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What Exactly Is a Virtual Executive Assistant?

As a managing professional, your role requires you to engage in important directives and make critical decisions on a daily basis. Tasked with leading upper-level initiatives such as strategy sessions, negotiations, process reviews, and goal setting, you devise and enable solutions that aid in the betterment of your organization.  

As a busy executive, your daily to-do list also likely involves behind-the-scenes tasks such as: 

  • Combing through an inbox full of emails 
  • Planning and scheduling meetings 
  • Coordinating travel itineraries and logistics
  • Editing documents, slide decks, proposals, and contracts

At times it may be difficult to think clearly, critically, and creatively when balancing these mundane yet important administrative tasks along with the higher-level responsibilities of your role. 

Naturally, you might consider hiring an executive assistant to support you with those day-to-day administrative functions, however, that doesn’t mean you have to make space in your office. More and more executives are embracing a virtual assistant model to garner the same solid, reliable, tenured support one can expect from an in-person employee.  

Virtual Executive Assistants (VEAs) are real, human assistants who work remotely to serve your administrative needs. 

Increased Benefits and Savings

Through use of the VEA model of support, executives are saving hours of time, energy, and effort, and have renewed ability to focus on company priorities. By managing and maintaining daily tasks, VEAs are helping companies boost overall efficiency, while the remote aspect offers flexibility and cost savings.  

Because of these advantages, adoption of a VEA workforce has been on the rise, prompting a demand for assistants with higher skill levels. Originally focused on the daily, routine tasks of their executive team, VEAs have seriously upgraded their competencies. They are broadening their skill sets both in an effort to keep up with their peers in the industry, and to contribute more to their executives’ organizations. The expanded set of skills embraced by today’s VEAs includes:  

  • Creative and digital marketing  
  • Graphic design
  • Website management 
  • Customer service support
  • Expense management and bookkeeping
  • Research and report generation  

The incorporation of core-focused duties with everyday tasks allows for engagement of the virtual employee in the overall objectives of the business. They are at the ready to contribute to both short and long-term initiatives.  

A Growing Attraction

In a list of statistics related to the virtual assistant model, Truelist, a software and service provider, reports that the U.S. employs more than 3.3 million virtual and in-house secretaries and administrative assistants. With regard to the remote assistant workforce, they express that:

  • ‘59% of Virtual Assistants are full-time employees
  • Virtual Assistants can reduce operating costs by 78% 
  • 49% of companies hiring Virtual Assistants have more than 1,000 employees 
  • 85% of virtual workers reported feeling more productive when working from home 
  • The most in-demand virtual assistant services are social media management, email marketing, and project management’ 

Employing a remote workforce comes with advantages. In addition to meeting the support needs of the executive team, this methodology eliminates underlying expenses such as the provision of health benefits and worker’s compensation, and eases logistical challenges like physical space and equipment limitations. VEAs provide comprehensive administrative support without utilizing internal space and resources.  

VEA Partnership

Many executives continue to consider the virtual model, to determine if it is a good fit for their organization. Input and resources from an experienced and knowledgeable service provider can help. Such partners are adept at hand-picking assistants who provide the best results.  

The most successful relationship between an executive and their VEA stems from a solid partnership. In order to provide quality, reliable remote staff support, the Cayuse model commits to: 

  • Performing a thorough needs assessment with the client, to allow for the design of personalized and appropriate support. 
  • Support that goes beyond the typical daily schedule. With national coverage spanning from 8 to 12 service hours daily, overlapping time zones provide support and attention to busy executives when they need it. 
  • Technology that seamlessly integrates multiple forms of communication including instant chat, email, and phone. Once clients send their requests, they can expect a timely response and updates on project completion.  
  • VEAs who have been screened and comply with client training and confidentiality requirements. 
  • VEAs who are thoroughly assessed and reviewed for the necessary skill-level of each assignment. 

Cayuse pairs clients with VEAs whose skills and experience most match their needs. Initial efforts made to acclimate VEAs and executives allow for strong, solid relationships that produce quality work through communication and partnership. An encouraged and well-supported VEA quickly becomes a true asset to the executive and the business.  

Alongside an experienced provider, hiring remote assistants is proving to be one of the most cost-effective ways to save executives and business owners valuable time and energy. Knowing how best to engage and embrace a virtual support team will add value to your business culture, directives, and overall goals.

Consider Enlisting Virtual Help

Once considered unusual, employing a virtual workforce is proving to be the new normal in executive support. The remote assistant appreciates the freedom and comfort of working from home, while the executive benefits from having a partner they can count on. This relationship affords renewed time and energy, decreases overhead expenses, and gets things done.  

Partner with Cayuse to determine the best support model for your business. 


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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 11/2021 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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