Outsourcing to a virtual assistant can offer a number of benefits, such as a decreased workload and more free time. Depending on where the virtual assistant lives, this practice can also be substantially cheaper than hiring someone locally. Virtual assistants do come with some associated drawbacks though, especially when dealing with people from other countries. There may be a language barrier to overcome, and it can also be difficult to ensure that an assistant stays on track without any face-to-face contact. Whether a virtual assistant lives in the same country or elsewhere, good communication can be an important factor in minimizing many of the potential drawbacks.
Virtual assistants are similar to traditional assistants, except they work remotely through the Internet instead of in the same physical location. The tasks they perform can be very similar, but communication typically take place through electronic means such as emails and instant messages instead of face-to-face. This makes it is possible to hire a virtual assistant from anywhere in the world, which can create many potential benefits and drawbacks that are unique to each situation.
There are different pros and cons associated with outsourcing to a virtual assistant from the same country as opposed to one from a different country. When outsourcing to a foreign country, it is often possible to locate a skilled virtual assistant who will perform more work for less money. If the assistant is in a distant area of the world, there is also a chance that he will be awake and getting work done during hours a traditional assistant would be sleeping. There will often be a language barrier though, and even without one it can be difficult to coordinate work across time zones. Contracting with a virtual assistant from the same country can reduce the chance of a language barrier, though there will typically be less of a savings over hiring a traditional assistant.
Another benefit of outsourcing to a virtual assistant is the wide variety of choices. It is possible to work closely with one assistant, or to contract with a much larger business. The main benefit of working one on one is it becomes possible to develop a close relationship with the assistant, which can help reduce the chance of miscommunication. Larger companies can sometimes offer a team of virtual assistants for a reduced price, which can allow big projects to be completed more quickly. Working with multiple assistants can become complicated though, and may leave more room for confusion or mistakes to occur.