U.S. Adults Believe Personal Assistants are not Just for Celebrities

Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:03am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Elance Survey Reveals Desire to Outsource Everyday Tasks

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As professional and
personal schedules become more hectic, Americans seem to be looking to virtual
assistants for help with everyday tasks. According to a new survey
commissioned by Elance, Inc. and conducted by Harris Interactive(R), the
majority of U.S. adults dread, and would happily outsource, a wide variety of
tasks (64 percent). More than 70 percent also said that hiring a virtual
assistant would give them more time or reduce stress in their lives.  Most
U.S. adults (75 percent) also believe that personal assistants are not just
for celebrities.
    The survey reveals that researching and organizing travel or vacation
plans is the most dreaded task adults would want to outsource (33 percent),
followed closely by organizing and paying bills (28 percent). While few enjoy
organizing and paying bills, men dread this task more than women (31 percent
vs. 25 percent). Answering phone calls and taking messages (26 percent) and
writing/mailing "thank you," holiday and birthday cards (26 percent) round out
the top three most dreaded tasks.
    A majority of adults (72 percent) also indicated they would not be
comfortable hiring virtual assistants based outside of the United States or
sharing personal information such as credit card numbers (67 percent). Younger
adults (18 - 34) may be the most likely to hire a virtual assistant, with more
than four in five (85 percent) wanting to outsource dreaded tasks to a virtual
assistant.
    "Elance has seen a record number of projects this year and this survey
further supports the rise of the virtual workplace," said Fabio Rosati,
president and CEO of Elance, an online workplace where businesses find and
hire people on demand. "It has never been easier for small businesses and
individuals to hire professionals or find interesting project work online."
    "I depend on my virtual assistant to help me run and grow my real estate
business. By developing a strong relationship with my VA, I save time, money
and I'm able to focus on what matters most: selling property and acquiring
customers," said Jonathan Fleming, Bay Area Real Estate Agent and
Entrepreneur. "With Elance, a virtual assistant is just the beginning. I use
the service for all aspects of my business -- from writing sales letters and
managing my real estate blogs and website to market research and producing
podcasts."
    The majority of U.S. adults (73 percent) believe there are benefits to
hiring a virtual assistant:    -- About one third (34 percent) feel that their
job performance would
       improve.
    -- 55 percent say that working with a virtual assistant would allow them
       to focus on more important tasks and errands.
    -- 52 percent say they would have more leisure time to spend with friends,
       family, exercising or on vacation.
    -- Men are more likely to see the benefit of working with a virtual
       assistant than women (77 percent vs. 69 percent).


    Elance is sponsoring a contest that will award a $5,000 credit for hiring
a virtual assistant. To enter, visit
http://www.elance.com/p/promo/win-virtual-assistant.html, register as an
Elance member and answer the following question: "How would you use a virtual
assistant to grow your business or improve your personal life?" Entries must
be received by January 25, 200811:59:59pm PST.
    About the study:
    This Virtual Assistants study was conducted by telephone within the United
States on behalf of Elance between January 4 and January 7, 2008 among 1,005
U.S. adults ages 18+, of whom, 502 are men and 503 are women.
    Results were weighted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and
household income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions
in the population.
    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability
sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not
possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error,
error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and
response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.
    Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they
are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling
errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with
100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls
come close to this ideal.
    About Elance, Inc.
    Elance is an online global workplace where businesses find and hire people
"on demand" to get work done quickly and cost effectively.  The Elance
platform allows businesses to easily search, find, hire, manage and pay
qualified professionals. In addition, individuals and firms join Elance and
create their online profile in order to be immediately connected to businesses
looking for their expertise.  Founded in 1999, Elance is the leading workplace
for hiring and working on demand. The company is privately held and
headquartered in Mountain View, California.
    About Harris Interactive(R)
    Harris Interactive is one of the largest and fastest-growing market
research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research,
insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident
decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance.
Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll(R), one of the longest
running, independent opinion polls, and for pioneering online market research
methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest
panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves
clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and
through a global network of independent market research firms. More
information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at
http://www.harrisinteractive.com.
    To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate
in online surveys, register at http://www.harrispollonline.com.
SOURCE  Elance, Inc.

Emily Call Borders of Borders+Gratehouse, +1-415-963-4174, emily@bandgpr.com,
for Elance, Inc.
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