In the Philippines, where the commute to work has been described as downright hellish, the prospect of trading in those slacks for a good old set of sweatpants (or boxers, we won’t judge) seems particularly attractive.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Maybe you’ve been wanting to spend more time with your family, maybe you want to cut that dreadful work commute out of your life, maybe that meeting with an old officemate who used to look like a war prisoner is now working from home and looks oh-so-fresh. That thought alone opened your eyes to the ongoing daily drudgery that goes on in your workplace.
Whatever your reason may be, once you’ve decided to take that plunge, here’s what to expect from working from home:
Overhead Costs of Working from Home
Many people believe the “work from home” setup is a chance to cut back on significant living costs. For the most part, this is true. After all, travel expenses and work lunches do comprise a huge part of one’s monthly spendings.
The cost is hardly zero, though. While this might not be apparent within one to two months of doing work from home jobs, you’ll find that they do tend to add up and come in bulk as opposed to being spread out daily.
A regular full-sized modern desktop computer typically consumes around 300-350 watts per hour. 350 watts multiplied by a minimum of 8 hours per day multiplied by 20 (working) days per month gives us roughly 56-kilowatt hours of usage per month.
At the current rate of P9.4523 per kWh, that comes up to P529.32 per month of electricity usage. And that’s just for the bare minimum of 40 hours a week without any special considerations for your specific line of work like dual monitors, large graphic card utilization (for video rendering and specialized applications for graphic artists), and a number of peripherals plugged in.
IF you’re looking into cutting those costs a bit, you can always opt to work on a laptop. They normally only consume around 70-150 watts.
Also, depending on what kind of remote work from home jobs you’ll be doing and how the overall power delivery is in your area, you might find yourself springing for a gas-powered generator and all the gas-related expenses should soon follow.
While in many cases, your existing entry-level residential connection should suffice, keep in mind that there will be situations where moving to the next tier of service from your Internet Service Provider will be necessary due to data capping and better overall bandwidth. These mid-tier connections fall under the 20-30 Mbps speed range and typically costs between P1500 – P2000 per month. If you were under an entry-level plan, this means almost doubling your internet bill.
Speaking of doubling, most employers require a backup internet connection. This doesn’t mean actually getting a new subscription, though. Modern mobile phones will almost always have an option to share its internet connection, that way you only pay for what you use when you use it. Just make sure your mobile service provider provides good reception where you live.
Okay, now you’re probably thinking that surely this is a shoo-in for savings, right? How can eating from home possibly be more expensive than eating out?
When your fridge is just a couple of steps away, that’s how.
Before you know it, your P50-P100 workplace lunch serving has now mutated into five P30 meals and snacks. DAILY.
And modern technology puts each and every craving you have under a 30-minute wait time and at your fingertips. Literally. Just tap away on any of the many available food delivery apps.
Heck, if you really felt like it, a quick 15-minute drive to your local 24-hour fast-food chain for that juicy double-patty burger doesn’t seem like much of a chore, does it?
For all the jokes said about how the coffee in the office tastes like week-old sludge, it has one thing going for it: It’s FREE week-old sludge that does the job of perking you up.
And that sums up all the experience of all the free things you take for granted in an office setting: Water, air-conditioning, that beat-up-yet-still-comfortable ergonomic chair, paper, paperclips, staples, envelopes, the copier, laminating machine and printer you use for party invitations and whack around whenever they act up – you get none of those unless you’re willing to pay for them.
Not the Salary/Benefits You Want (Yet)
This realization of this is where most home-based workers tap out. The frustration of a reduced income coupled with probably many calls from office-based recruiters convinces them that this line of work might not be suited for them.
You Need to be Prepared to Take a Hefty Pay Cut
Healthcare and Government Benefits
In probably every early case of entry level work from home jobs, you’ll find that there is going to be a huge disparity between what you used to make and what they’re willing to pay you for online jobs at home. This is normal.
You also need to be prepared to lose out on a couple of fringe employment benefits like the employer’s share on social security payments and comprehensive health care insurance. Although there ARE employers who offer these to their home-based employees, they will be few and far between. In most cases, you will need to pay for these on your own.
Not ironically, this realization is also where the wills of veteran home-based workers start to get galvanized. Many brushes up on their skills, gather knowledge, and downright make life-changing decisions with regard to their living expenses in order to either overcome the income deficit or work towards commanding better rates.
We can’t say how it’ll turn out for you personally as we all have different needs and situations, but know this: however you choose to deal with this, as with any other industry, once you get over this particular bit, things will start to look up.
You Are (still) Very Much “On the Clock”
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here: Working from home is not an invitation to slack off.
Depending on the project you’re working on, many employers require time-tracking software in order to measure your productivity, performance, and how much you’ll actually get paid.
The clock is a lot tighter when working from home. That time-tracking software will be sure to take periodic screenshots of whatever you’re working on and counting your mouse and keyboard activity. Oh, and you forgot to clock in at the start of the shift? Good luck getting that adjusted and explaining where you were prior to that.
In regular office environments, we have those “going-through-the-motions” days where we’re not at 100%. You could be nursing a hangover, you could be thinking of that big event on the weekend or you could just be plain “not-feeling-well”. While all of these are sure to affect productivity, none of that usually matters as long as the clock reads an in at the start and an out at the end of the day.
Not only that, but also depending on the kind of work that you do, but you might also actually end up working longer with home based online jobs. Many home workers fall into the trap of not being able to successfully differentiate between work and playtime. Working longer than you’re normally used to might give you a bigger paycheck at the end of the month, but at the cost of subconsciously stressing you out.
Learn to Read Between Lines (or Not)
In case it hasn’t fully dawned on you yet, working from home entails not actually speaking with your co-workers for long periods of time. While that might seem like a blessing at the start, you’ll find that it gets really old, really fast.
No Inter-Office Banter
Chats and Emails Will Be Your Main Means of Communication
Video/Voice Calls are Limited
Imagine: no water-cooler joke times, no shared smoke-break chats, no quick “did you hear about…?” moments. At around the one-year mark, even the most isolated of introverts will need some sort of outlet to discuss work with.
Unfortunately, these channels have a bad habit of not carrying context. We’ve gone through all our lives communicating verbally and non-verbally, and all of a sudden, ALL non-verbal cues get thrown out the window. There will be virtually no way for you to tell if a “Good Job” message means a genuine appreciation of your work or if it’s a sarcastic way of letting you know you did poorly.
And sure, video and voice calls exist, but you’re still only seeing/hearing what the other person wants you to see or hear. You will need to learn to read and write between the lines. Ask for clarification when needed, over-communicate when needed, be prepared to expound when needed – but on the flip side, don’t dwell too deeply on every single thing anyone writes to you. It’s one of those things that only come with experience.
Let me tell you straight out: if you have a constant fear of missing out, you had better try to kick that to the curb quickly or work towards getting around it.
Don’t Expect Too Many Invites
To most people outside your work and nuclear family, you will be out of sight, out of mind. That means you’re probably not going to get invited to many events and special occasions. Don’t hold it against your friends or family. What did you expect, after all?
You can either accept that OR try to put a more conscious effort into maintaining contact with people outside your house.
Memorize your Job Description
And speaking of people outside your house, here’s a kicker: if you’re the type of person who cares about it, you need to prepare to explain exactly what it is you do over and over again to them. Most people will be under the impression that you’re available at all times of the day simply because you work from home. You don’t want them barging at inopportune moments when you’re working. Or sleeping. Or not. Ultimately your call.
But by far, the most unsettling thing about working from home is working for the biggest, baddest, meanest, most demanding boss out there.
While you are, of course, going to be reporting to someone when you do legit work from home, you are ultimately going to be working for you. All the old rules are gone and “You” will have discipline issues, inexplicable urges, and strange working habits all throughout.
You need to prepare to keep “You” in check. You need to keep “You” active and inspired to go to work every day. And while “You” will have a million different reasons for staying comfortable under those sheets and just not moving, you will need to whip “You” into shape and discipline as necessary.
There’s No Place Like Home!
But if we’re being a bit too critical of the negative expectations out of working from home, it’s only because of this simple fact: there’s just a no better set-up.
Ask anyone who’s done it for more than a year and the answer will always be the same. The great part is that there’s always some work waiting to be done as long as you know where to look and have kept yourself sharp as far as your skills go. There’s virtually no end to the things that can be done no matter what field you specialize in or where your interests lie. We’ve all seen how big the BPO industry ballooned to the last two decades, and this is exactly that, but much, much more convenient and comfortable!
So get ready to wear those ruby red shoes and repeat after us: There’s no place like home!
Are Legit Online Jobs Stable?
While this is probably the biggest thought running through your head, you’ll soon find that it’s the most inconsequential. Working from home in the Philippines initially sounds like a flash in the pan, but freelancing is not a new concept – it’s just that the increasing availability of high-speed Internet AND the exponential growth of the Internet in general has grown the number of jobs that can be done remotely.
Bottom line: Legit online jobs are as stable as any other job can be. It’s fast-paced, exciting, convenient and relies on technology – pretty much how any modern job is. In point of fact: there are people who have been doing this for as long as 20 years already!
How To Work From Home?
Knowing how to work from home and how to start is the more important question – far more important, even, than when. Your best bets will be the following:
- Knowing Someone
- Cast a Wide Net
– connections are key to ensuring you land a legit online job. You are far less likely to be scammed and far more likely to get something that aligns with your interests by getting in contact with someone you know who is already working from home in the Philippines.
– there are many sites that are in constant contact with potential clients like so make sure you hit them up and sign up for their mailing lists. Join a mailing group, an online forum, an FB ring – cast a wide net and drop a CV whenever you can and be sure to check your email for alerts every now and then.
What are the best work from home jobs?
Contrary to what you may be thinking, the very best work from home jobs you should be considering are not the ones that offer you a huge upfront salary (although it is a great bonus if they do).
Instead, consider one that aligns to your specific skill set and interests. Remember, you are going to be doing this during what feels like “downtime” at home. It will be very easy to be distracted if a legit online job doesn’t pique you.
And make no mistake: there is something for ALL interests. Just make sure to connect with the right groups.
What is a good reason to work from home?
Ask a million different people and you’ll get a million different reasons for working from home in the Philippines, here are the most common:
- Kids and Family
- Forces beyond our Control
– While working from home should absolutely not be equated as a substitute for childcare or geriatric care, it does provide us with the very unique and convenient ability to always be present for our children or elders – a very common living situation in the Philippines.
– In cases where the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Workers otherwise relegated by traditional companies as liabilities due to debilitating health conditions will find new life in the workforce by going with a legit online job. Note, though: this assumes that the spirit is willing (to work, that is).
– As we have been made acutely aware of with the recent COVID situation, legit online jobs are a virtual godsend. No explanations necessary.