offshore accountingThe rise of the global workforce and the choice to offshore: the debate will not go away, so it is time to be educated and assess if you should hire/outsource parts of your business offshore.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile to hire overseas workers and offshore part of your business 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 drastically lower than minimum wage in Australia?

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.

It is not only skills – but do they have the resources to work in the way you expect – high speed internet, computer access, programs, etc.  Often we take it for granted the things we have at our fingertips in Australia that offshore workers may not.

This is where technology will be your friend.  Have a Skype call to ensure an overseas worker has all the skills required to do the job.

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. Work out the tasks you require them to do – does this require them to be available when you are or not?

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.

Perhaps an outsourcing company who can provide stable workers is more suited to you for long term project work.

4. Where is your time better spent?

There is always going to be the debate around hiring overseas workers means you are taking jobs away from Australian workers.  But what about looking at it this way – by hiring qualified cheaper overseas labour for the “lower value” work, it can free up your time as a business owner to provide clients with high level work they would not have otherwise been able to afford.  This means your clients are receiving high end value and your staff are gaining management skills, instead of being stuck behind a desk doing grunt work.

“Outsourcing overseas will not go away.  In fact, the industry is expanding by the minute.  Understand it, evaluate it, and don’t let your stubbornness get in the way of business opportunites. “

Now that you know a few of the pros and cons of hiring a remote offshore worker, you can make an informed decision on whether it’s worthwhile – based on your company’s needs, your comfort level, your desire for growth, and of course, your budget.