18.Sep - Asia has long been a hub for call centres and support teams but now it's not just companies looking for cheap services. GetFriday in Bangalore is one of a growing number of firms offering ordinary people the chance to outsource their daily chores. Ciara Sutton explains
We all have them - a list of boring chores we'd rather not do. Well now thanks to the internet we can outsource them. Asia has long been a hub for call centres and support teams - now it's also offering virtual assistants. Divya works for GetFriday.com in Bangalore. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIVYA T, SENIOR CLIENT SERVICE EXECUTIVE, GET FRIDAY, SAYING: "We don't get bored working on one particular thing. We usually work on different types of things every day." Jaques Basson is founder and CEO of London-based cleaning company Cleanology. He uses a virtual assistant for everything from business research to advice on what bike to buy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER AND CEO OF CLEANOLOGY, JAQUES BASSON, SAYING: "A few occasions I've said I want to go on holiday, this is my budget, I want a family friendly environment, I want near a beach, this is the country, I want five options. And what they come back with is just phenomenal, it's just jaw-dropping stuff - even pictures are included." There's a number of sites like getfriday.com with customers all over the world. Most require a minimum booking of at least 20 hours per week. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CLEANOLOGY FOUNDER, JAQUES BASSON, SAYING: "The beauty of using these guys is that it's 100 percent productivity. So you use them for an hour and they work flat out for an hour. It's not like an 8 hour work day where maybe the person works six hours if you're lucky in terms of productivity. These guys are MBA graduates and so it's phenomenal attention to detail, and of course thinking outside the box. They're not robots, they come back with proposals, for their thoughts and all that so you're bouncing off them which is invaluable." And virtual assistants are proving crucial to the growth of small businesses in the UK. Howard Monk runs The Local TV - a UK based music site. His Bangalore assistant handles tasks from website maintenance to concert ticket sales. (SOUNBITE) (English) THE LOCAL TV FOUNDER, HOWARD MONK, SAYING: "I would need an extra person there's no doubt about that. I think the majority of the work is the work that my assistant would normally do. But he can do that much more for us now with Sashin who we're on first name terms with in Bangalore, so it's excellent. So yeah, it would be an extra person or double." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, CIARA SUTTON, SAYING: "Having no face to face contact with your assistant could be a problem - email instructions can sometimes be mis-interpreted. But that's increasingly being seen as a small price to pay for high quality, good value work." And talking of price - you can employ your own virtual assistant for as little as 65 dollars per month.