The Philippines is experiencing the longest lockdown, and many have been working from home for almost a year. Both workers and companies were forced to adapt to this setup. Zoom calls, emails, and the utilization of cloud systems have become the new way of life. However, let us, deep dive, into the psychological advantages and disadvantages of working remotely.
Let us start first with the advantages of the work from home setup. Although it might not be the most ideal setup for most people, in the future there is a high possibility of hybrid setup. Companies may allow more time for their employees to work remotely.
Reducing work-related stress
The first advantage of the work from home is the reduction of stress from the outside world and the improvement in productivity and focus. According to a survey conducted by Robert Walters, 33% of all Filipinos were satisfied with the work from home set up. The majority concluded they were somewhat satisfied (56%) and 6% were neutral. The three major reasons why a majority of Filipinos are satisfied with the work from home set up is that they do not need to allocate time to commute to their respective offices. It is not unusual to the everyday commuter the grueling traffic in the metro and a big waste of time. The new set up also made working more flexible and more independent, which satisfied around 63% of the Filipinos who took the survey. Lastly the third reason why Filipinos are more satisfied is because their homes are more comfortable and relaxing than their office.
Flexibility to work anywhere.
The ability to work anywhere is becoming more important to Filipinos. The Philippines has a few strong business centers where people can find high quality and high paying jobs. These business centers are usually cities like Cebu City, Davao City and Metro Manila. Thousands of Filipinos move into these highly urbanized metros in search of jobs and upward mobility. However, these cities have higher costs of living, compared to their home provinces. The high costs when living in cities often discourages the brightest professionals and accept jobs that are available in his or her locality. Due to the pandemic and work from home setup, many Filipinos went back to their home provinces. It was advantageous since many municipalities and towns, now, have high speed internet connection. Hence making office work more mobile and flexible. Here in UpStaff, we offer equal opportunity where people can work anywhere, whether they are from the province or from the big city. It is especially important to Filipinos to enjoy more time at home with their friends and families, have less costs and are more comfortable and productive.
The work from home set up has helped Filipinos save or reallocate their money to other areas. One major area they can save in time and in money is commute. According to a study, for every 16 working days Filipinos loses an average P100,000 of potential income due to long commutes. Ever since the pandemic people do not go out and about, which saved them both time and money. Another reason why Filipinos are able to save more in work from home set up is because they can live with their parents and share the expenses. This saves them rent, utility and food expenses. It is common in the Philippines for adult children to live with their parents, single or married. The family unit is important to most Filipinos, and to these salary men and women, sharing expenses with their parents is one way showing gratitude.
Greater focus on health
Due to the work from home set up, people can allot more time to their health. According to statistics Filipinos living in the National Capital Region loses 257 hours in a year to commuting during the pre-pandemic era. That is a lot of hours wasted sitting in vehicles. This time could have been using more productively, such as working out. Ever since lockdown people have placed their health higher on their priority list. The flexible work hours also allowed them to do homework outs. According to Google, there was a surge in searches on health and fitness content. YouTube wellness and fitness creators like Chloe Ting saw a surge in popularity. Due to the pandemic, not only people have become more conscious of their health but also due to the work from the home situation they were able to allot time dedicated to working out.
More time with family
Due to the pandemic and working from home, families can spend more time with each other. This helps parents and children get to know one another a little more. This strengthens emotional bonds which are vital for intimacy. According to psychologists, this is beneficial for children. Children who spend more time with their parents lowers the risks of behavioral issues. Another reason why family bonding is important is that it can help cope with stress. Family bonding is a healthy way to manage stress for both the parent and the child.
Even if there are advantages of working from home, there are also disadvantages that can make working from home a tad bit difficult. However, here is some advice to cope with the disadvantages of working from home.
No clear division of work, play, and family
When working from home, there are fewer psychological or ergonomic boundaries like commuting or getting ready for work that signals us to switch into different social roles. These fewer boundaries can be very stressful because one might feel loss of control or overwhelmed by the current situation. To feel less powerless try designating hours for work, for example, 11 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon will be your work hours. This could also be your time frame for answering zoom calls. Beyond this period, you may or may not need to work. Next is breaking down big tasks into smaller tasks and schedule when to do them. By doing this you can feel less overwhelmed and accomplish tasks faster. Also, by scheduling what to do, even the most mundane tasks can help you feel more organize and less cluttered.
The tendency to overwork
This is a link to the first point, where people tend to overwork themselves subconsciously because they could not feel the psychological boundaries. Overworking is not good for the body, it reduces a person’s effectiveness, productivity and can even weaken your immune system. Besides blocking your time and creating clear attainable schedules. Find hobbies that can separate you from your work. A hobby that became popular over the lockdown was gardening. People grew different plants, made hydroponics systems. It is a fun hobby, and it is fulfilling seeing something grow. Another hobby that also became popular is cooking. Cooking is a good way to create something from scratch. It also can help you to eat healthier and save money on take-out.
In conclusion the work from the home setup is not perfect, it does have several advantages and disadvantages. However, it is here to stay in our near future. The best we can do is take full advantage of what benefits you and learn to minimize the disadvantages.