AVN 63.94 Decreased By ▼ -1.02 (-1.57%)
BAFL 29.95 Decreased By ▼ -0.30 (-0.99%)
BOP 4.64 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
CNERGY 3.88 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
DFML 13.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.15 (-1.11%)
DGKC 40.64 Decreased By ▼ -1.56 (-3.7%)
EPCL 47.01 Increased By ▲ 1.20 (2.62%)
FCCL 10.99 Decreased By ▼ -0.42 (-3.68%)
FFL 5.05 Decreased By ▼ -0.12 (-2.32%)
FLYNG 5.76 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.69%)
GGL 9.78 Decreased By ▼ -0.26 (-2.59%)
HUBC 61.85 Decreased By ▼ -1.45 (-2.29%)
HUMNL 5.66 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-1.57%)
KAPCO 27.52 Decreased By ▼ -0.31 (-1.11%)
KEL 2.14 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.47%)
LOTCHEM 24.23 Decreased By ▼ -1.10 (-4.34%)
MLCF 20.78 Decreased By ▼ -0.79 (-3.66%)
NETSOL 83.19 Decreased By ▼ -1.80 (-2.12%)
OGDC 86.27 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.05%)
PAEL 10.78 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-1.28%)
PIBTL 4.11 Decreased By ▼ -0.12 (-2.84%)
PPL 76.26 Decreased By ▼ -2.26 (-2.88%)
PRL 13.66 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.29%)
SILK 0.88 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-1.12%)
SNGP 40.86 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
TELE 5.87 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-2.17%)
TPLP 15.61 Decreased By ▼ -0.39 (-2.44%)
TRG 109.97 Decreased By ▼ -1.73 (-1.55%)
UNITY 13.80 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.36%)
WTL 1.14 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.88%)
BR100 3,967 Decreased By -58.9 (-1.46%)
BR30 14,185 Decreased By -217.7 (-1.51%)
KSE100 39,871 Decreased By -579.3 (-1.43%)
KSE30 14,898 Decreased By -212.2 (-1.4%)
Follow us

WASHINGTON: Virtual reality meetings, $7,000 all-in-one kits and digital hot desking: Big Tech is rolling out premium tools as the work-from-home era looks set to last well beyond the pandemic.

But experts warn that while top-of-the-line features may benefit privileged Americans, millions of others can barely access remote work tools already available.

Facebook has unveiled online "workrooms" for users of its Oculus virtual reality gear, and Google showed off interactive conferencing displays, declaring the "hybrid" mix of in-person and remote work is here to stay.

Yet outside of Silicon Valley and other urban centers, basics like a fast internet connection and proficiency in remote tech is beyond the reach of tens of millions in the United States.

"For many people, being able to work from home is still a luxury," said Michelle Burris, a senior policy associate at progressive think tank The Century Foundation.

One reason is access to high-speed connections, with advocacy group BroadbandNow saying in a May report that 42 million Americans - about 13 percent of the population - cannot get broadband internet.

Another problem is equipment as many workers have to buy their own.

Take the example of Patricia McGee in Texas - a 39-year-old mother of four who switched from an Amazon warehouse job to remote customer service work for another company when pandemic lockdowns hit about 18 months ago.

She had to plunk down $2,000 to get a computer, not to mention the price of internet and the process of installing software and updates.

"Not everybody can afford a computer. So it's taking jobs from people that can't (buy one) or actually don't have the skills (to use one)," she told AFP.

Her machine broke a few days ago and because she had exhausted her paid time off, McGee can't work or make money until her computer is back online.

The digital divisions exposed by the pandemic are well-documented with striking examples like families using the wireless internet at fast food restaurants so their children could attend school online.

As schools and workplaces have, in many areas, moved gradually back toward in-person activity, some inequalities have been eased.

But a percentage of workers have come to appreciate the flexibility and utility of a "hybrid" mix where they can work from home sometimes.

"It's one of these innocuous seeming things that looks like it's convenience but it can be - unless we really address and acknowledge it - another tool for increasing inequality," said Monica Sanders, a Georgetown University professor. Sanders noted that this is different than other technological developments, like the latest smartphone or even having a videocassette player when the machines revolutionized home entertainment.

They didn't "impact your earning power or where you live or how you work," she said. The change in how people work has not gone unnoticed for employers, with digital skills for zoom presentation or remote management tools working their way into job ads. Author and remote work expert Rhiannon Payne said virtual reality will become as normal a part of how people do their jobs as cell phones and laptops.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Remote work goes 'luxury', but many may be left out

Rupee closes at fresh low of 269.63 against US dollar as the great fall continues

Pakistan facing adverse consequences of Ukraine conflict: FM Bilawal

Islamabad Court sends Fawad to jail on judicial remand

UAE president’s visit to Islamabad postponed over ‘bad weather’

Sheikh Rashid’s Lal Haveli residence sealed over ‘illegal occupation’

Asif Ali Zardari sends legal notice to Imran Khan over ‘assassination’ remarks

KSE-100 falls over 500 points in aftermath of Peshawar blast

Inflation to cross 30% as rupee depreciation, petrol prices bite: report

Oil steadies as rate hikes loom, Russian flows stay strong

EAG concerned at ‘inadequate’ SBP response