Before I started working from home, I used to hate working during December.
It wasn’t that there was more work to be done during that time. A lot of things contributed that made working during the Christmas season frustrating.
- The traffic is worse.
- There’s also the depressing fact that while I was working everybody else was on vacation.
- The additional familial and societal obligations that you have to fulfill like Christmas shopping and reunions also made more demands on my time.
I lived really far away from my parents back then. So I had to wait for Christmas to go back home. This gave me very little time to spend with them. At that time, my husband was working in a call center which meant there were some Christmases or New Years when I didn’t see him at all.
Once I started working online, things got better. I didn’t have to commute anymore. I got to spend more time with my family. And I made enough money to support us.
When December started to come in on my first year as a virtual worker, I started experiencing some of the anxiety carried over from my days of working in an office. My anxiety mainly stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t sure what the system was. Should I work over the Christmas break? Will I encounter the same problems as before?
I was lucky that Onlinejobs.ph had an established system. Our bosses take a week off during the Christmas break and we’re encouraged to do the same. Sometimes, I would work on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve but the experience was easier. I was at home and can still be part of the family celebrations. It was also a lot less stressful because I could adjust my work schedule to avoid traffic and make time for Christmas parties and shopping.
As I started meeting more and more Filipino virtual assistants, I discovered that a lot of people had the same anxiety as I did about working during the holiday season. With ‘traditional’ jobs, there are clear company policies that let you know if you should work over the holidays or not. Most people think that with online work, there’s no standard.
Like any job, with online work you could fall in either of two categories. You either 1) have the Christmas break off or 2) you may have to work over the holidays.
Businesses that offer the virtual assistants the Christmas break off are closed during Christmas. In some job posts, this is already specified and you’ll know early on. Or you could ask your employer if this is the case for his business.
Some businesses, especially in e-commerce, the holidays can be the busiest time of the year. Your employer may ask you to work over the holidays. But the great thing about working from home is even though you’re on the job, you can still be part of the Christmas gatherings. And like a regular job, working over the holidays also means higher pay. So not only are you spending the holidays with the family, you’re getting more money for the holidays.
Julia has been working for OnlineJobs.ph since 2012, first as a writer and now as its social media manager and content development specialist. She also founded the Davao Virtual Assistants Association, the biggest VA association in Davao City.
She’s a full-time wife and mom and volunteers her time as an internet rights advocate.
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