Working from Home as a Typist for OutSec
OutSec is always looking for typists offering OutSec a commitment of at least 4 hours availability Monday to Friday inclusive.
All typists should have a minimum of two years' typing experience [audio preferable]. Specialism is required in one of the following fields: property [surveying or estate agency], legal, medical, financial or interviews as well as having a minimum typing speed of 70 wpm. A clear grasp of English grammar is critical and previous experience working in a UK office advantageous. Two employer references will be required.
Should your application be successful you will be asked to take a typing test to establish your skill level. OutSec has Investors in People accreditation and prides itself on helping staff at all levels. Once you become a Member you will be allocated your own typist page on FileManager with a login name and password. From here you will be able to access online resources, read the quarterly OutSec Typist Newletter and upload and download files securely without the need for email. Your Head of Department will work with you to identify which clients are best suited to your abilities and you will be given additional client-specific training as required.
OutSec comply with the Data Protection Act and you will be required to sign both a Confidentiality Agreement and a Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practice Statement outlining the legal Code of Ethics to which all freelance personnel must adhere to.
If you have a computer with Windows XP, Internet Explorer or other suitable browser, Word 2002, internet connection, sound card and are technically competent then you can start transcribing work for OutSec.
You will need to provide your own headphones and transcription equipment including software, foot pedal and headphones - see the FAQs below for further details. Please note that we are insistent about quality headphones being used. OutSec will submit sound files to typists in a .WAV, .WMA, .MP3 or .DSS format.
Would I be an employee of OutSec Ltd?
No. You would become a Member of OutSec instead. You will be self-employed and invoice your services to OutSec at the end of each month. We would refer UK residents to the Inland Revenue for details of how to set up as self-employed. Those typists who work for more than one client (eg their partner‘s firm AND OutSec) may consider forming their own company. Please consult your own accountant for more advice. Non-UK residents should also refer to their local tax authorities.
So how do I get work?
OutSec Members submit a form at the beginning of each week to their Head of Department detailing their availability over the following seven days. OutSec clients will be selected as most appropriate for your particular skills and availability and you will be trained to work with them. You will have access to client files and templates via FileManager and be expected to transcribe the work according to client instructions. When a client uploads a sound file for transcription, the Head of Department will notify you that there is work available. There is no obligation on your part to undertake any work submitted by OutSec. You will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.
What equipment do I need?
Computer - A good reliable up to date Windows-platform computer installed with Microsoft Word 2002. Windows Vista has some problems associated with Internet Explorer7 and will require you to use another browser such as FireFox or Opera. You will be required to download and install a Java applet which will provide access to an interface between your computer and OutSec FileManager. OutSec FileManager can operate with Apple Macs with the Java Applet installed.
Broadband connection - A Broadband internet access package is essential as you will need to be online for the entire period that you offer your services to OutSec. In other words if you offer your services to OutSec for half a day you will need to be online for this whole period in order for OutSec staff to be able to reach you quickly and efficiently. You will therefore need to ensure your connection is a good one as well as ensure that your processor can cope with running multiple programs such as Word, email, transcription software, instant messenger and other software programmes as appropriate.
Transcription Programme - You will also need a suitable transcription software program that allows the playing back of sound files in conjunction with a foot pedal. The Olympus AS4000 Pro Release 4 is recommended. You can order this equipment direct from the internet if you wish or from local stockists. We can recommend our preferred supplier, DicateIT, www.dictateit.net., telephone 020 72221531. Please ask for Brian Hart. The transcription package includes a foot pedal to plug into your computer, software to install on the computer to enable you to listen to and transcribe voice files, and a set of headphones.
Other universal-type transcription programmes are also available. Please ensure that they are able to play both .dss and .wav files as these are the most common file types on FileManager. mp3 and mp4 files are getting popular too so if you have a converter program for these it can be very useful. Free converter software is available on the net. The majority of our clients record on Olympus or Philips machines, although we are getting more soundfiles from mobile phones now. FileManager will convert the majority of these files into a wav or mp3 format.
Headphones - The standard headphones will only be useful as a spare set in an emergency since their aural quality is poor and they can produce mishears. Audio Technica ATH910PRO are recommended and cost approximately £90 plus VAT. We can recommend our preferred supplier, PA Systems www.pasystems.co.uk. Telephone 08456 441060 and we suggest you speak with Tom or Dave - mention OutSec ( via website or phone) and you will get a £5 discount. OutSec members are required to sign a form confirming that they possess these headphones before they can be allocated live work, following the testing period.
I live outside the UK. Can I still work with OutSec?
Yes. We are interested in applications from all parts of the world, subject to you meeting the requirements and having an appropriate level of experience.
Is there a minimum level of income?
No. The nature of outsourcing means that we cannot guarantee a minimum amount of work for any given period. However, secretaries who show themselves to consistently deliver high-quality work to deadline and are readily available during the working week are generally offered more work. Do not expect to earn a 4-figure income in your first month – it will take time to build up your OutSec client base and a regular workflow will not be achievable for a few months. However, we have a number of homeworkers who do achieve this income on a monthly basis.
How do I get paid?
All UK-based typists are paid directly (by internet banking) into UK bank accounts in UK Pounds Sterling. This payment will take place on the 15th of each month, following invoice submission by homeworkers at the end of the previous month. Please note that it is not practical at present for OutSec to accept invoices with VAT added from typists. If you are VAT-registered please discuss this with your Head of Department before you commence undertaking any work from OutSec. We do not issue cheques or pay cash for services. Overseas typists with UK bank accounts will also be paid in the same way. Other overseas typists will normally be paid through Paypal in the local currency equivalent of the UK Sterling rate (see www.paypal.com). Bank transfers are very expensive and not a viable form of monthly payment. OutSec is a British company and conforms to all local laws. We ask you to declare your income to the Inland Revenue.
How much do I get paid?
OutSec knows that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! We want the best UK typists and this is reflected in our pay structure which we believe to be very competitive. If you are a fast, accurate typist you should be able to earn temp rates easily. We use a standard formula so you know exactly how much you will earn for each sound file, based on its length. You will be paid on a per-minute basis in exactly the same way as the client is charged.
How much does it cost to set myself up as a home typist?
If you already have a relatively new PC and internet connection, as well as email and word processing software, the only other thing you will require is the digital transcription kit and Beyerdynamic headphones. For further information see above section on transcription programme.
You should also consider that there may be other expenses related to setting yourself up as self-employed such as accountancy fees.
WARNING: WE DO NOT ASK FOR ANY FEES IN REGISTERING YOU AS A TYPIST WITH OUTSEC. THERE ARE NO CHARGES APPLIED AT ANY STAGE OF THE SET-UP PROCESS NOR DO WE CHARGE YOU ANYTHING FOR BEING A MEMBER OR MAINTAINING AN ACCOUNT WITH US - AVOID ANY COMPANY THAT REQUESTS PAYMENTS FROM YOU - THESE ARE NORMALLY SCAMS.
Can I remain working for my present company as well as working for OutSec during evenings and weekends?
Yes, we have a number of typists who do this. However, by definition, this means that we can only offer you work that can be done overnight/weekend and therefore this limits what you can earn.
I am interested in joining OutSec. How do I do this?
First you need to see the Current vacancies section at the top right of this page. If there is demand for your services then please complete the online application form there. Note that CVs attached to emails will automatically be deleted. Successful Applicants will be contacted and invited to participate in further assessments. We regret that we are unable to contact unsuccessful applicants. Applications must be submitted on the correct form. The volume of interest in OutSec means that all other correspondence will be disregarded.
What is your recruitment and equal opportunity policy?
It is the policy of OutSec ("the Company]") to treat all employees and job applicants fairly and equally regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, disability or union membership status. Furthermore the Company will ensure that no requirement or condition will be imposed without justification which could disadvantage individuals purely on any of the above grounds. The policy applies to recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment including pay, promotion, training, transfer and every other aspect of employment. The Company will regularly review its procedures and selection criteria to ensure that individuals are selected, promoted and otherwise treated according to their relevant individual abilities and merits. The Company is committed to the implementation of this policy and to a program of action to ensure that the policy is, and continues to be, fully effective. The overall responsibility for the policy lies with Richard Phillips, Operations Director. However, all staff are required to comply with the policy and to act in accordance with its objectives so as to remove any barriers to equal opportunity. Any act of discrimination by employees or any failure to comply with the terms of the policy will result in disciplinary action.