How Remote Offices can Transform Developing Countries
How to Transform Developing Countries through Remote Offices?
Many organizations ordered their employees to stay at home when the government imposed the lockdown. Since then, employees have been doing their work remotely from the comfort or increasingly back-aching discomfort. It is not usual.
Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over a third of American workers (35.4%) teleworked in May as the country was in complete lockdown. The percentage is lower now, as some states have attempted to resume their work. However, the COVID-19 crisis has nonetheless promoted expansion in telework in American history up to today.
Richard Baldwin, Editor-in-Chief of VoxEU and an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, thinks that this is just the beginning of a vast global shift toward remote offices across continents.
Baldwin, in his 2019 book ‘The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics, and the Future of Work”, predicts that “tele-migration” is likely to become a significant economic force shortly because employers in rich Western developed countries begin to export tasks to less expensive employees in developing countries, using technologies such as Slack and Zoom. The revolution to globalization will not hit manufacturing work because the “China Shock” of the 1990s and 2000s did. However, the services jobs that employ most Americans, including Americans with college and advances degrees, maybe hit. This has already occurred to call centers in South and Southeast Asia, taking over customer service roles for many organizations, but the change Baldwin is foreseeing is much broader.
If we scrutinize the last six months, we can distinctively see how companies have embraced remote work. Many companies like American Express had set up shared service centers in countries such as Argentina or Uruguay, where employing people is cheap. The British law firms opened up centers in Kenya and trained people in the British law system. They’re superior yet cheap lawyers by London standards. So, it’s already happening.
But a big challenge was a lack of coordination between remote teams, so there was inertia in the office.
The real issue was not only tariffs; it was a whole combination of things.
It would help if you had collaborative software, and the team needs to know its operation to make the communication effective. Also it would be best if you had secure internet connectivity with a laptop and Zoom cameras, relatively good microphones, a place where you can have an hour-long teleconference without any interference or continual video-bombing, and also a place to keep the data safe to share the documents. You need to make sure your team knows how that works.
India always lacked infrastructure in terms of robust internet connectivity. Hence, the leading companies in Bengaluru set up privately, initially with satellite links, not through the government. They even had their own electricity sources to avoid disruptions. Internet connections are not that expensive now. However, you’d wish to connect these undersea cables or all that kind of stuff to get a secure connection.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is well prepared digitally, and they have a list of for the government to improve. However, it seems not a topmost concern of the government.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, mostly those are affected who have never had any globalization exposure. People will be competing based on wages with foreigners who have never had to follow this before. The newness might cause discomfort for a while.
When the news broke out, people couldn’t believe that Japan produced cars better and cheaper than the United States.
The initial surprise is that somebody who thinks $5 an hour is a middle-class living will be competing for jobs while living in a different country. They are likely to come to your office, doing things like translation, copy editing, graphic design. You will realize that they don’t face the same cost of living in a developed country like the US or Europe. They are neither unionized nor paying special taxes, which may cause a backlash.