BY Sydney Dormitorio Laws
In the busy streets of business districts, some people think you should be thankful of surviving through a 45-minute traffic jam. For some people, this could be worse. A two-hour commute for a 9 to 6 desk job and a two-hour commute going back home has always been an issue for working professionals, but because they don’t have a choice but to go to work 5 days a week, this has become the norm.
Recently, the Philippine government signed House Bill 7402 which seeks to provide the employees an option to work from home, allowing employees of private and public organizations to avoid the costs and hassles of public transportation. With the efforts to institutionalize new working modes such as telecommuting and flexible time options, existing company policies will be affected but ultimately without compromising the standard quality of work.
For both employees and HR professionals who are accustomed to the traditional work arrangements, it would be expected that they have doubts regarding their deliverables, and that’s completely understandable. But perhaps these benefits from Work from Home Bill could help alleviate the existing uncertainties.
Apart from its evident employee benefit in the avoidance of the horrendous traffic conditions, working from home could help employees with their expenses. This is especially true in Metro Manila, where traffic conditions are said to be the third worst in Southeast Asia due to employees spending an average of a thousand hours a year in traffic . With the lack of effective transportation, the working class is forced to use a more convenient transportation such as TNVS (transport network vehicle service) that costs 4x more than their usual commuting expense.
The daily mandatory office work is physically and mentally tiring regardless of how much you love your job. The air quality  in cities only worsens due to the volume of vehicles going in and out, and the stress-levels of employees only rise higher as a direct result of wasted hours of being stuck in traffic, pollution, toxic surroundings, and unhealthy food choices. Working from home allows the employees to reserve their energy to focus on their work objectives, eat healthier home-cooked meals, and refrain from the stress of the daily traffic.
A recent study  from Stanford predicted the outcome of working from home through a group of 500 employees from a company in China. To avoid the expensive and long commute going to their office, a controlled sample worked remotely while another worked on-site. Employee attrition rate decreased by 50% among telecommuters. They took shorter breaks, took less time off and had fewer sick days. The results allowed them to determine that working from home allowed the employees to work more efficiently than working in-office and they actually worked a true full-shift than those employees who come late to work or leave very early. However, the participants mentioned that switching to have a full work-from-home job made them feel isolated. Hence, the researchers recommend work from home for a selected number of days but not for the entire week to instill a productive mindset.
Giving employees an option to take a day off the busy, loud, and crowded office, allows them to be in an environment where they feel more comfortable and focused. In a survey by PGi, working from home has improved morale  of 80% employees, improved stress levels by 82%, and avoided absenteeism by 69%. Trusting employees with the way they use time while working from home, or the act of allowing them have that as an option, definitely improves their morale which, is also a huge factor contributing to their job satisfaction.