In the big wide world of business and work there are times when we simply do not have the time to complete tasks, be they menial or advanced, in order to get everything we need to accomplish in a day done. That being said, there are now more options when it comes to getting the assistance that you need than ever before. Personal human assistants have long been the go to when it comes to getting tasks done that you simply do not have time to do yourself. With technology becoming ever more important to all aspects of business however, digital assistants are also on the rise.
What is a Personal Assistant?
Personal assistants have long been a staple in a wide range of professions from business people, to lawyers, and even to presidents and people in high offices of power. When it comes to being a personal assistant, applicants need to meet a range of requirements that are set forth by their employer to help find the best possible candidate for the job.
Personal assistants can be responsible for things like getting coffee or lunches, helping to key in files and store data, make appointments, run errands, take notes at meetings, dictate documents and even some tasks that are a bit more challenging and important. No matter what task is put before a personal assistant, their duty is to find the most efficient way to get the job done so that business can continue as usual. A personal assistant may also become a confidant of sorts and is often someone that the person who hires them comes to know and even becomes friends with.
What is a Digital Personal Assistant?
In the 90s the Palm Pilot, or PDA standing for Personal Digital Assistant, became a major contender for those that still needed some assistance with things like making appointments and keeping track of things but that did not want to hire a physical assistant to help them complete their tasks. These digital vaults were very similar to a cell phone save for the fact that they did not make calls. These were widely used as digital calendars and were great for keeping track of things, taking notes, and generally organizing any information that you had floating around in your head or on your desk.
Though these palm assistants are still used, many people just use their cell phones, the term Personal Digital Assistant has changed somewhat over the past few years. We now live in an age where people can connect seamlessly and easily across countries and continents with the help of the internet and digital assistants these days may actually be physical people that are simply in a different location but that do help to fulfill all the functions of a personal assistant.
This type of digital assistant often applies to a position and uses the internet, email, cell phones, and even chats in some cases to complete tasks that are assigned or passed on to them by their employers. They can be used to make appointments, work on documents, take care of scheduling and more all from a remote location where they do not have to be present in person to work with their employer.
Which is Better?
This is a question that really cannot be answered simply. In order to determine if you need a physical assistant, a digital assistant in the form of a device, or a digital assistant that is a remote human is really all up to the employer and their individual needs. It is important to take the time to really look at individual needs, at the type of business or job that is in need of an assistant, and in what you want to get from your assistant.
In cases where confidence or confidentiality is needed and it is best to explain face to face what needs to be done and what should be accomplished as in the Whitehouse, a physical human assistant is always going to be the best choice. In some cases it is simply not possible to relate what you need and what you want simply by typing something into a device or even over the phone. In many cases those that have close personal interaction with their assistant are only going to be able to achieve this by talking to a person directly and by being able to make physical contact with them.
If you work in a law office for example, a paralegal is in some ways fulfilling the job of a personal assistant to the lawyer and this is a position that could only be filled by a physical person. Those that are in need of a physical personal assistant need to look for someone that fits all their needs, that is trustworthy and reliable, and someone that is going to be able to meet the challenges that are presented to them each and every day.
In cases where you simply need someone or something to keep track of dates, take notes, manage files, a digital personal assistant in the form of a device is going to be more than efficient. This is generally most beneficial in cases where the business is smaller or where the person in question that is in need of an assistant works best independently. This type of personal assistant works great for small businesses and even for college students that need help keeping things straight and organized so that they can work as efficiently as possible without the interference of another person. This is also going to be best for those that have a smaller budget and that may not be able to afford to hire a physical assistant.
The last instance which is best referred to as a remote assistant is great for those employers that are on the move. If you travel often and are not able to take an assistant with you, if you do not have a physical office, if you have a large workload but no real set timeline, a remote assistant is going to be very beneficial. This type of assistant is going to be able to work with you without your having to monitor them or account for where they are while they are working.
In most cases, remote assistants are given a set of tasks and a time frame in which to complete them so you do not have to micromanage what they are doing and you can focus on what you are doing yourself. This type of assistant is great for business people that are traveling frequently or those that have tasks that are easy to complete, easy to explain, and that do not need to have face to face contact with their assistant in order to get tasks assigned and completed.
Choosing Your Assistant
The real issue when it comes to getting the assistant that is right for you is to take your time to really see what you need and to figure out what you want from an assistant. It is critical that you sit down and outline exactly what you expect from an assistant. If you have no needs for an actual human assistant, a PDA would be a great option, if you have some needs for a physical person but do not need daily physical interaction with them a remote assistant might be the way to go. Lastly, if you have a great deal of needs that change often and that require face to face interaction you want to go with a physical human assistant.
These are all great choices that have benefits and drawbacks all their own but with the right consideration you can choose the assistant that is right for you.