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Onshore vs. Offshore: A Comparison Within the Virtual Assistant Model

In business, advancements within technology combined with varying approaches to employment have influenced multiple sectors of professions. When inquiring about the use of Virtual Executive Assistants (VEA), the question of whether to hire onshore or offshore resources often comes into play. It can be challenging to determine the best fit for your company. 

The adage ‘Good work is hard to find’ might be replaced today with ‘Good work is hard to find, yet available everywhere’. The talent of workers across the country and across the globe is prompting companies to employ their workforces in different ways. The role of a VEA, for example, is being transformed by the virtual workspace. 

Part of this transformation includes offering VEAs who are located both on and offshore, giving the opportunity to select the workforce model that is most appropriate. Service providers are offering solid, stellar VEA support with choice of location model, tier level of support, and number of tasks. The world of virtual assistants is becoming very scalable.  

Virtual Statistics

A study done by Tracking Happiness revealed that employees find more happiness while working remote positions. The study involved over 12,000 male and female employees from across the world and revealed that overall, people felt 20% happier in life as a result of having a remote job. 

Employees report several factors that are beneficial within the remote model. These include:
  • Reduced stress levels. Working from home provides a familiar, comfortable workspace and the lack of a commute relieves the stress of traffic and tardiness at work.
  • Increased flexibility. Remote employees are able to balance their days, making it easier to take care of personal things or spend time with family while still being productive with their work.
  • Improved job satisfaction. Working in a home environment allows for increased productivity and creativity as well as the ability to recharge and refresh during the day as needed.

Finding The Right Fit

Overall, the VEA model allows for more flexibility and satisfaction, with increased coverage for customer service functions and completion of tasks. Options for a remote workforce include onshore and offshore models, both of which have proven ability to provide a professional, reliable staff to the businesses they support. With the right candidate and executive partnership, both onshore and offshore structures can provide the right functions to assist in company operations.

Both models require professional and reliable employees, which prompts an important question - how does one determine which model is the best fit? This requires a look at the differences between onshore and offshore VEA support. For many years, a main reason for electing an offshore service was to engage in cost savings for the company. A valid reason then, however there are other factors that may offer a better determinant as to which fit is best for your business needs.

Regardless of onshore or offshore personnel, the responsibility of an assistant requires a behind-the-scenes process of providing the executive team with the support and task management that they require. Thus, in order to determine the best VEA model for your business, it is important to review the services offered. 

The role of a VEA includes support services such as:
  • Screening emails
  • Scheduling conferences, appointments, and meetings
  • Proofreading letters and reports
  • Calendar management and scheduling
  • Arranging travel plans and accommodations
  • Conducting research
  • Managing databases and filing systems
  • Reminding leaders of important tasks and deadlines
  • Clerical and bookkeeping tasks
  • Creating reports and presentations for executive presentations
The types of tasks you want your virtual executive assistant to complete, your desired methods of communication, and the timeline for project completion may factor into your choice of onshore or offshore help.

Comparing The Two Models

When considering the best fit for your company, it is important to note that, in the past, key differences existed between offshore and onshore VEA models. The training, support, and methodologies of today’s service providers, however, have started to prove, that both models of support are excellent at what they do.
  1. Location: Offshore remote administrative assistants are typically located in a different country than the company they are working for, while onshore remote administrative assistants are located within the same country.
  2. Time zone differences: Depending on the location of the offshore remote administrative assistant, there may be significant time zone differences which can affect communication and availability. Onshore remote administrative assistants may be more readily available during regular business hours. Both models, however, are beginning to embrace 24/7 coverage. 
  3. Language barriers: Offshore remote administrative assistants may speak a different language, which can lead to communication difficulties and the need for additional language translation services. Onshore remote administrative assistants are likely to speak the same language as the company they are working for. Today’s VEAs are offering multilingual capabilities and are fluent in English and their native language.
  4. Cultural differences: Offshore remote administrative assistants may come from a different cultural background, which can lead to misunderstandings or differences in communication styles. Onshore remote administrative assistants are likely to be more familiar with the culture of the company for which they are working. Diversity, however, is contributed within both models and greatly adds to the work environment while providing its own benefits
  5. Cost: Offshore remote administrative assistants may be less expensive to hire due to lower labor costs in their country of origin, whereas onshore remote administrative assistants may be more expensive due to higher labor costs. Recent models, however, offer a tiered system of support which provides VEAs who seamlessly assist more than one executive along with models based on the number of needed tasks within the workday. 
Overall, the decision to hire an offshore or onshore remote administrative assistant will depend on the specific needs and priorities of the company and the relationship it has with the service provider or model that is chosen.

Partnership Prevails

Ultimately, when it comes to supplying your executive staff with remote support, it is the partnerships between your company and the service provider as well as those between the executive and the VEA that make the true impact. Through a solid, productive group effort, processes will be streamlined, time preserved, and money saved. An assistant is a valuable tool that contributes to productivity, allowing executives to focus on their core responsibilities. Together, this approach helps business to grow and achieve their higher level goals.

Cayuse Commercial Services offers VEA staffing models that are at-the-ready to assist. Our combination of services and personnel has proven to be effective and efficient in managing the day to day needs of busy executives. Cayuse operates around partnership and diversity and believes that a comfortable, solid working relationship is a combination of skillset, professionalism, and camaraderie. 

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