Shepherd is now! Same company, new name.
Learn More

How to Improve Remote Communication with Your Team

Want your company to run like a well-oiled machine? Solid communication is the key. Learn how to improve remote communication with your VAs in this post.
One of the biggest challenges of any organization? Communication.

When you have a remote team, things can get even more challenging with opposite time zones, Zoom fatigue, and cultural differences.

Luckily, we’re here to help you navigate remote communication with your Filipino virtual assistant. Let’s get started:

Why is it important for you and your Filipino VA to be on the same page?

Good communication helps you and your VA achieve alignment — a mutual understanding of expectations and values. Alignment leads to:

A clearer direction

The more context and information you give your Filipino virtual assistant for their tasks, the more motivation they’ll have to complete them.

Say, for example, you want them to make a report on your brand’s digital marketing performance. If you provide them with a list of metrics to track and specify the purpose of the report, they’ll have a roadmap to follow. The result? A comprehensive analysis with valuable insights.

This goes for other tasks like writing blog posts, managing your inbox, and scheduling appointments in your calendar.

Improved productivity

Being transparent with your team also helps with their productivity levels. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, employees are about five times more likely to boost their productivity when they are looped in on the company’s vision, policies, and any news that impacts them.  

Sharing your long-term objectives and plans will allow your VA to deliver higher-quality output, reduce their uncertainty, and save time on back-and-forth.

Employee retention

Keeping your employees happy isn’t just about giving them a huge paycheck or throwing a monthly pizza party.

These help, but communication is still vital. Your team needs to feel seen. They want to know that they’re doing well and that the company can support them when they need help. You can nip a lot of problems in the bud with regular communication.

How to encourage communication with your Filipino virtual assistant

Having a team hundreds of miles away — with a distinct culture and societal norms — can make effective communication a challenge.

But it’s not impossible.

Here’s what you can do to improve remote communication with your Filipino team:

Learn more about Filipino culture

If you want to hire in the Philippines, then you have to understand how Filipinos are wired. They still have values and traits embedded in their culture despite embracing a lot of Western work practices.

Here are some things to expect when you work with a Filipino virtual assistant:

  • They aren’t the most straightforward: You might be used to direct communication, but it’s a different case in the Philippines. Most Filipinos think being direct equals being rude, so they won’t say what they’re feeling outright. They’ll do it in a roundabout way.
  • They are more likely to avoid confrontation: Most Filipinos don’t like to rock the boat, even if they don’t agree with something. They’ll keep their thoughts to themselves to maintain the peace, especially if they’re talking to an authority figure.
  • They use honorifics: Like other Asian countries, hierarchy is ingrained in Filipino society. The thought of calling you by their first name might be weird to your Philippines virtual assistant and it’ll take them a while to adjust.
  • They value family: The Philippines has a collectivist culture where family ties are closely knit. This extends to distant relatives and people they’re not blood-related to — including their workmates.

Read more: How Is Filipino Work Culture Different from the US?

Maintain an open-door policy

From day 1, let your Filipino virtual assistant know that they can share their questions, concerns, and ideas with you.

They may hesitate at first because they’re scared they’ll ask the wrong questions, so emphasize that you have an open-door policy. Any question, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, can lead to a valuable discussion.

Hold regular 1:1s

1:1s provide an excellent opportunity to learn about your VA’s progress, wins, and challenges. These also allow you to get to know each other more, giving your assistant confidence in their role and helping you know what makes them tick.

Just make sure to have a consistent schedule for these check-ins and give your VA a heads-up in case you need to move the meeting to another time.

Praise in public

Make it a habit to acknowledge wins, no matter how big or small. It does wonders for your Filipino virtual assistant’s morale and encourages them to continue keeping up the good work.

Criticize in private

Filipinos are conscious about saving face, so if you think they could have handled a task better, use your 1:1 to discuss it or relay your feedback via a private channel. Here’s a guide to help you deliver constructive criticism to your Filipino VA.

Be an active observer

Pay close attention to what your VA is — and isn’t — saying during weekly check-ins, meetings, and even on the company meme channel.

You might notice:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Long pauses
  • Nail-biting
  • Less frequent emojis

Share anonymous surveys

If you have shy team members, this is the perfect way to know how they really feel. You can have it done every quarter or twice a year, depending on the need.

The survey can include:

  • Overall job satisfaction
  • Evaluating management
  • How familiar they are with their tasks and the company’s goals
  • Suggestions for improvement

Build camaraderie

Don’t discount the importance of camaraderie, even if all your employees are remote. It matters a lot to Filipinos.

In a typical Filipino office, it’s normal for co-workers to turn into second family members. They eat lunch together, surprise one another with cake on their birthdays, and have spontaneous get-togethers outside of work.

While your remote team can’t exactly do this, you can still promote close bonds by:

  • Making a watercooler channel: A channel dedicated to non-work-related topics is an excellent way for the team to get to know one another.
  • Holding team activities: You can play games every Friday, or switch it up with movie marathons, karaoke nights, and virtual dinner parties.
  • Having yearly meet-ups: If you have the budget, this is definitely something your team would look forward to.

How VAs can start opening up

Since communication is a two-way street, we also want to share some advice with any Philippine virtual assistant reading this. Always remember:

Constructive feedback isn’t a bad thing

When your boss critiques your work, it’s not a personal attack. Take it in stride and use it as fuel to be even better at what you do.

Your voice matters

You were hired because you’re great at what you do. You’ve got the skills and knowledge for the job, so don’t hesitate to contribute your opinion. The company can use your input to improve SOPs, benefits, and more.

Ask questions

If you need something clarified, don’t be afraid to ask. You don’t want to leave any room for uncertainty.

Remote communication is a work in progress

Communication is the glue that holds a company together. It affects productivity, your employees’ happiness, and the business’ overall success.

Remote communication requires a lot of nurturing, but taking a proactive approach to building rapport between you and your new hire in the Philippines is worth it. Regular check-ins, active listening, and creating a positive work environment all contribute to a better working relationship — so does getting to know more about their culture.

Want to hire a talented Philippine virtual assistant? Let us know how we can help!

Get the hiring guide here

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get the salary guide here

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More Resources

Ready to work together?

We'll find you amazing remote employees in the Philippines.