Filipinos take Christmas VERY seriously. It’s such a big deal for us we start celebrating in September and only stop halfway through January
To be honest, everything we do for the rest of the year actually builds up to Christmas. We scrimp, save and hustle all year just so we can indulge and be generous come December.
It’s also a time of obligation for most Filipinos. It’s almost an unforgivable offence if you don’t come home for Christmas and I’m not exaggerating. We all know of or have experienced relationships destroyed because of missing Christmas or New Year. It’s so important we’d rather risk losing our jobs than risk the wrath of family.
Here’s an example. My mom used to work for a multinational company away from home. When she was told that she couldn’t come home for Christmas, she quit her job. She traveled by bus 3 days straight just so she can come home for Christmas for me and my sister.
Because of that, Christmas can be especially stressful as well. We have to travel back home to our families, which can take hours or days on buses, planes, trains, and boats; depending on where we live. Even those of us who work from home have to travel for family gatherings. And because we ‘work from home’, they believe we don’t have an excuse for missing the holidays.
This is likely the reason why your Filipino virtual assistant would be so unmotivated around this time of the year. Absences happen more often or , worst case scenario, they would just disappear.
As a Filipino virtual assistant, I know this isn’t a good excuse. I understand the frustration you guys go through with regards to this. But in all my years of working, I’ve discovered from my own experience and the experience of others, that there are ways to work around this. Here are a few ways you can keep your employees motivated over the holiday season.
Have a Clear Christmas Break Policy
What I really appreciate about John and our team here at Onlinejobs.ph is we have a very clear Christmas break policy. He lets us know about it as soon as we’re hired. Knowing ahead of time exactly when we can start enjoying our vacation helped eliminate a lot of the confusion and anxiety. It allows us to plan for travel and inform our families ahead of time what events we can attend.
If You Can Afford It, Give Your VAs the Christmas Week Off
If you have no plans to work over the holidays anyway, why not give your VA the week off? Having some time off to relax and unwind will go a long way in motivating your VA. They’ll work harder to catch up in everything that needs to be done prior to going on vacation and do better the following year.
If You Can’t Afford It, Give Them At Least Christmas or New Year’s Off.
We’re aware that for a lot of businesses, the holidays can be the busiest time. It’s good for business but it can be really depressing if you can’t enjoy it, even if it’s just a day, with the people you love. This is what your VA feels when you ask them to work over the Christmas break.
If you really need your VA to work over the holidays, give them at least one holiday off. Give them either Christmas Day or New Year’s off. Just so they can have at least one holiday to spend for their family. And to make it worth their while, since it is a regular holiday, offer them holiday pay or bonuses.
Send December Salary And/Or 13th Month Early
If you offer 13th month to your Filipino workers, make sure you send that out early or on time, at the latest. Most of us depend on our 13th month and our December salary to pay for presents, travel, and food we’ll be serving over the holidays. So when it arrives late, we become anxious. We’re distracted because we won’t know how to pay for all the things we have to get for Christmas. Especially since our families think we earn more because we earn in dollars.
So please, please, don’t be late in sending the 13th month and December salary. Better yet, send it earlier than normal to avoid the numerous bank holidays that can cause remittance delays.
So that’s celebrate Christmas here in the Philippines (wink! wink!)I hope this blog post has given you useful tips to motivate your Filipino VAs. If you have other questions or blog topics you’d like to suggest, let us know in the comments!
Julia has been working for OnlineJobs.ph since 2012, first as a writer and now as its social media manager and content development specialist. She also founded the Davao Virtual Assistants Association, the biggest VA association in Davao City.
She’s a full-time wife and mom and volunteers her time as an internet rights advocate.
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