Are your Filipino VAs just bone lazy?
Does it feel like your Filipino staff are slacking off on the job? Have some sympathy!
After burning through at least 10 VAs before settling down with my current 10, I know a lot about how NOT to manage a remote team. I sacked most of the first bunch for being lazy or thick, and the rest ran screaming from my abominable management skills, before I found John Jonas’ awesome outsourcing course. But this time I decided to actually haul my butt over to the Philippines and see exactly what I was missing. And I was missing a lot.
So here I am sweltering away in oppressive heat, sweat pouring down my body, the air a constant soup of dog barks, baby cries, kid’s TV, coughs, rooster crows, motorbike roars, smoke, sewage stench, flies, mosquitos and other biters. It’s truly a wonder that I can string two words together. With 7-10 people squashed into a tiny 2-3 bedroom rough concrete box with paper-thin dividing walls, under a leaky tin roof, it’s ridiculously cramped. And to heighten this “caged in” feeling, even such basic accommodations must be surrounded by great big fences, iron gates, and window bars.
The only form of transport is the death-recipe of kamikaze motorbikes with no helmets, or the tricycle version with a precariously welded sidecar. Little wonder that the funeral homes run such a roaring trade.
If you may finally get some peace when you bundle your kids off to 2-4 hours of school, you then sit down to work on your ancient little computer with a tiny little 14 inch screen, 1 or 2 gigs of RAM, and rampant hard disk corruption due to the constant power surges and random outages. If the thing boots up at all, there’s very little chance it has the guts to run more than one application at a time. (That includes your time tracking software, boss!)
Where was I? Guess I lost track, with the heat wave and all the kid’s noises… And then of course the brown-out hits, so you sit there twiddling your thumbs for a couple of hours, worrying that you’ll now have to work late tonight again to make up the time, when all your neighbours will be home and sucking the internet dry. Regardless of your internet provider, it can take up to 2 minutes to load a webpage in the peak evening hours.
Everything here is broken. But the indomitable Pinoy spirit just takes it in it’s stride and keeps pushing on.
Pinoys are some of the most friendly, patient, loyal, flexible and generous people on the planet. It’s about time we extended the same patience, generosity, loyalty and flexibilty to them.
And do yourself a favour – invest $100 to buy each of your staff a UPS, AVR, some extra RAM, and a desk fan if they need it. Those three little items are the productivity sweet spot right there.