The Philippines’ office sector preps for hybrid work scheme post-pandemic

To prevent burnout, Senate introduces bill to respect employees’ “rest hours”

The lack of physical interaction of employees at the office does have an impact on the company culture. Nattakorn_Maneerat/Shutterstock

In the Philippines, a 2021 survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters revealed that 33 percent of employees favour the hybrid work setup, whilst 52 percent disclosed their willingness to turn down a role that requires 100 percent office attendance, reported BusinessWorld. 

Yet, Kimberlyn Lu, the managing director of Robert Walters Malaysia and the Philippines, said that the work-from-home arrangement does come at a price. The lack of physical interaction of employees at the office does have an impact on the company culture, which is why a hybrid model that allows them to spend time with their families and co-workers is the most ideal solution. 

“Leaders need to make sure that the outcomes are clear. They need to present the key focus areas at the start of the year… and (regularly) reiterate what the goals are and how workers can get there,” she added. 

She also shared that burnout could happen when working from home. She advised: “Companies that wish to promote sustainability and long-term productivity need to promote physical and mental well-being, speak openly about it, and (have their) leaders model it.” 

To prevent this, stated that Sen. Francis Tolentino has submitted a bill to penalise employers who invade employees’ “rest hours”. This meant that meetings and assignments should not affect their personal time as workers transition to the work-from-home setup. 

In Senate Bill No. 2475’s explanatory note, the Senator said that even though the remote work scheme has enabled businesses to continue its operations amid the oubtreak, “sometimes, technology and work-from-home arrangements distort the idea of work and home from the point of view of the employees.” 

More: Commercial real estate recoups as hybrid work model takes over work from home set up

He commented that this setup has led employees to “virtually always (be) at the beck and call of their employers” even outside of regular work hours.  

In this bill, “rest hours” are defined as any time consumed other than the normal work hours rendered by the employee, which should not be over eight hours a day as stated under the labour laws. 

Overtime work will only be allowed if the employee provides their written consent or if it is authorised by labour laws. 

“While we recognise the benefits of work-from-home and telecommuting arrangements, they have thinned the line between work and personal space and time,” Tolentino concluded. 

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].