When you are working with your Filipino Virtual Assistant, please take the time to consider some cultural differences that you may have. Remember, your VA is not really “Virtual.” He or she is a real person. They are just working from our office instead of yours.

#1 – Filipinos are Shy

Most Filipinos tend to be shy, reserved and conservative. Sometimes, if you don’t ask if something is okay for them, they tend to just go along with it because they are too timid to talk about it. Having really clear, open communication and trust are essential to avoid the conflict that may arise from this situation.

#2 – Filipinos Don’t Like Confrontation

Filipinos are very pleasant and easy-going. In Filipino society, confrontations are usually avoided. Instead of talking to you directly about an uncomfortable issue, they are likely to give you subtle hints, or actually, just ignore the subject completely. If you are not getting an answer, it is because it is a confrontational issue to them. You will need to raise the issue in a softer manner. Often, you have to probe and really ask specific questions to really be able to know what your Filipino virtual assistant is feeling or thinking about when it comes to a certain situation.

#3 – Filipinos are Sensitive

They are very emotional people. Sometimes, even slight changes in your tone of voice can make them think that you are upset, or mad about something. Take note of the words you use, especially when certain issues arise, they are easily hurt and affected by it and often carry it with them for some time. This can hinder productivity. This is why regular voice communication is so important. Text & email messaging can be easily misinterpreted.

#4 – Filipinos are Very Polite and Courteous

Filipinos are eager to please (especially their bosses!) and naturally polite. In the years I have lived here, I don’t think I have ever heard the word “no”. They may say yes even if they know they cannot do it. This is a big frustration. You need to ask your question or deliver your task in a way which allows them to “save face” if they can’t do it. Try asking if they need help with it? 

They usually have a term for a superior, or someone that they look up to. So don’t be offended if they call you “sir” or “ma’am” all the time. This is their way of showing their respect.

#5 – Filipinos are very Traditional

They are very conventional. They celebrate holidays and traditional Filipino festivities –  especially Catholics (which is the predominant religion). Fiestas, Holy Week and other local holidays can be expected throughout the year. These are very important to your VA and their family, and they should be respected. 

#6-Filipinos are Motivated by Incentives and Bonuses

Gifts, such as gadgets, weekend trips, gift vouchers are a great token of appreciation, but they are always secondary to cash. Filipinos prefer cash. A cash bonus from you can be a great way to say thank you, I appreciate you and it further motivates them. A very common trait of Filipinos is “utang na loob” or “debt of gratitude”. When you give them something that they didn’t expect or more than what you promised, they usually view this as a notion that they “owe you one”. This can be a very good motivation for your VA.

#7 -Filipinos are very Conscientious, Hard Working and Easy to Please

Provide your VA with regular performance bonuses. Also, a little motivation and encouragement go a long way with your virtual assistant. Giving a bonus to your VA of a few hundred dollars every now and again goes a very long way to increase their motivation and dedication and loyalty to you. Filipinos are very appreciative if you give positive feedback on their work, especially if they have been working particularly hard on finishing an important project for you. 

Often, we tend to ignore the good work and criticize the not so good. It takes literally seconds to thank them or give a (virtual) pat on the back.  Showing gratitude to your VA can motivate them for a very long time. But this is beyond simply ‘motivating’ your VA. It is about mutual respect, admiration and enhancing your relationship.

#8 – Most Filipino VA’s are the Breadwinner of the Family

Most Filipino workers have families to support. Whether it’s their own or putting other siblings through school, they are often supporting several dependents. Be sure to always understand that Filipino VA’s will be extremely loyal to you, as their boss. They simply want to be rewarded fairly for what they do for you.

#9 – Most Filipinos Live with an Extended Family

Knowing about a Filipino home setting can help you understand your VA better so be sure to show interest and ask questions about their family. Most Filipinos live with their parents and some of their siblings’ families. Their home is often filled with kids, cousins, siblings and aunts and uncles.

#10 – Filipinos leave their work at home

Many Westerners “Live to Work.” Filipinos definitely “Work to Live”. Although they dedicate themselves to you while they are working, once their shift ends, they leave work and go and enjoy life. We can sure learn a lesson from them!

Remember, Global OfficeWorks has an entire management team in place to support you. Whenever we can be of any assistance, please reach out to us at any time.

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