After commuting to and from office during my days at the Palace as close-in writer, when my title is consultant but I was expected to punch the bundy clock for time in and out, coming from Quezon City it would usually take me three hours one way to reach my destination. The reasons were simple: hard commute and super traffic jams.
Mind you I am speaking about my stint at the palace for three presidents—Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo—decades ago and the situation has not improved one bit. It even got worse, what with an explosive population, declining mass transport systems (which would be aggravated with the phaseout in June of traditional jeepneys and the EDSA Bus Carousel that forces commuters to walk several kilometers to get to the station) and a constantly changing traffic regulation—those traffic lights are being replaced by human enforcers so motorists will be confused by the traffic flow, ergo many would be apprehended and fines (bills) would be given out to avoid those TCTs (traffic citation tickets) with all their concomitant delays and inconvenience.
Those train systems are also very erratic—they go out of commission at the worst time of day when commuter queues have reached kilometers long.
So now, most workers of private and public offices are always getting late and their pays get deducted for such tardiness not of their own making. Hence, employers and HR people are giving workers dealing with policy matters and those whose jobs can be done remotely to do hybrid work—meaning some days they work at home and some days onsite or in the office.
This way, cars are reduced (though not substantially) and commuters are lessened (although not in the case of students who have to attend class physically daily. But for those involved in store sales, construction and other fields, they have to go through the daily sacrifice of waiting endlessly for rides, walking kilometers for it, or straight to where they are going (instead of having deduction in their paychecks) and waking up very early without breakfast just to make it to work and school on time.
The kicker of the story of Inquirer “Full time or Me time” suits the current work environment perfectly. But take note, this is not exclusively our scenario, elsewhere in the world the question of remote or physical setting is a nagging one which the pandemic has opened to each of us. (Must we be grateful for it? I would say yes because now working does not become a dreg for those in hybrid settings but a chance to have the best of both worlds—home and office hours at their choice).
Going back to job seekers, this is another consideration that they pose to their recruiters or direct hiring companies—aside from salary it is time (spent in office, at home) and if hybrid setup can be made to apply to them. Well, I don’t blame them at all. I wouldn’t want to go to that daily grind all over again.
And yes, thanks to COVID 19 it awakened in all of us the need for work-life balance, or spending more “me time” at home as much as being in the workplace.
Thanks to COVID also applications are done mostly online, not anymore walk- ins. I could just reminisce how many shoes I have destroyed from walking from office to office seeking for a job, such that when I finally landed one I made sure to keep it no matter if sometimes I felt like quitting because of the low pay and the hard work. But I would be lying if I’d say I did not learn anything from this experience.. It made me tough, discerning and decisive.
A recruitment platform JobStreet and others online can be sources for job seekers to look for. It was JobStreet in fact that highlighted current jobseekers’ preference for hybrid work setup and what employers hype on when considering talents to picks. Even job interviews can be done online via Zoom, Teams, Meet or Telegram.
“Filipinos are more interested in not going back to the office at all than the global average. When it comes to working time, they are in line with global results, preferring a traditional 5-day workweek,” Jobstreet said in its “Future of Recruitment Report” that surveyed 90,547 respondents in 160 countries in 2022. Of the respondents, 11,438 are from the Philippines.
The report noted that 46 percent of the Filipinos polled prefer a hybrid model, or combination of working at home and reporting to the office during the workweek. Twenty-eight percent favor remote work.
The global average of people who want to work remotely is at 11 percent, more than twofold the Philippine average.
“Meanwhile, employers are increasingly looking for different skills, with a continued focus on digital and technology skills. Employers that want to attract great talent with the skills that their businesses require must cater to these changing needs,” said Peter Bithos, CEO of Asia division of JobStreet.
But apart from those who prefer hybrid and remote arrangements, the majority of Filipinos also prefer having a five-day workweek, with 75 percent favoring this over doing part-time work or having a full, seven-day workweek.
Another key finding: 53 percent of Filipino job seekers would like to know the salary range that awaits them as early as possible in the recruitment process.
“Indicating a salary range is the number one feature that matters to people in a good job ad,’’ the Jobstreet report said. “If included, this is the first piece of information candidates will look at.”