best practice in onboarding a virtual assistant hire

For many businesses, growth has been a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the world locked down, sales and profits in many sectors have taken a hit. The threats are more than immediate too: how can you plan for the future when the course of the pandemic remains unknown? Will we return to pre-COVID normality or will business be changed forever? It’s an open – and worrying – question.

It’s a common observation that the adaptable thrive in unpredictable times. So, how does your business become adaptable enough to thrive in an unknown post-COVID future? Towards answering that question, one well-established ops management practice has surged to the fore: outsourcing. Let’s take a closer look at how outsourcing – especially outsourcing to the Philippines – can help you steady your ship, whatever the storm.

What is outsourcing, really?

By the dictionary, “outsourcing” simply means hiring contractors from outside your business to perform specific tasks that are necessary within its operations. For example, if you don’t need a cleaner on staff full-time, you can outsource the cleaning work to another company under contract, and they’ll simply send someone into your premises as needed.

So, outsourcing can be done either locally or internationally. Local contracting is common in examples such as the above example. In these cases, it may simply make more economic sense to contract another company rather than to bring part-time work in-house. Of course, this is only viable when the physical presence of the worker is required. International or remote outsourcing, on the other hand, is practical when a physical product can be shipped or an informational product/service can be digitised or transmitted.

So, an example of the former is having the manufacturing of your product undertaken in a location with higher technical capacity. An example of the latter might be to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) from an English-speaking country that has a lower wage structure than Australia – the Philippines being the classic example. This approach often suits roles like:

  • web developers
  • graphic artists
  • graphic designers
  • social media managers
  • accountants and bookkeepers
  • ops and systems support
  • admin coordination
  • call centres/phone support
  • calendar and booking managers.

Whichever route you choose, outsourcing can offer a slew of benefits.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

While there are scores of benefits to outsourcing, the topline ones are:

  • Cost controls
  • Safety increases
  • Timezone coverage
  • Flexibility boosts
  • Quality of service improvements.

Firstly, outsourcing can represent major savings for your business. Digital connectivity has brought all corners of the world closer together. The ability to communicate instantaneously over great distances has also freed the labour market from its historical constraints. If a job can be done on the other side of the world, you are no longer dependent on your local labour pool to perform that task. This can represent major savings for your business, as lower costs of living in many countries create different expectations of remuneration.

Outsourcing also provides both reliability and safety by changing the conditions of work. Many outsourced workers operate from their own homes. This means they can turn up every day without worrying about the latest COVID outbreaks or other disruptions. The work-from-home model also feeds into further savings by eliminating the costs associated with office space.

Flexibility and time-zone coverage are built into the outsourcing model. You can contract services as necessary, without the ongoing overheads of a local workforce during downtimes. With workers on-shift overseas, you know your customers will receive service even in your off-hours.

Many outsourcing management companies offer guarantees about high quality of service. Outsourced workers are dedicated and professional too. In fact, they’re often able to deliver on deadlines faster than local businesses because their business hours fall into different time zones than the business contracting them.

All up, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to lighten your load and free you up for the high-level tasks of running your business. Imagine how much more you could get done if you could take some of that busywork off your plate.

What to consider when thinking about Philippines outsourcing

To maximise the benefits from outsourcing there are some critically important factors to consider. There are four main ones:

  1. What skills do you need the provider to have
  2. What language (or languages) do you need them to speak
  3. What regulations are in play.

Because you’re often putting a core function of your business model into the hands of someone you’ve never met physically, you must have a high level of assurance that they can do your work properly. It is worth making a concerted effort to find outsource workers or Virtual Assistants  who can deliver the standard of work you expect. Expect to pay a premium for this. It’s worth it.

For some businesses, the work they are seeking to outsource might also carry a compliance burden. So then, they must also find a company that understands the regulatory and legal requirements in play domestically.

Language is an obvious consideration when choosing an outsource provider. You must be able to communicate your needs and be understood. It also follows that if your contractors are customer-facing, they must be able to communicate with your clientele.

How can I find a good outsource provider?

Even before the pandemic, outsourcing was a proven method for supporting business growth and/or driving efficiencies. With the increasing capabilities of the digital world at work in the context of the (hopefully) temporarily increased restrictions of operating in the physical world, outsourcing has become more effective than ever.

At Smart Online Staff, we’ve seen businesses grow using outsourcing right through the pandemic. Our team will always put your progress first and we value our commitment to you. We are committed to data privacy and security while guaranteeing seamless communication using the latest technology.

All of our workers are reliable and qualified professionals. We guarantee that we will give our utmost in every task, with minimal supervision. Freeing up your time is our first priority.

For more information, contact Smart Online Staff at (07) 3117 0700 to discuss how we can partner in the growth of your business.