Teleworking and its impact on Mexico's economy

26/10/2020

Due to the global pandemic, we are going through, caused by the coronavirus, many organizations have been forced to implement new strategies such as teleworking, so that workers can continue to perform their tasks from home. Mexico is one of the countries that has implemented the new modality of teleworking, which has also been joined by Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

This has made people increasingly adapt to communicate through a screen and that work and social interactions are through this same medium, which could have repercussions on social relations over time as well. But this has also made employees much more aware of computers and telecommunications means.

How does teleworking affect the Mexican economy?

The appearance of the coronavirus in Mexico and the health contingency at a global level, has made the economy really affected, because although teleworking can bring good results, in some cases it requires face-to-face work and some countries have said that economic income has been damaged by this. There are countries where telework cannot be implemented or is reduced to only some economic sectors, also depending on how qualified the personnel is.

For example, in the United States and Europe, there are better conditions for offering this type of work, although there are still limitations, since those who are more likely to do so are insurance, financial, education, and other professional or research services. But in the case of those who need to test hypotheses, go to laboratories and perform tests in social and humanistic areas of science, they are more limited. In the case of Africa, only 15% can do telework, while in Latin America it is said that only 21% of the population can access it.

It should be noted that Mexico is one of the countries with the highest percentage of informal workers, in addition to the fact that this sector does not have the same protection and social assistance as those participating in the formal economy, so the economy is directly affected, because the application of the healthy distance has led to increased layoffs and cuts in income.

Informal workers are generally poorly educated, and their work is unproductive because they do not have sufficient training, which is the case with Masons, street vendors, gardeners, among others. Even at least 45% of the population joins the informal sector when they reach working age, performing tasks that require physical presence and social interaction, making it difficult for them to be incorporated into teleworking.

What about the formal economy?

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), it is estimated that in the Mexican economy only 16% of the formal sector can perform work tasks from home. So the rate of teleworking is still low, relative to the performance that is normally achieved, with respect to what work was like before confinement.

For the rest of the formal economy staff, attendance is mandatory, which has been a great challenge for government agencies and civil society, due to the great risk of COVID - 19 contagion to which workers would be exposed. To this end, ECLAC has recommended that the Mexican government consider reopening the economy, one suggestion being to activate priority activities with lower wages, especially those that require the physical presence of workers.