Working from Home – The Manila Times
Where possible, employers are mandated to implement work-from-home agreements (WFHs) to help prevent and control the spread of 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) (Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Trade and Industry Provisional Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of Covid-19, April 30, 2020). As per the rule, employers in the National Capital Region have been living with the WFH for over a year now.
WFH, also known as telework under the Telework Act (Republic Act 11165 signed December 20, 2018), is defined as “a work arrangement that allows a private sector employee to work at from another place of work using telecommunications and / or computer technology. “
This article discusses some of the main challenges in implementing the provisions of the WFH and the considerations for resolving and managing them, and extensively cites the publication by the International Labor Organization (ILO), an agency of United Nations, from the “Employers’ Guide” on working from home in response to the Covid-19 epidemic ” [Geneva: International Labor Office, 2020ISBN9789220322536 (webPDF)](âGuide to the ILOâ).
A major concern of employers who have embraced WFH is the productivity of employees at home (some employers ask âare they working at all?â While others ask more âare they working efficiently?â). The ILO guide is of the opinion: “Well-managed remote teams can be much more productive than physically managed workers, because companies are required to measure productivity by objective measures rather than the physical presence of ‘time in the workplace. building â. [â¦] Choosing the most impactful and qualitative measures is essential. [â¦] Performance is best determined by results and whether an employee achieves measurable criteria or goals. “
âFive things to consider when measuring remote worker productivity are:
â¢ Set and communicate clear goals and deadlines the same way with workers in a physical workspace.
â¢ Formulate plans to increase accountability.
â¢ Analyze important tasks and track progress over time.
â¢ Evaluate quality and quantity rather than time worked – move metrics to âtasks completed and their qualityâ versus âhours spentâ.
â¢ Track achievements. “
Health and mental well-being
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers may experience full-time FH for the first time, while they are also isolated from colleagues, friends and sometimes even family. Their daily lifestyle habits have been disrupted, which can lead to additional stress, strain, and physical and mental strain. The impact of these stressors is even stronger in the current economic situation.
Company policies on WFH should incorporate measures that address these factors. The Telework Act specifically requires employers to “ensure that measures are taken to prevent the telework employee from being isolated from the rest of the company’s work community by giving the employee a job. teleworking the possibility of regularly meeting colleagues and allowing access to regular information about the workplace and the company. “
The WFH can help workers achieve a better work-life balance by avoiding long and stressful journeys between home and work and devoting more time to family. Often times, the WFH leads to blurring of the boundaries between work and personal life, increased working hours and intensification of work. Thus, WFH can interfere with privacy and cause work-life conflicts that can adversely affect workers’ well-being and affect overall performance at work.
Employers should: (i) set clear expectations for working hours and encourage and empower workers to set limits on their working hours; (ii) promote a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance, including regular breaks and rest, exercise and fresh air; and (iii) provide mental well-being support to workers facing work-life conflicts.
Installation of ICT equipment and workstations
Staff may encounter technical challenges, such as connectivity issues. Employers should seek the cooperation, ideas and commitment of workers on how best to meet and overcome this challenge while ensuring business continuity and preserving jobs. Employers need to understand and assess the limitations faced by staff and adjust expectations, responsibilities and duties accordingly.
Data protection and security
While the use of technology has enabled and facilitated WFH, it also poses higher risks of cyber attacks and privacy breaches.
From the ILO Guide: âResponsibility for the WFH agreements is shared and requires the commitment of both employers and workers to be successful. Employers and workers must be practical, flexible and responsive to individual circumstances when implementing the provisions of the WFH. “
Gerardo Maximo V. Francisco is a partner of Mata-Perez, Tamayo & Francisco (MTF Counsel). He is a lawyer in business, business, litigation and employment law.
The content of the above article is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, you can email the author at [email protected] or visit the MTF Counsel website at www.mtfcounsel.com.