Managing the Time Zone Difference with your Team in the Philippines
The Philippines is one of the best places to outsource your practice. Thanks to its widely English-speaking population, finding team members for your business is an easy task. Along with it comes lots of benefits like lesser workload, smoother and efficient practice operations, and an increase in productivity (more time with your patients), all of these while saving on operational costs.
However, there are still some hesitant to hire Virtual Filipino Practice Assistants (VFPA) because they live on the other side of the world. This alone may leave you asking, ‘Will the communication barrier cause too much of a problem for us?’ ‘What about if an error occurs?’ ‘How will I know if my VFPA is fulfilling the tasks assigned?’ And a lot more…
These are all valid and real concerns, but should they stop you from hiring Filipinos for your team? Is the time difference a deal-breaker? Not at all. This, depending on the circumstances, may even be to your advantage.
Time Difference Between the Philippines and the United States
The Philippines uses a UTC+08: 00-time zone and doesn’t observe daylight saving time. It shares a time zone with China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Western Australia, Brunei, Irkutsk, Central Indonesia, and most of Mongolia. The time difference is not as big as you think it is, and in this day and age of technology, the time differences are even less noticeable.
Between the Philippines and North America, the time zone differences are as follows:
- Ahead of Eastern Time by 12 hours.
- Ahead of Central Time by 13 hours.
- Ahead of Mountain Time by 14 hours.
- Ahead of Pacific Time by 15 hours.
But you have to add 1 hour from November to March.
You can check the actual time difference between your location and the Philippines using this online tool:
Check my Local Time vs the Philippines
Time Zones Don’t Match: What can I do?
Worried you won’t be able to manage your VFPA because of the time zone difference? They do not need micromanaging! There are certain jobs assigned to your virtual staff that does not need constant communication for the entire day like your bookkeepers, medical billers, coders, etc. – they only need to communicate with you occasionally through various channels, send reports and other means of reporting that will be preferred or suited to your practice. Those who need to work with you and your team simultaneously shall be connected through telephone systems, video calls and other HIPAA-authorized channels.
Though it is undeniably true that there are benefits of having your VFPA share a time zone with you:
- Real-Time Communication
- Quicker Problem Solving
- Easier Interaction with Local Team
- Timely Answering of Questions/Addressing Issues
- Closer Management
- Easier to Assign New Tasks (or correct those confusing ones)
How to Maximize the Time Difference Between you and your VFPA:
- Determine the rules of communication that should apply to the working relationship. There should be clarity or set rules regarding the following:
- Which communication apps to use (Zoom, WhatsApp, Team Meetings, Viber, etc)
- How to address one another when not working at the same time
- The time when each of you can be reached
- Meetings that should be attended (especially the regular ones)
- File-sharing apps
- Common language to be used (if a second language is required aside from English)
- Meet at the best possible time
- Respect the time of rest for all concerned parties
- If at all possible, try to introduce projects and tasks ahead of time
- Use of real-time chat apps will be most helpful to communicate more effectively. While using chat apps, these are the things that you can discuss with your Team in the Philippines:
- Share work ideas
- Provide an update on a current project(s)
- Provide feedback to your distant assistant
- Offer help on a project
- Talk about the big wins for the week
- Talk about the things to improve
- Give a random joke or nugget of wisdom
- Let each other know you are just around
How Do We Help Managing Your VFPAs
To guarantee that the working relationship with your VFPA is smooth and hassle-free where you both can focus on the work that needs to be done for the practice, the administrative and human resource side of managing your relationship with them is handled by Virtual RNs PH. The issues with remote workers aren’t time difference problems but hiring problems. We help you search for the right virtual help for the job you want to be outsourced and one (or two or three and more) professional that offers the skillset you require.
Ready to take the next steps? Talk to us and we will help you build your dream team!