The Virtual Office Secretary


In the Press

 

Sunday Times - Home in on a Better Lifestyle.

The West Berkshire Business of the Year AwardMore....

Excellence in Business Support Services AwardMore....

Extract from Sunday Times (10th December 2006)

Quitting the office to be a home ‘teleworker’ is getting easier and more attractive as the technology advances. Matthew Wall explains

For many people the idea of working from home is about as good as it gets. Not only does it offer a stress-free alternative to the horror of the daily commute, but it also allows you to dictate your own hours and gives you freedom from the tyranny of the office.

Recent advances in technology mean that the dream has never been easier to attain. Faster broadband internet connections, smarter phones and sophisticated software and web services allow you to log in to your computer from anywhere in the world, work collaboratively with colleagues on projects over the web, and even retain a London-based phone number if you decide to emigrate to warmer climes.

However, it is not all good news. A recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development claimed that people who work from home are more prone to workaholism than those with a clear boundary between home and office life.

This is not discouraging an increasing number of tech-savvy workers, however. Over the past 10 years there has been a 150% increase in the number of “teleworkers” — those who work remotely from home — in the UK, and they make up more than one in 10 of the workforce, says the Office of National Statistics. This includes the self-employed who manage their business from home using a computer, full-time remote workers, and those who spend only a day or two away from their desks each week.

Crucially, more employers now allow employees to work this way. The Confederation of British Industry says 14% of its 250,000 members offer employees the option to telework, a year-on-year rise of more than a quarter.

Done the right way, relocating from office to home can be the smartest move you ever made…..

Doing the Business..... For more ad hoc secretarial services, such as organising mailshots and invoicing, the award-winning Virtual Office Secretary (www.virtualofficesecretary.co.uk) charges from £18 an hour…..

For a full copy of the article, please visit Times Online

 

Extract from March Edition of Newbury Business Review

The Virtual Office Secretary might have wowed the judge of the West Berkshire Business Club’s Business of the Year contest, but founder Sarah Rhoads is keen to build her company still further and establish a virtual office.

She explained, “The business has continued to grow and so has the range of support services we can offer. I already have three associates working closely with me and am continuing to recruit more, each with a different set of skills meaning we can be more than a virtual secretary

“For example, a local pump manufacturer came to me from an advert in the Newbury Weekly News, Initially I ran their office for four months while they were working in America, but more recently when they wanted some tele-marketing done they were able to use one of my associates with expertise in that field for just four hours a week – a tele-marketing company would charge for a minimum of 50 hours where we can charge for what you need.”

The range of companies using the virtual secretary continue to grow and range from PR companies to beauty salons. Some simply require mail shots or a presentation through to those who require a fuller service.

“Permanent Beauty has three salons, in Guildford, Reading and Basingstoke and the therapists naturally want to focus on the treatments, so all enquiries are routed to me and I make all the appointments leaving them free to do their jobs,” she explained.

Business coaches Action International use The Virtual Office Secretary to keep in touch with people attending their seminars. Nigel Scott from Action International explained why: “The Virtual Office Secretary is an ideal solution for a small business such as ours which does not have the need for a permanent secretary/administrator but which requires work to be done on an ad hoc basis, often to tight timescales.

“We have found Sarah to be extremely professional and efficient and have total confidence that she will deliver what she promises.”

For Trust Wills it was the confidentiality that convinced them of the value of using the company, Mr Ruddock-Brown said, “When we have taken an instruction for a will we are able to pass that to Sarah and know that she will write it to the standard we require while maintaining absolute discretion.”

“All my growth has been organic,” said Sarah Rhoads. “That is something I am very proud of, a good 70 per cent of my new clients come from my existing customers and from referrals and the more people we work for, the more people who want our services.”

 

The Virtual Office Secretary named runner-up in the West Berkshire Business of the Year Award

The Virtual Office Secretary was delighted to be amongst the finalists for the West Berkshire Busienss of the Year Award 2005.  The award recognises business achievements, innovative business practices, sales and marketing initiatives and contribution to the community.  To be shortlisted from all the entrants was an honour in itself but to be named runner-up from such a competitive field was testiment to the professional services delivered by The Virtual Office Secretary.

 

Business Achievement Award Success for The Virtual Office Secretary.

The Virtual Office Secretary was celebrating recently when it was named winner in the Media Today Group’s Business Achievement awards which recognises outstanding service within the business community and most importantly for The Virtual Office Secretary recognition of it’s Business Support Services.

Commenting on the award, Sarah Rhoads stated this is a great achievement and we are honoured to have been included in the nominations and delighted to have received the award.

Sarah Rhoads The Virtual Office SecretaryWhen Sarah Rhoads set up The Virtual Office Secretary in Wiltshire five years ago, she had no idea that she was starting up a business that would become most people’s idea of a perfect work environment:  Working from a home office and working in and around her growing family and at the same time offering, what she believes, is the best secretarial service that any business could wish for.

So, what exactly is a virtual secretary?  Sarah firmly believes that almost every administrative task that can be accomplished in an office can be completed virtually ie from a home office.

With a few basic office tools, such as a computer, fax, printer and scanner, The Virtual Office Secretary can offer a flexible service that includes the following:

So, what would a day-in-the-life-of Sarah Rhoads look like?  With all the technology that is now available to us, any day can vary, with totally different tasks in front of us.  The key thing that we offer our clients is a flexible service we are a far cry from 9am-5pm, says Sarah.  With her two business associates, The Virtual Office Secretary can ensure that clients have secretarial backup that is second-to-none. 

"We pride ourselves on turning work around very quickly - day and night. The standard of our work is exceptionally high and we always operate with the philosophy that ’there is always a way’.  We do what the client wants and we don’t miss deadlines."

With over 17 years experience of working at Senior Director/President level within a number of organisations she has a wealth of knowledge and experience and knows precisely what is required to successfully run the administrative functions within a busy environment.

In 2000 Sarah Rhoads left full time employment working as PA and Marketing Manager for an international Communications Company to start a family and explore her dream of being her own boss.  Appreciating that there were a considerable number of SME’s and businesses within her local area and following research she started work as a Virtual Assistant providing administrative services to local businesses.  Five years and 18 national and international clients later, The Virtual Office Secretary is growing very well and forming long-standing relationships with all clients. 

The proof is always in the pudding and, whilst it may sound wonderful to be able to stay in your pyjamas until lunchtime if you want to and have your own kitchen as your staff canteen, can the business succeed when a close working and understanding relationship is often the key to being a great secretary?

If a client wants us to get to know them well as an organisation, we do so.  If a client wants us to be part of the team and have a closer working relationship, operating on a day-to-day basis, we do so.  If they simply want a few ad-hoc projects completed, we do so.

Says Sarah:  We have a number of international clients that because of the different timezones within which they operate, we had to develop a fee structure for overnight delivery.  So we have that kind of work on one hand, and also smaller accounts that are much closer to home.  There are interesting challenges with them all.  We have clients from Marlborough, to Rickmansworth, from San Francisco to Durban.

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Last updated January 18, 2007

 

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