Need some help around the office but aren't sure the time is right to hire a full-time staffer? If you answered "yes," to that question, you may be a candidate for a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants are a cost-effective way to find qualified and competent help in a hurry – and they can focus on the specific tasks you need help with. Much different than calling a temporary employment agency to hire part-time help for a defined contractual period, virtual assistants give you the freedom of on-demand help.

The virtual assistant model makes it possible for your company to hire a marketing assistant for six hour a week, for example, or someone to book travel as the occasion arises. The virtual assistant model doesn't tie you down to a specific number of hours each week – and you don't have to host them at your facility. They can work from anywhere.

Virtual assistants also allow you to play against time. For example, if your company's clients are concentrated on the West Coast but your headquarters are on the East Coast, you can hire a virtual assistant on the West Coast to handle phone calls and other tasks after your normal business hours. It works in the opposite direction as well. An East Coast-based virtual assistant can take calls and requests before your West Coast business opens its doors in the morning.

And since virtual assistants have their own office equipment, you don't have to furnish them with computers and telephones to get the job done. Then there's the issue of productivity. Your full-time staff can concentrate on agenda items that only they can handle and rely on a virtual assistant to take on more rote tasks that nonetheless need to be done.