Hiring virtual assistants and online workers in general is gaining quite the popularity in recent times. You’re seeing articles pop up about remote working groups having webinars about them, and freelancers publishing books on the benefits of this nontraditional career path.
It’s actually amazing to see how businesses big and small are slowly realizing that employing online workers is a viable and legitimate alternative to hiring full-time, office-based employers. Seems like a win-win situation for both sides right?
To some extent, yes. But as online work is moving towards progress, the line between what is considered acceptable versus being exploitative is becoming blurry and this is alarming to say the least.
Unfortunately, more and more instances that can be classified as exploitation are being publicized, with the advent of social media and people just airing out their grievances out in the open.
We recently came across an article that tells its readers how much they should be paying their virtual assistant, pegging the minimum at $450 a month. This particular company even claims that this wage is more than enough for a Filipino VA to live a comfortable life.
Then just recently, one of our AwayTeam staff was contacted by a company for a graphic design project. One logo design, with 3 revisions, all for $5 - yes, that’s not $5 per revision, but $5 for the entire project.
When confronted about it, the CEO of the said company simply said, “She is outsourced. It’s up to her if she takes my money. At least I’m giving her something.”
That response alone shows how some people look at online workers, how devalued their work is, and how they see it as something that isn’t as legitimate as a ‘traditional’ employee. Online workers could be paid scraps and it’d be okay.
Compared to other first-world countries, the cost of living in the Philippines is significantly smaller. This is why a lot of foreigners choose to relocate or set up businesses in the country.
However, cheap cost of living should not mean giving the bare minimum wages to your online workers. Just because expenses are smaller, it doesn’t mean you should scrimp on your online worker, especially if they have the credentials, experience and world class skills.
According to research and from personal experiences of the AwayTeam staff and online workers, $450 a month barely scratches the amount needed to live a comfortable life.
Household bills, which include rent and basic utilities range from $300 to $700 a month, depending on where you are located, with large cities like Metro Manila being the most expensive to live in. Groceries for a month are at least $200, covering basic necessities like food, toiletries and household items.
So the average basic, monthly expenses are definitely more than $450 in a month and on average, can reach $665. And this amount doesn’t include other things like car fees, life insurance, travel, daily allowance, and tuition fees for those who have children.
Some articles even suggest that a $1,000 budget for a month will get you covered with the basics and let you spend for leisure and entertainment, maybe a bit of travelling in the country too.
Now, do you still think $450 is a fair amount to pay an online worker?
You have a successful business, tons of clients and revenue flowing into your accounts. You’re at the top of the world, and it’s the best feeling ever.
Shouldn’t your success be experienced by others who have contributed to it too? Shouldn’t your online workers get to live a comfortable life and not continue to live paycheck to paycheck?
Being provided the right compensation doesn’t only make your online worker happy and feel like their work and efforts are being valued. It snowballs into them becoming more loyal to you and your company, continuing to help you grow your business while improving their quality of life.
It’s basically a win-win situation, and it helps that you pay your online workers the right wage, not an amount just so that they can get by in life.