Remote working as modern-day demand
Society18 June 2020, 15:00 193
"Not only is Azerbaijan interested in remote working and online management, but the country also has potential in this process"
Remote work is currently expanding the opportunities for the labor market around the world. One of the advantages of remote management for businesses and companies is that there is no need to rent an office for staff, and it saves several costs. In this process, it is even possible to work with a specialist living in another city. During a pandemic, such a form of labor seems optimal in terms of maintaining jobs, wages, and the ability of the enterprise to work. According to labor law, during remote working, the company's staff performs its duties at home, not in the office. Such cooperation is also beneficial for employees in terms of not wasting time commuting. At first glance, it may seem that remote work is a simplified version of a labor organization. However, according to the Labor Code, remote work means that employees perform their functions outside the workplace.
This process has already begun in the countries of the world. In Russia, for example, the issue of remote work has become more urgent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the coronavirus, the Russian government in March recommended businesses to switch to remote work format. A month later, the number of companies working remotely has increased significantly. Compared to February, this figure in Russia increased by 71 percent. The Russians say they are satisfied with remote working during isolation. However, some say that work efficiency has decreased. Some say that it is difficult for them to draw a line between their personal life and their work. Some even complain that their health is deteriorating and that they are gaining weight. "Man adapts to the new reality over time," said Zamir Shukhov, CEO of the Global Venture Alliance, noting that, "On the other hand, it is difficult for people to leave the environment they have been accustomed to for years. But this is a requirement of the time.”
The Russian government is planning to completely move specific areas to remote work to minimize losses. True, many enterprises continue to work as they previously did, but the issue of remote management is still on the agenda. Even it is believed in the country that remote working will become the new norm even after the pandemic. The staff of enterprises and companies in the country is ready to work remotely. "If this is a hit to the career prospects of one employee, it opens new horizons for others. For several months now, thousands of Russian companies have been working from home. Many will not return to work after quarantine. Many companies have announced plans to maintain remote working practice, which has allowed them to save money, cut office costs, and use cheaper labor in the regions. If this limits the career prospects of residents of large cities, it creates new opportunities for professionals in the provinces."
Remote work is also applied in Azerbaijan. In particular, remote management issues, such as remote working, and online education became relevant during the pandemic. "We are currently working on a government strategy for digital transformation. Also, issues related to remote work... This is very important for the country. Roughly these are the areas we focus on in our plans," said President Ilham Aliyev during a video conference held with Microsoft’s vice-president, and other representatives. These views expressed during the video conference also stem from the urgency of the issue.
As of last year, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population has begun work to create a legal framework for the performance of labor functions in the form of remote (distant) work or telework. Thus, first of all, the main concepts in the Labor Code include "Remote work – the performance of labor functions at home based on electronic, software and hardware tools" and "Telework - the practice of working from home, making use of telecommunications". Work in this area is carried out in accordance with the Action Plan provided in the "State Program for the implementation of the National Strategy for the Development of the Information Society in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2016-2020" approved by Presidential Decree No. 2345 dated September 20, 2016. The Action Plan also includes a measure to study the world experience in remote work and telework and to prepare proposals on the mechanisms of its application.
Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Labor and Social Policy Vugar Bayramov connected the remote work with the challenges of the pandemic. "In the post-pandemic period, it is expected that interest in remote work and automated work will increase because the pandemic brings to the fore the urgency of online management and remote management. In this regard, Azerbaijan is also one of the countries that pay special attention to remote working and online management. The goal is to make the transition to business entity management services in the post-pandemic period, using online management more. At the same time, it is expected to promote remote work and management in government agencies. These methods were used especially during the pandemic. The pandemic showed that unexpected or unpredictable problems may occur in the world at any time. In this regard, there may be difficulties in direct communication between people and the management of enterprises. Therefore, online management has increased significantly. For this, it is important to use automation and information technology more closely,” he said.
According to the MP, one of the issues discussed at the meeting of the President with the management and representatives of Microsoft is the increased use of electronic services in Azerbaijan in the post-pandemic period, as well as the expansion of relations between our country and the company. "Azerbaijan is practically the center of the fourth industrial revolution in the region. Not only is Azerbaijan interested in remote work and online management, but the country also has potential in this process. Therefore, it is expected that in the post-pandemic period, automation and remote management will be used more. This is a different approach to governance. The process will minimize the impact of this type of pandemic on governance,” he noted.
According to Bayramov, remote management and online management will make it possible for businesses to continue online management even in the event of such pandemics. "This is also important in terms of transparency because online management also means transparent management. It is also important for businesses in terms of savings. As a result, it saves money and reduces management costs. Therefore, in the post-pandemic period, the development of automated and remote management is expected in our country,” he added.
According to entrepreneur Elkham Mardanli, who said, "It is positive that talks on this issue are on the agenda. It is gratifying that we are moving in this direction as a country,” remote working is evolving in societies where telecommunications, electronics, and innovations are highly developed. At the same time, the literacy of the people in the society should be adequate for this development. "In such societies, remote work is successful. Although ZOOM is currently a long-term program, it began to be used in our country during the pandemic. The program was not used until now. We have enough workers who can't use computers, and we also have enough people who can’t use smartphones. Another issue is that the internet is expensive. There is also the issue of quality. For example, contactless payment has been used in Azerbaijan since 2019. However, neither this service nor mobile banking is used in the entire banking sector. Working remotely means an online platform. Such issues create problems for the development of remote work in Azerbaijan,” he said.
The entrepreneur believes that remote working can be successful in certain areas. "For example, if a person is a programmer, he does not need to work in an office. He can work remotely because his work is purely on the virtual network, as well as IT professionals. In particular, if accounting becomes electronic and there is no need to carry paper, this area can also be transferred to a remote format. Remote work is related to specific areas. The world has already applied this system in certain areas. When online training, consulting, IT, accounting, webinars, etc. are online, it saves people time and money. Looking at the details, this process supports the work. However, this can only lead to the development of specific areas. It is also possible in public affairs. For example, they can hold consultations online to receive more people. Remote management does not apply to all areas,” he added.