ethics in business
Having virtual assistants working for you at low costs is effective and fun. However, there are some disadvantages of outsourcing work to foreign countries. If you are aware of those outsourcing disadvantages, your business will be that much more successful.
Language barrier between you and your virtual assistant
English is the most common language a must have skill for any kind of outsourcing work.
For example, if a virtual assistant only speaks Spanish , the majority of the employers will not be able to work with him.
Outsourcing is not effective if the freelancer
- can’t talk English properly
- can’t express or elaborate well in English
- can’t understand instructions
- and can’t give proper feedback about his work.
The minimal requirement to a freelancer is that he can speak, understand and communicate in English.
Notes to Virtual Assistants having trouble with English:
- If you can’t express yourself well in English, working satisfactory will be hard.
- English skills still can either be learned with free materials on the internet.
- Also, ask your boss to give you extremely clear instructions, so that you can learn one task at a time.
If you were to choose to outsource work to one provider today, I wish you three things:
- You treat your provider with respect.
- You don’t get screwed over.
- You a freelancer who knows English well and is bright.
Everything else is totally optional!
Exception: If you need a specialist
If you are looking for a specialist, perhaps a programmer , you cannot start with a newbie with only English skills. For this you will just have to pay more. There is always a price of high quality.
Look for the optimal freelancer for everything else:
But if you have a specific, private task, you only need a guy or a girl who
- knows English
- is quick with answering
- and honest
Then you can do anything.
Finding the right VA needs experience
One of the bigger disadvantages of outsourcing is that you have to learn it, just like any other skill. The tips on ideal-helper, which come from years of real-life experience from both the employer and freelancer points of view, will help you with that.
And if you want to make your life easier, be sure to choose the right outsourcing company for your needs. My choice lies with Odesk.
Outsourcing work costs you money
This is on of the disadvantages of outsourcing that goes without saying. Still, you should calculate your budget before starting to work with a freelancer. It would be frustrating for him, too, if you were to fire your assistant because you run out of funds.
Fortunately, if you know how to hire a virtual assistant at the right place, you can keep costs extremely low, down to 1$/hour.
What tasks can’t you outsource?
One of the smaller disadvantages of outsourcing is that even if you are hooked on the concept, there are things which your Indian personal assistant cannot do for you, even if he wanted to.
- Physical work
- A medical doctor can’t outsource the treatment of his patients.
- If you are an architect, you can’t hire a virtual worker to carry stones.
- If you are specialist, such as and scientist, you can’t outsource working e.g. with your expensive microscope.
- You should never outsource your tax matters.
You can outsource some of the above mentioned tasks if you write up a real contract to respectable outsourcing company. If you take care of all legalities set up an iron-clad NDA , you might be able to make an exception to some of the examples I listed above.
Managing your VA needs time
Before you start actually saving time by working together with your personal assistant, you need to invest some time training him and adjusting to each other.
Don’t be disillusioned if the first days you pass way more time writing emails and clarifying things when you just wanted to chill out at the beach while someone else works for you.
Here is my method to getting there faster:
Use screen recording software to show him exactly what you want. This goes way faster than writing emails and is actually better suited for training your virtual assistant.
You can’t simply fool around. You now have responsibility for your VA
When you have actually hired a person to work for you, you are in a working relationship. Take it as seriously as your employee takes the money he earns for giving his best for you, and think about some ethics in business basics.
You cannot just abuse the fact that your worker lives in a poor country and consider him a modern slave.
Having responsibility for another person, who probably is looking up to you, is one of the smaller disadvantages of outsourcing. Still, keep it in mind and never take the services of your worker for granted.
Those Outsourcing disadvantages are not much of a problem?
In reality, hiring virtual assistants is easy, fun and effective for almost everyone. Just that many people don’t even consider doing this.
The disadvantages of outsourcing listed on this page are there to help you profit the most from a freelancer when you do hire him. If you keep them in mind, as well as using your common sense, you will be fine.
Hire A Virtual Assistant And Have A Good Conscience About It
Understand the notion of ethics in business when you do learn how to outsource your work to freelancers all over the world. If you understand how to treat your VA the right way, you’ll have lots of success.
Whoever you are working with, wherever that person may live, treat them right
What is common sense for me, personally, sometimes gets ignored by others who are hiring virtual assistants, looking only for cheap work at possibly inhumane conditions.
I am not an encyclopaedia. But I have made real-life experiences with freelance workers from all around the world for many years now.
Outsourcing as a private person or a mini-business is way different than offshoring from a big enterprise. Still, the question: “what is business ethics in outsourcing all about?” is not only a duty towards your virtual co-worker, but also to your conscience.
The definition for business ethics when outsourcing can be boiled down to “treat others as you want yourself to be treated”.
Knowing the basics of Christian ethics in business is especially useful if you work together with virtual assistants from the Philippines. Even without discussing questions of faith here – there are many advantages for your business if you treat your online workers the right way.
Nothing beats the passion and effectiveness of a virtual helper who loves doing what he does for you. True loyalty cannot be bought.
I had the chance of meeting my full-time Virtual Assistant Jomvie in person in the Philippines. With him and other Filipinos, I made a first-hand impression of their manner to do business. If you really want to succeed in hiring Filipinos, you need to understand them well.
This is why I think the the combined view of my VA, Jomvie, and I will be helpful for you to understand Filipino business ethics.
Thinking Globally – Do your best to make outsourcing a win-win to both sides of the globe
The world is becoming more and more global. You can live in the US and hire someone from the Philippines, for example. But there are differences which you need to keep in mind.
Knowing about ethics in international business as an employer or a freelancer is a prerequisite to survive in this global world we now live in.
Attitude as an employer to your assistant
Think of global business ethics, which means that you need to be aware that your business partner lives in a country which is very different from yours. When you have a virtual assistant working for you, you need to know that they have a different…
- time zone
- attitude towards work and life
- cost of living levels
Attitude as freelancer to your boss
If you work for someone else, you are not only in it for the money. Always think about your business ethics and social responsibility that comes from
- the quality of your work
- and your work attitude.
If you only work for the quick money and instant gratification, you will fail in the long run. Learn how to do things well in order to live with satisfaction and success far in the future.
Bad business attitudes and lack of respect will hurt your success
Of course, there are many people who treat freelancers badly. Just because they live in a different, often poorer country than the employer does not mean that it’s OK to disrespect a virtual assistant. There are many cases of bad business ethics which can show you what not to do.
The top 3 mistakes for your outsourcing ethics in business you can make are:
- Lack of communication before, during and at the end of your cooperation. Worst case scenario: an employer firing his assistant without any further notice. Or a freelancer quitting the job without saying a word.
- Miss commitment- over committing but not delivering at all. This also goes both ways.
- Disrespect. Treating your employer (or assistant) as if he is stupid will come and bite you in the long run.
Of course, virtual assistants can also sometimes be at fault.
I started out as a private person trying out outsourcing for private projects only. I only recently started to think of me as a one-person enterprise.
That was also when I had to evaluate if my methods working with virtual assistants stood up to acceptable levels of ethics in business – which I am glad they did.
Honestly, if you spot any ethical issues on this whole website that looks cheesy, fake or slave-labor-ish, rush over and let me know!
My code of honor:
There is a strict set of rules I have set firmly into my mind of how I will treat my virtual assistants. I summarize it as my personal business ethics policy and try to live by it.
My virtual assistant from Pakistan as a case study in moral outsourcing
I have worked together with my virtual assistant for more than one year now. He does great work and is very affordable. The importance of ethics in business was clearer than ever to me when I started discussing having a virtual assistant working for me with my friends and met some difficult questions.
Since we share a high level of trust with each other, I profited from his experiences as a freelancer to ask some personal questions. This interview resulted in a thorough business ethics case study, all from the point of view of a virtual assistant from Pakistan.
Stay Tuned about global ethics in business for maximum success for your outsourcing business
I care about my virtual assistants being treated right. Still, it’s important to know what happens to ethics in business around us, especially in such a global world we are living in.
To stay tuned in, we’ll set up a business ethics news section. Head there to read about the newest pieces of information about ethical outsourcing from all around the world.
Timeless, must-read business ethics articles for any outsourcing business and cooperation will stay up as their own discussion pages. I’d love to see an honest, no-holding-back-discussion about the pros and cons of outsourcing going.