This project aims to describe telecommuting schemes in government organizations in terms of the level of participation across organizational, job, household, and individual characteristics. It also intends to describe perceived effects of telecommuting on people, work, and environment. The study will also identify and differentiate preferred telecommuting schemes of government workers, as well as determine significant factors that either promote or inhibit telecommuting success; whether telecommuting is preferred over office work, and identify reasons for the preference. Likewise, this project will determine willingness of government workers to adopt telecommuting as a work arrangement option in post Covid-19 pandemic.
The team used this survey https://telecommutingph.questionpro.com/ which was disseminated to all government institutions. The data collection commenced last May and will end this August.
This project, Telecommuting Preferences of Government Workers in the Philippines, led by Dr. Rowena Paz L. Gelvezon, DOST-NRCP member of the Division of Social Sciences, and UP Visayas professor, is one of the three projects under the program titled, Conduct of a National Work from Home Experience (WFH) in the Philippine Public Sector.
The targeted participants / beneficiaries of this study are (1) employees and employers of NGAs, LGUs, SUCs, and GOCCs (i.e., telecommuting as a Human Resource scheme), (2) legislative bodies (i.e., policies anchored on scientific & empirical evidence), (3) executive bodies (i.e., implementing guidelines anchored on scientific & empirical evidence), (4) funding agencies and (5) academe & other researchers.
The Social Impacts, with the inclusion of telecommuting as a regular work arrangement alternative for the public sector post – COVID will: (1) promote protection of rights of public employees while telecommuting (like setting of minimum labor standards for telecommuting); (2) provide government workers the flexibility to work during their most productive time, resulting in increased productivity; (3) allow government workers more time for themselves and their families, allowing them to experience work-life balance; (4) provide opportunity to government workers who may not be able to travel to continue working such as mothers, handicapped, persons with comorbidities, and senior citizens; and (5) lessen government workers’ exposure to occupational and environmental hazards, hence, reducing their stress and anxiety.
Meanwhile, the Economic Impacts will: (1) help the public sector become more competitive and equitable as a result of higher productivity of employees brought about by more flexible work arrangements (can work at their most productive time and allows those with disabilities to work); (2) support continuance of government operations even during times of calamities, pandemic, and emergency situations thereby ensuring continuous delivery of public services; (3) generate savings in terms of energy and electricity costs; (4) decrease health care costs because government employees are less exposed to contagious diseases and other hazards such as traffic accidents and other occupational hazards (savings can be reprogrammed to other worthwhile government projects); (5) reduce time and travel costs as well as lesser medical bills (able to consume home- made nutritious meals and have the time for exercise); and (6) reduce energy usage and greenhouse gases, thereby improving air quality. Solid waste, noise, and space pollution will also be reduced.
By the end of this study, the government workers’ preference will be revealed, thus used as reference in rationalizing existing policies and guidelines for working arrangement in the country’s government institution.
The two other projects under the National WFH program include: Telecommuting Preferences of Government Workers in the Philippines G-TWICE (Government Telecommuting Work Infrastructure Cost Estimator), and MATINO – Modeling Analysis of Telework Impact in the ‘New Normal’.
Meanwhile, in a separate study done in 2020 by DOST-NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay on Gender-responsive WFH scheme in a post-ECQ scenario, it was revealed that majority of the women no longer prefer a WFH arrangement. According to the study, as much as they want to do “office work” at home, they are not able to, due to the stronger blurring of work time and home time divide, exposure to a range of vulnerabilities, and multiple burden. In contrast, more men chose WFH to lessen physical and psychological stress (from commuting), more family time and better relationships, better work-life balance, among others.
This study of Dr. Sumagaysay was participated in by 310 respondents, 195 females (62.90%) and 115 males (37.10%) who are DOST-NRCP members (professionals from State Colleges and Universities/Higher Education Institutions (SUCs/HEIs), who are mainly engaged in teaching, research, administrative work, and consultancy services.
Will other respondents of Gelvezon’s study on telecommuting choose the same option? The future of work in the government depends now on what they have to say.