The future of remote work in Latin America
Remote work is increasing at a rapid rate the world over, with 70 percent of the workforce predicted to work remotely a minimum of five days per month by 2025. The coronavirus outbreak has pushed companies to start working remotely, whether they intended to or not. While COVID-19 may have been the trigger for some, it looks like remote work isn’t going anywhere. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we look at the future of remote work in the region.
Moving towards working from home
While the pandemic forced some companies to quickly adapt to working from home, many were already well-prepared. Team members that had experience working remotely up to a couple of times a week found it easier to adjust. Additionally, companies with employees in different parts of the world were familiar with collaborating from a distance. Tools such as Google Hangouts and Zoom calls were nothing new.
Other companies, however, were thrown into a panic and chaos ensued as they struggled to adjust. Managers rushed to purchase laptop computers and necessary equipment so operations could continue from afar. Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other communication tools were quickly downloaded and tested. Similarly, employees who were confined to their desks for the entire working day suddenly experienced newfound freedom.
Many companies still view remote work as a temporary solution that will continue for only as long as quarantine does. Once the pandemic is under control, they expect things to return to how they were pre-COVID-19. Remote work may not be permanently adopted just yet, especially as businesses are still figuring out how to adapt and stay afloat during the pandemic and economic slowdown. But it may not be that far off either.
Future office life in Latin America
Remote work will likely go through some changes in the upcoming months, which could impact what office life will look like in the future. More businesses may adopt remote work for the long term, with work-from-home opportunities replacing office-based roles. After weighing their options, companies may decide that remote work is the best choice, with increased productivity levels, reduced overhead costs, and other advantages.
On top of that, employees who have had a taste of the work-from-home life may not want to go back to being chained to their desks. The lack of enthusiasm about returning to office life is likely to result in more employees negotiating remote work arrangements. According to a recent survey, 70-80 percent of South Americans would like to continue working remotely.
A study from June 2020 found that the countries in Latin America that are most likely to expand remote work are Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. Another study found that Latin American countries are well-positioned for the remote work transition, with over a quarter of all jobs potentially being done remotely. It’s estimated that 31 percent of jobs in Argentina, 27 percent in Chile, 26 percent in Uruguay, and 27 percent in Brazil can be performed remotely. Moreover, many expats from the US, UK, and Europe choose to live in Latin American countries while working from home.
Trends that are shaping the future of remote work
It’s every manager’s dream to have employees that are focused, excellent communicators, and independent, yet who also can work as a team. Even so, companies that use the office-based approach still have difficulty reaching that level of performance and dedication since the environment can hinder people from getting there. Consequently, what often happens is that employees become seat warmers instead of helping the business reach their goals.
Companies that successfully implement remote work, on the other hand, will reap the benefits for years to come. When working remotely, employees are forced to communicate effectively. Employee performance is also measured by the targets reached instead of the hours spent at a desk.
Remote work is already common in countries such as the US and Canada, and industries such as tech. However, remote work in Latin America is still fairly novel, despite a growing tech and IT scene. With that said, the tech industry makes up 10 percent of all remote work in South America.
As more tech companies and startups in Latin America thrive, we can expect the remote work approach to grow in the region as well. If remote work is necessary again in the future, businesses and employees will likely be better equipped to handle it.
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