Most of us have used online applications several times during the pandemic to communicate with our friends, class, family, or job mates. It has become part of our daily lives.
Since 2020, many people who weren't used to online meetings and platforms have learned how to do their tasks through computers or mobile devices. And though it was kind of hard at the beginning for people of all ages, we all have proved ourselves that we can do a considerable number of our activities online. The International Labor Organization said that in the second quarter of 2020, near 23 million people were telecommunicating in Latin America. Of that number, 20 to 30% were working people. Before the pandemic, they represented less than 3%.
The home office generates many benefits for workers, families, the economy, and sustainability. First, workers have more freedom to manage their time, feel more comfortable at home, and are not stressed about what to wear or how they will get back home. Family relationships get stronger while spending more time with their sons, daughters, or partners. Plus, businesses don't have to spend on supplies and logistics for in-person jobs. Some organizations do not even need an office to carry out their activities. Finally, the home office is sustainable because people do not need transportation to get to their jobs. CO2 decreased in some areas during the quarantine, and many lakes and rivers became cleaner.
But not everything is fantastic. Home office comes with a few problems such as bosses who will demand any work, at any time, not having adequate space to work, having face-to-face activities that require contact with people, or using special machines that workers do not have at home. And one of the biggest challenges is the connection: no internet means no work. Roxana Maurizio, a regional specialist in labor economics, points out that Latin America is known to have labor structures with low use of information technologies and significant digital gaps. For this reason, the teleworking situation is not equal among the different groups of workers.
The good news is that the solutions are real and close to most problems. In addition to the jobs that need to be face-to-face, doing most of our activities online is practical, easy, and better. And one of the primary key strategies is to invest in connectivity. Suppose we work together on providing Internet service for all of Latin America. In that case, the home office and benefits for workers will increase, and education and communication between communities lend a hand to their development.
What's true is that the home office came to stay. But we have to be conscious about our privilege of having internet access. In that way, we should work for a social change that brings everyone the opportunity to get to the information only a few have now.
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