Carmen Reyes – Architectural Insight in BPO Offices in the Philippines

Ep38 - Derek Gallimore

Today, Derek is joined by Carmen Reyes and they will discuss regarding office fitting and standard office environment in the Philippines.


  • Carmen Reyes is an architect and Derek personally used her expertise in Manila to fit out his office.
  • The basic office in the Philippines has similar standards to the west. There’s usually soundproofing, carpeting and storage space. However, Carmen thinks that one thing that would be more significant for the Philippines in particular because of the culture would be an open layout where the workspaces are all in one space. There’s fewer partitioning.
  • According to Carmen, Filipinos are very sociable, they always need to connect with other people. They tend to get very lonely if they’re forced to be isolated.
  • There’s a common misconception or maybe just a knowledge gap of what kind of conditions outsourcing staff are kept in. The idea of sweatshops always come into mind. However, according to Carmen, people are functioning in the Philippines like the rest of the world. Not behind bars and not cramped like sardines for the most part.
  • There are restrictions in terms of density for office spaces, the number of workers per square meter. This is very heavily regulated in the.Philippines.
  • There’s also a pro-labor aspect to the Philippines. Certainly, in the BPO sector. There are a lot of organizations overlooking the office environment to ensure that it’s safe and healthy.
  • Derek discussed that if a company has over 50 staff, then the company might need to employ a nurse either a resident nurse or on call.
  • There is a higher level of volatility and maybe, reduced reliability in the workforce overall. But then again that’s why there is a need to create an office environment and that’s why there are systems in place to prevent this.
  • It’s also helpful to have someone from the top building the company culture. So, the conduct manual would be very important in setting the tone for the new hires.
  • According to Carmen, culturally, Filipinos are accustomed to having foreign things imposed on them.

Key Points

  • Filipinos have a strong sense of community.
  • Derek intended the podcast to be about physical space but Carmen talked more about the softer aspects.
  • According to Carmen, an article recently cited the Filipinos as the most emotional race in the world.
  • Some Filipinos are not that mature in a sense that they’re unable to self-regulate when given too much freedom.



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Listen to more podcast episodes here:

  1. Karel Holub – Growth of E-commerce in the Philippines
  2. Open Book Outsourcing with Derek Gallimore
  3. Martyn Davies – Expats and Financial Planning

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