Be able to adopt a sustainable approach as a Virtual Assistant

What can a company improve if it uses VA services?

1.     Reduced greenhouse gas emissions - many people travel to work every day by public transport or, in the worst case, by car. As VAs work primarily from home, they significantly reduce their carbon footprint and thus the footprint of the companies that offer their services.
2.     Reduced fuel consumption - Virtual assistants are required to travel much less, thus reducing fuel consumption and contributing to a greener environment.
3.     Lower energy consumption - Energy costs for office operations are a significant cost for any company. At any time of the year, the company must either heat or even cool the office to ensure the comfort of its employees. When working from home, VAs are accountable for their energy costs by choosing how hot or cold they want their home to be and tending to use less energy. This type of cost is completely eliminated for the company as a whole.
4.     Less waste from disposable packaging - The amount of plastic waste is a global environmental problem. The amount of disposable waste for takeaways, coffee, or other disposable packaging will be significantly less for a person who works from home and who is not tempted to buy takeaway food and drink.
5.     Less paper waste – A virtual office is less likely to print documents. A virtual office will make use of online documents, cloud technologies and other innovative tools that have a digital form.
6.     Promoting a green strategy for businesses - In this case it is an individual activity, however the company can choose a proactive environmentally responsible assistant who will focus on this approach in all other areas of the company and demonstrate social responsibility.

 

(https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-hiring-virtual-assistant-good-environment-ann-read/)


Environmental responsibility of company

 

Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CSR) refers to a company's commitment to refrain from damaging the natural environment through environmentally responsible behaviour and responsible management, strategy and other key areas for the company.

There are currently many definitions for CSR, however, most of them are likely to include the following aspects.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_environmental_responsibility):

 

  • a company running its business responsibly in relation to internal stakeholders (shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers);
  • the role of business in relation to the state (locally and nationally) as well as to inter-state institutions or standards;
  • business performance as a responsible member of the society in which it operates and the global community.

    What are the drivers and challenges of CSR companies?

    Studies have shown that an organisation's efforts to meet environmental commitments are driven by a variety of factors. McKinnon et al., (2010) stressed that business change is likely to become the engine of business in the next few years. Figure 1 presents some of the drivers and challenges of CSR that companies should be aware of.

Figure 1 CSR Drivers and Challenges
 
Companies are increasingly focusing on social responsibility. However, it is not just about environmental responsibility, but issues such as women's rights, poverty, local, national or global levels and many others that are being considered.
 
But what does this approach bring?
 
  • Being a socially responsible company can improve a company's image and help build its brand among the public.
  • Social responsibility allows employees to use the corporate resources at their disposal to do good, but also to save on the cost of new raw materials.
Formal corporate social responsibility programmes can increase employee morale, strengthen their relationship with society and lead to higher workforce productivity.

What can Virtual Assistants bring to companies?

  • Time efficiency
  • Performance of a variety of administrative tasks
  • Social network management
  • The attraction of potential customers
  • Content creation
  • Appropriate accounting
  • Timely customer support service
  • Optimisation of work processes
  • Finding a potential employee
  • Elimination of stress.

Prepare a sustainability plan within a Virtual Agency enterprise

What do VA companies help with?

The specific activities of a virtual assistant vary according to the client's needs and the terms of the contract, the advantage is that the company can have more than one VA, each focusing on a different activity or, conversely, will working together. Some virtual assistants take care of administrative and accounting tasks, while others may publish on a regular basis. Here are some activities that a VA can perform:

  1. calendar management
  2. data storage
  3. facebook administration
  4. facebook group management
  5. graphic design
  6. email, chat, social networks
  7. event planning
  8. articles writing
  9. creation of newsletters
  10. creation of texts
  11. creation of presentations

 and many others

What experience should a VA have?

There are no necessary education requirements for VAs, although many clients will be looking for virtual assistants who have some higher education or specialised training. Experience, gained over time, is extremely important. Last but not least, there are online companies, training centres and schools that offer courses and certification for virtual assistant skills.

The VA should be technically proficient and have sufficient knowledge and skills in computer programmes and applications. However, expectations will depend on the specific specifications, which will vary from VA to VA.

If the company is considering the use of VA, they should consider:

1. Why do we want to use VA services?
2. What will we use VA services for?
3. How often will we need VA services?

Using the answers to these questions, the company can then assess suitable candidates and select the right person for their company.

Virtual Assistant Implementation Challenges

  1. Overcoming Concerns - Many managers cannot imagine not having an assistant in the next office, but today shows how working remotely will allow them to work with remomte experts and often achieve more effective results. It is possible to use more than one VA each being able offer different skills and knowledge.
  2. Securing real benefits - Consider where VAs can have the greatest impact. You can start in a specific area - such as training, HR, marketing, customer service - and then focus on implementing VA in a wider organisation.
  3. Selection of Virtual Assistant - When selecting a VA, it is necessary to consider the same as when selecting an employee who is asked to perform specific tasks. Therefore, it is important to set clear criteria and select a suitable candidate according to business needs.
  4. Get to know each other - Get to know each other and how the VA can help you the most, find out if there are other tasks that VA can help your company with.
  5. Integration of VA into other departments - Gradually introduce VA to other employees and colleagues, for whom VA would also facilitate their work. The potential is mainly in areas such as HR, marketing or e-mail communication.
MyVA Project number: 2020-1-SE01-KA226-VET-092491
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. 
The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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