Saturday, February 22, 2020
In fact, the coronavirus is already proving to be the biggest experiment in working from home in history: firstly, of course, because of the scale of a threat that is rapidly expanding and spreading relatively easily. But secondly, and we should not forget this, because the maturity and availability of the technologies needed to work remotely are already within the reach of most of us. In many parts of China and in other countries, workers in a wide variety of sectors, practically all those whose daily work does not involve a relationship with any specialized asset or any specific type of machinery, have been isolated in their homes, subjected to routines of periodic temperature taking and the use of technology to monitor their activity. This circumstance, logically, is not only testing the resistance and habits of these people, but also that of their employers in keeping going.
We might usefully ask then, to what extent could our employer maintain its activity in the event of measures such as those being implemented in some areas of China? A good part of the future of the work could be related to being adapted to being done from home, even without circumstances that force this to happen. Many of the day-to-day activities of workers could be transferred to a remote environment where they would be more comfortable, reducing the inconveniences associated with daily travel and enabling greater comfort and even, according to many, improving productivity. But these supposed benefits do not come overnight, and the technologies and training required need to be tested to put them into practice smoothly. Why not consider a time like this, with more people working from home than in any other circumstance in history, to test that context?
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