TELECOMMUTING by SGS Philippines

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Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

The SGS Philippines program for telecommuting for their employees is collectively beneficial for their employees, the company and, in their own way, to the environment and the traffic situation in Metro Manila. Win-win, so to speak. Thanks to SGS HR Director Michelle Garcia for sharing with us the salient features of this policy.

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The policy states: “Telecommuting is a work arrangement, referred to as “e-work,” where employees occupying specific positions are allowed to work at a place other than one’s primary worksite on specified and agreed days on a routine basis, enabling flexibility and effectively meeting the needs of the work unit. The e-work location may be the employee’s home or another suitable location.

“SGS in the Philippines supports e-work arrangements, with the main objective of maximizing the employee’s productive work time, contributing to the reduction of energy used for transportation, cutting traffic congestion, hazards and air pollution, reducing the need for parking and consumption of common office facilities, overall resulting in corporate sustainability and more efficient management of resources.”

The program applies to approved e-work for one or more days a week on a regular basis. Likewise, SGS also allows temporary or occasional work arrangements on a short-term basis, such as a one-time request to work from home while doing care-giving duties for dependents or an ill family member, during inclement weather and when recovering from an illness and other similar instances, to meet exceptional operational circumstances.

To qualify for e-work, an SGS employee

must not have pending deliverables at the time of application

must not have received any recent disciplinary action from management

must not have any performance challenge or issue during the last six months

Additionally, the nature of the employee’s tasks should require minimal supervision and are generally performed by an individual contributor. The employee must: have limited or scheduled team interaction, coordination and face-to-face interaction; have work that is generally output-based, instead of time-based; have productivity and quality outputs that are measurable real-time or daily; have tasks that benefit from uninterrupted work time suitable for e-work, such as research, writing, editing, reading, analysis, design work, applications development and the like; have limited or flexible need for specialized material or equipment; and must have limited need to stay connected to an office or a network.

As always, there are exemptions to this policy according to Michelle, such as:

In exceptional situations including cases of public emergency, temporary e-work may be approved for a specified period of time. This is a short-term company discretionary program and must be discussed and considered on a case-by-case basis with the supervisor and individual employee, following approval from higher management.

Members of the Management Team are under flexible work schedule and are given the privilege to do occasional e-work, exercised with good judgment and approval from the higher-ups. This is not considered as routine telecommute but just an irregular event, which is allowed but may be removed when used inappropriately.

To be expected, the Management reserves the right to amend, edit, or discontinue the arrangement and participation at any time even without prior notice following formal announcement.
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Those who are intending to adopt telecommuting in their own company could learn from the SGS General Guidelines and Provisions, which we will write about in the next column, or you may immediately get in touch with Michelle.

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