Most virtual assistants work remotely from countries all around the world.
Since the virtual assistant and freelancing industries are flourishing in the Philippines, many American and European business-owners and entrepreneurs are finding themselves working with Filipino virtual assistants.
Being able to work with your virtual assistants remotely, regardless of where they are in the world, is obviously a help, but it can also present some challenges.
Even though the internet makes communication easier, cultural barriers still exist that could really impact your relationship with your VA.
It is incredibly important to consider the culture your virtual assistants comes from, and how that can impact your working relationship. Even with an assistant from the Philippines, which is not too dissimilar from America and Europe, there are still some factors that you need to think about.
Here are just a few facts to consider when working with a filipino virtual assistants:
Filipinos generally tend to be very shy, quiet, but diligent people.
They are hard-working and try to stay away from confrontation and conflict. You should make every effort to remember this, when communicating with your virtual assistant.
In many Western countries, people can tend to be a bit brusque, and can come off as being mean, or insensitive in the way they speak, particularly to their employees. This doesn’t mean that you should tiptoe around your VA and whisper to them in meetings.
Of course not!
You should just keep it in mind, that he or she is from a different culture and certain things you say can be misconstrued, ESPECIALLY via email!
2. Working hours
This seems obvious, but it can be so easy to forget that, your virtual assistant probably isn’t awake during your regular workday.
It is important to try to schedule meetings at times that won’t keep your virtual assistant up till 4am, and to plan out assignments and deadlines in such a way that works with their time zone.
3. Cultural sensitivity and sensibility
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be smart about your cultural sensitivity!
Your virtual assistant is from another country, not another planet. Be aware of the cultural differences, but do not let that dominate your relationship.
Do not always take generalizations to be true in every circumstance. Your VA is an individual, and you should treat him or her as such.
Many Filipino virtual assistants rely on their clients for their entire income.
It is extremely important to be sensitive of that reality, and to make every effort to ensure that you pay your assistant on time, and a fair amount.
Never try to underpay your assistant or take advantage of him or her. You should make every effort to pay a fair wage, on time and through a secure method.
This is true across the board of cultures usually.
People love receiving rewards and benefits for jobs well done. Filipino virtual assistants especially, love receiving rewards and some form of recognition when they do well.
It shows that you care, and that you value their input into your business and your life. Your rewards don’t have to be extravagant, they can be as simple as an extra $10 in their paycheck when they complete an assignment, gift-cards, or even e-books.