Remote work goes 'luxury', but many may be left out

Remote work goes 'luxury', but many may be left out

Tech giants are pushing ahead with premium new offerings for remote work.

WASHINGTON: Virtual reality meetings, $7,000 all-in-one kits and digital hot desking: Big Tech is rolling out premium tools as the work-from-home era looks set to last well beyond the pandemic.

But experts warn that while top-of-the-line features may benefit privileged Americans, millions of others can barely access remote work tools already available.

Facebook has unveiled online “workrooms” for users of its Oculus virtual reality gear, and Google showed off interactive conferencing displays, declaring the “hybrid” mix of in-person and remote work is here to stay.

Yet outside of Silicon Valley and other urban centers, basics like a fast internet connection and proficiency in remote tech is beyond the reach of tens of millions in the United States.

“For many people, being able to work from home is still a luxury,” said Michelle Burris, a senior policy associate at progressive think tank The Century Foundation.

One reason is access to high-speed connections, with advocacy group BroadbandNow saying in a May report that 42 million Americans — about 13 percent of the population — cannot get broadband internet.

Another problem is equipment as many workers have to buy their own.

Take the example of Patricia McGee in Texas — a 39-year-old mother of four who switched from an Amazon warehouse job to remote customer service work for another company when pandemic lockdowns hit about 18 months ago.

She had to plunk down $2,000 to get a computer, not to mention the price of internet and the process of installing software and updates.

“Not everybody can afford a computer. So it’s taking jobs from people that can’t (buy one) or actually don’t have the skills (to use one),” she told AFP.

Her machine broke a few days ago and because she had exhausted her paid time off, McGee can’t work or make money until her computer is back online.

Risk of being left out

The digital divisions exposed by the pandemic are well-documented with striking examples like families using the wireless internet at fast food restaurants so their children could attend school online.

As schools and workplaces have, in many areas, moved gradually back toward in-person activity, some inequalities have been eased.

But a percentage of workers have come to appreciate the flexibility and utility of a “hybrid” mix where they can work from home sometimes.

“It’s one of these innocuous seeming things that looks like it’s convenience but it can be — unless we really address and acknowledge it — another tool for increasing inequality,” said Monica Sanders, a Georgetown University professor.

Sanders noted that this is different than other technological developments, like the latest smartphone or even having a videocassette player when the machines revolutionized home entertainment.

They didn’t “impact your earning power or where you live or how you work,” she said.

The change in how people work has not gone unnoticed for employers, with digital skills for zoom presentation or remote management tools working their way into job ads.

Author and remote work expert Rhiannon Payne said virtual reality will become as normal a part of how people do their jobs as cell phones and laptops.

She agreed the risks of excluding people cannot be ignored, but also that high tech tools can make life better.

“Companies are trying to find ways to make remote work genuinely easier and to help us increase connections with our colleagues,” she told AFP.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Hairy Biker Dave Myers was 'devastated' when hangover turned out to be early glaucoma symptom

Dave Myers was surprised to hear that his symptoms indicated a serious eye condition. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images) Telly chef Dave Myers of the Hairy Bikers was stunned when symptoms he ... Read more »

Which new Surface devices would you like to buy?

© Windows Central Surfaceevent 2021 Hero Microsoft announced a total of eight new devices this week, and we want to know which ones you want to buy. Microsoft expanded its ... Read more »

AIs could become reward junkies — and experts are worried

In 1953, a Harvard psychologist thought he – accidentally – within the cranium of a rat. With an electrode inserted into a specific area of its brain, the rat was ... Read more »

Iconic British brands MINI Cooper and Paul Smith collaborate on a new electric car

Paul Smith designed the interface, interiors and body of the MINI Strip. The coming together of two British icons—Mini and designer Paul Smith—is a match made in heaven. Much like ... Read more »

Gaming addiction: Kerala to open digital de-addiction centres for children

In a major child-friendly initiative, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced setting up of “digital de-addiction centres” in the state to bring children addicted to online games into ... Read more »

Piaggio's India arm sets up first EV facility in Chennai

After Chennai, the company further looks to expand its EV presence in various other markets in Tamil Nadu, Nair added. Italy-headquartered Piaggio Group’s Indian subsidiary Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd has ... Read more »

Huawei CFO leaves for China, detained Canadians head home

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou flew home to China on Friday after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her, relieving a point ... Read more »

First made-in-Thailand virtual influencer debuts Human-like AI Ailyn takes digital marketing to a new level

AI Ailynn, a virtual influencer created by SIA Bangkok Co. (Photo from SIA Bangkok Instagram) She poses. She chats. She inspires you to buy stuff you never knew you needed. ... Read more »

Explained: What are Bitcoin, blockchain and the cryptos shaking up the world of finance?

Ever looked at the headlines, scratched your head, and wondered what Bitcoin and cryptocurrency actually are? We've got you covered. So, what are cryptos? Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that can ... Read more »

72-year-old jumbo goes home 18 years after 'Pang Yo' was stolen in Surin, Supreme Court ruling brings end to ownership dispute

The 72-year-old elephant Plang Yo, stolen 18 years ago, climbs onto a truck in Phuket to return to her native province of Surin in the Northeast. (Capture from a clip ... Read more »

Sony still has ‘a lot' it wants to bring to the PS5 through future firmware updates

Sony has said that it still has plenty of “interesting, exciting, fantastic ideas” it wants to bring to the PS5 through future firmware updates. This comes from SVP of Platform ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Microsoft Surface Duo: two different foldable ideas

Samsung has come to dominate the fledgling foldable phone format, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 representing one of two third-generation foldable devices from the brand. But it isn’t ... Read more »

Far Cry 6's world isn't as big as Assassin's Creed Odyssey's, but it's more ambitious

Set on the fictional Caribbean island of Yara, Far Cry 6 looks to push the boundaries of what we’ve seen from the long-running series before, offering not just a region ... Read more »

Finished Ted Lasso? This Bollywood sports movie is the inspirational film you need

In the wake of Ted Lasso’s glorious Emmy win, it’s easy to see that the beloved Apple TV Plus show has stirred our collective love for an inspirational, underdog sports ... Read more »

Best Nvidia RTX 3070 laptop 2021: play in 1440p wherever you go

The best RTX 3070 laptop is going to bring powerful performance to your gaming and content creation on the go, usually without breaking the bank either. While not the cheapest ... Read more »

Prince William Promises 'We Can Create a Better Future' in Earthshot Limited Series Teaser

Prince William is soon to be streaming on a screen near you. The Duke of Cambridge, 39, is ramping up for his Earthshot Prize Awards on October 17, and PEOPLE ... Read more »

Your iPhone already tracks your steps. What if it tracked your mood, too?

Apple is reportedly working with UCLA to develop new technology that uses facial recognition and other behavioral tracking tools to detect depression in iPhone users, according to a recent Wall ... Read more »

Save $50 on the Nanoleaf Elements wood-styled LED panels

Kicking off these deals on the smart home lighting front, the Nanoleaf Elements light-up wall panels — just released in the summer — have a nice discount at Best Buy. ... Read more »

Cyber fraud: Thane man loses Rs 5.30 lakh to cyber criminal

A Thane man studying in Dublin University in Ireland has allegedly lost Rs 5.30 lakh to a cyber fraudster, police said on Saturday. Mandar Kotnis, pursuing his Masters in Computer ... Read more »

The Latest: Roadside bomb hits Taliban car, at least 1 hurt

1 / 2AfghanistanTaliban fighters enjoy a boat ride in the Qargha dam, outskirt of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban official says ... Read more »

Petrol stations impose £30 fuel limit as motorists panic buy amid lorry driver shortage

A man carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire. (Getty) Almost 350 petrol stations across the country have imposed a £30 fuel limit after motorists filled up ... Read more »

Gabby Petito's best friend says Brian Laundrie once lived in the Appalachian mountains by himself 'for months'

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. North Port Police Department Gabby Petito's best friend Rose Davis said Brian Laundrie can survive in the wilderness. Davis told People that Laundrie once stayed ... Read more »

Amazon Kindle storage space: how much memory do you need on an ereader?

When you’re buying a new Amazon Kindle, unless you’re looking at the base model which only comes in 8GB, you’re going to be presented with a choice regarding how much ... Read more »

What to look for when buying your first electric car

Looking into buying your first electric car? Factor in its range, charging speed and whether its charging port will play nice with most stations. Read more »

Sick of paying for gas? Here's what to look for when shopping for your first electric car

That’s it, you’ve had it. You can’t justify paying $3.50 a gallon to fill up your tank. At the same time, perhaps you’ve had an epiphany about contributing to climate ... Read more »

Lego released a Marvel Avengers Advent calendar—here's where to buy it

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. It might only be September but if you’re a planner, you ... Read more »

Sky's iPhone 13 deals offer some of the cheapest prices on all four devices

All four of Apple’s new iPhone 13 handsets are now available to buy and if you’re looking to get them on a budget, Sky Mobile is looking like one of ... Read more »

A new Kindle Paperwhite is coming soon – here's the previous model for cheap

There’s nothing better to do in the cold winter months than snuggle up indoors with a good book. A Kindle Paperwhite allows you to store thousands of books at once ... Read more »

Leeds vs West Ham live stream: How to watch Premier League online from anywhere

Just one point adrift of the relegation zone, Marcelo Bielsa’s go in search of their first league win of the season as they welcome a buoyant Hammers side to Elland ... Read more »

Neo-Nazis are still on Facebook and they're making money: Report

BRUSSELS – It’s the premier martial arts group in Europe for right-wing extremists. German authorities have twice banned their signature tournament. But Kampf der Nibelungen, or Battle of the Nibelungs, ... Read more »

Why Google Chrome's incognito mode may be a ‘problem' for Sundar Pichai

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai in 2019 was warned that describing the company’s Incognito browsing mode as “private” was problematic, yet it stayed the course because he did not want ... Read more »

11 more Myanmar border-crossers caught Detainees include two women who got lost in forest after getting separated from compatriots caught earlier

Officers question two women from Myanmar who had become separated from a larger group of border-crossers and then got lost in a forested area in Muang district of Kanchanaburi. (Photo: ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra shown off in full by unofficial renders

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is expected to be unveiled at the start of next year, and a set of high-quality, unofficial renders have now given us our first proper look ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy M52 5G with 120Hz AMOLED display, 5,000 mAh battery, triple cameras to launch in India on September 28

Samsung is gearing up to launch the Samsung Galaxy M52 5G in India on September 28. However, the device has already been revealed under the radar in Poland. The Galaxy ... Read more »

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: New trailers showcase gameplay and exploration

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy should be the superhero team game fans have been waiting for. This is Square Enix and Eidos Montreal’s another attempt at making a Marvel game ... Read more »

Amazon's bestselling mini digital projectors are on sale—save up to $140, today only

Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability ... Read more »

Sony APS-C cameras to get its first Sigma mid-range zoom: Reports

Popularity of models in Sony A6000 series, including the A6000 itself and newer cameras like the A6600, A6400 and A6100 have increased amongst consumers over time. Online reports suggest that ... Read more »

How recruitment 'ghosting' is impacting mental health of job applicants

According to a new report, 86% of respondents said the experience of being ghosted by a recruiter had left them down or depressed in some way. Photo: Getty You spend ... Read more »