Elance Survey Reveals Desire to Outsource Everyday Tasks

Mountain View, Calif. – January 22, 2008— 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®, 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 versus 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, 2008 11:59:59pm 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®

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®, 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 www.harrisinteractive.com.
To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at www.harrispollonline.com.

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Media Contact:

Kathleen Gratehouse
(415) 637-9049