Newest Trend Taking U.S. by Storm - Outsourcing For Work-Life Balance

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In today's world, the newest trend is a booming industry and taking the U.S. by storm - personal assistants, errand runners and concierges. With only 24 hours in a day, these "angels of time" are a benefit, a solution to gain back lost time, and a dream come true.

In our fast paced society time is short and fulfilling all obligations is a stressful buzz. Working parents, corporate executives, celebrities, and everyday persons have so many different roles to fulfill. Accomplishing everything is not an easy thing to do. No one likes to feel inadequate, out of control or irresponsible so it’s go with the flow - no matter how much is on our plate. The fact of the matter is that no matter how much thought, planning and effort is put forth, the lack of time to accomplish daily tasks is a never ending battle.

Employers expect at least 8 hours of work a day or more. The value of an employee is determined by commitment and performance to the company and if a person is not willing to go the extra mile, there is no value. The facts are astounding:

  • 88% of employees said that their jobs require them to work longer hours, and 68% complained of having to work at greater speeds. 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce, Families and Work Institute.
  • In 2000, Americans worked the equivalent of one month more than the Japanese and three months more than the Germans. The International Labor Organization.
  • 64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. The National Partnership for Women & Families Family Matters Survey, 1998
  • 70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don't have enough time with their children. Galinsky, E., 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce, Families and Work Institute, 1997

Between a career, responsibilities of children and family members, and keeping up the home there just isn’t enough time to get everything accomplished. Meeting demands of so many roles and obligations border on impossible. Every time one thing is taken care of two more appear. Work and personal life is a constant struggle. Without manageable solutions, it’s a vicious cycle: stress manipulates guilt – guilt manipulates stress. Both take the best from the best. So what is a person to do?

Outsource your time. Businesses outsource for cost effectiveness. Why shouldn’t people outsource to reduce stress, create work-life balance, and gain back time for other things?

Personal assistant, errand running and concierge services are popping up in cities across the U.S. These “angels” are a valuable resource for taking care of mundane tasks that steal away precious time. Services are affordable and a breath of fresh air. A few cities offering services are EK Errands Express (http://www.EK-Errands-Express.com), Indianapolis, Indiana; Jill will...Concierge Service LLC (http://www.JillWillDoIt.com), Detroit, Michigan; Clever Concierge, Sugar Grove, Illinois (http://www.yourcleverconcierge.com) and At Your Service Atlanta, LLC, Smyrna, Georgia (http://www.atyourserviceatlantallc.com). Personal assistants, errand runners and concierges carry proper liability insurance, automobile insurance and bonding when necessary.

What types of services are offered? The list is only limited by the imagination so long as requests are legal, moral and ethical. Examples are grocery shopping; warehouse shopping; pick up/drop off dry cleaning, videos, library books, and even forgotten items to work or school. They will wait at your house for a delivery, repairman or contractors, stay while the work is being performed and lock up when the work is done; take your car for maintenance, repair or a car wash; pick up/deliver meals for lunch or dinner; get laundry done; do light housekeeping; research; notary service and the list goes on and on. Other valuable services include arranging dinner reservations, procuring event and show tickets, finding special gifts, and planning a much needed evening out.

Businesses can benefit from personal assistants, errand runners and concierges also. Services may be used as a cost effective measure for everyday business needs such as courier and office errands that take employees out of the office reducing productivity. They also may be used as an employee benefit. Providing services as a benefit is an excellent means for new recruitment, employee retention and boosting morale. The business tailors a list of services available to employees; a specific day is set aside for the company's services; and the services are performed during normal business hours with any purchases or pick-ups delivered to the office by the end of the day. “Providing services as a benefit communicates to employees the company understand the pressures of work and family, cares and wants to assist in managing stress and achieving balance,” says Jackie Murphy of EK Errands Express. “Employees appreciate services such as ours because it helps create balance. They can concentrate on their job and at the same time get personal tasks taken care of.”

If a client of a personal assistant, errand runner or concierge, word of mouth referrals are also a great benefit. Although not responsible for services and the work of third parties, they have a vast list of vendors who perform services everyone needs. A client of Murphy’s was having air conditioning problems, had been told by 3 different companies a new system was needed and each quoted over $4,000. When the client mentioned this to Murphy, she referred the client to an independent heating/air conditioning vendor she often refers people to. “The problem was a bad switch, not the entire system and resulted in a total repair cost of $150 versus a new $4,000 system!” Murphy said. “The client was so happy and appreciative!”

The possibilities are endless with personal assistants, errand runners and concierges. These “angels of time” are confidential, trustworthy, reliable, and the perfect solution to making life easier! We all need more time and work-life balance, so why not outsource?

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Jackie Murphy
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