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PROS AND CONS OF HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

The work-from-home industry has long been utilized by businesses since the first time it was introduced. Its effectiveness has become more apparent at present as more and more companies employ virtual assistants or adapt the work-from-home setup.

Big and small companies have accepted the fact that working with virtual assistants is a must in order for their businesses to thrive and reach greater heights.

Virtual assistants provide tons of benefits, especially amid the ongoing pandemic. Here are the five most essential benefits of hiring or working with virtual assistants:

1. IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY

In order for businesses to thrust their name upward, productivity is the main factor that must be taken into consideration. Since one of the main purposes of virtual assistants is to improve the productivity of one’s business, more and more businesses are encouraged to maximize their services and resources.

Though they work remotely, virtual assistants are highly instrumental in accomplishing more tasks and projects in a more articulated manner without compromising the quality of each work done.

2. REINFORCED EFFICIENCY

Virtual assistants can perform a broad range of tasks. One of their most common expertise is to seamlessly take care of smaller, non-critical tasks. As such, this will enable the business to focus and devote time on bigger projects that need more attention.

While virtual assistants fulfill their jobs in the background, business owners can concentrate more on devising strategic approaches for the business’s continuous growth.

3. VAST ARRAY OF EXPERTISE

In today’s cutthroat industry, being self-sufficient is not enough in order to stay at the top of the competition. Multitasking may not always be beneficial and healthy for employees. This is especially true if they are overworked and left with little time to rest. As a result, employees become overworked, and gaps in the workflow become more difficult to manage. When work is unequally distributed among the staff, it also compromises the quality of services, the team’s productivity, and the efficiency of the business.

Working with a virtual assistant, on the other hand, can easily fill in the gaps left due to the unbalanced demand for tasks and lack of manpower. Virtual assistants help strengthen areas where the business or the team is lacking and leverage the team to be more productive.

With their extensive array of professional experience, virtual assistants will enable business owners to handle each and every project and task with ease without overburdening their in-house employees. The setup also helps companies delegate tasks to both in-house and remote employees smartly.

Meanwhile, as much as working with virtual assistants can be quite advantageous, there are also specific flaws that need to be addressed. The cons listed below are not meant to discourage businesses from employing virtual assistants. Rather, it should be used as a reference for what business owners can expect especially if they are relatively new to working with remote staff. Fortunately, these disadvantages can be resolved with proper assessment and by considering all possible and practical solutions available.

1. LANGUAGE BARRIER

Since virtual assistants can be sourced from different countries, the language barrier is one of the most challenging hurdles that business owners need to face. This is true for virtual assistants whose first language is not English.

Language barriers can prevent effective communication between companies and virtual assistants. It can diminish the quality of work done, and even lead to misunderstandings. If business owners wish to hire virtual assistants based in a different country, find someone who is bilingual, or someone with significant knowledge and background in the business’ main language.

2. INCONSISTENT COMMITMENT

Since they work with different clients at the same time, some virtual assistants may not be able to provide 100% of their time and focus to a single project or business campaign. If a virtual assistant is not employed exclusively by the business, then it should be expected that they are working on at least two to three projects at the same time. The nature of their work simply relies on the number of active clients. And we can’t blame them for doing it as this is the only way for them to earn a living.

In some cases, virtual assistants will transfer or sub-contract some of the projects delegated to them to other virtual assistants without the business knowing it. To avoid this, business owners should specify their expectations and demands right from the start. Virtual assistants should also provide an honest estimation of their expected salary, and they must also let businesses know if they are committed to other projects or not. Businesses should also implement flexible hours for virtual assistants as a way to resolve time zone differences.

3. SHORTCOMINGS

Despite the availability of several communication apps and features that help establish excellent communication between businesses and virtual assistants, nothing beats personal interaction and physical presence.

Since they work virtually within the comforts of their home, it can be arduous for some businesses to check on their VA’s productivity from time to time. Business owners will never know whether their virtual assistants are slacking off or not.  It is hard to trace their behavioral patterns in terms of how they work. There is also a tendency for businesses to micromanage remote staff, and this can create a discrepancy in the professional relationship between both parties.

Business owners should always remember that working with virtual assistants should be on par with working with an in-house team. Hiring them still requires in-depth interviews, tests, and additional training that will help business owners determine if virtual assistants are suitable for the job or not. Also, the setup and circumstances involved in employing virtual assistants are unique. Efficiency and work ethic should still be expected, but not within the same context and setting as office-based employees. This is also why flexible work hours are more applicable to remote staff.

Working with a virtual assistant may come along with some disadvantages, but this does not mean that it outweighs the advantages that they can provide. In truth, the virtual manpower industry is a plethora of benefits and these disadvantages can easily be avoided if businesses and virtual assistants learn to cooperate well with each other. Fostering a virtual environment with open communication, timely assessment, periodic learning, and motivational exercises should be able to help the business alleviate the risks associated with employing a virtual assistant.

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