Culture

Why Working From Home is Necessary in Metro Manila

Our public congestion crisis calls upon the private sector for help.
Why Working From Home is Necessary in Metro Manila

In most places in the world, commuting for four hours a day is unthinkable. But for many in Metro Manila, it's an inevitable reality, imposed upon us by our traffic situation.

It isn't surprising, then, that a large swath of the workforce is clamoring for employers to institute work-from-home arrangements. Likewise, more professionals have turned to freelance work away from an office, to escape the traffic. Both trends show that working remotely has come to be seen as a sensible way to make a living in an ultra-congested city.

Of course, it could be argued that work-from-home arrangements are only a band-aid solution to a much greater traffic problem, as they do little to achieve sustainable long-term solutions to our traffic situation. Still, if more people commuted less often, there'd be more room for such solutions to arise.

So while remote work arrangements may not be the ultimate solution, they represent a considerable set of benefits. Here's are some.

It’s good for the economy—and your wallet.
Our workforce spends a lot of time on the road, and that incurs a significant cost. A 2018 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) estimates that P3.5 billion is lost to Metro Manila traffic each day. If things don’t get better, JICA projects that economic impact will swell to P5.4 billion by 2035. The time we spend stuck on a stagnant EDSA drains us of productivity and spending opportunities, which, in turn, impacts the earning potential of Filipino employers and businesses.

You end up being more productive.
Many people think that the biggest pitfall of working from home is a drop in productivity—mostly because you’re so close to your bedroom and the seductive siren song of a mid-afternoon nap. But a 2014 Stanford study produced data that suggested quite the opposite. Over two years, a Chinese travel agency split 500 employees into two groups: one that worked in an office, and one that worked from home. The work-from-home group proved to be 13 percent more productive than the office group, and employee attrition also dropped by 50 percent among those with home office setups. The remote workers also tended to have shorter breaks, got sick less often, and took fewer leaves. It’s all detailed in this fascinating TEDx Talk on YouTube.

You save years (literally, years) of your life.
According to an urban planner, workers in Metro Manila lose nine to 15 years of their lives to traffic. The math is simple: If you spend five to six hours per day going to and from work, and you work 40 years in your life, that means you’re spending close to a decade or more stuck on the road. Thing is, the average life expectancy of a Filipino is 69 years. That means anywhere from 13 percent to 21.7 percent of your life—more than one-fifth of your existence!—is spent commuting to work.

…which means you can focus on the quality of your life.
The biggest case for working remotely has to be the fact that you’ll be able to use the time you save for the things that really matter to you. This is what work-life balance is all about: working hard, but also having time to enjoy and to tend to other responsibilities. Because of Metro Manila’s traffic situation, it seems ever out of reach. But if we can cut back on our time on the road, perhaps not so.

Work-from-home arrangements do come with prerequisites. Personal discipline and time management are chief among them. But fundamentally, you’ll also need a stable—and speedy—Internet connection at home if you want to pull this off. Connection problems are a huge source of frustration, and can distract you from the task at hand. Globe At Home has plans with speeds of up to 100Mbps, without any data caps. This gives you the flexibility to take home any sort of job. If you’ve been a Globe postpaid mobile subscriber for at least seven months, you can even try Globe At Home free for three months.

To learn more about how you can get free three months internet from Globe At Home, please visit https://www.globe.com.ph/broadband/postpaid-switch-now.html.

This article was created by Summit StoryLabs in partnership with Globe at Home.
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