Your business is growing and you need an extra pair of hands to lighten the load – so after much deliberation, you have finally decided to hire a virtual assistant! Similar to filling up any other role, hiring a virtual assistant is an investment, and the process of hiring one should be treated as such. On top of the long list of things to consider, should you hire a local virtual assistant or broaden your horizons across international borders? Here’s a roundup of some pros and cons to help you make the right decisions.
Finding the best talent for your business is not an easy feat – very simply, virtual assistants work remotely, so does it matter whether they are local or internationally based? It’s all the in the detail, subtle differences like timezones, cultural differences, financial impacts, and more can have a significant impact on efficiency.
First things first – the pros
A more affordable option
Virtual assistants are not like your daily employees, they do not require a desk, laptop, or any other infrastructure that would require you to pay. They work from the comfort of their home, using their “office space” – saving you money. With that said, there’s also the aspect of salaries/wages; the cost of living is lower in other parts of the world, as a result, an international employee may be able to do the work at a lower rate than you would have to pay locally.
The benefit of a different timezone
It’s always a good idea to have a global mindset when it comes to your business. Standard 9-5 hours within your timezone can limit that as they cater to local customers only, leaving little room to expand your footprint. Due to the different timezones, having an international virtual assistant can help you strategically build a glocal business that’s able to interact with customers at various hours. This way you can maximise efficiency and build a competitive advantage.
Your international virtual assistant may celebrate different holidays
People around the world celebrate different holidays. A holiday in the UK may not be observed by your virtual assistant in another country. As such, hiring an international virtual assistant makes it easier to increase productivity even on local holidays without having to pay a higher holiday rate.
The not-so-great-stuff – the cons
Different timezones aren’t always that great
Different timezones are fun until they’re not. Sometimes there can be confusion around deadlines – you may expect something by ‘close of business’ but because of the different timezones between you and your virtual assistant, they may be working at a different time for ‘close of business’. But just like most things, this can be remedied by clear communication around how hours are structured considering the different time zones.
Culture is the (often missed) backbone of a thriving business. Maintaining a team of like-minded individuals can go a long way in creating healthy work relationships. International virtual assistants may not be familiar with commonly accepted points of view, ways of working, and other subtle cultural nuances that may impact your working relationship.
Data and privacy safety
The risk of hiring an unethical employee who’ll have access to your intellectual property and potentially steal it or plant malware is highly discomforting. With data breach laws varying from country to country, working with a virtual assistant from a different country may be worrisome when it comes to these fears. Scam operations, intellectual property exposure, and privacy and data breaches can be a major cause of concern.
So what now?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a right or wrong approach to making a decision. The challenge of finding the right fit for your business can’t be limited to going local or international, it’s all about weighing your options and choosing an approach that is suitable for the growth of your business plans.