In a previous post, we have deconstructed the rather popular myth that virtual assistance is a ladies-only job. For those who missed it, we have presented simple statistics that show men also work as VAs although women undeniably are in the majority.
Today, we will be looking into another popular notion about virtual assistants, particularly those outsourced from off-shore non English-speaking countries like India, Israel, and the Philippines– that such VAs can be hard to get along with due to cultural differences. This is a rather complex issue that cannot simply be brushed off as a myth or concluded as a fact.
True enough, difference in culture can inevitably create conflicts, particularly when it comes to work schedules and the way certain tasks are handled. Religious holidays may come up that will prevent your assistant from working during the busiest dates or your VA’s norms may have a rather significant impact on certain aspects of his or her work.
This, however, can be easily mitigated by the virtual lack of a language barrier. In general, VA’s have themselves trained in the English language before venturing into the online profession. This obviously results in effective communication, and communication can always give way to consensus when there are conflicts, allowing you and your VA to discuss the perfect work around to get the work done when cultural differences gets in the way.
Furthermore, mutual understanding will allow you to delegate tasks more effectively. Should the VA encounter phrases peculiar to native English speakers, they can easily ask for clarification and immediately understand what you mean to say when you break it down to simple language. Unsurprisingly, this also works when the situation is reversed.
While common language can patch cultural barriers, the understanding still boils down to the quality of the VA first, and the client’s attitude second. Both definitely need to have the necessary interpersonal skills to accommodate each other.
Conclusion: The argument that foreign VAs are difficult to deal with is not entirely true. Cultural differences can always be overcome by the mutual understanding of the common English vernacular and some communication skills.