More firms adopting telecommuting amid traffic woes – DOLE

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TECHNOLOGY can now enable jobs to be done by the employee at home, giving workers and management the flexibility to enter into work-from-home arrangements as a way of skirting the issue of low productivity as a result of the traffic jams in main thoroughfares of the metropolis, according to a labor executive.

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Leveraging on technological breakthroughs, some employers are adopting flexible work arrangements (FWAs), Mary Grace Riguer, officer-in-charge of the Institute for Labor Studies said in a statement over the weekend. “In the Philippines there are some players already, and we noted that some of the industries can engage workers in telecommuting,” she said.

Among the companies are Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and some of its employees are also into telecommuting arrangements, which was piloted last year. The plan is to expand the coverage of the program, said Paola Verayo, HR business partner at Meralco.

The services sector is particularly ripe for such arrangements, particularly the fields of medical health, computer and information technology, marketing, communications, customer service, sales, administration, education and training, and finance, Riguer noted.

Jobs or occupations that fit well with FWAs are online teaching, customer support, web and software development, administration, sales and marketing, engineering, design and multimedia, mobile development, writing, accounting and bookkeeping, networking and business services.

A study conducted by the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) estimated that by 2030 the traffic problem in Metro Manila would cost the economy P6 billion a day in terms productivity loss compared with P2.4 billion a day in 2015.

Sen. Jose Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, filed Senate Bill 1033 or the Telecommuting Act of 2016 on August 16, 2016. The bill seeks to encourage employers to allow telecommuting, either total or partial, to raise productivity and free the employee from the horrors of getting stuck in traffic for hours on end.

On January 25, Riguer said, DOLE made a representation before a Senate hearing in support of the bill, noting that by institutionalizing telecommuting the legislation can provide protection to telecommuting employees.

With more employees engaged in telecommuting, Riguer noted traffic may be reduced as well as pollution while employers stand to gain from greater worker productivity, lower employee turnover and wider talent pool, she said.

Employees, on the other hand, may enjoy greater flexibility, higher autonomy and increased work satisfaction and motivation.

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