NEW YORK: The increasing number of people forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to work from home has generated a lot of attention on both the benefits and trials of working remotely. The UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) has seized on this new awareness to highlight the predicament of what it estimates to be 260 million home-based workers worldwide — 8 percent of global employment — who had for decades prior to the pandemic been working under precarious conditions. Homeworkers are a heterogeneous group. They include highly skilled teleworkers who work remotely on a continual basis, and a vast number of impoverished industrial workers who are required to produce goods that cannot be automated, such as artisanal goods like embroidery and handicrafts. A third category, digital platform workers, provides services such as processing insurance claims or copy editing. All, however, must deal with the implications of working from home. “There are all sorts of labor-intensive work, sometimes at the bottom of the supply chains, sometimes in handicrafts, that continue to be done at home,” ILO senior economist Janine Berg told Arab News. “But because it’s being done at home, it’s really invisible. Working in very poor conditions, homeworkers haven’t seen the benefit of economic growth or ...read more...