Pena: Work from home

THE enhanced community quarantine (others call it lockdown) forced a lot of companies to temporarily suspend their operations. Workers were given the option to take vacation leaves. Others were required to work from home, just like my two daughters. They brought home their office computers and turned our living room into an instant workplace.

Working at home has many advantages. Foremost is convenience and flexibility. You’re not trapped into the daily ritual of waking up early, taking a shower, dressing up and commuting or driving to work. You have absolute control of your time. You don’t need to put on makeup. You can be your natural self.

Next advantage is savings on transportation expenses. Less gasoline and maintenance cost for vehicle owners. No parking fees too, especially if your office is in highly urbanized areas like Makati City. No wasted time on traffic and wasted fuel on vehicle idling. This is good for the environment. There’s less air pollution and greenhouse gas emission.

Working at home also has the advantage of being with your family 24/7. You get the benefit of eating hot, nutritious and inexpensive home-cooked meals. You can also take a power nap without being charged with “sleeping-on-duty,” a serious company offense.

For the company, work from home has its benefits too. It requires lesser office space and lower maintenance, utilities and administrative cost. Again, Mother Earth also benefits from this arrangement. Lesser carbon footprint, less use of electricity and water.

Not every company however can do work from home arrangements. It depends on the nature of the business. Some can do it a hundred percent while others only a portion of their business process. Work from home also requires infrastructure, such as a dependable and fast internet connection.

Some work-from-home business includes technology companies, business-process-outsourcing (BPOs), freelance writing and editing, transcription (i.e. financial, legal, medical), insurance, accounting and bookkeeping and tutorial. I took my master’s degree at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) where teaching is done online.

Work from home has some disadvantages too. It requires self-discipline and focus to overcome distractions like Netflix and social media. You need to fight boredom too (my daughter is already complaining). There’s no face to face interaction among employees, so teamwork might not be cohesive compared to those working in one place. For the employer, there’s got to be system for ensuring productivity and accountability.

Work from home will be the norm in the not-so-the distant future. Who knows, after this enhanced community quarantine, employees will get used to working at home that they don’t want to go back to their office anymore. Employers might realize too that it’s doable, and give the option to their employees to work from home permanently.


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