The 21st century began with the promise of many changes in our daily lives. Several of the hopes for transformation were inherited from the 20th century. Working from home used to be a distant possibility that in Latin America we saw as satire in series like The Simpsons. Limited access to the internet, a work culture based on going to a fixed space to perform a position, and the lack of a compelling reason that would force a change in the status quo made the home office look like an idea destined for the near future.
However, the emergence of COVID-19 served as a strong catalyst to drive many transformations that would otherwise have taken place in a slower and more rugged way in our region. The closure of spaces indefinitely served as motivation for thousands of workers to replace the offices with the study or living room and the common dining room with the kitchen of the home. This transition was not without resistance from all those involved.
Now that vaccination is advancing in several countries and that the contagion curves in various areas show signs of a slow return to a world where SarsCov2 does not dictate the rules, an analysis of the effects that working from home brought with it is being proposed. Many will return to their offices. As many others will work in a hybrid system. A few fewer will continue to carry out their functions at a distance.
The evaluation of telework will allow us to know if the labor market is definitively coupled to this modality or requires a return to a face-to-face scheme. For this reason, we list some trends observed in our region that are worth studying from market research in order to plan the best response for each work team.
- Reducing long-term fixed expenses. Several defenders of teleworking point out that by reducing expenses in areas such as rent for physical offices, payment of business services, and man-hours wasted in commuting from home to the workplace, it is possible to invest more resources in areas such as innovation and training . However, not all jobs can be adapted to this scheme as those focused on customer service are.
- Driving goal-based work. A reality of the labor market in Latin America is its low productivity. In some work centers, meeting office hours does not necessarily translate into tangible and profitable results. The home office encouraged many people to meet their work goals more efficiently, since in this way it was possible for them to have free time in other neglected work activities due to dispersed approaches or in personal and household tasks.
- Evidencing cases of disproportionate surveillance. Not everything was positive for some people who had to adapt to teleworking. In several countries the media reported cases in which workers were called upon by their bosses at night, on weekends, and at meal times. Some were required to have their computer cameras turned on at all hours and to install tracking applications on cell phones to ensure workers spent all their time at work.
- Expanding horizontal and efficient communications. Before COVID-19, communication in a work team could be somewhat slow and was not without obstacles. Teleworking demanded that the messages exchanged by the members of a work center be short and direct. This condition helped many people avoid wasting hours in meetings that are now resolved in emails and text messages.
It is undeniable that most of us urgently need to go back to see our co-workers. Coexistence between colleagues was compromised after long months of confinement at home. However, it is necessary to plan which response gives the best results to each work center.
At Acertiva, we are ready to help you understand this and other phenomena that markets experience. Many alterations in our way of seeing and transforming the world are still in process. Therefore, it is worth investing in understanding this ever-changing environment in order to prepare the best responses. Find us today so you can tell us about your needs. We are ready to be part of your next success story.