Govind Davis, who runs a business software firm in Cleveland, has never met his assistant Jackie—although they work closely together. All he’s seen of Jackie is a photo she posted with her online résumé and on Skype, which is almost their sole means of communication.
Jackie Cullen, whom Davis hired four months ago, is known as a virtual office assistant, an independent contractor who does secretarial work from her home in North Carolina. She works only when needed, usually about 30 hours per week at $12 per hour, to book travel, schedule appointments, and do research. “Certainly, it takes a mental adjustment,” says Davis, chief executive of MCF Technology Solutions. “But Jackie, she’s turned out to be great, and I have no concern about paying her.”