The pandemic allowed employers to try various alternative work set-ups aside from working on-site to ensure their workers’ health and safety and to promote business continuity.
With the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement, employees were able to enjoy more time at home with their families, as they do not need to commute to and from work or to stay in their workplace during office hours.
Even with the benefits of the WFH set up, some employees still prefer reporting to work for various reasons, including their belief that WFH blurs personal and work time.
As travel restrictions and lockdown protocols are being relaxed by the government, employers are now confronted with the question of whether to revert to their pre-pandemic work arrangement or to allow the changes in work dynamics during the pandemic influence how their employees interact with their workplace in the new normal.
The PhilCare Survey of Filipino Workers 2021 asked what Filipino workers’ work set up was during the pandemic. 50 percent of the respondents were working from home. 20 percent of the respondents had a hybrid work set up, but were asked to report to their workplace more than they were allowed to WFH. 9 percent of the respondents also had the same hybrid work set up, but were given the opportunity to WFH more than they had to report to their workplace.
When asked about their preferred work set-up in the new normal, the largest percentage of respondents (35 percent) expressed that they prefer to work on site. 25.2 percent of respondents prefer a hybrid work set-up where they can work more in their workplace than at home, while 8 percent want the same hybrid work set-up, but with more time working at home instead of working on site. 15.7 percent of the respondents wish to keep the WFH set-up by having an equal number of days for reporting on-site for work and WFH.
PhilCare President and CEO Jaeger Tanco opined that the WFH arrangement might not work for some industries. Some employees may also find the typical pre-pandemic work arrangement more suited to their work temperament. In the end, it is the management that has the discretion to determine which work arrangement is ideal for the nature of their operations.
Tanco encourages management to base their decision on data, rather than on tradition or “nakasanayan.”
“The pandemic made employers more conscious of their responsibility towards their employees, aside from their shareholders. Promoting business sustainability teaches us that businesses can promote productivity by also promoting employee welfare. It’s best when we listen to our employees when we make decisions that impact them. If there is anything salient that businesses learned during the pandemic, it is that we have to be flexible to accommodate both the current and emerging needs of our business,” added Tanco.