Poe pushes hybrid work setting to boost worker productivity, cut costs

Sen. Grace Poe

Senator Grace Poe (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — A hybrid work setup will improve workers’ productivity and lessen their expenses, Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday as she pushed to adopt the said arrangement across the country.

Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, pointed out that an average worker living in Mega Manila spent P56,000 for commuting expenses and suffered 188 hours in traffic.

While not all jobs allow a hybrid setup, Poe said that working from home will allow a worker to save time and money.

“[T]he-work-from-home employee saved four hours daily. In the context of a five-day work week, that’s a total of 20 hours or almost an entire day,” she said in her privilege speech during the plenary session.

“Isa pang pag-aaral nito lang simula ng taon ang nagsabi na nakatipid na ng halos P340,000 taun-taon ang bawat empleyadong Pilipino sa hybrid work setup nitong pandemya,” added the senator.

(Another study released early this year showed that each Filipino employee saves almost P340,000 annually because of the hybrid work setup in this pandemic.)

Aside from monetary advantages, Poe pointed out that the work-from-home scheme boosts physical, emotional, and mental health.

“Mr. President, it is clear that hybrid work is here to stay. Adopting is a no-brainer. It will improve our productivity and health, reduce our expenses and make us more competitive,” she said.

She urged to narrow the digital gap by enhancing internet services to further support her call for a hybrid work arrangement.

The legislator likewise encouraged to “untangle the mess” between working in an office and remotely.

Under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Law, “projects or activities registered in an economic zone or freeport must be exclusively conducted or operated within their geographical boundaries,” including firms registered under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

However, the said provision is “unrealistic” amid the lockdowns triggered by COVID-19 infections, said Poe.

Poe has earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 125, which seeks to review the implementation of the Telecommuting Act to promote work from home.

“We should push back on agencies who refuse to think ‘outside the cubicle,'” she said.

“Let’s work together to turn work into something that we do, not something we need to go to. We work to live, not live to work and die,” she continued.

Senators Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian and Jinggoy Estrada have expressed support for Poe’s call.