WITH enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila nearing the 60-day mark, Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) executive directors for commercial leasing Lylah Fronda-Ledonio and Phillip Añonuevo now have their work-from-home (WFH) routines down pat.
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio starts her day by preparing breakfast for herself and her husband at 8 a.m., squeezing in a YouTube workout before beginning work at around 9:30 a.m.
“I think I have shorter hours now compared to before. Unlike now, I used to have several consultations from my team, which eats up a lot of my time. With this WFH, consultations became fewer. I can focus on my tasks and finish on time,” she said in an e-mailed reply to BusinessWorld questions.
Mr. Añonuevo, who usually had to meet clients and colleagues face-to-face, initially thought his productivity would go down as a result of the WFH set-up.
“I find that I can do the same amount of work while at home and to some extent more work can be done since I don’t have to go through two hours of traffic every day. What hampers productivity is our inability to meet with clients and show them buildings and properties, which is an essential part of the type of work that we do,” he said.
While the WFH set-up has blurred the lines between office and home life, Mr. Añonuevo avoids making calls or sending work-related messages after office hours. “I usually stop calling clients at around 5:30 p.m. except for some who are used to chatting in the evening. I message colleagues up until about 8 p.m. I don’t message them often at this time knowing that they have their families and need their personal time too. It’s the same as when we weren’t in quarantine,” he said.
DESCRIBE YOUR HOME OFFICE. WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU WISH YOUR HOME OFFICE HAD RIGHT NOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER/MORE COMFORTABLE?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: Although we have several rooms in the house, I prefer working in our living room… I like [having] the TV on so I can watch the news while I work. I have two small tables. The big table is for my laptop, and the smaller table is for the remote controls for the TV, cable, ceiling fan, diffuser, and portable speaker. I wish I had a big printer beside me — also, another screen to review and compare several documents.
Mr. Añonuevo: I use one of the rooms in our house as my home office. I usually conduct business using my mobile phone and do not need a lot of space. Nonetheless, I use my personal table as my workstation. I have all that I need to work efficiently.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK-FROM-HOME ATTIRE?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: It depends. Sometimes, I wear shorts and a simple shirt, with light make-up and earrings. Other times I wear my comfy pajamas the whole day. For video calls, I just change my top to look more presentable.
Mr. Añonuevo: I wear casual attire at home which includes a collared shirt, especially when video calls are needed.
HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF INTO “WORK MODE” WHILE AT HOME?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: Shifting to work mode is not a big issue for me since I am used to bringing my work home. I am actually enjoying it. I love it that I am working and get to cuddle my fur babies.
Mr. Añonuevo: I can shift to work mode immediately after messaging a colleague to inquire about the status of an engagement. Shifting to work mode is not a big issue for me since I like my work. One thing that I noticed is that because of the gravity of our situation, the delineation of work and personal life seems to have gone [away]. I always try to maintain a positive attitude despite the current situation but I do not deny that we are in survival mode.
ANY INTERESTING EXPERIENCES WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: I have three super active dogs, and all are Jack Russell terriers. For our internal calls, my colleagues are used to the barking of my furbabies. One time, I forgot to mute my phone while giving instructions to our helper to mince some onion and garlic for dinner.
Mr. Añonuevo: My kids would sometimes hear me talking to my colleagues. Sometimes, I would wish that they would take interest in my work, and corporate real estate, and remember these times when they are choosing their careers.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU LEARNED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME? HOW WOULD YOU APPLY THESE WHEN THINGS GET BACK TO NORMAL?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: Though it’s comfortable working from home for me, I do get worried for my other colleagues who could be either living alone in a condo or may need something but are unable to go out so I check on them once in a while, or I send food to their homes. After this lockdown, I’d like to continue looking more after my colleagues.
These times we are in made me see that there is so much to be grateful for: our families both from work and at home; the quietness of working from home while being with my family and furbabies and having a simple meal with my hubby; connecting with my LPC family remotely and knowing they are ok; these are everything that I am most grateful for.
Mr. Añonuevo: I found it very important to be organized and to declutter my desk and files. One can achieve finishing tasks on time with focus. With this work ethic, the day actually goes by quickly.
WHAT WILL YOU MISS THE MOST WHEN YOU GO BACK TO THE OFFICE AFTER THE ECQ ENDS?
Ms. Fronda-Ledonio: I will miss the comfort of my home, my rest time in the afternoon, watching Korean dramas and other series on Netflix and Amazon Prime, my daily cooking adventures and, of course, cuddle time with my furbabies 24/7.
Mr. Añonuevo: I will miss not having to go through two hours of traffic to get to the office every day. I will miss the quality time spent with family of course. But I long to go back to normal work life. — Cathy Rose A. Garcia