Having a home-based job is not a new concept in the Philippines. In fact, Republic Act No. 11165 or the “Telecommuting Act” was signed into law in 2018 to institutionalize work-from-home (WFH) arrangements in the private sector. Before that, the option to work remotely has been a privilege given to many employees by their employers. Nevertheless, remote work was hardly a choice for most companies until the government imposed stay-at-home orders in March 2020 to deter the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to a survey conducted by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, 85 percent of Philippine workers shifted to WFM setup because of the pandemic. The same poll also revealed that nearly 50 percent of Filipinos prefer completely remote work, while others favor a combination of WFH and onsite work. Interestingly, only a tiny percentage wants complete onsite work.
Perhaps, you also prefer working from home for safety and flexibility reasons. After all, the country is still dealing with new COVID-19 cases every day. If so, you should go beyond simply looking for online jobs in the Philippines. You must also learn about the realities of this kind of work arrangement so that you can overcome its unique challenges and enjoy its benefits to the fullest. For starters, here are several things you can expect when you land a home-based job:
The first thing you should expect when you start working from home is that you have to deal with numerous distractions and temptations that could impact your productivity. It is easy to watch television, play video games, do household chores, or focus on childcare when you do not have a boss around overseeing your every move. That said, it is essential that you create a WFH schedule and stick to it no matter what.
For example, if you decide to follow the typical 8-to-5 office schedule, you should ensure that you are completely ready to start working before 8:00 in the morning. It would also help to have a designated workspace where you can focus on your work assignments. Keep the area free from distractions and inform your family members to avoid disturbing you when you are in your “office.” By practicing effective time management and self-control, you can avoid distractions and become more productive while working at home.
Although you still have to consult with your manager or supervisor from time to time, you are practically on your own when you start a home-based job. Nobody is going to dictate your actions or monitor what you are doing. For as long as you can deliver the expected results, you are free to budget your time and do whatever you want according to what you think is best. Essentially, you are your own boss when you work from home.
While freedom at work may seem like an exciting prospect, it entails a strong sense of responsibility. You have to find ways to keep yourself motivated and focused. Most of the time, nobody will push, help, and encourage you to finish your assigned tasks. You also need self-discipline and self-management skills to get ahead in your career. More importantly, remember that you, alone, will take credit and blame when you have nobody managing your every action or making decisions for you.
Reliance on Technology
Remote work setup is only possible today because of modern technology and infrastructure. That is why you can expect to be considerably reliant on numerous technological tools to manage your tasks and communicate with your team while working from home. While you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of every available digital technology, you should be comfortable and confident using crucial remote work tools without any assistance. Besides a reliable internet connection, here are other essential technologies you need to have, and you need to learn how to use to stay on top of your work assignments:
- Video conferencing and virtual meeting platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet
- Instant communication or messaging tools like Slack and Telegram
- Project management platforms like Trello
- Document sharing tools, such as Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, and Notion
Because you cannot communicate with your co-workers and team members in person, you are bound to experience communication problems now and then. Minor misunderstandings can readily occur when the bulk of interaction happens through emails and similar written forms. After all, it is difficult to know if the person is being rude, merely joking, or is just being neutral without hearing the tone of their voice or seeing their facial expression. Having co-workers who do not reply promptly can also be a source of frustration, especially if you need their input to finish your task.
Although you cannot entirely avoid such communication challenges, you can always do something to minimize them. For instance, you can proofread your messages before hitting the send button to ensure that what you’ve written is clear and conveys the intended tone. Try video-conferencing when you begin working with someone new to foster better understanding. As for unresponsive co-workers, you may want to ask each member of your team for their specific schedule and availability so that you will know when is the best time to communicate with them.
Having a home-based job offers multiple advantages, especially now when the country continues to struggle with the COVID-19 virus. However, as you can deduce in the discussion above, the WFH setup is not perfect. Just like working in the office, remote work comes with unique challenges. You need to adjust your habits, stick to a routine, and create clear boundaries between your work and personal life, among others, to make it work.
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