Interview with Mac Lucreda

Mac Lucreda talks about his unique experience as a virtual assistant in IT as he lives and works remotely in the Philippines.

Q: What’s the most challenging part about working overseas?

A: Since I’m thirteen hours ahead of Dallas, I’m working the night shift. So in Philippine time, my work hours are around 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. I’ve been working in the industry for around thirteen years, and most of that has been the night shift for me, so I’m used to it. I think the hardest part for me is being able to sleep well because when working at night, you have to mess with your circadian rhythm or the way your body clock works. But in terms of the work schedule, I don’t mind it at all because I don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of commuting, and I get to work from home.

Q: What’s your best strategy for being productive when working from home?

A: I just like to make sure that I have my to-do list ready each day. This is the first time that I’ve used Asana, the project management tool that the technology team uses. Whenever I start my day, I always look in Asana to see if there are things that are still pending, especially tickets I’m currently working on, or things I’m “blocked” on. So to be productive, I just make sure to manage my daily tasks. If I don’t have any new tickets coming in and don’t have much to do, then I try to find things that might be beneficial to me or the rest of the team, like writing knowledge articles and uploading them to SharePoint and things like that.

Q: Speaking of the SharePoint portal and knowledge base articles, can you tell us a little more about that project you worked on?

A: I created a SharePoint portal where all of the VAs are advised to upload their knowledge articles, videos, documents, and everything that could help present or future VAs at CoVerica. It’s a one-stop shop where new hires or existing VAs can review things that might help in their job. For example, if we had a new IT virtual assistant, that person could go to the portal and have access to all of the articles and video tutorials we have on IT processes and operations. It also provides basic company information that may be helpful, such as a list of the current VAs, names of people in each department, who is on the leadership team, etc. I also update the main page every time there’s a new newsletter! So it’s just designed to be a helpful knowledge base that we can reference back to.

Q: Any other fun/notable projects you’ve recently worked on?

A: I did have a big project the first eight days that I started here. I was entrusted to do the equipment procurement for two new VAs for Don and Louie. CoVerica asked me to purchase equipment for our new VAs and get it shipped because it’s easier to do that from the Philippines than try to ship everything over from the US. At that point, I was shocked because it was my eighth day on the job and I was already entrusted with a big amount to purchase this equipment. So when I got here and I was entrusted with that kind of project, I felt like it was a big privilege. I felt like CoVerica had already put their faith in me without any hesitations and felt that I was capable of doing this project, and I really appreciated that. So I was able to purchase and distribute all of the equipment and I’ve done two more since then for Aldrin and Maria as well. It means a lot to me that I’ve been entrusted with this kind of project.

Q: How is CoVerica different from other companies you’ve worked for?

A: Here in the Philippines, if you work in a corporate office, it’s a bit more “stiff.” You’re given a tight schedule and a break schedule. So, say you come in to work at 9 a.m., then you can take a break at 10 a.m. If you have to come in late for whatever reason, then most likely you’re not allowed to take your break anymore because you went out of that certain time frame. But at CoVerica, it’s more flexible and understanding. I get to work from home, and leadership is so understanding of the things that you need. They will always ask you, “Hey, do you need something else? Is there anything we can do that will benefit you and the rest of the team?” So actually, getting this opportunity here is one of the best things that has happened to me.

Q: Lastly, what are your favorite hobbies to do outside of work?

A: Honestly, since I work during the night time here, it’s harder to have physical hobbies during the day when I’m sleeping. On the weekend, I usually prefer to rest, sleep in, and relax after the week. I’m a big fan of true crime documentaries and just hanging out and watching Netflix.

I do sometimes volunteer at an English learning center and share my English proficiency with people who are trying to learn. I don’t go every weekend, but sometimes on certain Saturdays or Sundays, I go to share my knowledge and my work experiences with the community. It helps people to gain confidence and build their self-esteem so they can apply to call centers, or other English-speaking jobs they’re interested in.