Why Should You Choose The Philippines For Virtual Assistants?
Thinking of Hiring a Virtual Assistant?
Since more than a decade ago, there has been an increase in demand for both onshore and offshore virtual assistants (VAs), and this trend shows no signs of stopping.
The majority of the top countries for offshore virtual employees—as well as other categories of skilled, remote workers—are Asia (such as India, China, Malaysia), South America (such as Brazil, Chile), and Eastern Europe (such as Bulgaria).
Among the many options available, we think the Philippines is the best country for Western companies to hire virtual assistants to perform their repeatable tasks.
Find out why it’s a great idea to outsource your VA work to the Philippines by reading on!
Continue reading to learn why it’s a good idea to outsource your VA work to the Philippines.
Let’s be specific about where we’re talking about because even though most Westerners have heard of the Philippines, they might have trouble finding it on a map.
Over 7,600 islands make up the Republic of the Philippines, as the nation is officially known, which is located in the Western Pacific. Three island groups, 17 regions, and 81 provinces make up those islands.
The largest island in the archipelago, Luzon, is home to Manila, the nation’s capital. The country is located east of Vietnam, south of Taiwan, and north of Indonesia, and it is bordered by the South China, Philippine, and Celebes Seas.
The island nation’s path to great diversity was paved by prehistoric and early historic migrations from the Asian mainland and other Pacific islands. The Philippines were a Spanish colony for more than 300 years in the modern era before being ruled by both Japan and the United States. In 1946, it attained full independence.
Politically, the nation is aligned with Western and European democracies. Due to the religious influence of Spain during the 300 years of colonization, 90% of Filipinos identify as Christians.
These are just a few of the numerous factors that make working relationships between Filipinos and Westerners generally successful. The Philippines has historically been a Third World nation and is currently a developing nation regarded as an emerging market.
Distinctions among Virtual, Administrative, Personal, and Customer Service Assistants and Agents
Let’s discuss what VAs do and how they differ from administrative assistants (AA), personal assistants (PA), and customer service representatives (CSR) now that we have a better understanding of the Philippines.
It’s crucial to first comprehend that virtual assistants operate remotely, typically by phone, email, and video conferencing. They offer businesses and entrepreneurs virtual services like administrative, technical, and creative support.
They carry out duties that are comparable to those of an executive assistant or administrative assistant in a conventional office setting. They can, however, serve clients located anywhere in the world because they operate virtually.
Working with a VA has a number of advantages, including the ability to perform many of the same tasks as an administrative assistant or personal assistant on staff but at a much lower cost.
Because they are not geographically restricted, VAs can frequently be more flexible and available than an internal employee. Since they typically specialize in one or two areas, they can also provide a wider range of abilities and support services than a single AA or PA.
Our team of knowledgeable virtual assistants at VAFLIX specializes in jobs like:
- customer service
- lead generation
- social media management
- digital marketing
- web design
- graphic design
- data entry
- internet research
On the other hand, an administrative assistant works on-site, not virtually, for a single company, providing secretarial and administrative support.
Customer service representatives are typically employed by businesses to provide customer service and technical support via phone, email, and/or live chat, while personal assistants are typically employed by individuals to provide both personal and professional support on-site.
Reasons to Outsource to the Philippines
Now that we have established what virtual assistants do, we can examine why the Philippines is a great place to find them.
Official Languages include English
One of the main factors making the Philippines a desirable location for virtual assistants is their high rate of English literacy and overall proficiency.
English had already been introduced to the Philippines, but it wasn’t until the United States took over and Spain withdrew that it really started to catch on. The United States introduced free public education in 1901, with English as the language of instruction.
In the 1940s, the Philippines finally achieved independence, and by the 1980s, the government had made English, along with Filipino, which is also regarded as the national language of the nation, an official language. Because English is taught to the populace starting in elementary school, the majority of Filipinos are able to speak and understand the language.
Filipinos also consume a lot of Western media, which has recently become more widely available in the digital age due to the persistence of American influence. Because of this, many Filipinos speak English fluently and with an accent that is more similar to that of Westerners than that of English speakers in other nations, like India.
The Philippines is currently one of the hotspots for virtual assistant services because of how easily Westerners and Filipinos can communicate in English.
Over a period of about 400 years, the Philippines was colonized by both Spain and the US. The Filipino culture was permanently impacted by that extensive period of direct Western influence.
For instance, with 112 million citizens, the country has the largest proportion of Christians (90%) of any Asian country. Due to the long-term Spanish occupation of those areas, more than 86% of them are Roman Catholic.
Since the early 1900s, Filipinos have been consuming Western, primarily American, media. Therefore, despite the fact that they also uphold the Filipino folk culture traditions and their “traditional” modes of expression, Western influences are largely to blame for the Philippines’ popular culture.
Finally, the American educational system served as a model for the Philippine educational system.
The system that exists in the Philippines today is derived from a group of teachers who set up schools in the Philippines in the 1950s. One benefit of this for Americans, from a hiring perspective, is that it’s easy to understand a Filipino’s level of education, as their levels are analogous to those in the U.S.
Other Cultural Positives
There are other aspects that contribute to the “fit” between Filipinos and Westerners as coworkers. For instance, Filipinos often place a high value on belonging, teamwork, and camaraderie. Additionally, they have a lot of creativity and resourcefulness, but they are also frequently modest.
They might be reluctant to speak up as a result. Because of this, it may be necessary to express and reiterate to Filipinos your interest in their opinions when working with them.
They are also genuinely friendly and very hospitable. Finally, they are usually very joyful and celebratory. Both at work and with their families, they take pleasure in lavish celebrations of holidays and birthdays.
Time Zones Don’t Matter
With over 80% of the market share for outsourcing services in the Philippines, the United States is the country that uses them the most. However, depending on the region and time zone of the American company, there is a 10–12 hour time difference between the Philippines and the US.
Because they want team members to work while they are sleeping, some American business owners outsource to the Philippines. While others are looking for team members to work shifts that are counter to their own to increase the number of hours that they are open for business.
Nevertheless, it frequently occurs that American business owners can hire employees in the Philippines and “work together” during some or all of the same hours, while it is still light outside of North America. In order to meet the demand from American businesses, a night shift culture has developed in the Philippines where virtual assistant positions offer competitive pay.
For instance, VAFLIX operates around-the-clock to meet the demand for virtual assistants to accommodate our clients’ scheduling requirements. Our committed virtual assistants work in our furnished offices.
The fact that the Philippine government recognized the industry’s growth potential and the potential economic benefits has also contributed to the country’s rapid growth in outsourcing services, including virtual assistants.
The Special Economic Zone Act was passed by the government in 1995, making it simpler for companies to provide services and to offer tax breaks to entice foreign investors.
As the virtual assistant industry continues to expand quickly, the government also funds university courses on subjects related to outsourcing virtual business processes.
Nevertheless, it can be somewhat difficult for a business owner to understand and follow Filipino labor laws.
Small business owners who want to allay their worries can hire a number of virtual assistants and skilled Filipino workers through outsourcing firms or virtual assistant businesses in the Philippines, who will assist them or handle labor law compliance on their behalf.
The substantial savings that offshore outsourcing offers over hiring another employee, for whom you must provide equipment, benefits, etc., or hiring a more local contractor, is one of its main motivators.
The standard of living is significantly lower than it is in “less developed” Western nations. When hiring virtual assistants from abroad, business owners can save 60 to 80 percent on labor costs while still giving a Filipino employee satisfying work and marketable wages.
For instance, a general and skilled virtual assistant in the Philippines might charge $10–14 per hour for basic administrative tasks, data entry, and web development, whereas the same caliber of work might cost $25–50 per hour in the business owner’s home country. However, the pay for a Filipino virtual assistant is comparable to that of professionals in industries like healthcare and education.
Educated, Savvy Virtual Assistant Talent Pool
The Philippines has a populace that is young and educated, graduating 450K university students annually. Filipinos tend to be technologically proficient and adept at navigating the digital world because they are a young population whose government supports and sponsors educational initiatives in the sector.
People frequently assume that the Philippines—or similar countries—are only sources for basic skills when they consider offshoring. That is untrue! Both small and large businesses frequently use virtual assistants to complete relatively simple tasks, but the island nation also has specialized VAs and higher-level professional services support.
In fact, that is another advantage of seeking out virtual assistance from the Philippines rather than domestically: you have access to a much wider talent pool so that you can actually find the ideal candidate to join your company’s team!
Taking Outsourcing to the Philippines Carefully
Because the Philippines performed better than other countries when we weighed the advantages and disadvantages, we decided to launch VAFLIX there.
To our audience and clients, however, we always want to be totally honest and a reliable source of information. So, if you choose to outsource business processes to the Philippines, we also want to share with you some dangers to avoid.
Filipinos, just like the rest of us, are unique in terms of abilities and personalities, but we are all also heavily influenced by our societal culture and cultural norms.
So, when we share these caveats, we’re not making blanket statements about how “all Filipinos” behave. We’re merely acknowledging common, behavioral tendencies that are influenced by the Filipino culture.
The Tendency to Be a “Yes” Culture
We do not advocate for a “YES! I can do that!” mentality. We’re talking about the likelihood that Filipinos will say they agree with things you say or ask for—they’ll say “yes”—even if they don’t or if they have other reservations about the request.
In terms of culture, the Filipinos favor maintaining the status quo over upsetting the balance. They tend to agree with you, which is generally not a bad trait, but it can make you unsure of your position on a task or issue.
They might be reluctant to share their concerns with you, for instance, if they’ve agreed to carry out a task you’ve given them but are worried it’s not the right task or isn’t being done properly. As a result, you may be missing out on advice about how to approach something in a different way.
The same goes for situations where they are attempting to meet a deadline but anticipate having real difficulties doing so. In the event that the deadline is not met, you might both find yourself rushing to put out fires.
There might have been a hurdle you could have removed for them if you had known the deadline was in danger beforehand. Or the two of you could have devised a different strategy to finish the work, modify deadlines, etc.—and prevent fire fighting.
To avoid this, it is advised that you regularly remind your virtual assistant that you value their opinions and adhere to any communication “rules” that you may have established.
In the deadline example, for instance, you might instruct your virtual assistant to notify you right away whenever meeting a deadline is in jeopardy and to explain why.
Additionally, ask your virtual assistant directly for their opinions and encourage them to share them with you during routine meetings and communications. Remember to react appropriately if they give you “bad” news that will prevent an even worse situation in the future. They’ll probably be less likely to speak up the next time if you act overly upset.
The Possibility of Profiting
We’ll say it again: this is more of a possibility than a certainty. Some Filipinos might try to take advantage of the fact that you might be able to help them financially in addition to providing them with gainful employment because of the economic disparity between the Philippines and your home country.
We have witnessed instances where a virtual employee in the Philippines faces some financial difficulties and asks their client for assistance.
Additionally, we’ve heard from business owners who used virtual assistants from the Philippines to “milk” a challenging situation and use the client’s sympathy as an justification for subpar work and missed deadlines.
At VAFLIX, we have a strict rule that prohibits our virtual assistants from asking their clients for more money. We’re confident that our clients are aware of this rule. And if something like that happens, we step in to solve the problem.
The office space, tools, and daily support our virtual assistants require to succeed are all included in our business model, along with competitive pay and first-rate benefits.
It’s an added benefit of hiring remote employees through a virtual staffing company like ours. You can rest assured that our team members are being well taken care of and that we fully support our clients when problems arise.
Professional boundaries may blur.
Family is the primary focus of Filipino culture, and employees are frequently treated as extended family members. Due to their communal culture and emphasis on family, there is a chance that they will overshare and treat the relationship too casually.
You can probably see how if there were any ambiguity surrounding your working relationship, it would be much simpler for them to feel at ease asking for more money or expecting to get away with doing subpar work.
Be careful to keep it professional, even though we sincerely hope that you get to know your virtual assistant on a personal level, just as you would with a co-located employee or co-worker.
If a business owner is looking to hire one or more virtual assistants, we think the Philippines is a great place to look. The best virtual assistants in the world are Filipinos because they have a high level of technical expertise, a strong work ethic, and fluency in English.
We at VAFLIX would be delighted to assist you in getting started if you are interested in hiring Filipino virtual assistants! For companies of all sizes, we offer high-quality, dependable, and affordable virtual staffing solutions! You can have faith that you’ll be working with a virtual assistant business that looks out for its employees and is dedicated to finding solutions to any issues that might crop up.
Additionally, we’ll support you throughout the entire hiring process, from locating qualified candidates to holding interviews and integrating your new hire! Of course, we’ll make sure that your Filipino virtual assistants are properly qualified for the job and have the necessary training.
We’ve had a lot of satisfied customers over the years, and we’d love to add you to that list!