As a busy executive or business owner, how much better would your life be if you hired someone who’s dedicated to looking after your diary, travel plans, emails, and reports?
So much easier, I bet!
And so, you must have thought about hiring a personal assistant or executive assistant.
As you’re on your own EA search, you probably have stumbled upon a number of online content showing a buzz about hiring Virtual Executive Assistants.
You should be thinking… “Is there a real benefit in hiring someone local versus getting someone offshore?”
Since I’m about to hire an offshore executive assistant (EA) myself, I’ve written this article to explore the whys of hiring offshore executive assistants.
While doing my research, I came across this very interesting news…
As reported in the Australian Financial Review in February 2018, Ernst and Young now have 38 Executive Assistants in Manila working for executives in Australia and New Zealand. Ernst and Young started a trial in 2016 with 20 EAs in Manila and the number has been steadily grown. 15% of Ernst and Young’s EAs are now hired offshore!
So what made them (and soon…me!) hire an offshore EA?
Here’s what I have to say…
Scope of responsibility
Personally, I’d be happy to employ someone who’s very organized and resourceful, has advanced skill in MS Excel, can handle document preparation and take on tasks confidently in a timely manner.
Specifically, I need my EA to:
- Manage my travel schedules
- Process and keep track of my expenses
- Coordinate my meeting schedules
- Email management
- Compile and create presentations
Unsurprisingly, these are tasks that don’t require physical presence. So having someone offshore to take care of them isn’t much of a worry.
Also, tasks are easily delegated and communicated over email, Skype, Zoom or whichever communication tool you prefer to use.
The catch is, it is absolutely important that you make clear and concise instructions. This way you may anticipate that the work you want to be done is done well.
Of course, there are downsides to not having a local EA,
Basically, A Virtual EA cannot…
- Find a venue to run an off-site meeting
- Facilitate print jobs
- Pick or deliver things
- Attend events or meetings on your behalf
But if like me, you only require support that does not involve the tasks above, then hiring a virtual VA might just be the right decision to make!
Well, the point of hiring an EA is you want someone to help carry on tasks that eat away your time.
You might think that availability is a serious concern if you hire someone offshore, but it’s fascinating to know that it’s not.
In a study conducted by the Standford University School of Business, it has been revealed that those who work from home (or remotely) were 13% more productive than those who are in the office.
This goes to show that as long as you clearly define your work hours, you can get in touch with your virtual EA as often as you can with a local EA!
Getting the job done well is essentially what I value the most.
Because of the limitation of interaction you have with a virtual EA, there might be lesser opportunities to track a virtual EA’s work.
The good news is, with the help of tools for time-tracking, such as TimeDoctor, Toggl, Qbserve, etc. you can remotely observe how your staff spends the day!
On the latest Payscale report, it shows that a local EA in Melbourne earns an average base salary of $5,755 AUD per month.
Meanwhile, an offshore EA from the Philippines will normally cost you around $2,000 AUD – and that already accounts for HMO, internet, facilities and even free meals!
So how much difference are we talking about, cost-wise? Holy smokes! We’re talking about more than 50% savings!
Plus, it’s no secret that the cost of living in the Philippines is much cheaper compared to Australia. That said, even though your savings is significantly large, your staff still enjoys work for a better value compared to other white-collar jobs in their country.
The right talent
Regardless if you’re looking for local or offshore talent, you are still to undergo pains of recruitment.
As for the virtual EA hunt, there are different strategies you can use to find the right talent. But let me narrow them down into 2:
Do It Yourself
Pretty much self-explanatory and would involve a lot of your time. If you want a hands-on approach to find the best person for the job, then this might be a route you’d want to take. You can always post your hiring notice in Upwork, Odesk, etc. and pray that someone good reaches out to you.
Have an Offshore Virtual Service Provider
This helps a lot, especially when you want to make sure that the people you get are already professionally screened. You have a better chance of finding the right talent and personality (including background checks) to support you.
Additional care is also provided to your staff to ensure that the quality of work is monitored, even when you are not around. Security measures are also covered by the company to ensure that there are no concerns with data breach and confidentiality.
Now, does it really make a lot of difference if you hire offshore? I say YES – and all for the right reasons! In fact, when bigger companies try to get into the virtual EA trend, it just goes to show that there really is more to gain in this option.