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'Dami Ko Sermon Sa Mga Bagets': How Parents Cope With 3 Biggest Work-From-Home Challenges
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  • While remote work proves to be the preferred route for many companies to take during this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it nonetheless presents problems to both employers and employees. These work-at-home challenges especially affect the employees as they simultaneously deal with issues concerning their jobs, relations, and well-being within the same space.

    The foremost obstacle in a successful work-at-home arrangement is the relatively spotty and slow internet in this part of the globe. That’s why it’s best to have the best digital tools, says management advisor and executive coach Ramon Segismundo, DBA.

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    Work-at-home challenge #1: Technology issues

    Indeed, the Philippines was found to be lagging behind its Asia-Pacific neighbors in terms of average internet speed by the 2017 “State of the Internet” report released by Akamai, a content delivery network services provider. The same result came out in the 2019 “State of Mobile Network Experience” report shared by the mobile analytics company OpenSignal.

    “Virtual meetings are sometimes challenging due to internet connection,” observes Ruby Rull-Tungul, an assistant vice-president and strategic business unit head of a retail company.

    She adds that communicating with her coworkers has become dependent on online devices: “When I need to ask about something, I’d have to message or call pa. Viber groups have been very busy since lockdown.”

    This online setup is particularly challenging for Lala Leal-Del Corro because her job in a major fast-food chain as area manager for operations “mostly entails being physically present to check and assist store operations.” 

    Lala has been working from home since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed in mid-March 2020. At that time, dining in restaurants was prohibited, but food delivery thrived. Later on, food establishments were allowed to let in diners under strict health and safety protocols. She started working on site during select days in September.


    Lala explains how she manages remote work, “I have to learn and be at ease in community with my people via virtual meeting platforms. I have to learn to be competent in conducting trainings online and be comfortable in attending webinars. Throughout all these, I have to adapt a learner mindset, so that I am more motivated to take on the challenging work given the new normal.”

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    Work-at-home challenge #2: Staying connected

    Working from home has lessened human interaction especially for employees who live alone, so they are susceptible to loneliness and anxiety. To address this problem, Dr. Segismundo suggests for companies to have not just the usual digital team meetings but also electronic parties and virtual celebrations.

    “Boss should do regular check-ins with their team members,” says the chief executive officer of a Singapore startup consulting firm. He adds that setting up employee helplines and 1-800 or toll free numbers are beneficial as well. 

    For the part of the employees, they can avoid catching the so-called cabin fever, or the feeling of irritability, listlessness and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors. Some of the cures for the COVID-19 cabin fever include having a healthy routine, trying something new, connecting with loved ones, and finding moments of tranquility. 

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    Work-at-home challenge #3: Distractions at home

    Ruby admits that one of the work-at-home challenges is being either “full focus or may tamad factor.” On the domestic side, she tends to scold her and her husband Jun Tungul’s kids Miguel, 12, and Rafaelle, 9 more.

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    She explains, laughing, “Since we’re together 24/7, dami ko sermon sa mga bagets kasi we get to see all their moves and ways on everything.”

    For her part, Lala notes that finding balance between work and family has already been a challenge for her before the pandemic and until today, even if she works from home and spends more time with her husband Adolfh and their 21-year-old daughter Arianne.

    “It is easy to be become too busy, too connected and too preoccupied at work from home,” she admits. She credits her family for keeping her grounded. “We work actively to ensure that we have ‘unplugged’ time as a family. 

    “We intentionally do more things together, from long family dinners to playtime with our English bulldog pet, Kelly Marie, and late night coffee talks. Bonding as a family becomes our priority.”

    There may be work-at-home challenges but there are also ways to overcome them and yield best results both work-wise and home-wise. 

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