For virtual clients

What do you need to know about working with Filipino Virtual Assistants?

Filipino Virtual Assistant having a remote meeting

It is no surprise that the Philippines is a top destination for offshore business services. In 2020, we ranked 6th globally but dropped to 9th in 2021 due to the pandemic. Despite that, many foreign business owners choose to hire a talented workforce from the Philippines. 

But what is it that makes the country such a popular destination for offshore outsourcing? Here’s an inside look at some reasons why hiring a Filipino workforce is beneficial.

Actually, there are many reasons to consider; first, we can speak English with a neutral accent. Second, Filipinos are very nice and willing to help. Customer service is therefore one of our best qualities. Third, it costs less than hiring a virtual assistant from another country. Fourth, we give you more than what you ask for.

As a business owner, you must have realized by now that having virtual assistants can be an excellent way to keep costs down while also boosting productivity. Now, you have reasons to consider hiring your first Filipino virtual assistant. The next question would be… What should you know before working with Filipino virtual assistants?

Filipino Culture and Characteristics

Filipino culture and diversity

Before anything else, let’s talk about the characteristics, values and culture of the Filipino people. The Philippines has so much more to offer than what people are accustomed to (aside from Adobo and beaches). The Filipino culture is one of the most diverse in the world. That is why it has attracted immigrants from all over the globe. However, there are certain things about our culture that you should be aware of when you want to work with us.

The Philippines is a Diverse country

The Philippines is a group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Asia. The Philippines is a culturally rich and biologically diverse group of islands numbering well over seven thousand. The Philippines is separated into three primary regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, each with its own distinct culture and geography.

In addition to being an archipelago, our history of colonial rule has made us the most Westernized country throughout all of Asia. Our nation was under Spanish and then American colonial rule for a combined total of 333 years. So, if you speak Spanish, you’ll probably understand some of our words because we acquired them from you! *wink*

English is the second language of the Philippines

English is the de facto business language and is taught in Filipino schools. Traveling around the Philippines, and particularly Metro Manila, is simple because most signs are written in English. Filipinos are well-versed in English since textbooks in practically all subjects are published in English.

As a matter of fact, English was only brought to the Philippines under the US colonial occupation and civil administration of the early 1900s, and it only recently became the country’s second official language. In fact, Tagalog and English compete in many spheres of Filipino life, including the marketplace, the government, the media, the printed word, and the classroom. Hence, “Taglish” was born.

Taglish is a slang term for the English terms that have been incorporated into Tagalog to form a new language. Because of how widely English is spoken throughout the Philippines, the country’s educational system has developed close parallels to those of the United States. Because of these shared experiences, Filipino Americans have been able to integrate into American society and the workforce with relative ease.

Filipinos are very Family Oriented

Asians, especially Filipinos, are very family-oriented. In fact, we treated someone as a member of the family whether they are a direct relative or a distant relative from the third or fourth generation.

We are widely recognized for our deep and loving family relationships. Filipinos value their family highly and prioritize them above all else. We put in long hours and do whatever we can to support their loved ones.

Some nations allow its citizens to start independent lives once they reach the age of 18. However, keeping families together for generations has been a cultural norm in the Philippines.

The Philippines has the longest Christmas holidays-ever. PERIOD.

Since the Philippines is one of the six Asian countries with a large Christian population, our country celebrates Christmas earlier and for a longer period of time than anywhere else.

To Filipinos, September 1st always marks the beginning of the Christmas countdown. When compared to other countries’ Christmas celebrations, the Philippines’ “BER months” countdown stands out as one of the most distinctive features.

Clifford Sorita, a sociologist and former seminarian of the Society of the Divine Word, told NPR that the “BER months” phenomena developed spontaneously, without a clear starting point or end point. But according to Sorita, the commotion of the “BER months” reflects “a psychological time clock for most Filipinos to prepare” for a busy Christmas schedule with loved ones, especially returning OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers or Filipinos working abroad).” When September rolls around, it’s not uncommon for radio and TV stations to begin playing seasonal fare. *Cue the numerous memes of Jose Mari Chan and Simbang Gabi references.*

Filipino Work Ethics and Culture

We’ve already talked about why it’s the best country to start an offshore strategy in. Any business that wants to work with Filipinos should make it a priority to learn about their culture. Working with a Filipino offshore team can be a rewarding experience if you know how it works.

In many ways, the Philippines’ work culture is rich and varied. We Filipinos pride ourselves on our work and value developing relationships with bosses, so we can better contribute to the success of the company. Filipinos are fun to work with because we are naturally warm, talented and friendly, which brings new life to any office. Adding Filipinos to your team would further add colors to your work environment.

The importance of hierarchy in the workplace

Because of the significant importance that hierarchy and authority hold in Filipino society, hierarchy is mostly applied in the workplace. This means that we adjust how we socialize and communicate according to seniority and status to avoid conflict. We refer to our bosses as “ma’am” or “sir” in conversation to show respect. This might be off-putting for most Westerners because they are accustomed to more casual forms of address such as first names or nicknames. 

Filipinos are not confrontational

Filipinos are not used to being confronted. “Pakikiramdam” is a Filipino psychological term and way of thinking that describes how a person thinks about another person’s feelings before acting or speaking.

Being direct or blunt is sometimes confused with being arrogant and rude. If your words seem to offend your Filipino virtual assistant, don’t back down. Instead, be nice and explain why you are worried. Trying to avoid or communicating indirectly is not a good way to deal with your Filipino Virtual assistants.

The jack-of-all-trades kind of personality to go above and beyond

Most Filipinos have what one may call a “can-do” attitude and approach to life. They will do everything they can to complete any task given to them while minimizing the possibility of making mistakes. This could sound bad, especially if employers can take advantage of Filipino virtual assistants, but if business owners can give them clear instructions, the assistants will get the job done.

Filipinos are Loyal

Filipinos are known for their loyalty. If their employers treat them well, they will often stay in the same company for 10 years or more. They also value good relationships with their co-workers and this makes them more devoted to the company they work for. Filipinos operate on a “debt of gratitude” principle, which means that they are loyal to someone who has shown them favor, even if it’s just one instance.

Highly-embedded Hospitality

The Filipinos are proud of how friendly they are. Filipinos have a reputation for being friendly and welcoming to people of all races. When someone comes in, we should all try to put our best foot forward. This is shown not only by how well we treat tourists, but also by how we treat our family, friends, and even strangers. Many people have admired this part of Filipino culture, which is one reason why both people who live in the Philippines and people who visit the country love to move around.

The fact that Filipinos are friendly makes the culture of the country stand out. No one is ever taught how to make their guests feel like they’re getting the most out of them. It’s just something that comes naturally. You can be sure that when you come, you’ll get your fair share of warmth.

How to work with Filipino Virtual Assistants

When you make the decision to hire a virtual assistant from the Philippines, you quickly realize that their incredible talent is exactly what your business needs to get more done. Virtual assistants in the Philippines can handle everything from data entry and basic customer service to research and analysis for websites and social media accounts.

If you are interested in hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines, there are several things you should keep in mind before you start. 

Set up a culture of respect between you and your Filipino Virtual Freelancer

Creating a culture for remote work might be difficult. In contrast to offices, where culture can emerge spontaneously via team activities, cooperation, and other in-person shared experiences, developing a remote team culture takes more careful thought and proactive effort. 

When it comes to building a remote team culture, there are two ways to go about it: organically or deliberately. If you want your employees to feel like they belong and have purpose, you need to put the effort into making sure the team has shared experiences, even if they’re not all physically present. For example, regular team activities and collaboration are great ways to get everyone on the same page.

Maintaining a relationship with Filipinos

Maintaining an open-door policy is a fantastic strategy to start creating your relationship with your Filipino Virtual Assistants. A natural give-and-take happens when your remote team members feel comfortable approaching you with questions, concerns, and new ideas. 

When your Filipino Virtual Assistants are comfortable approaching you, that means that they’re invested in your success. 

In such a collaborative work environment — where everyone wants to help the business grow and learn more about important aspects of the business — new ideas flow freely.

Every member of an organization has something valuable to contribute.

Examine the Filipinos for their process navigators, trainers and specialized know-how

As a business owner, one of the most important things you can do to create a high-performing remote culture is ensuring that everyone on your remote team fully understands your expectations. Start by settling on a clear and concise way of describing your goals and expectations, then communicate this to your remote team. Finally, continue to reinforce this message so that everyone remains focused on the importance of what they’re accomplishing together.

Decide on the best recruitment methods you need to choose from

Many small and medium-sized owners and entrepreneurs have been having a lot of success with the help of their virtual assistants. These virtual assistants are capable of completing important tasks and other broad tasks that help their clients a lot. This gives their clients more time to get things done that are more important.

By hiring virtual assistants, business owners can also save a lot of money, which is a big deal.

There are several people who want to work as virtual assistants or are already working as them. But not every VA can work the same way.

Many business owners look for and hire Filipino virtual assistants because they are great at what they do and have great skills. When it comes to building a remote team, Filipino virtual assistants are definitely the best value for money.

Filipino virtual assistants speak English very well. This is because English is an official language in the Philippines, and it is also the language of law and the constitution. Filipino Virtual Assistants also have many skills, are flexible, learn quickly, and can work with little supervision.

Find Filipino Virtual Assistants who are good at working with your business

Hiring an overseas workforce can be far more cost-effective than offering full-time positions to local employees. While the average salary in the Philippines (considering the inflation today) is $1,100 USD per month, salaries are significantly higher in other countries. In Canada, for example, the average worker makes a monthly income of $5,700 CAD. The discrepancy between these wages means that companies moving digital projects offshore can save funds on labor costs by as much as 40%.

If you want to save money and time, start looking for a Filipino Virtual Assistant today! Contact us at contact@kathlinvirtualassistant.com to learn more about virtual assistant services.

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