Outsourcing basic office tasks to the Philippines has recently gained a good deal of attention. The benefits are compelling and the idea of freeing up your team to focus on more important aspects makes complete sense for many, but the practical details may put others off. Aimee Engelmann explains the tools you’ll need in your office to manage the virtual team outside the office.
The reality is that establishing tailored outsourcing operations in the Philippines is both relatively easy and inexpensive if you know what you are doing.
There is an extremely broad range of technology now available which we have found useful in establishing and maintaining offshore operations, especially if those operations include virtual assistants with whom you need ongoing communication.
Many of these items can already be found in most offices these days – regardless of how large the real estate agency is.
The range of useful technologies include:
• Video call services such as Skype or Zoom
• A webcam for video calls
• Standard computer
• Internet connection
• Headset for video and phone calls
• Microphone and speaker for group calls
• A television for web conferences
• Web conferencing software
For as little as $60, the tools you need to make sure your staff can communicate with each other – and you – are readily available.
For video conferencing software we recommend Zoom, which can be trialled for free and allows you to have free 30-minute meetings, or you can pay around $50 annually to unlock all its functionality. Zoom also works on a smartphone.
To connect your television to your computer for web conferencing, we recommend using the Intel Compute Stick CS125. This plugs straight into your television’s USB port and can run Windows, web conferencing applications, web browsers and so on.
For our microphone and speaker system used for phone conferences, we use the JABRA SPEAK 510, which sells for around $120.
We have found that establishing open lines of communication early on is the key to having the offshore support you need.
This includes letting your staff in the Philippines know what is expected of them, explaining your operations and procedures, and ensuring their early training covers exactly what you need.
Not communicating and engaging with your staff both in the Philippines and at home will have the same impact, producing a raft of errors which can be costly in terms of time, money and customer goodwill.
When done properly, establishing outsourcing operations in the Philippines can be the next step in growing your business. The technology is already available, accessible and affordable, making it easier than you think.