We often see and hear about the positive effects of remote staffing or outsourcing but it always wise to remember that nothing’s perfect. With all its benefits, hiring a virtual assistant might also have a few downfalls.
First off and perhaps the most common—miscommunication. Most countries who outsource don’t consider English as their mother tongue; this presents possible language barriers between VA and client. Another factor is the distance. Your employee will only be digitally present but physically absent. Obviously that thousand mile difference poses issues when it comes to the relaying of directives. As compared to the usual method of simply approaching an employee to speak with him eye to eye, you will have to go through Skype or another video calling service just to make sure tasks are assigned properly. Although e-mail exchange is a common practice, it might not have the same positive effect as providing direct instructions. This also brings us to our second disadvantage.
Skype and e-mails use the internet; making it even more important for your VA’s to have a stable high speed internet connection. However, being in another part of the globe, you will not have control over service providers or other factors that might affect their signals (weather, black outs, natural calamities, equipment failure).
Third on the list; privacy. Outsourcing means sharing possibly confidential information with external providers. This in itself might be a potential threat to your company security.
Fourth are cultural differences. Take the Filipinos for example, although the most “westernized” in South East Asia, still have ideals and characteristics of their own—very family oriented and sometimes easily offended. As compared to dealing with staff from your country, you might have to do a bit of adjusting when it comes to working with offshore staff just to avoid false impressions.
Having pros and cons in business is perfectly normal. The same is true when it comes to remote staffing. It’s not all win-win but there are many ways to reduce these negative aspects. For one, find a reliable and trust worthy partner. Do your research! Use the internet to check on a company or VA’s reputation. Scan for reviews from previous clients or any bad comments referring to their service.
In the end, it’s a matter of decision making and the practical use of common sense. If you think that remote staffing can do good for your business, by all means, try it out!
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