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Reducing Healthcare Costs: The Practical Benefits of Virtual Assistance for SMEs

by: Robert Dela Cruz

Are you the owner of a small or medium-sized business struggling with the rising cost of providing healthcare for your employees? If so, you are not alone. In 2022, the professional services firm Aon projected that U.S. employers might see a 6.5% increase in medical plan costs in 2023. This projection is more than double the 3% increase employers experienced from 2021 to 2022. If true, this increase will undoubtedly strain businesses of all sizes. But, with the smaller margins most small and medium-sized enterprises operate on, that strain can be significantly compounded.

How can you control the cost of covering healthcare for your employees? Hiring a virtual assistant is a viable solution to reducing healthcare costs.

Tame Your Second Largest Business Expense

Healthcare is the second largest business expense for most businesses in the United States. Warren Buffet once quipped, "GM is a health and benefits company with an auto company attached." Sadly, that is true for most companies today.

Some organizations spend a lot of money on the ideal of wanting to provide the best for their team – and props to them for trying to stick to that. The reality for most small- and medium-sized enterprises is unfortunately not as rosy. Healthcare costs have become the second largest expense due to factors outside their control. Inflation, the pandemic, government legislation, and profit-seeking insurance providers have all driven up the cost of employee healthcare.

Given the increasing costs of keeping the workers you already have on your team, you might be asking how hiring a virtual assistant could make sense in your effort to reduce healthcare costs. The first reason why should be straightforward:

Virtual Assistants Cover Their Own Healthcare

Virtual assistants work either as independent contractors or through a staffing agency. Both circumstances free the employer from needing to provide health insurance – or withhold money to pay for their taxes and other benefits.

To cover the lack of employer health insurance, the virtual assistant's salary can be much higher than a similar employee's salary. However, the nature of virtual work allows you to hire an assistant from anywhere in the world. That means you can fill your needs with a capable VA from a country where the typical employee salary is much lower.

The Philippines, for example, offers such a value proposition. Filipino virtual assistant costs are often less than half of a U.S. employee's costs. According to Payscale, rates range from $3.21 at the median to $10 on the high end. They also tick many desirable boxes. They are hardworking, loyal, detail-oriented, English-educated, and well-skilled for their specific roles.

We are not saying you should replace your local staff with a fully remote team from a foreign country. That might drastically reduce your costs, but it won't win you any favors with the local community your business inhabits. It also will not earn your business any respect from the people you let go. It is, however, a good solution for the less productive workers you were already planning to replace. But, even if you determine that every member of your current team is valuable, there is a hidden healthcare benefit to adding a VA to your roster. We'll discuss that in the next section.

Improve the Health of All Your Workers

Having a skilled virtual assistant on your team also reduces the burden that doing mundane tasks has on your local staff. The reduced workload has the direct benefit of freeing up your staff to focus on more important and higher-value tasks. But it also has the knock-on benefit of improving their short- and long-term health.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, stressed employees experience more headaches, difficulty concentrating, and low morale. And that's just the short-term problems they encounter. Over the long term, stressful working conditions can lead to even more impactful health issues. These include cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders. These all contribute to the most overlooked employer healthcare costs: low productivity and high absenteeism.

On the other hand, a healthy, stress-free employee enjoys a 25% better job performance on average. That's according to a study by the Center for Health Research at Healthways. Improved job performance translates into increased profits. But it also goes much further than that.

Stress-free employees are happy employees. And a company that can maintain a population of happy employees tends to attract better talent. This effect can feed back into itself, reinforcing a culture among your workforce based on positivity and the motivation to succeed. Achieve that, and you open your organization up to opportunities to scale both your virtual assistant and local teams.

Hire a Virtual Assistant to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs

As we've covered above, hiring a virtual assistant can bring both direct and indirect benefits to your healthcare costs. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are other benefits we didn't cover here. To name a few, these include:

  • VAs tend to be more productive than regular employees

  • They only bill for hours worked instead of hours spent at the office

  • They are much more flexible in terms of skills and work hours

  • You save on office equipment and space

If all this sounds like something you want for your business, you might be wondering about how to find your first virtual assistant. To not get bogged down by the litany of considerations you need to address when hiring a virtual assistant, we can help.

Addison Consultancy helps SMEs find the right virtual assistant for their particular needs. Whether to help with recruitment, marketing, finance, or general administration tasks, we can find and manage VAs dedicated to your success. Discover your ideal virtual talent by talking to us today!

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