During the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, in El Salvador, as in many countries, there have been moments of uncertainty, coupled with strict containment measures that have limited our circulation almost entirely. Regulations were issued that limited economic activity since most economical items were not allowed to continue providing services, and only businesses that were intended to provide essential services such as supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies were made available.
We have to become more familiar with technology to stay communicated and to develop our daily activities in a “normal” way. Tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, among others, became our allies to continue working at a distance. We realized that many functions that we performed from the work centers, we could correctly perform them from home, we were forced to the disconnection from the “physical space” that was our office, and we moved to our personal space to go on “teleworking.
The pandemic made us more organized with our time since when working from home, constant communication with our work teams became necessary. Now we manage everything according to an agenda, and we try to follow it as it is; we have better control of our meetings or pending, and we seek to be more productive with our time and goals even though we have some distractors at home. The ideal to adapt is to look for a space in which we can perform all the functions that we played in our offices.
Every day we see the need for employers to look for technological means that allow us to carry out our activities in a safe and fast way, for example, the automation of services, in the long term it is much more profitable for a company to have automated systems that carry out activities that before towards an employee specially designated for that. Many employers have found that it is cheaper to work remotely so that they do not have to pay local lease fees every month.
Currently, El Salvador is seeking to familiarize itself with the different technological means; however, there are issues such as the “electronic signature” that must be refined before opting for the automation of some services. We also see that there is a certain reluctance on the part of public institutions to modernize their document consultation services, and they insist on the idea of keeping physical files.
For some companies, going to the world of teleworking is not so complicated because the field in which they are developed allows them to carry out all their functions from home, but for most areas of the economy it is very complicated both in the industry (manufacturing and construction), services (transport, gas stations, food distribution, workshops, tourism, beauty salons, necessarily face-to-face medical services, etc.) and agriculture. For some of these items, the alternative to teleworking would be automation; however, this is controversial because many jobs could be lost.
One of the significant challenges that companies face in this new world in which, instead of having face-to-face meetings, we will have videoconferences, is the management of the company’s data. It is necessary the application of protocols that guarantee the protection of the information, that the confidential remains confidential and that there are no information filters that later may directly or indirectly affect the company.
For our country, “teleworking” was practically new, so much so that before our quarantine, we still did not have a law that developed this modality, until March 20, 2020, which was approved, it is currently pending publication. In the Official Gazette, however, this figure has always been used by mutual agreement with the worker.
As a result of this, the phases that a company goes through with this new work methodology becomes interesting. First, they are in a “gray zone”, in which everything is “trial and error.” Phase two is when they already have greater control. It is essential that the employer has constant communication; an excellent way to achieve this to have video conferences at the end of the day or week to check the progress of slopes. Learning how to lead from a distance is not as simple as in person, but this is when the employer must exploit all his resources to increase efficiency and obtain favorable results.
- Fernando Farrar – Associate
- Andrea Melara – Paralegal