Although teleworking is not a recent phenomenon, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures that began to be implemented to reduce contagions, this modality of work increased significantly around the world, as well as in Latin America.
Among the benefits of telework is the facilitation of the economic continuity of certain companies that were affected by the pandemic. In addition, it helps in terms of labor relations, a very important fact if we remember the great impact of the crisis of labor markets in Latin America.
Despite this, we must say that the arrival of teleworking presented a number of challenges, especially for Latin American countries and for those companies that had to adapt quickly. Not all workers in certain companies were able to telework, leaving them without a job. On the other hand, workers who were engaged in technical and administrative positions had more chance to continue with their work.
Despite advances in telework regulations, challenges remain. In recent years, workers most frequently mentioned the challenges of working hours, overtime pay, equipment supply, health and safety.
Latin America has experienced an economic boom in the last decade, with high natural resource prices driving growth, which has led to a slight reduction in poverty. However, a large portion of the population in Latin American countries still live in extreme poverty. Many of the people in Latin America do not use online social networks at all. Therefore, the big shift to telecommuting spelled disaster for all those people who do not have the necessary resources such as a computer, internet or social networks.
In general, hospitality workers, as well as those in lodging, are the hardest hit by having the least “teleworkable” jobs. This means that very many people in Latin America who work in these sectors have been left without work or have been at the greatest risk of losing their jobs. Among the most vulnerable people in Latin America:
- Women could be particularly affected, even undoing advances for which they have been fighting for so many years, such as equality in the labor spheres. This is because women are few in the most affected sectors, and many women are involved in childcare and housework, jobs that have been affected in the marketplace because of the pandemic.
- Young workers are very unlikely to telecommute. This suggests that the crisis could amplify intergenerational inequality.
- Part-time workers and employees of small businesses face a higher risk of job loss. Part-time workers are often the first to be laid off when economic conditions deteriorate. In developing economies, part-time workers and those in informal jobs are at much greater risk of falling into poverty.
We also leave a list of general disadvantages that influence Latin America in particular:
- Among online jobs, it is difficult to find permanent contracts.
They are mostly freelance jobs that offer their advantages, but at the same time they are jobs that can end at any time. Unless it is the company itself, with which you already have a contract, which offers you the possibility to do all or part of your work from home.
- Online jobs require good organizational skills.
Because you work alone and do not receive any stimulus from your colleagues, you may feel lost many times. Not everyone is able to organize themselves according to prioritize if there is no superior to manage the workflow.
- Working from home means less personal interaction
Certainly, you may encounter professional confrontation via chat or email, but there are no company breakups.
- Working from home requires discipline and the ability to concentrate.
Your own home is a constant distraction. It is necessary to know how to organize oneself as well as possible so that, when the time comes to get to work and be productive, distractions are reduced to zero.
In conclusion, since the advent of teleworking, many sectors have been affected in Latin America, causing a higher unemployment rate. However, people are adapting to teleworking little by little. There are companies that even prefer workers to work from home and have not gone back to bringing their employees to the office. Over time, what was lost during the pandemic has been recovered and many sectors are returning to normal.