Women and men think differently. Has the beauty of work from home (WFH) – more family time ---  diminished?

 

Majority of the women no longer prefer a WFH arrangement at the current level. As much as they want to do “office work” at home, they are not able to due to the stronger blurring of work time and home time divide, exposure to a range of vulnerabilities, and multiple burden.

In contrast, more men will choose WFH to lessen physical and psychological stress (from commuting), more family time and better relationships, better work-life balance, among others.

This was revealed by the recent study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines’ (DOST-NRCP) Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay on Gender-responsive WFH scheme in a post-ECQ scenario.

The study was participated by 310 respondents, 195 females (62.90%) and 115 males (37.10%) who are NRCP members (professionals from State Colleges and Universities/Higher Education Institutions (SUCs/HEIs), who are mainly engaged in teaching, research, administrative work, and consultancy services). The participants took the 2-week online survey from June 26 – July 10, 2020.

Among the 310 respondents, 286 are on WFH (Females = 185; Males = 115).

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The above figures reveal that more women will not prefer WFH in the new normal while majority of men will.

Photo source: Powerpoint presentation of Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, DOST-NRCP Executive Director

The gender situation of both men and women in having poor access to WFH productivity- enhancing resources resulted to difficulty in staying motivated to work at home. It also caused both the feeling of uncertainty and low self-confidence in one’s work performance.

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The above photo reveals the low state of WFH productivity of the respondents.

Photo source: Powerpoint presentation of Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, DOST-NRCP Executive Director

With these results, Dr. Sumagaysay pushed for the adoption of a gender-responsive WFH arrangement. Even the study has minimal respondents, she believed that it somehow tickled the WFH reality. She also said that further WFH studies in the public sector should be done to be able to officially lobby and bring the evidence/scientific results to Civil Service Commission (CSC) and policy makers in aid of WFH-related House Bills such HB 6623.

She also calls for an action to make WFH as an option that men and women in government can freely choose in the new normal.

The results of the two-month study suggests that a gender-responsive WFH scheme in the new normal must consider, among others: not all men and women may qualify for WFH (vis-à-vis nature of work); time-flexibility; output-based; salary and incentive scheme; pandemic-proofing of research and field work protocols; and work-hours must observe no emails/narrative reports for submission on weekends/evenings.

The study also looks into the productivity enablers according to men’s and women’s situation/roles. These enablers include: financial and technical support for setting up a workstation at home; wellness and HR development programs for men and women on WFH; and activation of GAD help desk (monitoring for IPV and other gender issues)

This NRCP preliminary study was derived based on the experience of the respondents during the first three months’ lockdown and quarantine restrictions due to the pandemic (i.e. March 16 to June 15, 2020).

Executive Director Sumagaysay presented the results of the study during the DOST-NRCP KTOP-COVID (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya – COVID) webinar, on September 28, 2020 via Zoom. The event was graced by Undersecretary Renato U. Solidum, DOST S&T Services, and DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and was attended by representatives from the CSC, head of HR in SUCs HEIs, Department of Labor and Employment, House of representatives, Employees association, NRCP members, and gender advocates.

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In photo: Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, DOST-NRCP Executive Director, Dr. Renato U. Solidum, DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services, and Prof. Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST Secretary during the 4th DOST-NRCP KTOP-COVID (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya – COVID) webinar, on September 28, 2020 via Zoom.

The next KTOP-COVID series to be featured will be on the Mapping of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) in the Philippines in the time of COVID 19 Pandemic by Dr. Elizabeth P. De Castro, NRCP Regular Member and Professor (retired) University of the Philippines Department of Psychology on October 13, 2020. The said webinar was postponed from the original schedule of August 25, 2020. / Jenny Leigh A. Daquioag, NRCP