Telecommuting

With hours-long traffic snarls, PH firms urged to adopt telecommuting

Filipino firms are being urged to adopt telecommuting practices to improve employee productivity and save costs amid the daily vehicular traffic gridlock experienced in major cities, especially Metro Manila.

In a study, consultancy firm P&A Grant Thornton said recently enacted laws that allowed and promoted working from alternative venues through the use of telecommunications or computer technology should be embraced by local businesses, in addition to multinationals which had already been adopting it for some time now.

“Many workers welcome this development as it eliminates travel time and costs, which has significantly increased due to the worsening traffic conditions in major cities in the country,” the firm’s chair and CEO Maria Victoria Espano said in a statement.

She noted the law made telecommuting subject to the discretion of the employer, who could offer such a program to employees “on a voluntary basis and upon such terms and conditions as they may mutually agree upon.”

The P&A Grant Thornton chief cited some reasons that could have a positive impact on Philippine businesses and the Filipino workforce.

In particular, telecommuting arrangements would allow employers to attract and retain premier talent, reduce overhead expenses and increase productivity.

 

“For many individuals, the travel time between the workplace and home is becoming a major consideration whether to apply for employment with a company,” she said. “I have increasingly heard comments from some executives that they have actually crossed out job opportunities that will require more than an hour’s commute.”

Espano said, by offering a work from home arrangement, employers could entice good potential candidates to join them. On the other hand, for existing employees, eliminating the daily commute would keep them happy enough to stay with an employer for the long term. Workers would also have greater control over their work hours and work location.

“Working from home can also be more productive, as employees do not have the distractions or hectic pace of an office environment,” she said.

At the same time, telecommuting saves employers money in office expenses, such as office supplies, furniture, equipment, coffee and janitorial services. For employees, telecommuting allows people to save on expenses such as fuel, parking fees, vehicle maintenance, public transport fare, dining out and clothing purchases.

Before adopting this business model, however, an employer must first assess whether a telecommuting arrangement is suitable for its operations.

“If the company deals with numerous customers who require face-to-face interaction, telecommuting may not work, unless it has a good number of client-facing employees which will allow rotation of assignments,” Espano said.

“The work performed by employees and current manpower resources should also be reviewed,” she added. “A company that only has a single employee acting as cashier or receptionist would have difficulty allowing said employee the chance to work from home. Likewise, workers in the factory or other employee activities that require physical supervision will, definitely, not be able to apply for telecommuting arrangements.”

 

As published in Philippine Daily Inquirer, dated 04 October 2019