How RCTQ continues work during enhanced community quarantine
Following the guidelines set out by the national government and the Philippine Normal University after Luzon was put under enhanced community quarantine on 16 March 2020, RCTQ has switched to the work-from-home scheme, enabling staff to continue meeting—albeit virtually—and delivering outputs and beating deadlines as they work safely in their homes starting on 17 March 2020.
In consultation with our partner institution, the SiMERR National Research Centre at the University of New England Australia, RCTQ Director Dr. Gina Gonong made specific work guidelines for RCTQ staff which she ensures are followed on the daily basis.
The arrangement also entails working remotely with RCTQ’s partners at the Department of Education such as the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) and the Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development (BHROD).
How has it been like working from home? Here are what some staff have to share:
I am thankful because not everyone has the same opportunity to continue working and earn despite the lockdown. I am thankful that I get to work from home here in our province, without my family worrying about me unlike if I was still in Manila. No need to worry about traffic, and for the first time in a long while, I have a full week that I have no late sign-in for work.
Sharing of ideas, decision-making, quality control of outputs and quick queries which would have been easier in an office environment takes longer in the ‘virtual office’. I am more conscious when sending emails or outputs because I need to ensure that I get my message across clearly. I think more about what else could my project leaders ask or ask clarification on; and I double-check if I have provided complete information. When we are in the office, clarifications are easily made unlike when working online.
– Ma. Izella Lampos, Project Officer (working from Quezon Province)
The work-from-home scheme of RCTQ gives me a sense of normalcy despite the fear, anxiety and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak. The first week was difficult as I was still adjusting to the platform, the schedule and the overall sudden change in the work setup. But the days after that slowly improved and became just a typical and usual working day from home for me. It makes me productive and busy while in a home quarantine, physically distant to others. In a way, it contributes to my sanity and overall mental health.
– Lizette Anne Carpio, Project Officer (working from Mandaluyong City)
In this period of social isolation, I notice how people are getting anxious and fearful about the whole situation. Being an anxious person myself, I think not having anything to do at home increases the level of intense emotions in a person. That’s why for me, working at home not only guards me away from the virus but also eases my emotions since I am still doing things I usually do even before the quarantine. It keeps my mind sane and it gives me some purpose.
In addition, the work-from-home setup fits me well since I’ve been wanting a semi-flexible work arrangement. It has the right balance of structure and freedom. It is now that I can wake up early without worrying about the traffic going to the office. Instead, I am slowly adapting to a morning routine where I can clean my room and exercise at home. I feel in harmony and in tune with my self and my family without sacrificing work.
– Jeany Burce, Research Officer (working from Manila City)
I can work at the most comfortable spot in my humble abode. It’s overlooking an empty street with a few lush green trees on the side. At least, it relaxes me despite chasing time for deadlines for my deliverables.
Working at home is more convenient. I can pause for a break while cooking a simple meal for myself. There’s no need to spend much for food and transportation.
– Philip Jay Alcoberes, PhD, Senior Program Manager (working from Manila City)
This work arrangement reduces stress as I can work at my own pace, save money on travel costs, and I can take breaks any moment after working a certain deliverable.
The only challenges are the internet connection and the difficulty in sticking to a routine because the atmosphere at home is not the same as in the office.
– Maher Usman, Research Officer (working from Paranaque City)