Last November or December of 2019 a novel coronavirus burst and now known as COVID-19 and companies are implementing a work-from-home scheme for its employees. Now March 2020, the infamous virus is now on the shore of the Philippines islands.
As a way to lower the curve of the said virus, the government is implementing quarantine nationwide and some major cities where confirmed cases were reported are in Enhance Community Quarantine. The Enhance Community Quarantine or ECQ is a 24hour quarantine to all citizens of the said community, however, this is kind of impossible for some because they need to go to work. The government is asking private companies to arrange a work from home scheme to protect the employees at the same time continue the business. Though sad to say for some industries that really require a physical appearance in the field needs to temporarily halt the business.
In our case, we are lucky that our company has the flexibility to have work from home (WFH) schemes. Though I was already working from home since last year I can see the benefits of it if the majority of office work will be done at home. Below are the advantages that I noticed during this time where almost corporate people are now in WFH.
Here in the Philippines a lot of means to commute are plying in the streets of the metro. There are busses, jeepneys, tricycles, motor scooters, and motorbikes, and of course private cars. They are all outside especially during “peak hours” because of one reason either to go to work or go back home. During the quarantine these are all reduced as most people are at their homes. It even looks like a ghost town and I’m not used to it yet because normally it’s very difficult to get a ride starting at 6 AM in my area.
Less Air Pollution
With less car running, there are posts in social media that for the first time the horizon of Metro Manila becomes clearer and it’s like for the first time people are able to see the mountains behind those buildings.
Reduce the Stress in Commute
On the normal day of a corporate slave, we spent our first 1 to 2 hours after we woke up preparing and then next is struggling in the commute. With work-from-home, we have more time to spend on ourselves. Either more time to sleep, prepare meals for kids, or maybe time to send them to school.
As mentioned above with work-from-home 2 hours of our day are now spent on a precious and personally important matter. If both parents are work-from-home they both see their kids and spend a quick time with them. Families are more bonded as they are all eating together during munch times. Most parents, their life now are their kids so spending time with them is enough. For single young professionals, that 2 hours time maybe spends on what they love to do instead of waste it in the commute.
For night shifters like me, it’s always a risk for us to commute during night time. It’s like anytime someone will snatch our bag or maybe hold us up and get our possesions or worst kill us. With WFH, we don’t need to deal with that everyday risk. WFH also spares us from road accidents as we don’t need to go outside and risk ourselves.
Work-from-Home can Save Expense Cost
This perhaps both employees and employers will benefit from. For employees, commuting is part of their budget and depending on the employee’s location and the traffic situation sometimes commute budget is higher than 20% of their monthly salary. While for employers, if the majority of their workforce are work-from-home then they don’t need to rent for a large office space. Also, employers can also save in toiletries, coffee, sugar, electricity, water and other maintenance-related expenses.
This is what I noticed too during the course of my work from home for a year and now. Meetings are direct, small chitchats are compressed and there’s a focus overall. We are able to finish our online meetings on time and at the same time answers the questions or discuss most of the items on the agenda. Meeting online reduces the hassle of booking conference rooms that is always fully booked. Though if you have kids then that part may be a drawback.
Comfortable Working Environment
With WFH you don’t need to dress that itchy uniform or maybe tuck and don that dress clothes that look you stiff. You can literally start your work immediately after you wake up if that’s what you want. You can wear your most comfortable clothes as well as set up your room in the most comfortable mood you prefer.
Surely the coronavirus scares us all but it also opens possibilities and some benefits. Companies that are afraid or not considering the Work-From-Home have an actual “demo” of how WFH will benefit or not benefit them. Though still there are reasons that companies might not totally consider this kind of work scheme, and I’ll post another blog about it. But as a corporate professional, it is nice to learn that the company that we work for also cares for us in times like. Going the extra mile just to balance the business and the welfare of their employees; and I think that is the most important factor to consider.