Coronavirus News Asia

‘Home work’ economy looms in post-pandemic world


The strangest May Day in human history dawns and dies. No other May 1 dedicated to the worker had millions out of work in a global economy shut down by a virus.

But the road ahead could be stranger, a post-Covid-19 world where the abnormal becomes the new normal.

As governments face restlessness of home-weary people wanting to get “out,” as harassed presidents and prime ministers desperately seek a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods, the safe solution is to take the way already shown.

One way shown during these lockdown days is how many millions can continue working from home. They should be allowed to do so, enabling others needing to go out to work in a pragmatic economy balancing Covid-19 gains with a return to normalcy.

Half the workforce being able to work from home reduces by 50% the overcrowding, traffic snarls, toxic pollution, and corporate operational costs. It continues the hygienic “social semi-distancing” to keep away the next pandemic.

“Home work” is not new. I remember it being lustily bandied about as a generational change when the world became more familiar with the terms “Internet” and “” circa 1997. The Covid-19 lockdown only returned the old and dusty to a new shop window.

‘Home work’ economy

Early into the lockdown in March, telecommunication companies began offering special schemes to support people working from home. India’s state-owned BSNL announced a free [email protected] plan with faster broadband Internet connectivity to landline subscribers, including free 5 gigabytes of data daily. Jio and Vodafone doubled data for customers, while Airtel had a “platinum network” for working from home.

Residential Internet usage has surged according to Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based Internet-infrastructure firm serving clients and 26 million websites across 194 cities in 90 countries. Demand has soared on residential broadband networks for videoconferencing amid an unprecedented home-based workforce.


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