Are Filipino SMEs Ready for Virtual Employees?

Telecommuting, remote work, home-based jobs are terms that we use in working virtually.  This virtual team structure is growing in popularity in organizations.  To some extent, we are already practicing working with people who are not in our visual proximity although we are in the same building or premises. 

We utilize instant messaging, emails, video conference tools to collaborate with our team.

Many organizations who are flexible and adaptable have already explored a virtual office environment as one means of achieving goals and project objectives. 

BPOs in the Philippines are virtual teams of their corresponding HQs in the US or Europe and not only dispersed geographically but also in timezones.

Here are some advantages of virtual teams:

  • Reduced time and costs in travel
  • Higher productivity, more time, and fewer distractions.
  • A higher degree of employee engagement and freedom from office policies
  • For companies to leverage talent across geographic boundaries.
  • Lesser overhead cost of office space for organizations.
  • Quicker decision making, less face to face meetings.
  • Improve detail due to documented instructions and notes

Disadvantages:

  • Some people work well with physical interaction.
  • Employee behavior diversity in virtual teams leads to cultural issues.
  • Employees who need training, encouragement, and motivation.
  • Weaker control and some employees don’t have a conducive workspace.

To be honest, I don’t know if Filipinos are ready but I am writing this because I really have this strong urge to go virtual due to its inevitability, especially the growing traffic problems and unforeseen events in the future. Its success may depend on the industry, culture, nature of products/service, or ethnicity but I might as well be the first one to adopt and do this bold move which may result to be our competitive advantage.

This post is also to officially announce that Hilsoft, being an advocate of change adaptation and innovation is going partly virtual. It is in line with our recent initiative to go complete SAAS by the end of 2020.

Since last month, I already started experimenting on it by living in a nearby province and less face-to-face meetings with the team at HQ.  We already have initiated a survey internally with the employees who are willing to work at home, which 50% responded yes and the 25% others responded either option would do.  The rest, which are new employees, wanted to work in the office, which makes sense.

This coming week, I am about to finalize remote work policies, control procedures, and performance measurement.  There’s so much more to consider, from hiring, face-to-face team meeting schedules, training, sales calls, client visits, etc.

I will document and publish the progress, hoping to provide value with entrepreneurs who are considering this strategy.

Update:

Here are the policies we implemented together with its revisions from Sep 2019 to Feb 2020.

For recruitment, we schedule written exams remotely with a dedicated time slot, we ask them to send personal videos as initial assessment and then final interview in person.

To date Feb 2020, we are doing good and so productive.

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