Some mental rewiring may be necessary to reconcile the notion that administrative assistants have historically been the proverbial ‘face’ of an organization.
Sow Today, Reap Tomorrow
So in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions and diets always starting ‘tomorrow,’ we present five benefits of hiring a virtual assistant for your church in 2019 to consider today – and hire ‘tomorrow.’
Here are the five ways a Virtual Assistant can help you sustain and grow your ministry.
- Cost Effective
Virtual assistants can be retained to work on an as-needed, project-specific basis or for employment in perpetuity – so you don’t have to worry about ‘finding’ work for them to do or maximizing your investment.
Another advantage is that they are responsible for their own taxes and benefits. Further, you don’t have to worry about payroll taxes, pensions, vacation, holiday, retirement, or other benefits, and you aren’t responsible for other often overlooked expenses, such as utilities.
BONUS: Virtual assistants are responsible for their own personal equipment such as furniture, office supplies, computers, printers, faxes and more.
A 2012-2013 study from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business discovered that call center employees who were allowed to work from home for nine months were 13 percent more productive, took fewer breaks, sick days, and made more calls per minute – all while reporting higher levels of job satisfaction and retention.
And the type of services a virtual assistant can provide are nearly limitless. If you can dream it, there is likely a virtual assistant who can make it a reality.
Need someone who can take care of emails, answering the phone, managing your calendar, data input and management, booking travel, and managing your church’s website? There’s a VA for that. Need someone versed in accounting and bookkeeping? There’s a VA for that, too.
In fact, a virtual assistant can serve to expand the administrative offerings of your church as many VAs often come with their own strengths and skill sets, freeing up your time to focus on advancing your ministry and vision.
- Long-Term Sustainability
Church volunteers and temporary employees can fill gaps, but since they are, by design, temporary, you know that inevitably you’ll have to fill that particular position or need once again in the near future. But with a VA, you have a dedicated person committed to the goals and vision of your ministry – without having to deal with turnover because if there is a staffing change, a VA company like BELAY bears the burden of training and managing the turnover.
- Global Talent Pool
No longer restricted by geography, church leaders can mine talent from virtually anywhere. So for small to mid-sized churches in smaller towns or lower-tier metropolitan areas where the local candidate pool may be shallow or exhausted, virtual employment puts a world of talent and experience at your fingertips.
And even if you require specialized skills or capabilities, virtual employment increases your odds of landing the highly qualified help you need by casting a much larger net.
- Increased Health and Happiness
Sure, health and happiness don’t exactly sound like quantifiable selling points or benefit statements – but they actually are. Research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research led by a Stanford economics professor found that remote workers were happier and therefore healthier, thereby reducing sick days and absenteeism, which echoed the findings of a recent Gallup study that found that people who work from home three to four days a week are far more likely – 41 percent versus 30 percent – to feel engaged.
Add to this the joy of not having to commute, wearing anything you want, eating whatever and whenever you want within reach, and enjoying the comfort your own home.
BONUS: Remote team members are also more likely to voluntarily contribute longer work hours.
As more and more organizations make the move from brick-and-mortar business models to virtual ones – and successfully – your church doesn’t have to be the exception. So if you’ve been on the fence about hiring a new administrative assistant whether due to budgetary restrictions or because you think you can wear all the hats, it may be time to consider a move to a virtual staffing model.
Let a virtual assistant shoulder the administrative burdens of your church so you can get back to what matters most: your people.