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Humanitarian Future – Telecommuting

Humanitarian future, like any other, will rely heavily on new technologies. We probably can’t even imagine some of the impacts yet. But we know that emerging technologies in robotics, artificial intelligence, biometrics and more are already changing the global development sector.

Another trend has to do with telecommuting. The way that we are doing work is changing. More and more people are working from home, in the office part-time, or using digital teams across the entire world. What impact is it having on the aid sector?

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What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting has been around for a while. It means flexible work, which doesn’t require a physical presence in an office. Usually, people who telecommute for work either do their work from home or a remote office.

The more stable the internet becomes, the more popular telecommuting is becoming. It also allows teams to come from different parts of the world, without relocation.

How can telecommuting help global development?

There are many benefits of telecommuting for global development. Besides, this humanitarian future is already a reality. Plenty of organizations hire staff remotely to work on projects. Why do they do this?

Firstly, telecommuting can significantly reduce costs. This can help to fuel more money into projects on the ground. Before, many team members had to relocate to serve a project. Today, this is not necessary, with only occasional face-to-face meetings.

Also, telecommuting provides a better pool of candidates. Companies can draw on anyone, anywhere, based on the skills they need. Plus, they can have more multicultural teams. This helps to elicit a better response to contextualized situations in global development.

Further, telecommuting allows to reduce response time and increase efficiency. Instead of taking months to put together a team, they can connect directly to the project. When disaster strikes, they can also respond immediately, even before they deploy on location.

Finally, telecommuting is an excellent way to curb entry barriers to the aid sector. People with different abilities, for example, do not need to go to work physically. Parents with small children do not need to relocate to share their expertise.

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What types of jobs are available for telecommuters?

There are many ways to contribute to global development via humanitarian tech and telecommuting. Most people who work in a headquarters position can work remotely. This includes coordinators, managers, communications specialists, subject matter experts, data analysis and so on.

An even more exciting trend is in telemedicine. Healthcare professionals can provide a certain level of care via online services. Or, an expert can walk people in the field through surgery without having to deploy. This optimizes resources and helps to guarantee better services for people on the ground.

Are there drawbacks to telecommuting in the aid sector?

Of course, there are some drawbacks to telecommuting, as with any humanitarian tech. There are many things that aid workers cannot do remotely. You cannot pull someone from underneath the rubble without physically being there. Also, compassion and human connection are more difficult to develop online.

On the other hand, deployment could be more complicated when traveling from different parts of the world. Instead of organizing team deployment, organizations need to look for multi-country responses. This can reduce efficiency in disaster response. Plus, telecommuting can hinder team building and motivation, when lacking face-to-face interaction.

A stable and constant connection to the internet is another problem. As such, telecommuting can be a nightmare in rural areas. Networks might also fail during a disaster or as a result of the conflict. Besides, telecommuting can segregate a particular portion of the population, who do not have access to permanent online resources.

Finally, legal issues and questions around contracting and taxation are a concern when it comes to telecommuting. Many companies allow staff to telecommute in their city or country. But what happens to multinational teams? Organizations need to work on legal employment contracts and benefits in different locations. They must also ensure fair wages across global positions.

Here is What the Humanitarian Future Might Look Like

New technologies have been changing the world for centuries. Today, technology is changing at a faster pace than ever. And that means a lot of new trends for the humanitarian future. We’ve covered some of the top trends in humanitarian tech on this website. Together, they will undoubtedly alter the global development and aid sectors. So here is an overview of what the humanitarian future might look like.

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