Architectural Outsourcing Companies In The Philippines – Today, Derek is joined by Carmen Reyes and they will discuss office fit-out and a sustainable office environment in the Philippines.
Welcome to another chapter of Outsource Accelerator. My name is Derek Gallimore. Today I’m joined by an architect, Carmen Reyes, and I personally fit out my office in Manila. Now the reason I talk to Carmen is that she’s really a bowl of knowledge about a lot of things, so there’s good insight there, but there’s a natural journey that a lot of people who outsource take, and that’s very common to people. Take one, two or three items and start with BPO. But eventually they branch out on their own and set up their own office just like a normal business in your home country. That’s fine if you want to do it, but there are a lot of things to consider if you’re going to do it. Carmen offers great insight on all of them. That’s a little bit of a focus on this podcast, but there are some good nuggets in there that I hope you’ll enjoy, and if you want information on Carmen or anything that’s discussed on this podcast, go to our website. /podcast/episode38. Enjoy.
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Derek: Today we’re joined by Carmen Reyes of Core Design. Carmen is an architect here in Manila, I actually used Carmen before fitting out one of our offices and she provided exceptional advice and work. Hi Carmen, how are you? Thanks for that too.
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Even today, as you know, our audience is mostly sitting outside the Philippines, maybe in the US and the UK, and office houses have very different standards and, you know, office standards. The first thing I would like to discuss with you is to give people an idea of the standard office environments in Manila, especially you know BPO and outsourcing environments. Maybe in a cheaper outsourcing relationship in the province, then one in Manila.
Carmen: I think there will be full-sized offices. Different categories are different. How do you say different treatments? But the basic office is beautiful and it is very stable. It’s usually a lot of soft-finish carpet somewhere with some kind of soundproofing material. Storage space but I think the most important thing for this country, because of the culture, is an open layout, where the workspaces with connections are all in one place. There is less sharing.
Derek: They have a strong sense of community. Hope you see canteen, kitchen area is very important place in BPO.
Carmen: Yes. Of course, that’s where a lot of the socializing happens. So, it is very important. Filipinos are very connected, very sociable or they always need to connect with others. So, it is always better to provide them. They are very lonely if they are forced into isolation.
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Derek: So, there can be a general misconception or there’s a knowledge gap about what kind of situation outsourcing employees are put in, and you know, at one extreme, the idea of people sitting in a sweatshop. But the truth is quite different, isn’t it? I mean, a lot of BPOs are specialized, you’ve got three or four monitors, and you have a huge amount of IT software.
Carmen: Yeah, it’s the case again. But I guess I would say as long as they are given flexibility in terms of how they decorate their spaces, workstations, level of customization, etc. Something longing for family.
Yes. If they can personalize and express their space, use it as a means of expressing who they are. Of course, everyone knows when you’re professional and out of the time zone. Then back in the pantry you managed to cool down a little more. And so everyone is very eager to have that kind of exposure and connection with others. It’s a very personal, personal thing. Yes. I don’t think that was a sweat shop idea. I think a little.
Carmen: Yeah, a little serious. We operate like the rest of the world, we’re not behind bars, we’re not often stymied like sardines. However, as far as I can tell, there are restrictions in terms of density for office space, in terms of number of workers, for example per square metre.
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Derek: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, that’s it. It’s actually highly regulated in the Philippines, which may be a better or worse thing, but it certainly sounds good. The Philippines has a pro-worker aspect in the BPO industry. Hence, there are a lot of companies that neglect the office environment and ensure that it is safe and healthy. And things like that.
Carmen: Yes. Well, getting these permissions is one thing. For example, you have an occupancy permit and they check how many people you fit in this space, especially with PEZA regulations which are very strict.
Carmen: Also, there are annual fire inspections and a density rule because of fire code restrictions. This is a little tricky because you know the rules for one agency are different from the rule for another and there is no consensus. Yes. You need to find something more drastic and go with it.
Derek: And a little known but somewhat fun fact is that if you have a certain amount of staff within a building, you have to provide a health and safety nurse. Is that right?
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Derek: Maybe it’s a little too far for architecture. But I heard that if you have more than 50 employees, you need a resident or definitely a nurse.
Carmen: That’s interesting. If it makes sense to have one on call. I expect that we have got the Department of Labor.
Carmen: Yes. Health and safety always comes first. Human resource is important in that regard. Yes. They are there to protect the workers. And I definitely think that there may be a trend of trend bosses. That said, it will always be a major concern. Therefore, you should match with as many people as possible. Employ as many people as possible. You know I think they prevent any kind of abuse.
Derek: Yeah. It’s funny that you know I want to chat with you about body space, but you’re really more focused on the soft aspects. You know how to build and engage the community, and you probably know what makes you a great architect. But that’s really front and center in a lot of BPO office environments, right? Because, like in the West, if people are away from work, people don’t want to come to work, then they’re not going to work as hard, and productivity goes down. But maybe it’s more in the Philippines, because the Filipino workplace is almost like a second family, right? So.
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Carmen: It is. This is. Again, it’s always the social aspect. Everyone is constantly building networks. They create a community wherever they are. And Filipinos are too easy to dismiss. I’m sure you’ve heard of the article that cited Filipinos as the most sensitive race in the world, unless the conditions are right and they’re not appreciated.
Carmen: Yeah go look, I think it’s CNN or one of those. It is like an international publication.
Carmen: Yes. They have noticed that Filipinos are very emotional. So, many decisions are based on how they feel. So, if something happens in the workplace, it may be less so for yuppies in a more corporate setting because they have a protocol to follow. But in some companies, there are situations where people don’t come to work because they don’t want to or leave without leave for a family emergency.
Carmen: I think a lot in the construction industry, like all these events. I have told you that people who get paid a day later don’t come to work without letting you know.
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Derek: Managing people in an office by myself is a big consideration.
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