Em­ploy­ees, busi­ness lead­ers laud the pas­sage of Repub­lic Act 11165 or the Telecom­mut­ing Law, which in­sti­tu­tion­al­izes telecom­mut­ing as an al­ter­na­tive work ar­range­ment for em­ploy­ees in the pri­vate sec­tor

Sun.Star Cebu - - BUSINESS - KATLENE O. CA­CHO @katCa­cho / Edi­tor

Em­ploy­ees from the pri­vate sec­tor lauded the pas­sage of the telecom­mut­ing or work-fromhome law, say­ing this can boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and al­low them to use their time wisely.

For Vic­tor An­thony Silva, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tor of a power com­pany, the new law is a “win-win de­vel­op­ment” for both em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers. He said the law al­lows em­ploy­ees to get things done right away, as it saves them from the long com­mute go­ing to work due to the traf­fic con­ges­tion.

“I’m re­ally glad that the work-from-home bill was signed into law. The daily com­mute to and from the of­fice amid the wors­en­ing traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in the city re­ally af­fects the well-be­ing of work­ers. With this new law, pri­vate work­ers will get a chance to work from home and not to worry about trav­el­ing to the of­fice and still get the same ben­e­fits as their tra­di­tional coun­ter­parts. It’s a win-win de­vel­op­ment,” Silva said.

Metro Cebu loses at least P1.1 bil­lion a day due to traf­fic con­ges­tion, ac­cord­ing to the ini­tial study of the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency re­ported in April 2018.

In past in­ter­views, busi­ness owner Philip Tan, who is also the past pres­i­dent of the Man­daue Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, urged busi­ness own­ers to take ad­van­tage of so­cial me­dia to con­nect with their em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers to save time and cost. Tan said that if trans­ac­tions could be coursed through the In­ter­net, it would ben­e­fit his em­ploy­ees.

“Right now, we are in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy-based trans­ac­tions to go on­line... to talk to our cus­tomers and to plan every­thing. Op­por­tu­nity loss in traf­fic can­not ag­gre­gate in num­bers. Let’s get our acts to­gether and move for­ward,” he said.

While she is al­ready en­joy­ing a flex­i­ble work­ing sched­ule, Maria Lour­des Mozo, mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager of a real es­tate com­pany, said the new law is fit­ting in to­day’s busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, which re­quires em­ploy­ees and com­pa­nies to be ag­ile.

“I work for a com­pany where we have flex­i­ble work­ing hours, and this has been ben­e­fi­cial to me as an em­ployee. I’m not aware as to how many com­pa­nies in Cebu are prac­tic­ing the same, but I be­lieve that with many dig­i­tal plat­forms avail­able, it should make it eas­ier for em­ploy­ers and their em­ploy­ees to com­mu­ni­cate,” said Mozo.

She, how­ever, em­pha­sized the need to have clear poli­cies to pro­tect both par­ties.

“While the in­ten­tion of the work-from-home law is good, there should be clear-cut rules and reg­u­la­tions to pro­tect the rights of the em­ploy­ees, while also pro­tect­ing the in­ter­est of the busi­ness,” she said.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte signed into law on Dec. 20 the Repub­lic Act 11165, the act in­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing telecom­mut­ing as an al­ter­na­tive work ar­range­ment for em­ploy­ees in the pri­vate sec­tor.

Un­der the law, telecom­mut­ing is de­fined as the work ar­range­ment that al­lows an em­ployee in the pri­vate sec­tor to work from an al­ter­na­tive work­place with the use of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and/or com­puter tech­nolo­gies.

For Philip­pine Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try pres­i­dent Ale­gria Limjoco, com­pa­nies that lack of­fice space stand to ben­e­fit from this flex­i­ble work­ing strat­egy.

“Even be­fore the law (was passed), other com­pa­nies have been prac­tic­ing it. This is not com­pul­sory and not ap­pli­ca­ble to all,” she said in a text mes­sage.

This, how­ever, is not with­out risk. Limjoco cited poor In­ter­net con­nec­tions and po­ten­tial for data breaches as some is­sues that could come up with such an ar­range­ment.

Wil­fredo Sa-a Jr., man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Cebu IT-BPM Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Cib.O), said the work-from-home law is a good de­vel­op­ment, and is a re­flec­tion of tech­nol­ogy’s power in in­flu­enc­ing or chang­ing the way busi­ness is done.

He iden­ti­fied the avail­abil­ity of a reli­able in­ter­net con­nec­tion, data se­cu­rity and con­ducive work­place at home as crit­i­cal fac­tors that would af­fect the de­ci­sion- mak­ing of em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees.

Ac­cord­ing to Sa-a, in­dus­tries that don’t need phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion with col­leagues and cus­tomers will be most suited for this ar­range­ment. He cited out­sourced ser­vices as an ex­am­ple. More­over, Sa-a said the new law may help ease up traf­fic con­di­tions and im­prove em­ployee pro­duc­tiv­ity.

More­over, the work-fromhome law is also seen to drive the growth of co-work­ing spa­ces.

“The work- from-home law will def­i­nitely have an im­pact on flex­i­ble workspace. More will be en­cour­aged to work from home, and lease out seats in co-work­ing spa­ces. As a re­sult, de­vel­op­ers in Manila and prov­inces will be en­cour­aged to pro­vide more flex­i­ble workspaces,” said Joey Roi Bon­doc, re­search man­ager at Col­liers In­ter­na­tional Philip­pines.

Pri­vate com­pa­nies may of­fer a telecom­mut­ing pro­gram to its em­ploy­ees on a vol­un­tary ba­sis, and upon terms and con­di­tions that the em­ployee and em­ployer may mu­tu­ally agree upon, pro­vided that min­i­mum la­bor stan­dards set by law are ob­served and in­clude com­pens­able work hours, min­i­mum num­ber of work hours, over­time, rest days, and en­ti­tle­ment to leave ben­e­fits.


OTHER OP­TIONS. Aside from work­ing at home, cowork­ing spa­ces of­fer home­based work­ers an al­ter­na­tive, pro­vid­ing them with the tools they need to get their jobs done in ar­eas that are ac­ces­si­ble to them.

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