I got this really interesting email from Jared after I sent out the disaster-proofing email.
Can you provide more details on your emergency fund? How is it set up? how they ‘apply’ for it? I also heard of some employers providing generators or other means of backup. is this something you tell them you’ll reimburse them and they provide receipts? My OFS has 2 ISPs, but can they get more? Things are going great, but sometimes it’ll be silent for half a day and I’m not sure if there is some service interruption or personal emergency or just checked out without telling me. WOuld love to hear more on these topics or point me to any articles if you’ve covered it in the past.
I’ll try to answer all of his questions here.
Can you provide more details on your emergency fund? How is it set up? How do they ‘apply’ for it?
The emergency fund is just an account I’ve set aside if they need to borrow money quickly. If there’s an emergency, my OFS will email me to ask to borrow a certain amount and tell me why they need it. They would also tell me how they plan to pay it back in that email.
Like last year when one of my OFS borrowed $600 (one month’s salary) to help pay for their parent’s funeral expenses. He asked to take $100 away from his monthly salary until the $600 was paid off.
Sometimes, we don’t ask them to pay it back if it’s a serious emergency. Like when one of my developers lost their home in Cebu. I knew it was bad because I saw it in the news, my team in the Philippines was talking about it, and I knew they were directly affected by it. My business partner, Dan, and I saw that he really needed it, so we sent him some money as soon as possible. He didn’t ask for help, and we didn’t wait for him to ask. We also told him he didn’t need to pay us back because I knew it would be a long recovery process.
I also heard of some employers providing generators or other means of backup. Is this something you tell them you’ll reimburse them and they provide receipts? My OFS has 2 ISPs, but can they get more?
A generator is something that we have considered before but my team has never asked for it. You can consider it, but blackouts in the Philippines are less of a problem now than they were a few years ago.
Regarding having your OFS get another ISP, that is a good idea BUT it would depend on where they live. Some areas in the Philippines have access to only one ISP provider; some have access to all four. I wrote about the different ISP here: https://johnjonas.com/what-internet-options-exist-in-the-philippines/
If they have access to good mobile internet (and they can work using that), giving them an internet data allowance can be an option. My OFS (Jam) told me that when they’re having issues with their primary ISP, he has a prepaid internet account that he just reloads when needed.
Sometimes it’ll be silent for half a day and I’m not sure if there is some service interruption or personal emergency or just checked out without telling me.
– Service interruption or personal emergency. This is possible. One way to get around that is to give them many ways to reach you. My team has email, Basecamp, and Slack. They can also contact each other. In case they don’t have internet, they can text their teammates. My project manager has my number, so even if they can’t contact me directly, they can reach out to Joven and relay that information to me. Either way, a few hours or half a day just isn’t uncommon.
– They checked out. When I sense that this is the case, this is what I do: https://johnjonas.com/my-filipino-worker-just-disappeared/
PS. Backpacking in Glacier National Park last week and we had a small glacier right next to our camp site. We went inside!