The adoption of hybrid work setups has provided many Filipino workers relief from traffic, as well as given them more time for themselves, their families and friends, according to a new study.
Technology Conglomerate Cisco's 2022 Global Hybrid Work Study surveyed 28,000 full-time employees across 27 countries and found that across generations, genders, and seniority levels, the hybrid work setup improved the general well-being of workers.
Under a hybrid work setup, employees are not required to report to the office during the full 5-day work week, they can work remotely from home or in other places.
Fewer days in the office means fewer hours spent in traffic. In the breakdown of the Cisco study, 66 percent of the survey respondents from the Philippines said their overall well-being improved because they spent less time commuting.
Some 74 percent said they saved over 4 hours per week from what would have been spent sitting in traffic, while 37 percent saved over 8 hours per week.
As they don’t need to leave the house, employees also save on fares and food allowances. There was a 13.9 percent average income increase reported from the respondents, with about $126 or over P7,000 saved per week.
Marketing manager Alyssa Cruz admitted she struggled adjusting to working from home at the onset of the pandemic, but now misses it when stuck in traffic when she needs to report physically to work.
"'Yung oras na ibinabiyahe ko, naihihiga ko na sa bahay, naipahinga ko na, or nakakain na ako agad. 'Yung little luxuries we enjoy after working, 'di mo maeenjoy when you're stuck in traffic," Cruz shared with ABS-CBN News.
(The time I used to spend commuting, I can now spend resting at home. I can eat more easily. The little luxuries we enjoy after working–you can’t enjoy them when you’re stuck in traffic.)
Over 90 percent of the respondents said they are generally happier, while 85 percent reported an improved work-life balance.
With more time on their hands to exercise and eat healthier, over 68 percent of the respondents said the hybrid work setup has improved their physical well-being.
Performance generally also improved, with workers' quality of work, productivity, job knowledge and skills, and workplace relations and attitude getting a boost.
"Once you are already adjusted and adapted to it, parang alam mo na how to manage your time, alam mo na how to make your day productive," Cruz said.
She also shared how long meetings have now been reduced to e-mail briefs and short phone calls.
Employees' social well-being also benefited from the hybrid setup, with over 92 percent reporting stronger family relationships, and over 63 percent saying their friendships have improved.
"The reality is, while COVID was a negative impact on our mental well-being it did have some positive in terms of improving family relations," Professor Ranjit Rye of OCTA Research said, attributing to more time spent at home under the work-from-home and hybrid work and learning setups.
However, the country's internet infrastructure and poor service speeds are a hurdle for many who would like to reap the benefits of the hybrid work setup.
"Hindi kasi lahat pare-pareho ng internet connection sa bahay, so 'yung mga techncial glitches kailangan makasanayan mo siya," Cruz shared.
(Internet connections are not the same for all homes, so you get used to technical glitches.)
In Cisco's study, over 72 percent of its respondents said connectivity issues are career-limiting for remote workers, while over 81 percent are seeking better networking infrastructure for a seamless work-from-home experience.
Despite 59.6 percent of respondents preferring the hybrid work arrangement, only 29.1 percent were confident their respective organizations are fully prepared to embrace it.
Go Negosyo Founder and Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) member Joey Concepcion personally prefers full face-to-face work, saying mobility will help boost the economy.
"But then again we have to balance it. Our recommendation to the president actually is we are recommending that it could be 70-30, 30 percent work from home. But there are also suggestions that why don't we make the companies decide for themselves what they want," Concepcion said.
Managers Association of the Philippines President Rogelio Singson admits, "hybrid is here to stay."
"People leave the office if you force them to [report to work physically]. They will go to a company that will allow hybrid," Singson said.