FOR the second time around that the government-imposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been extended anew to May 15 in Metro Manila and other high-risks areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Philippines joins the global trend of encouraging people to “work from home” (WFH) to ensure social distancing.
According to the Lenovo global study, 87 percent of employees are ready to shift to WFH when required by their employers.
Most had already been either encouraged (46 percent) or required (26 percent) to toil at the comfort of their homes as part of the mitigation measures against the virulent flu.
What’s more, 77 percent of workers feel companies will be more open to, or push, to allow them work remotely once this global health emergency is over.
“Our survey suggests that the employee experience was already changing before the pandemic hit,” said Michael Ngan, president and general manager of Lenovo Philippines.
He cited, for instance, that in the United States the number of those regularly working from home has grown by 159 percent, and the same increase is mirrored in other markets.
“While our current situation is extraordinary, we are seeing a real willingness from workers to adapt and adopt flexible work arrangements. This confirms that corporate technology investments are paying off, as most people now feel productive at home and believe that the work force will move more in this direction once the crisis has passed,” the top executive noted.
Even when the lockdown period is lifted, the Philippine government sees a reduction in the economic activity due to the peoples’ hesitation to engage.
Prior to Covid-19, WFH has already been pushed as a way to address the perennial traffic problem, particularly in Metro Manila.
In fact, Republic Act 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act, was signed into law so employees can work at home or remotely outside the workplace.
Telecommuting also buttresses the nation’s rising gig economy that thrives on recruiting workers on a flexible and freelance setup via online platforms.
At present, the Philippines is ranked sixth in the world and is the fastest-growing market for the gig industry, with a 35-percent hike in freelance income year-on-year, per the Payoneer’s 2019 Global Gig-Economy Index report.
The country’s gig economy is expected to expand further this year, mainly due to WFH that benefits workers to have flexible schedules and the opportunity to prioritize work based on their personal time, plus the ongoing pandemic.
This call for investment of companies in smarter mobile technologies to help boost employee productivity at home or outside the office confines.
Changing labor demographics, likewise, contribute to the popularity of WFH. The millennials and Generation Z employees comprise almost 60 percent of the work force today.
Because they grew up with video on demand, networked video games, and video communication platforms, these digital natives propel the development and adoption of technology for remote working and collaboration.
Given the “race for talent,” organizations now rethink their workspace, technology and culture to attract and retain the best people.
A global study of Harvard Business School in 2018 that engaged 6,500 business leaders revealed that more than 60 percent of them predicted that employee expectations for flexible working will greatly affect the future of work.
Recently, a human resources consulting firm disclosed that most of employers still hire talent notwithstanding the anticipated impact of Covid-19 on the business community.
Late February this year, 44 percent of the survey respondents said that they already offered remote working as a benefit to either all of their staff or select employees and functions.
“At a time when all companies need to navigate uncertainty and keep their business running, technology enables them to keep moving forward. Companies need to adjust now and ensure their employees have the video tools, technology, and training required to succeed today and in a future where more remote working may be the norm,” Ngan said.