Understanding Filipino Workplace Culture: Blending Tradition and Modernity in the Philippine Workplace

Olivia Barredo
June 08, 2023

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Each country has their own set of morals and values that they apply in their everyday lives, so it is no surprise that these sets of values bleed into the workplace culture. This is no different with the Philippines, as Filipinos value high-context social interactions. Getting a better grasp of the Filipino work culture will do wonders for team productivity and building stronger relationships with peers. It is especially more important to get a firm understanding of the Filipino workplace culture as the traditional Filipino concepts are blending in seamlessly with modern practices. It is essential to understand the traditional concepts as they are, as they are bound to shift and develop with the time.



Foundation of Filipino Workplace Culture


The Influence of Filipino values and traditions

Some of the more essential parts in Filipino workplace culture are that their traditions and values that carry over to how they interact with their peers influenced Filipinos. These values include Bayanihan, which reflects Filipinos’ values on being part of a community. This means that Filipinos are more likely to help others without expecting anything in return. This means that Filipinos bring a strong sense of community to the workplace and often build strong interpersonal relationships with one another. The spirit of Bayanihan is essential for any Filipino workplace, as it helps build a positive vibe within the workplace, with eager people looking to do what they can for the team.

Another vital value that you would need to consider is that Filipino hierarchy is a major factor with the culture. This means that Filipinos will often use honorifics and titles in the workplace. We use honoraries as a sign of respect to their superiors and elders, and will mostly consist of titles like sir, ma’am, and miss.



Communication Styles and Etiquette


Politeness and Indirect Communication

Filipinos are part of a high-context culture where communication between people is more nuanced than what they initially seem. There is more to communication than just the words that come out, but the nonverbal cues are important in any communication. These nonverbal cues can be a bit harder to catch, but with eagerness to learn and a bit of patience, you can expect to catch some of these cues to help you engage in social interactions better. These nonverbal cues can range from their body language, the tone of their voice, the pauses they make, and even implied meanings behind their words. Knowing these cues will lessen misunderstandings, help you listen more closely and allow for a more smooth conversation between people.

Understanding one another is vital for any workplace if you want teams to work well with each other. Without open communication, it would be inevitable that misunderstandings can happen, which can really hinder productivity among peers. This is why it is essential to maintain proper communications with each other to lessen conflict. If there is conflict, it is best to always go for a democratic approach and to deescalate the situation so that harmony will be present in the workplace.


The importance of face-saving and harmonious relationships

Harmonious relationships are essential in the workplace, it is what helps people learn to get along with each other and meld together in their work. If a wrench is thrown in that relationship, it can cause some friction in the team, but what are some things that can hinder social relationships?

One thing that you would need to be mindful about is other people's dignity. Most people tend to want respect from others and ‌ they want to reciprocate that respect. However, there will always be issues within the workplace, which can cause conflict between people. When this happens, it is important to keep a cool head and remain civil in these confrontations. As much as possible, reduce the likelihood of causing a scene as that can weaken morale in the workplace or embarrass the people in the conflict. Hear them out and understand the problem thoroughly, as you should all work together in resolving the issue as pleasantly as possible.

When it comes to resolving conflict, it is best to acknowledge where some things went wrong without being partial or expressing favoritism towards one outcome. Provide tactful feedback to your peers, let them know that while there were mistakes and misunderstandings, that there is merit to all parties. Once that has been acknowledged, providing constructive criticism will be king, it provides an excellent opportunity for everyone involved to take something from the conflict and make something positive out of it. This will doubly work if you express modesty and humility with your peers, as it gives you equal footing in interactions.


Evolving Trends: Changes in Workplace Culture



A millennial workforce and its impact

The traditional workplace culture still holds up today in most workplaces, but it is still imperative to acknowledge that the newer generation of millennials are changing the dynamics of the workforce. They often have a different set of values that gets instilled in their roles as workers. This means that the workplace culture is adapting to these values and melding them with the old ones, making a sort of marriage between the old and the new.

Millennials are technically savvy as they are native to the technology, seeing as they have grown up using it. In the advancements of the modern world, businesses are acquiring digital tools and technologies that help boost productivity, accuracy, and even communications. Millennials are very well acquainted with the technology which makes them an invaluable asset in the workplace. 

A majority of millennials have different views on their work. A lot of millennials put emphasis on being more flexible with their time and energy, which helps them adjust how much they work and what they can work with, making them far more adaptive to different scenarios. They are also incredibly motivated when they have a sense of purpose, as they believe that their work will make a difference, which greatly affects their productivity and satisfaction in their work.


Increasing emphasis on work-life balance and employee well-being

This is where a major shift changes in the workplace, where millennials emphasize the importance of their well-being and work-life balance. For the past few years, companies have recognized the importance of keeping their employees’ well-being in check, as millennials are more inclined to look for greener pastures if there are better opportunities to learn and grow in other companies. This leads to many changes where companies are working on employee retention and ensuring that they are satisfied with their jobs. A lot of these changes include flexible scheduling, fostering healthy mental health, offering incentives, educational support, and so much more.

These changes have shifted workplace culture, changing the usual “workaholic” mindset into something more sustainable. This led to companies having a far more employee centric culture that helps employees get their voices heard and a culture that allows everyone to have a seat on the table. This also ensures that employees are less likely to feel unsatisfied with their position, granting them many opportunities to continue learning and honing their skills. 


Shift towards flexible work arrangements and remote work. 

The emergence of remote work has given workers a lot more flexibility in when and where they can work, workers become far more independent and mobile as they can take their devices and work from there instead of being in the office. This does come with some challenges where it becomes harder to build team spirit and coordinate with each other. 



The workplace culture has evolved significantly over the years, mixing the norms of the past with the mindset and beliefs of the modern day. This applies a lot to Philippine workplaces, where the workplace becomes a melting pot of different individuals. The blending of Filipino culture and the modern mindset on work creates a more positive workplace experience where people are heard and respected. Only time will tell how this will continue to evolve into something new.