Remote Working Could Lead To Workplace Inequality

Remote Working Could Lead To Workplace Inequality

SINGAPORE – A human resources (HR) expert thinks that the new work arrangement brought by the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to inequality in the workplace, dividing staff into 2 classes, namely “zoomies” and “roomies,” reported The Straits Times on Tuesday morning (3 November).

The term zoomies is derived from the video conferencing app Zoom. It refers to workers who participate in virtual meetings. On the other hand, roomies refer to personnel who are physically present in the same office or room.

“Because in-person meetings now are more difficult and rare, they seem to be reserved for only the most important people,” said human resources consulting company Mercer’s Career Solutions Leader for Singapore, Lewis Garrad.

Consequently, those who can go to the office despite the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19 will be viewed more favourably by the higher-ups, raising the status and employment prospects of roomies over zoomies, who can only contact the office online.

“We often forget that many people go to their workspace to be seen. People don’t just go to a workspace to work. They go so that other people can see them doing work and be seen as valuable,” noted Garrad.

Workers are keenly aware that having in-person conversations with their managers and supervisors is important in creating a good relationship with their bosses, as well as fostering trust and for career progression.

Meanwhile, businesses that are able to level the playing field by ensuring that such class division doesn’t happen will discover the advantages of a cloud workforce, where staff don’t have to be in the same area to do their job. Some personnel could even remotely work from a tropical resort, mixing recreation with business.

“Some work can be done remotely on a permanent basis once companies get better at measuring individual contributions,” Garrad added.

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