20 June 2020 - Another episode of Fighting for What We Love, by Aksyon Klima, a national network of civil society organization working on diverse climate and development-related issues, was aired on Facebook Live. The program name was inspired by Che Guevara’s famous quote: “The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” The show was hosted by Francis Dela Cruz and Chuck Baclagon, featuring Charles Buking, Lily Pad Digital Solutions’ executive director, together with Lynne Brasileño of the UP College of Home Economics, and Jenny Tuazon of 350.org. The theme of the episode was “shifting technology and policy for the now.”
The segment jumpstarted with Francis Dela Cruz asking “what is good about online work? What are the advantages of going online?” Charles Buking pointed out three advantages:
- Being adept with the advancing technology. He said that exponential growth of technology engages organizations to adopt tools that will improve operational efficiencies. He added that it provides low cost strategies to small and medium businesses to provide a better fighting chance to compete at the same level against major enterprises.
- Gives wider reach to target audience. According to We Are Social 2020 digital report, there are more than 4.5 billion internet users. Nearly 60% of the world population is online. To him, going digital means a wider target market. Also, digital business can make sense of customer data, and valuable information to tailor for the specific needs of the audience. This would Increase customer retention.
- Data driven decision making. Digital tools can collect data and analyze effectively. Real time data are present. According to him, we may now know about consumers, competitors, and the movement of the products and the markets with ease. It also helps businesses create right decisions. Lastly, cost effectiveness. Going digital allows companies to go for more efficient working operations.
Lynne Brasileño added a perspective to this view. From her teaching lenses, there are generally two moods in teaching: synchronous or live feedback, and asynchronous which includes offline content like lecture notes, videos, and email instructions. According to her, the internet is an extremely useful tool, but internet access is not equal. Currently, studies about the most effective way to teach with a limited face-to-face interaction is undergoing.
According to Jenny Tuazon, digital engagement is a delicate balancing act. While being digital, we sometimes overly involve ourselves to the orchestration that we may forget to engage with other people. Instead, she said we must practice our capability to actively involve with the people you want to work with and to the individuals you want to get involved in your advocacy in order to get instant feedbacks from your target audience. She also stated that all the needed platforms are online, but we just need to get used to it.
In addition, she said that we get a lot of spaces to do test runs with digitalization. With this, users will increase their ownership and empowerment with their project. “I’ve been doing digital work my entire work history. Even before the pandemic I have been working remotely so usually working from home or from a distance place is normal for me. The good side of this is that I am also able to tend or look after things, personal stuffs or run errands that are needed to be done. It is so efficient for me because everything I need workwise can be organized and done online. So that’s a positive for me.”
While there are positives to shifting to digital, there are also negative implications of that shift. Charles Buking pointed out two main negatives:
- Too much screen time. With regards with his experience, he concluded that having less physical or face-to-face interactions with the people he is working with is tiring. “You cannot see the real time engagement. It is mentally and emotionally draining.”
- Digitalization is not for everyone. “Some examples are health spas, dentists, and experience-based restaurants. You cannot fully digitize them.”
Lynne Brasileño added, “as an interior designer, the way we behave is affected by space and atmosphere. With digitalization, the line between the office and the home is being blurred.”
Jenny Tuazon further discussed this stating that effectivity of work outputs might be affected when working from a distance. “A negative aspect of this is that I don’t get to meet the people I will work with or yet to engage with because sometimes face-to-face planning and brainstorming is a necessity, though there are online applications that can be used for brainstorming, the feel is still different when you are actually face-to-face with whom you are working with.” She added that the lack of body language and gestures affects her line of work because in advocacy labor, genuineness and authenticity are necessary and the deficiency of the said lacking factors affects this judgment.
What are the effects of this pivot, the sudden rise of digitalization demand?
Charles Buking explained that it is challenging because there is no face-to-face interaction. He further expounded that other customers do not have the resources to go fully digital. “What we are doing is capacity building for sustainability for the clients. In this way they would ensure continuity by having the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain the applications. Another initiative we are doing is we have a sponsorship program for non-profit organizations with limited resources. Larger organizations could sponsor smaller organizations for either digital marketing or web solutions to help elevate their operations to the next level.”
What are the policies that will make the pivot to digitalization less brutal?
Chuck Baclagon replied, “consider access. If we say transitioning towards digital, we must always consider it (access). We need a redefinition of it. For example, the Wi-Fi or the internet access, it is not a privilege but a right so dapat lahat may access.” He also added that “we must find the least common denominator and make that a standard so that no on will be left behind.”
Jenny Tuazon said that awareness is a necessity when dealing with digitalization because, according to her, the number of users will continue to rise. “Sana wag abusuhin ang pag capture ng data ng mga tao. Maraming vulnerable lalo na yung mga di sanay gumamit.”
Lynne Brasileño added that salary wages and other expenses must be considered because working from home might be more expensive to other companies or people because of extra fees.
“What is the best practice from your experience that you could share as a way to make your work from home experience not only productive but also meaningful in such a way that there is work-life balance and minimal stress?”
For Charles Buking, the most effective method is setting a schedule. “Remote works needs discipline. You need to be aware of the time. Kasi pag nasa bahay napakaraming distractions.” He also suggested that we should maximize project tools to easily manage your tasks.
Meanwhile, Lynne Brasileño suggested that we take a loot at physical space. “Kung may luxury of space sa bahay, we should learn to allocate spaces within the home that is designated for working alone so that you have different places to do your tasks to lessen stress.”” Do no mix-up space of work with space of relaxation.”
Jenny Tuazon suggested that we should be cope up with ways on managing our stress, so we do not overwork ourselves. “Manage your time properly. Have time for relaxation and have time for actual work.”
Chuck Baclagon concluded that we should, “consider the balance between the digital world and the real world. Shifting to digital has a considerable impact to the environment. We need to ask ourselves about the ways to balance those things considering that they have significant effects on the environment. Document your experience then share. Because those experiences may provide us the ways to propel us forward in the long run while facing this crisis.”