Indian Assistants – Not so virtual after all
Virtual means something or someone not physically present in same time and space as you. When applied to assistants who are based overseas they started being called as Virtual secretaries or assistants. Dotcom boom opened a whole new world of possibilities where teams from all across the world could collaborate, share and work together on ideas. Technology has grown leaps and bounds ever since and it has made our world seem smaller than before. You can now connect on the go via your mobile phones, do video chats, conference meetings with team members joining in from all parts of world.
The word virtual assistant is loosing its “virtuality” so to speak. It is all so real, happens in the real time with real people working together as a team that the traditional office space defined by a cubicle is getting redefined.
History of how it all started: India has been on the front lines of outsourcing. It all started with big companies setting up their offshore call centers in India. Centers that offered customer support to answer calls or do outbound sales were booming. Voice and accent trainers from overseas would charge huge sums of money to train the Indian staff to familiarize them with culture, baseball and other things “American” or foreign.
Why the big giants/companies chose India: The difference in labor rates was lucrative, staff they could hire and train was educated (minimum 4 year college degrees), good with computers (Indian have always been computer savvy), willing and hardworking nature was a part of their culture. All they lacked was the accent. With good training this was overcome well not 100% but it was acceptable. English has been the second language and most schools start English lessons from as early as pre-school. As the news reached out to the smaller businesses, they wanted to try their hands as well to take advantage of the cheaper work force, expand their operations and sales by hiring small teams that would call and do outbound sales mostly.
What has changed in outsourcing from then and now: The nature in which we work has changed drastically. Cloud computing has made it possible to store, share, collaborate anything to everything with the in-house teams working together. Technology along with newer and more sophisticated tools and software’s have shifted the seismic center from typical call center set up to more advanced and developed work spaces. IBM being the fore- runner in this race has set up offices in various parts of the world and is now a global company. From software programmer’s to back office processes are now being run in highly efficient and productive manner than they were a decade ago.
Globalization and how it has changed the skill set available: Skills as we define today are not measure in how many words you can type in a minute. Skill has a wider meaning – “ understanding the work that is required and being equipped with the technical and analytical knowledge to do it in best ways possible”. India produces about 1.2m STEM graduates each year. With Internet reaching out to the masses awareness has increased and so has the opportunities to go out and explore more talents. When it comes to hiring, employers are spoilt for choice. It is amazing to see how cable TV and Internet has made such a huge impact. You don’t have to train your work force anymore to understand how the cultures are different or explain why Yankees live in the soul of New Yorkers. They can see that first hand in the movies, videos, news, blogs and so forth. If their client mentions that he is busy watching a super bowl game they will know what he means by that.
How has Tasks Everyday tapped into the skilled market: While there is no shortage of skilled staff, there is always something that is missing. That little extra – a pinch of secret recipe, which makes fried chicken taste even better. All virtual assistants before being assigned any client go thorough training and skill enhancement program that gears them to be efficient and more successful in managing the tasks that will come their way. Assistants that are assigned to work with clients are full time employees of Tasks Everyday. They are not freelancers. This is an added advantage that client gets. The job of a virtual assistant is multitasking. And it can’t be defined in few pointers of what they can or cannot do.
World is changing and so is the meaning of productivity. Globalization is changing our definition of work force and how a typical workspace should look like and team members it comprises of. Are you harnessing the advantage that this new era has to offer? Going virtual is not a choice it’s the demand of the hour…
Hit us up if you would like to know how we can help you stream line your work process and add value and skill advantage that is more productive and cost effective for your business and personal growth.