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Coping with Culture Shock in the Workplace: Tips for a Smooth Transition for Filipinos

15 Jan 2024

Did you know that in 2021, over 745 thousand Filipino employees were deployed overseas? This was a 35% increase from the previous year. The number of deployed Filipino employees abroad (OFWs) was 1.83 million. These OFWs make frequent money transfers online to Philippines, adding to 8.9% of the country’s GDP.


Culture Shock; A Downside of the Expat Life

While expats are considered a crucial asset for developing economies such as the Philippines, expat life comes with certain drawbacks. One such drawback, which is completely treatable, is culture shock. 

How to Identify Culture Shock During Your Expat Experience?

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and discomfort caused by being in a new and unfamiliar setting. It can affect anyone who relocates to a different nation or even a new job inside their own country. Yet the stakes are even higher for Filipinos who work abroad and send money home to their families. They are not only adjusting to the new workplace culture but are also under pressure to succeed in supporting their loved ones. 

What Differences Can Filipino Workers Expect in Their Professional Life Abroad?

Filipino workers working overseas might expect to encounter cultural and linguistic challenges at work. Every country has its own set of cultural customs and conventions that might impact the workplace.

Certain countries, for example, may have different work hours, clothing codes, and communication styles than the Philippines.

Furthermore, if the job is conducted in a different language, Filipino employees may be required to acquire new vocabulary and grammar norms to interact effectively with their co-workers and clients.

Adjusting to these differences can take time and patience, but Filipino workers must be open-minded and prepared to learn to succeed. 

Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Transition

Keep in mind that adjusting to a new workplace culture requires time and patience. You can successfully negotiate the change and thrive in your new workplace by being vigilant, getting feedback, speaking effectively, creating relationships, and embracing new challenges. Here are some effective tips for incorporating consistently into your life. 

Be Open-Minded and Eager to Learn

One of the most difficult aspects of coping with culture shock is having a closed attitude. Being open-minded and eager to learn about the new culture and workplace norms is critical. Understand the rationale behind the new customs and traditions, and be ready to adapt and alter your conduct accordingly. 

Get Help from Your Co-workers and Community

Having a support system when dealing with culture shock in the workplace is critical. Get assistance and direction from your co-workers and the community. They can offer significant insights and advice on navigating workplace culture and conventions. 

Maintain Contact with Your Family Back Home

When living and working abroad, it is typical to feel homesick. Be in touch with your loved ones back home to alleviate loneliness and homesickness. Video conversations and messaging can help you feel connected and supported. You can also send money online to Philippines to show your success to your family. 

Maintain Your Physical and Mental Well-Being

Dealing with cultural shock can be draining both physically and mentally. Make your health and well-being a priority. Get enough sleep, eat appropriately, and exercise regularly. Get professional help if you are suffering significant stress or anxiety due to homesickness. 

Discover New Ways to Connect with Your Culture

Keeping your connection with your culture while adapting to new working culture is critical. Celebrate your traditions and customs by making traditional cuisine or attending cultural activities. 

Examine and Learn About the Workplace Culture

Examine the workplace culture and customs carefully. Take note of how your coworkers communicate, how they dress, and how they approach their work. This will assist you in a better understanding of the workplace culture so adaptation is smooth. 

Request Comments and Feedback

Don't be scared to seek comments or ask for assistance. Understanding how you're doing at work and where you can improve is critical. Your coworkers and boss can give you useful feedback and assistance to help you succeed in your role. 

Stick to Being Straightforward and Courteous at Work

Speak with your coworkers and bosses clearly and respectfully. Keep the cultural differences in communication methods in mind and alter your approach accordingly. Direct communication, for example, may be appreciated in some cultures, while indirect communication is preferred in others.

Establish Good Relationships with Co-workers

Establishing great relationships with your coworkers might make you feel more at ease and supported at work. Spend time getting to know your coworkers and learning about their hobbies and experiences. 

Accept New Possibilities and Challenges

Be open to new challenges and opportunities that may develop in the workplace. This will not only allow you to gain new skills and experiences, but it will also show your willingness to contribute to the team. 

How does ACE Money Transfer provide Ease to OFWs by offering convenient money transfers to the Philippines?

Finding a reliable and convenient means to send money back home to help family and loved ones is another approach to ease the transition when working overseas. ACE Money Transfer is an excellent choice for Filipino employees, offering quick, secure, and low-cost money transfers to the Philippines and other countries.

You can send money online or via the mobile app with ACE Money Transfer, making it simple to manage your accounts no matter where you are.

Furthermore, customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to address any queries or problems you may have. Knowing that your money transfers are secure and efficient can help relieve some of the stress that comes with working overseas and caring for loved ones from afar. 

Wrap Up 

It takes time and patience to adjust to new workplace culture. However, with the appropriate mindset and approach, Filipino employees can create strong relationships with their coworkers, communicate effectively, and embrace new personal and professional growth opportunities.

Overseas Filipino employees can handle their funds effortlessly and efficiently with ACE Money Transfer, allowing them to focus on their career and personal growth without worrying about the safety and security of their money transfers. Sign up today for free and start making affordable money transfers to Philippines. 


What is culture shock, and why is it important for Filipinos to be aware of it in the workplace abroad?

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and discomfort when adapting to a new cultural environment. Filipinos need to be aware of it when working abroad to understand and manage the challenges they might face, helping them adjust and thrive in their new workplace. 

What are some common signs of culture shock that Filipinos may experience in a foreign workplace?

Common signs include feelings of isolation, frustration, homesickness, and confusion due to differences in work practices, communication styles, and social norms. Filipinos may also experience misunderstandings or misinterpretations. 

How can Filipinos proactively prepare for and cope with culture shock in the workplace abroad?

Before departure, research the host country's culture and workplace norms. Learning some basic phrases in the local language can also be helpful. While abroad, be open-minded, patient, and willing to learn from colleagues. Seek support from fellow expats or employee assistance programs if needed. 

What communication strategies can help Filipinos navigate cultural differences in the workplace?

Active listening and observing colleagues' behavior can aid in understanding local communication styles and etiquette. Filipinos should also adapt their communication, being more explicit if necessary, and seeking clarification when they are unsure. 

Are there any cultural sensitivities or taboos that Filipinos should be aware of in their new workplace?

Filipinos should research and respect cultural norms and customs in their host country, such as proper greetings, dress codes, and religious practices. Avoid making assumptions and ask colleagues for guidance when unsure. 

How can Filipino expat workers build positive relationships with colleagues and supervisors in their new workplace?

Building relationships takes time, so be patient. Show genuine interest in coworkers, join workplace activities, and contribute positively to team dynamics. Demonstrating adaptability and a willingness to learn will help foster goodwill.


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