Much of the world’s population went through a difficult transition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who had to work in person — blue-collar jobs, office workers, and medical practitioners.
“Adaption was extremely difficult for me, as I had been doing the same work for 40 years now,” said José Luis Morón Hernández, a 68-year-old pharmaceutical lab worker in the city of Veracruz, Mexico. “My work was about 80 percent face-to-face since I had to visit doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, and distributors. Adapting to having to sit at a computer for half a day was quite difficult. However, as I am an older adult and have a high risk of catching the virus, I have no other choice.”
One year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, ways of life have changed drastically. Many people have had to migrate or adapt to the new ways of working.
Working from home — known in Mexico as ‘Home Office’ — meant that people had to adopt new working habits and ethics.
A computer connected to the Internet became the main tool to do a majority of jobs.
But technology is not easy for everyone, and some people do not enjoy being in front of a computer screen for up to eight hours a day.
“It was difficult adapting to the new manner of working,” said Morón Hernández. “I just made calls, sent WhatsApp messages to doctors, instead of visiting them, and had meetings on Zoom, Meet, or Skype. I never got used to it and so retired at the end of the year. However, I know that this way of work will remain as long as the pandemic continues.”
Just as there are people who have not adapted to working from home, many people prefer this manner of working, although they wager they have had to do more than eight hours of work, unlike at the office.
“I work as an administrator of a water bottling company,” said Luis Caballero Morales, from the city of Veracruz. “During the start of the pandemic, I had to take all my work to my home. My house became my new office. I began to work overtime, and, obviously, the company does not pay me for those hours since I am at home.”
Although the vast majority of work continues to be online, some workers have been able to return to their offices, at least a few days per week. For many of those who can, being able to go to the office again was a relief.
“Fortunately, when the epidemiological traffic light started to change, I was able to return to my office for a few days. Interacting physically with my coworkers uplifted my spirit, and I am relaxed during the three days I can go to the office,” said Caballero Morales.
The only way to return the full workforce to their offices is to vaccinate the complete population. It remains to be seen what will happen, as many companies have also discovered the benefit of having workers doing their jobs from the comfort of their homes.
(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez. Edited by Kristen Butler)
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