May 15, 2020

WFH While Keeping Safe and Productive

With the evolving needs of consumers and the challenges of experiencing natural disasters or pandemic, enterprises must be flexible enough to adapt and survive the trying times.

Teleworking or work from home set up has been one of the buzzing words upon implementing the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in some parts of the country. However, this work arrangement where an employee can do his or her job without going to the workplace is not a new strategy. Service industries in the Philippines have been adapting this set up even before the passing of the Telecommuting Act (REPUBLIC ACT No. 11165) and even before the Covid-19 pandemic happened. Some companies have allowed their employees to work from the comforts of their homes twice a week to ease their burden on spending hours on the road commuting going to and from work. However, employees of manufacturing companies and government agencies are facing the same dilemma in heavy traffic. With this, is teleworking feasible for manufacturing companies too?

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, this set up seemed completely impossible for manufacturing companies like IMI. Although the core activity of unit production cannot be done from home, some activities like documentation, data analysis, and others can be done remotely given adequate technology and communication platforms. The teleworking set up will challenge the maximum use of advanced technology and automated systems to ensure an effective and productive working environment. However, with the nature of the business, an employee will still have to go to the manufacturing facility occasionally. Work from home option can be once a week, twice a month, or whichever is beneficial to both the employee and company operations. Will it still be beneficial to implement partial work from home after the ECQ?

After the ECQ, the pacing and working set up will have to conform with the “new normal” guidelines on the General Community Quarantine. The Teleworking of some employees will ensure “social distancing” if the on-site workforce is limited. The mandated reduced capacity of PUVs and shuttle vehicles will also a big challenge to the transport system and thus having 100% of employees go to work will need more vehicles to take them from and to the manufacturing facilities. Apart from ensuring the safety of employees, work from home arrangements can also be beneficial to the company since fewer people will use electricity and other utilities and might require smaller office space. Even after the pandemic, we hope to find work arrangements that would promote better work-life balance and encourage higher productivity to employees thus resulting in a greater contribution to the success of the company. As stated in the Mobile Worker Toolkit, “Work is what we do, not where we are.”

Ma. Erika R. Laguardia

Contributed by:

Ma. Erika R. Laguardia

Lean Engineer

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Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc., also known as IMI, is one of the leading global providers of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and power semiconductor assembly and test services (SATS) in the world.