The move towards remote working has come about largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. People were forced to work from home as companies shut their doors and made their employees work remotely.
However, post covid there is still a trend towards working remotely, at least some of the time. Although this arrangement might work well for some people, it often has a negative impact on employees of a lower socioeconomic status.
Types of Job
Some jobs naturally lend themselves to the practice of home working more easily than others. Many IT workers, who are predominantly white-collar professionals, have been working from home for years, long before the pandemic.
However, other positions such as in the service and manufacturing industries, which tend to be dominated by people of a lower socioeconomic status tend to require the physical presence of their employees.
This means that it is generally more difficult for people of lower socioeconomic status to enjoy the benefits that come with home or hybrid working such as no commuting costs or a better work/life balance.
Traditionally, middle or high-earners have enjoyed more job security than lower-income workers who tend to be concentrated in less secure or seasonal positions. The service industry in particular relies on staying busy to keep their employees at work.
However, it is precisely these industries that have been hit hardest by the remote working culture.
For example, if there are more white-collar workers working from home, they don’t need to buy a subway ticket or a latte on the way to work.
This decline in the service industry leads to greater unemployment among those with lower socioeconomic positions.
Cuts in Employment Benefits
There are lower-status positions that can be carried out from home. There has been a rise in the number of positions available in remote call centers, for example.
However, many of these are now being offered on a self-employed basis meaning that workers who take up these opportunities are likely to miss out on employee benefits such as paid vacations, pensions, and workers comp insurance held by the company, which gives them an income if they are injured or sick and can’t work for a while.
Essentially, losing out on access to workers comp insurance can lead to further disadvantages and push them lower down the socioeconomic scale.
Many employers will provide their workers with IT equipment if they want them to work from home.
However, they often expect their employees to provide their own high-speed broadband connection and don’t provide for the extra electricity or printer ink their remote workers might be using.
This may not make an enormous difference if an employee is on a good salary and already enjoys a high-speed internet connection.
However, this could be a barrier for a lower-paid worker when it comes to accepting a remote working job as they can’t afford the extra expense.
Remote working is a benefit that many people with a lower socioeconomic status feel excluded from, and this can have a negative impact on their employment ex