Cool Tip #056: Seven (7) quick tips on how OFWs can be professional at work


Hey, hey, hey! Welcome to another OFW on Air cool tip! Today, we’ll be giving some tips on how to be professional at work abroad. Regardless of where you are in the world, a job is a job. And being in a job, one must act professionally so that things run smoothly in the workplace not just for you, but also for your workmates. As OFWs, you may face certain challenges on the road to professionalism at work overseas, especially since you do come from a foreign country. To help you overcome these, here are a bunch of tips from us at OFW on Air that you can use:

  1. Respect. At the base of professionalism is respect. Essentially, you should respect yourself, respect others, respect the rules of the workplace, and respect the work culture that you are in.  Be considerate of others’ situations all the time—have some EQ. Respect others’ suggestions and criticisms about you. And of course, as a foreigner, do your best to be respectful of the general beliefs and principles that surround the workplace you are in.
  2. Ask questions. Same as anywhere in the world, if you are unsure about something or don’t know how to carry out a particular task, just ask. Seek advice when needed. Don’t let being a foreigner scare you out of asking questions. This will prevent any unwanted incidents from happening later on. Think about it this way: your supervisor or boss would surely want you to do well at work. And so, they will certainly answer any questions you’ll have just so you can achieve this. Think about it another way: asking is free, you have nothing to lose, and the best thing you can get out of it ‘wiser’ than before.
  3. Admit your mistakes. Be honest about things you did wrong at work, and learn from them. It’s as simple as that. Don’t participate or practice in a culture of blame, as not only will this blow up an issue further, but it will also surely lead to strife and division in the workplace. Be transparent, this will save you…trust us!
  4. Be on time. Coming abroad, be sure to leave behind your “Filipino time” habit back home (or better yet, get rid of it completely). Be punctual at work—come on time, leave on time, attend meetings on time, and finish your tasks on time. Don’t procrastinate. Make the most out of your time at work. Also be wary (and respectful) of other people’s time while you’re at it. In other words, don’t waste other people’s time.
  5. Know when to say yes and no. As we’ve said at numerous other occasions in some cool tips, know your limits. Accept work only when you are certain you can still handle it. Don’t subscribe to this habit of saying yes to everything; just because you’re an OFW doesn’t mean you can do everything you are told. Overworking yourself will likely lead to missed deadlines and poor performance. Remember that once you say yes to something, you have to be sure that you can deliver well, and with the best quality you can provide. Otherwise, you won’t be trusted in doing other tasks.
  6. Work time is for work. There is a time for everything. During work, only do work-related stuff. Don’t text your friends, do some leisurely web surfing, and so on. In the same way that you don’t want to work during your vacation, you shouldn’t bring your personal life into your work life. Otherwise, it could mean the end of your OFW journey.
  7. Welcome collaboration. Finally, we suggest that you be open to working with others. While you’re at it, take the initiative to work with others. Working with a team will make your job more bearable and fun, will teach you the dynamics of collaboration, and will also help you build your international network. Remember, as we always say here at OFW on Air: we rise by lifting others. Don’t be a snob, and don’t be a crab! 🙂

There you have it—tips on how to be professional at work abroad! If you have any more professionalism tips you want to share with our community, please comment below or email us at so we can add them in! We know that this list is not complete, so we would appreciate any suggestions you can provide. If you also have any suggestions for what we should write about in our future cool tips, please send them through our email as well. We welcome collaboration 😉

With that, see you in our next cool tip folks!