The rise of the global workforce has opened up exciting possibilities for small business owners whose growing companies could use an extra set of hands.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile to hire overseas workers for virtual admin support or other business services, cost considerations alone can make the prospect quite attractive.
Before you decide to hire an overseas worker for your next project, keep these important considerations in mind.
1. Sometimes “cost savings” cost more in the end
On paper the math can look great. Who can deny the appeal of hiring someone who can comfortably live on a salary five or ten times lower than minimum wage in most western countries?
The reality is that what you save on a higher domestic worker’s salary, you may have to pay for in other ways. For instance, if mastery of English is an issue when representing your business, delivering customer service or simply following your instructions, a project may be delayed, a job may need to be re-done or a customer could walk away in frustration.
Have a Skype call to ensure an overseas worker has all the skills required to do the job. If you need help with graphics work or web site maintenance – projects that don’t require interacting with customers – the cost savings on a skilled foreign worker with just enough English to get by may be worth it.
2. Different time zones can boost productivity
One advantage of working with support staff located on the other side of the globe is the time difference. How satisfying is it to fire off an email at the end of your work day and find that when you sign on the next morning, the work is already done?
While you may appreciate the opportunity for increased efficiency with an overseas work arrangement, the downside is you may not always be able to reach a worker when you need to. A remote staff member living on an opposite time schedule can be problematic if an urgent situation arises. For most small business owners, however, this may not be an issue.
3. Do you need a short or long-term solution?
Low-earning remote workers who find work on freelance sites make their money in volume. To earn a living, an overseas freelancer might take 40 jobs a day that pay $5 each. Unfortunately, the reality of hiring remote workers on a site like Upwork or Fiverr.com is that loyalty can’t be taken for granted.
Just when you’ve found someone you’d like to hire for a long-term project, they may not be available. Remote overseas workers have little incentive to stick around for a client when another, better-paying job comes up – or when there’s so much opportunity they simply don’t have the time to devote to one customer.
Now that you know the pros and cons of hiring a remote non-domestic worker, you can make an informed decision on whether it’s worthwhile – based on your company’s needs, your comfort level and of course, your budget.