Typhoon Yolanda was a big wake up call for business owners who have virtual assistants in the Philippines. Filipino virtual assistants are great workers but the 20 typhoons that hit their country every year can make anyone nervous.

The devastation after Haiyan. Taken by one of our jobseekers from Leyte
The devastation after Haiyan. Taken by one of our jobseekers from Leyte

The good news is that most of the Philippines are prepared in dealing with these disasters. But in the event of another super typhoon, there are ways to disaster proof the work your Filipino worker has done. Disaster proofing your VA and their work would help protect your business (and their job) so they can focus on saving themselves and they have a job they can come back to once the dust settles.

Here are 5 Things That Can Help

1. Hire from places that are better prepared and less likely to be affected by typhoons. There are reasons why companies flock in places like Manila, Cebu, Baguio and Davao. In addition to having the infrastructure and work force needed; these areas, historically, are less affected by typhoons. In a lot of ways, they are also more prepared for natural calamities than smaller towns and cities.

2. Insist on workers having laptops and portable hard drives. If ever your VA’s home gets flooded, a laptop is definitely easier to carry and save than a desktop. But if your Filipino worker uses a desktop, (most developers, essay writers and designers would probably use a desktop for work), then insist that they have portable hard drives where they can back up their work on a regular basis.

3. Invest in cloud storage. Another way to ensure that none of the work your virtual assistant gets lost to natural disasters is to invest in cloud storage. Having most of their work stored in it would also make it easier to pass on that work to someone else in the event that your VA is unable to come back to work.

4. Get their emergency contacts to ensure continued communication. Ask your Filipino virtual assistant for emergency contacts that you can call in the event that they’ve been affected by a natural disaster. Ideally, this should be a relative or friend that doesn’t live in the same place but has the resources to find or contact your VA. This is especially helpful in the event that your VA can’t go online or can’t get to a phone.

5. Have an emergency protocol and enforce this in your employment contract. One of the biggest things Filipino workers worry about is if they have a job waiting for them after a disaster. You, on the other hand, want assurance that your VA can get back to work as soon as they have recovered. You can help allay these fears and protect your business in the process by setting an emergency protocol and putting this in your employment contract.  Emergency protocols vary on how much detail you want to put in it but these protocols should contain the following information:

  • How soon should they contact you after a natural disaster so you’ll know whether they’ve been affected or not? (When they don’t contact you right away, this is where #4 would come in handy)
  • How much time you’ll be giving them to get back on their feet? (This can be set beforehand or change depending on the situation).
  • How much help you would be willing to give? (a month’s salary in advance? A loan? Relief fund?)
  • References and recommendations if ever they are unable to come back to work.