Virtual Assistant vs. Employee: Which Is the Better Hire?

Virtual assistant vs. employee; which hire gets the skills, flexibility and accessibility, all while saving money? Click on the blue words and find out. title=

When you begin your business, you pretty much handle everything on your own.

But as your venture starts to build momentum, you’re now realizing that you need extra hands to manage it.

You can go about this problem in two ways though; either you hire a virtual assistant or an onsite employee.

The discussion on virtual assistant vs. employee is becoming more and more relevant for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Honestly, both hires can carry out many business-related duties such as administration, bookkeeping, data entry, marketing and customer service.

Still, at the end of the day, one simply deems more beneficial than the other.

That said, in the virtual assistant vs employee debate, which one is the better choice for you?

In this article, we will show you how a virtual assistant vs. an employee compares in terms of business perks and pitfalls, helping you find the best suitable option you need.

Who is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is a contractual worker who offers business-related services to an organization from a remote location on an “as-needed” arrangement.

Some virtual assistant jobs include a real estate virtual assistant and a graphic design virtual assistant.

Virtual Assistant: The Pros

Here’s a rundown of the most important benefits of working with a virtual sidekick.

  • Cost-Effective

    When it comes to operational and labor costs, a virtual assistant proves to be more cost-effective compared to working with an onsite employee on a fixed monthly basis.

    Thriving on a special arrangement, VAs only work when you need them, generally on an hourly or a project based. And since they’re not regular employees, they’re not entitled to additional pay when working overtime.

    Hiring a virtual assistant also means eliminating the extra expenses of social security contributions, health insurance, paid benefits and holiday leaves.

    In addition to that, you don’t need to buy equipment or rent an office space which saves you as much as 78% on operational costs alone.

  • Access to a Wider Pool of Talent

    Every business requires diverse skill sets to manage each aspect of the operation.

    Though that might be the case, many companies still can’t afford the extra staff with the necessary expertise.

    But thanks to a virtual assistant, you can finally gain accessibility to a wider pool of talent at an affordable price.

    This naturally gives you the leverage of finding a suitable virtual worker for the job without breaking the bank.

    Furthermore, since virtual assistants come from any part of the world, they carry with them newer perspectives and fresh ideas that can be helpful for your marketing plans or lead generation targeting.

  • Flexible Hire and Work Schedule

    Flexibility do wonders in business, correct? And blimey, virtual assistants have plenty of that in their arsenal.

    Depending on what is ideal at the moment, you can work with a virtual assistant on a part-time based, a project-based or even a short-time based.

    For example, you can hire them when you need someone to cover for peak times or when someone is on leave.

    In other words, you have a full say on the hours they work, with no long-term commitment or obligation at all which helps you work with just your allotted budget.

  • Increased Productivity

    Research says that for an 8-hour workday stretch, a regular employee is only productive for about 2 hours and 53 minutes —that’s not even half the workload battle.

    You see, working in a regular office environment means having to deal with background nuisance. There are constant breaks and noise, which evidently pollutes the productivity level.

    Good thing is, a virtual assistant doesn’t suffer from these daily bothers. They work comfortably at home, at a time when they’re most productive. Plus, they maintain a work-life balance unlike employees and are highly driven.

    And every hour matters to a VA since they’re expected to complete a task at every point.

    So, trust that there’s always actual work done, packaged in good quality, by the time they’re clocking out.

Virtual Assistant: The Cons

Like all great things, hiring a virtual assistant has its downside.

  • Remote Location

    Different time zones mean waking up to someone’s nighttime.

    When working with a virtual assistant, you can’t always expect real time communication. There’s got to be some delays that affect productivity and reduce time of service.

    There are also technical problems like slow internet connection or electricity blackouts that need to be dealt with.

  • Language Barriers

    Outsourcing from across the globe can be problematic due to different languages and cultural barriers.

    They might speak great English but some things can still be lost in translation.

    For instance, people in the Philippines are polite and eager not to offend, while people from the West are more straightforward.

    In any way, there’s a communication wall that hinders strong integration and teamwork.

Who is an Employee?

An employee is an individual who goes to work in a regular office setting and is hired to perform a specific role.

And they go through a series of interviews and tests, needing to stand out amongst other applicants before landing the job.

Employee; The Pros

The following are the positive returns of working with a traditional office employee.

  • Easier Communication and Integration

    When you have staff under the same office roof, it’s easier to communicate. It also allows for face-to-face conversations which are good for building strong camaraderie.

    With better relationships, team integration proves to be highly effective. There’s trust and respect, making it breezy to work on each team member’s strengths to your advantage.

  • Loyalty

    One way to build loyalty with workers is to reward them with bonuses and other standard benefits.

    And since onsite employees enjoy these compensation schemes, they’re much more committed and driven to stay with the company.

Employee: The Cons

At this time of digital domination, working with an employee seems to be an unwise alternative for the following reasons alone.

  • Overwhelming Expenses

    No doubt, hiring an employee is an expensive investment.

    We say this considering all the extra benefits you need to shower your onsite workers such as performance bonuses, sick leaves, healthcare, life insurance and training programs.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the only cost you should worry about, there’s the additional equipment and office rent too.

    Yes, it adds up really fast. And before you know it, the expenditures are eating up your financial sheets, in ugly red figures.

  • Problem with Replacing Poor Performers

    The cost of replacing an employee during the turnover period i-s quite costly, which will surely make you hesitate to cut out poor performers.

    But the financial burden is only half the battle, there are employment laws too, safeguarding workers from being fired easily.

    This means if you want someone out, you need to go through the process and be okay with the extra cost of training a new hire.

  • Stiff Contracts

    Unlike virtual assistants, contract with regular employees is much harder to bend and break.

    It’s a long-term commitment and thus should never be taken lightly.

    Though the three-month probation period somehow protects you from an unsuitable hire, after that term, it will be much harder to terminate the agreement.

  • Not Flexible

    An in-house employee completes a day in the office in an 8-hour spread.

    Yes, you can still move around tasks adhering to your priorities, but in terms of alterations, flexibility will be an issue.

    You have to understand that a 9-to-5 workday is pretty much a 9-to-5 load — its set-in stone!

    This means employees not having to attend to your requests right away. But even when they do, the quality may not be commendable at all.

Is a Virtual Assistant an Employee?

No, a virtual assistant is NOT an employee of your firm.

What they are though are freelance workers who make money on a per-job basis, and usually work for a short period of time.


It can’t be denied that when running a company, the cost is a major plot point that influences business decisions.

Yes, both virtual assistant and an employee can perform many tasks. However, concerning money matters, the latter offers a much harder bargain.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, hence, with a limited budget, the more favorable option is quite obvious.

With a virtual assistant, you pay extra for online platforms and that’s about it.

There, you’ve got your facts straight. By now you finally understand that virtual assistant vs employee is not really up for debate nowadays, though you can still weigh in and decide which success ingredient matters to you most.

But all pragmatic elements considered, it’s the virtual assistant who can do more and better with less.