Valentine’s Day tends to be the holiday most of us forget about, either because we want to or because our lives are so busy that romance is unintentionally sidelined.
Most of us celebrate with a card, maybe some flowers, or box of chocolates, which is great, but nothing special. The problem is organising something truly special takes time and our hectic schedules don’t allow for any extras. But what if you could make this the best Valentine’s Day ever without sacrificing your other commitments or loosing any time?
Enter: the virtual personal concierge.
In the past, the only people who hired a personal concierge were hotels and celebrities, but with increasing and conflicting demands on our lives, more and more people are searching for ways to restore work life balance without spending a fortune. As with most things, the answer lies in technology. Whenever I mention the term virtual, I can see people’s eyes glaze over, but essentially it’s the same as outsourcing work to a freelancer. You communicate with them remotely over email or FaceTime, they do the work and send it back to you. It’s the same with a virtual personal concierge and thanks to numerous applications and software, there are very few limitations to the assistance they can provide.
Most of us are already using online software to make appointments, communicate and transfer money so it makes working with a virtual personal concierge very easy. Plus when you use a professional virtual lifestyle management organisation you don’t have to spend hours scrolling the web to find someone who you like and trust. At AVirtual, I find that hiring stay at home mums is the best policy. Usually they’ve quit a high powered job to look after their family and are looking for work that’s more flexible. They’re the people who best understand the struggle to balance work, family and social commitments, and as a result, they’re the best ones to present the solutions. The great thing about using virtual services is that you don’t have to hire a full time employee, in fact, you could just hire assistance for Valentine’s Day or make the most of AVirtual’s free trial for new clients. Once you get into the swing of things, we offer monthly packages based on the hours of assistance required, which means you’re only paying for the time worked as opposed to the time a full time employee wastes on Facebook and taking tea breaks. Plus, we offer support and quality control, so you don’t have to worry about paying someone, only for them to suddenly become uncontactable just when you need them the most.
So how can a personal concierge help with romance? A lifestyle manager’s main job is to give you freedom, so it might be that you want extra time so that you can organise your own Valentine’s Day celebration. Your personal concierge can skilfully manage your diary to free up some time, or they can take responsibility for some of your administrative tasks to give you more head space. It could be doing your weekly shop, organising databases of contacts, booking an appointment, helping with social media accounts, or even managing your email inbox. Or if you want to plan a surprise weekend away, but the thought of researching and planning fills you with dread, your lifestyle manager could do the groundwork to find you the best deals, the most beautiful hotels and details of activities available in the surrounding area. They could even arrange for a bouquet of flowers with a personalised message to be delivered to your room in time for your arrival.
The best lifestyle managers are problem solvers. They’re the ones who can open the doors when you leave something to the last minute. For example, if you need a last minute restaurant booking for a romantic dinner, a babysitter or you don’t have anything to wear for the occasion, your personal concierge can relieve you of the stress by finding the solution without you even having to making a phone call. A lot of people actually find that virtual assistance is less intrusive too. Whilst you are granting them access to your personal life, there’s still a physical boundary, they never actually enter into your home. Yet at the same time, they’re immediately contactable and if you want to chat face to face, you can via Skype or FaceTime.
At the end of the day, a personal concierge is there to give you back the time to enjoy living. Valentine’s Day should be a celebration to look forward to, not just another item on your to-do list.
About the author: Richard Walton is the Founder of AVirtual a company that provides virtual PAs to small business, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is regularly featured in the press talking about topics such as work life balance and productivity