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Susan Haight said that with the lifting of restrictions, the question everyone is thinking is whether this “unusual pattern” will become a “new normal”. Some large companies in advanced economies have stated that after “large-scale unplanned pilot” work carried out due to the new crown epidemic, telecommuting may become the standard model. Employees do not need to commute to work unless they choose to do so.
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So, is this really good? Susan Haight said that for humans and the earth, this may indeed be worth celebrating. However, the idea of ending the “office” must be exaggerated. The ILO estimates that in high-income countries, 27% of workers can work remotely from home. The question is how can we adapt to this work arrangement and benefit from remote work without losing the social and economic value of the workplace.
In addition, many people will be unemployed because the pandemic has brought some industries to a standstill. For those returning to the workplace, the quality of work will be a key issue, especially the safety and health issues in the workplace. In this regard, employers need to discuss the process of maintaining social distance, conducting monitoring and testing services, and ensuring that personal protective equipment is available.
Susan Haight said that for workers in the gig economy, such as food delivery and electric car service, these workers may not have sick leave and unemployment benefits, or such benefits are insufficient. The ILO estimates that during the first month of the crisis, the income of nearly 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy fell by 60%. These workers simply cannot work remotely and face the dilemma of “life or livelihood”. Some countries take measures to increase basic income, while also ensuring that employees and customers, informal enterprises and workers are provided with adequate sanitation and personal protective equipment.
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