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Why Companies are Not Considering Work from Home?

Though work-from-home (WFH) sounds really enticing for most employees but let us also consider the employer’s concern regarding the bad effect of WFH. Though these may have solutions or workaround, just keep in mind not to get heart-broken if the company will still stick to the regular work-at-the-office scheme. Below are the probable reasons why companies will stick to the traditional working scheme.

Data-breach

Data is very important and for some companies these data are the bread and butter. Especially BPO and companies in the financial industry. They always make sure that they stick to the standards and comply with the global information protection policy or standard. So if your tasks are critical for them, either they will in-house you or not let you work-from-home in any way.

Reduce Social-Engagement

Humans are social animals, probably for now that there’s a community quarantine or a government mandate to stay home that’s why we are enduring it but perhaps, in the long run, we may not like being alone all the time. We may get bored and feel “boxed” when our routine becomes sleep>work>sleep and interactions become difficult. If we are in the office, even for a small period we laugh with our peers, chitchat during breaks, coffee or eat together and those activities may be insignificant back in the days but surely are impactful in employee’s sanity.

Meeting
image by Ana Carolina de S V Passos

Communication Barrier

Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout/Google Meet, Zoom, and other communication tools may be helpful in communicating with your peers in the office. However, despite the feature’s accessibility it’s not yet enough. We, humans, are used to communicate in person and there’s something on that connection that is lost in virtual.

Recently, I hosted our town hall and there’s this video presentation where I need to do some live voice-over. For me I’m not satisfied and I feel I did not deliver it well, there are portions that I missed to say because of the lag. It could have been easier to quickly resolve or make an instant workaround if it’s not virtual since facial expressions or gestures as the cue is easier between me and the operator.

Reduced reliability and retention

When you are working remotely, the internet is the only way to connect with your supervisor/boss as well as the team. Some of our applications can be accessed remotely thus the internet is necessary. Because majority of the work relies so much on the internet this has a risk in your productivity as internet sometimes fails us.

Some companies are skeptical about the employee’s reliability. We know that it’s easier to monitor someone’s behavior and attitude when you see them in-person than only in virtual. Some companies don’t just need their employee’s output but for them the relationship is important as well. Losing people because of not being careful is difficult for every organization.

Difficulty in Accountability

Because of the risk of attrition and reliability of the remote workers that the company feels. Giving them heavy responsibilities will be difficult for companies. The company needs time to test their remote workers for their trustworthiness before giving it to them. Companies are aware also that it’s easier for remote workers to wash-hands and sometimes gone in the wind when things are going south. Because of this, they rather want their workers to be within their offices as they can monitor as well as nurture them and let the workers feel that they are important. Everyone knows that nothing beats the personal touch.

*Chitchat and Shopping*
Image by cordula Mattioli

It’s not the end of it, don’t worry!

For employees and employers, this may be a hindrance for now but with the current situation with COVID that has no vaccine yet as of this writing, we are required to face this. Organizations will surely find ways to resolve the above and then perhaps in the future 70 – 90% will employ remote workers. For sure technology and process engineering will always find a way in resolving these problems. COVID-19 rapidly changes the landscape of how we work and forces companies in all industries to be creative. I believe that this 2020 is the start of a new era in lifestyle and in working.

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Career Job

Work-From-Home Advantages

Last November or December of 2019 a novel coronavirus burst and now known as COVID-19 and companies are implementing a work-from-home scheme for its employees. Now March 2020, the infamous virus is now on the shore of the Philippines islands.

As a way to lower the curve of the said virus, the government is implementing quarantine nationwide and some major cities where confirmed cases were reported are in Enhance Community Quarantine. The Enhance Community Quarantine or ECQ is a 24hour quarantine to all citizens of the said community, however, this is kind of impossible for some because they need to go to work. The government is asking private companies to arrange a work from home scheme to protect the employees at the same time continue the business. Though sad to say for some industries that really require a physical appearance in the field needs to temporarily halt the business.

In our case, we are lucky that our company has the flexibility to have work from home (WFH) schemes. Though I was already working from home since last year I can see the benefits of it if the majority of office work will be done at home. Below are the advantages that I noticed during this time where almost corporate people are now in WFH.

Less Traffic

Here in the Philippines a lot of means to commute are plying in the streets of the metro. There are busses, jeepneys, tricycles, motor scooters, and motorbikes, and of course private cars. They are all outside especially during “peak hours” because of one reason either to go to work or go back home. During the quarantine these are all reduced as most people are at their homes. It even looks like a ghost town and I’m not used to it yet because normally it’s very difficult to get a ride starting at 6 AM in my area.

Less Air Pollution

With less car running, there are posts in social media that for the first time the horizon of Metro Manila becomes clearer and it’s like for the first time people are able to see the mountains behind those buildings.

Traffic
photo by James Malone https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesmalone/

Reduce the Stress in Commute

On the normal day of a corporate slave, we spent our first 1 to 2 hours after we woke up preparing and then next is struggling in the commute. With work-from-home, we have more time to spend on ourselves. Either more time to sleep, prepare meals for kids, or maybe time to send them to school.

Work-Life Balance

As mentioned above with work-from-home 2 hours of our day are now spent on a precious and personally important matter. If both parents are work-from-home they both see their kids and spend a quick time with them. Families are more bonded as they are all eating together during munch times. Most parents, their life now are their kids so spending time with them is enough. For single young professionals, that 2 hours time maybe spends on what they love to do instead of waste it in the commute.

Safety

For night shifters like me, it’s always a risk for us to commute during night time. It’s like anytime someone will snatch our bag or maybe hold us up and get our possesions or worst kill us. With WFH, we don’t need to deal with that everyday risk. WFH also spares us from road accidents as we don’t need to go outside and risk ourselves.

saving
Photo by Normal’s Overrated https://www.flickr.com/photos/telaebersole/

Work-from-Home can Save Expense Cost

This perhaps both employees and employers will benefit from. For employees, commuting is part of their budget and depending on the employee’s location and the traffic situation sometimes commute budget is higher than 20% of their monthly salary. While for employers, if the majority of their workforce are work-from-home then they don’t need to rent for a large office space. Also, employers can also save in toiletries, coffee, sugar, electricity, water and other maintenance-related expenses.

Efficient Meetings

This is what I noticed too during the course of my work from home for a year and now. Meetings are direct, small chitchats are compressed and there’s a focus overall. We are able to finish our online meetings on time and at the same time answers the questions or discuss most of the items on the agenda. Meeting online reduces the hassle of booking conference rooms that is always fully booked. Though if you have kids then that part may be a drawback.

Comfortable Working Environment

With WFH you don’t need to dress that itchy uniform or maybe tuck and don that dress clothes that look you stiff. You can literally start your work immediately after you wake up if that’s what you want. You can wear your most comfortable clothes as well as set up your room in the most comfortable mood you prefer.

work-from-home girl checking her laptop on her bed with a mug on her hand
Image from Sincerely Media

Surely the coronavirus scares us all but it also opens possibilities and some benefits. Companies that are afraid or not considering the Work-From-Home have an actual “demo” of how WFH will benefit or not benefit them. Though still there are reasons that companies might not totally consider this kind of work scheme, and I’ll post another blog about it. But as a corporate professional, it is nice to learn that the company that we work for also cares for us in times like. Going the extra mile just to balance the business and the welfare of their employees; and I think that is the most important factor to consider.

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Career Job

Why Recruiters should highly consider soft skills than hard skills

Mostly when we look at classified ad sites such as jobstreet.com, mynimo.com, and linked.com the companies’ job posts usually highlight the hard skills that applicants must-have. There’s nothing wrong with it of course because that’s the way to be specific. However, some companies are too attached to it that they miss the high-value jewel because they are busy looking for a specific stone.

Tip for the job applicants: online classified ads include company profile, this is where you can see the soft skills they are looking for. Check their vision and mission statement or the description of their company culture.

Some companies already are aware of the diamonds in the rough benefits of focusing on soft skills but there are still others that are missing it. That makes recruitment difficult for them, especially if the job post is difficult to source. In the outsourcing business, companies need a pool of people ready to take the roles needed by their clients. When they pitch there sale, the availability of workers is a must but if the Human Resource department is struggling to get one that is where the doomsday starts. A loss of a potential client, or costly venture if they will pursue with the client (as they need to outsource from another vendor), or risk in the reputation (relying on another vendor removes the company’s control in quality) is what will be the next path if it’s not mitigated or resolved immediately.

Photo by Pixabay

In the outsourcing business, most of their people must be in-house so that there’s a control over the quality and cost. It gives them confidence that their valuable resources are learning the same curriculum that they provided, aware of the policies and limitations, knowledgeable of the metrics needed, and are all on the same page and same goal.

In the previous company that I was with, their tribes or teams are not really all IT and programmers, some are nurses, physical therapists, chemical engineers, and other college graduate people that are not really or totally not align with their current role. This company hires as much as they can and train them according to their assigned role. They don’t necessarily look at the hard skills of their applicants but to their soft skills. Let’s just say that they are hoarding the valuable asset of every company. This company believes that hard skills may change as technology evolves, as industry requirements change, as market demands shift. They invest in training their people with the demanded technology and focus as well on developing the leadership skills of their people.

I have a friend who shared their struggle with her colleague before that so arrogant and lazy. She said that he was hired because he posses the hard skills that their company believes to help them. But this lad did not help the company, instead, he resigned after receiving the bonus and left them scuffling. The codes he left are good but difficult to maintain. They were frequently late too to their schedule and the company keeps paying the penalty. She can say that hiring that person was really a mistake.

So those are just a few that I can think of why soft skills are the best gauge in hiring an applicant. Soft skills are the driver of a person’s career to help the company grow.

Highlighting and nurturing soft skills on resources/employees assured the company that their invaluable assets are adaptable and flexible to whatever challenges they are facing as a whole.

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Career Job

Advantages of Job Hopping

Being young and a millennial, we have this mindset, that we need to experience and maximize the opportunity that we have. It’s like we are in a hurry for something, that we are like in a race but some of us (including me) does not know yet where exactly we’re going. So, we tend to try and experience everything as much as possible; try and grab all the opportunities.

This is very common to us in our career and how we manage it, according to Robert Walters, a global recruitment consultancy and recruitment outsourcing provider that 91% of millennial professionals top priority is career progression and if they don’t get what they want they jump from one company to another. There’s a risk on that and I posted that one JOB HOPPING, but despite that, there’s an advantage too! That’s what I observed from a close friend and I’m somewhat envious because she had so many experiences. Anyway, below are the advantages of Job Hopping (very contradicting to my other post, I know but I just wanted to be fair that it’s not all bad).

  • Experience – obviously, the more you hop the more company names listed in your resume. They’re like badges but beyond that, you experienced so many cultures, policies, and strategies that you can use in the future. As they say, the experience is the best teacher.
  • Networking – you immerse yourself as you got the new job so naturally, you get along with new friends, new enemies, and people in general in that company. These people may help you, they may recommend you, suggest you for a job, and these different people also harness your “people person” skill.
  • Exposure – it’s not always that you land the same activities as your previous job but more often every company you land requires you a different solution. As you try to solve it you also learn new skills, techniques, approaches, and practices. You acquire and expose to new skills as you hop from one company to another.
  • Compensation Increase – Most of the reason that you put to your resignation letter is greener pasture. That’s normal, everyone wants that value that they think they deserve. When you are highly skilled, this is very much possible; your experiences, network, and the new set of skills help increase your competence to the market.
  • Opportunity – somewhat related to the above, when you look for a greener pasture you also look for an upgrade. You don’t want to be in the same role as your previous job; you want something new! With the right mixture of the above mentioned, this is not impossible too. Job hopping is what others are doing to move up into the career ladder faster.
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

There is no right amount of time and the right way to hop jobs since we are all unique and we all have different paths to take. Some people hop faster (gaps like 6 months to a year) while some hop slower (3 to 5 years) but there’s always on it that is inversely proportional. You can hop faster and network and opportunity may go high but skills and credibility go low and vice versa.

At the end of the day, it’s your decision. If you believe that moving to another green field is what benefits you as a person then go ahead! Just be strategic in your decisions because there are times that the green grass you thought was actually plastic and maybe the best strategy is to water the grass that you have now. So, think carefully and always have a back-up plan. Good luck!

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Major Attributes of Leadership

Leadership is a characteristic, not a title. There are a lot of leaders as per their title that does not possess leadership and there are a lot of people as well that possess leadership who’s not labeled as a leader by the society, community, or organization.

Part of the things I learned from reading the book of Napoleon Hill is he listed down the major attributes of leadership. Check yourself if you have these attributes and assess if you deserve your title to be a leader or does people around you consider you as a leader despite your commoner status, probably because you have these attributes.

Jon_Snow_and_Ghost
Jon Snow (right) and Ghost (Left) of Game of Thrones, art by Wons Noj from Wikimedia
  • Unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupationLeaders are the people who always the first to put their foot in the water. They don’t know what’s in there, they don’t know how deep, how cold or hot, they don’t know what will happen but they still do it. They have the courage to do things that they never experience except that they’re aware of themselves that the challenge they are facing is something that they can pass through as per their assessment in their arsenal. They know the difference between courageous and suicidal.
  • Self-control. The man who cannot control himself can never control others. Humans are emotional and emotion is a dangerous substance and should be handled with care. It can poison others as well as ruin plans and even progress. A true leader knows how to control his own emotions as well as the people around him. Emotion is like muriatic acid, you keep it away when it’s not necessary.
  • A keen sense of justiceleadership will be challenged by misunderstandings and chaos within the organization or community but a leader who is fair and just is a leader who is strong and true to his members which in return will keep the respect of his followers; there is no leader if there’s no follower.
  • Definiteness of decision. The man who wavers in his decisions shows that he is not sure of himself. A leader is expected to drive the group to a direction and if the leader keeps on changing courses the followers will lose their confidence. You cannot lead if even to yourself you have doubts. 
  • Definiteness of plans. The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan. A good leader must have a plan to where the group should be heading. This is what makes a person with a leadership attribute stand-out from the crowd because he has definite plans for the group and he’s able to convince the group to follow his plans.
  • The habit of doing more than paid forleadership is a passion, it’s a calling, and it could be a life mission. Leaders lead the group towards their goal 24/7 and 365 days a year until the goal has achieved. Leading people is a difficult task and no amount of money can compensate it but a truly good leader still do it even if he is not paid to do it.
  • A pleasing personality. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Let’s face it we humans are judgmental and after all, as they say, “first impression’s last”. If you want to be respected, you should act and look that you want to be respected. This is not just for leaders or aspiring leaders but for everyone, your image is a reflection of how you want others to treat you.
  • Sympathy and understandingyou are a human and so are the leaders, if you will become a leader someday you must still possess that human version of you and not a cold, hard robot or a walking bible of your goal. You need to be flexible too because you need to be understanding and sympathetic; not all can handle the path that you are following, sometimes you need to teach them first and not expect to get it right immediately.
  • Mastery of detail. You got the plan, you know how to execute it then you should know every detail of it. Sometimes, you’ve been in this path and you went back because you want to lead others. That is how your followers look at you, whether you are new to the path or have been on it, they expect that you’ve mastered it; that you will bring them there to whatever goals you both are common.
  • Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation. Not because you are the leader, the members will bow down to you immediately, you need to earn that respect first. There are 2 forms of leadership: Leadership by Consent, and Leadership by Force. Leadership by Consent is by far the most effective. You need to show to your followers the practices, goals, attributes needed to achieve the mutual goal, and most importantly understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort.

Sooner or later we will all become leaders in our field of choice or to sometimes we don’t have a choice 🙂

As our age is incrementing, the people, especially the young ones are expecting a lot from us. So as young as now we need to start acquiring and practicing these attributes to ourselves so we are ready when the time comes.

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Why Job Hopping is Bad

It’s the first quarter of the year; I heard this again in the hallway or company cafe: the plans of my fellow colleagues in thinking or planning to resign and look for greener pasture. Since Christmas bonus and the 13th-month pay were given so there’s an expectation that employees are now looking again for another opportunity outside their current employer.

There’s nothing wrong in looking for another opportunity but if you are just 2 years or less in the company maybe you should think twice or more and consider tenuring a little more. In every decision, there will always be pros and cons but in this post let us talk about the consequences assuming that you have weighted already the pros.

  • Questionable experience – Knowledge and experiences are better than payslip. If you look into Jobstreet and other job-listing sites, the majority of the requirements for a good role or your target roles required at least 3 to 5 years work experience. That is because companies want to hire an employee who has a shorter learning curve and recruiters as much as possible want less guesswork and gambling to less experienced applicants.
  • Recruiters will ask your level of optimism – Why not consider opening another door within your company; besides from company politics which you cannot remove, one of the reasons why employees are looking for another opportunity outside is they feel stuck. But maybe it’s because you did not explore other possibilities within your organization or make the most out of your role, as the saying goes:

    The grass is greener when you water it…

     

  • Employers will question your loyalty and reliability – Trim and polish your image as a candidate for your next job. Employers are hesitant to hire employees that have a lower sense of loyalty and lack of commitment. Replacing a new employee will cost them money too.

    man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting
    Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
  • What is your career goal? This is very important, ask your self before leaving the company. Why should I quit my job? If the answer is because it’s not aligned with your dream job or your carer goal then go ahead and hand over that resignation letter. 41% of employers accept less to applicants whose age is 30 years and up, so while your still young hop to the job that you see a good path towards your career goal and stay and grow right there as much as possible.
  • Your survival rate outside – some of my colleagues will jump out without a new company to land on yet. They have this “bahala na” or come what may principle which is very risky. If you are a breadwinner, resigning without a new company to land on is not a good choice. If you are going to resign make sure you have enough savings to support you and your family while you are still looking for a new job or make sure another company is waiting for you; you don’t want your family to starve and suffer because of your impulsive decisions.

According to HR professionals, the rate of changing job in a year for millennials is 51%; that means millennials tend to experience 2 employers in a year (6months tenure per employer). If the pros are better and weighted more than the cons I mentioned then go ahead and go for that leap. Yes, you own your career but be strategic.