BPO employees share tips on how to find your home-office sweet spot

TELUS International Philippines (TIP) is among the many businesses in the country that have adopted a blended set-up when operations resumed amid the quarantine period. Only a small percentage of the company’s workforce personally reports to the office at any given time to make sure physical distancing is maintained and safety protocols are strictly observed. Majority of the customer experience (CX) and digital IT solutions provider’s staff work from home.

“Since our team members have worked from home for months, those who are starting to come to the office may be surprised to find protocols that they aren’t used to,” said Andrew Araneta, Site Senior Director for TIP’s McKinley Exchange office in Makati City.

Work-from-home team members of the business process outsourcing (BPO) firm have shared insights on how they have found that ‘sweet spot’—that site within their home where they can be most productive as they adjust to the company’s hybrid workplace.

Sweet spot TIP 1: Set up greener spaces.

Plant-loving online communities are sprouting up all over social media. While it’s a good side hustle for many, jumping on the bandwagon to start your plant collection can greatly improve the ambiance of your workspace and also contribute to your good mood. It’s better if you can set it up in a small corner where air circulates freely so, even when you work the night shift, it feels cooler and calmer.

Ria Ferariz, TIP team member, says: “It’s true that tending to plants can be relaxing. There is a good flow of energy and it easily brightens up my work area.”

 

Sweet spot TIP 2: Know and manage your internet connection.

Not all homes are blessed with a strong internet connection. Know where the internet is spotty and where the connection is strongest, especially for activities like video calls that need a reliable connection. Since the start of the community quarantine, TIP provided internet connection subsidy to maintain productivity for those who are working remotely.

“I created a workstation in the corner of my room where our internet connection is strongest,” explains Paulo De Torres from TIP’s HR team. “I also make it a point to tell my housemates whenever I have important video meetings, so they don’t eat up the bandwidth by watching Netflix at the same time.”


Sweet spot TIP 3: Find fun ways to manage home and work life.

Much like at work, everyone at home is a stakeholder with their own respective needs and habits. This is especially true for employees whose children may compete for their attention in the middle of a looming work deadline.

“What I do is explain to my kids why it is important for Mommy to focus on work during certain hours without making them feel that they are not part of it. Sometimes, I ask them to be my officemates, provided they stay on their side of the office as they attend their online classes,” said TIP team member Ana Carlos. “There are days when I have to make compromises such as a promise to watch their favorite movie with them during my break or help them with homework if they give me the time I need to finish my tasks. It helps that my team also understands my responsibilities as a mother.”

To cater to the different interests of team members, various special interest groups at TIP take advantage of online quiz sites like Kahoot! or applications like Houseparty to mount virtual get-togethers and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Sweet spot TIP 4: Take periodic breaks and vacations.

Whether at home or at the office, it’s important to remember to take regular breaks from tasks. According to a study conducted by health and hygiene company Essity, those who take time off and savor their meal breaks are able to recharge and power through their tasks better than others. Physical movement between screen time is encouraged, such as stretching to reverse the effects of sitting for long periods and to help improve blood circulation.

Taking vacations, or staycations in this case, is also very essential and something that TIP encourages their team members to do. “It is important for us to remember that vacations and time to detach from work are vital in enabling us to sustain performance, productivity, creativity, and prevent burnout,” said Araneta. “Any athlete would tell you that recovery is an essential part of peak performance, and the same principle rings true for everyone. That’s why we encourage our team members to talk to their leaders and plan their vacations so they take time off when it makes sense and matters most for their personal wellbeing.”