Note published in El CEO in the Economía [Economy] section by Carmen Luna.
Read the note in its original source
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought record unemployment numbers, it has also caused the reconfiguration of dozens of companies which have implemented work from home schemes, although this benefit could also lead to the elimination of more jobs.
Only in the formal sector, 1.1 million jobs were lost between March and June due to the confinement measures that have had to be implemented in order to decelerate the rate of coronavirus contagions. Therefore, some companies opted for remote work in order to continue operating.
In this scenario, some employers have come to see the advantages of teleworking, also known as home office, and even noticing possible inefficiencies in their previous manner of operation.
“The emergence of technologies that help make work more efficient will have an impact on the number of workers that may be employed in an organization. Through the increase in productivity or upon making a more efficient use of time, companies started to realize that they can rebalance positions; actually, in some countries within the region (Latin America) partial work schemes are gaining strength”,
said Blanya Correal, specialist in organizational strategy and labor relationships in Latin America.
She stated that, additionally, some companies are already thinking of part time jobs, because they realized that they do not require a full-time employee to cover certain activities. “I believe that this will be a post-pandemic challenge, where we will surely see this issue”.
According to the June PWC survey among finance managers in Mexico, 67% of them believe that remote work could become a permanent option for the roles that permit it.
“Remote work was a benefit before COVID, and now it is essential, circumstances are completely different, all companies need to create an ecosystem for this modality”, said Courteny McColgan, founder and CEO of the Runa Firm.
Nevertheless, only 20 to 23% of employees in Mexico can perform their duties from home, according to research conducted by Luis Monroy-Gómez-Franco ‘¿Quién puede trabajar desde casa? Evidencia desde México’ [‘Who can work from home? Evidence from Mexico’], published by the Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias.
This research shows that the majority of these activities fall within the right side of the income distribution line, that is, among employees with the highest incomes.
Additionally, in average, in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 87% of all households have access to internet at home, but the average is less than half in Colombia and Mexico. And while almost 81% of all OCDE households have access to a computer at home, this percentage falls to less than 50% in Colombia, Mexico and Turkey.
According to Blanya Correal, the activities that could suffer the most in regard to an adjustment in the number of jobs are positions of a more administrative type, such as data analysis, capture and processing, as well as design and conceptualization and customer service, such as medical representatives, where some pharmaceutical laboratories have already opted for online appointments with doctors.
Several countries in Latin America, including Mexico, have started legislative processes to regulate teleworking and establish clear regulations for both employers and workers.
In Mexico, the Senate approved the ruling through which Article 311 of the Federal Labor Law is amended; nevertheless, this process is still in the House of Representatives which, in turn, if such is the case, will approve it and send it to the Executive Power.
The ruling states that, as applicable, the employer must provide the teleworker with the necessary equipment and programs, as well as establish productivity and computer security measures which must be known and complied with by the worker as well as other provisions that establish each party’s obligations, rights and responsibilities.
Additionally, the employer must encourage a balance within the labor relationship with teleworkers with the objective of ensuring that they have a respectable job and equal treatment in terms of remuneration, training, social security, access to better employment opportunities.
In Chile, for example, the law establishing the right to digital disconnection was approved last year, giving the employee the right not to answer messages outside of working hours.
“Given that there is no regulation in Mexico, the idea is to define internal protocols that regulate the working day or, as a minimum, deliverables, because people have been almost 24/7 in companies in which the policy being adopted is the right to disconnection, where employees have defined working hours and the employer cannot have any type of contact outside of those hours”,