“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a global transition to digital mediation of work. For some, this has meant work previously done at office desks can now be performed remotely. However even before Covid-19, a shift to fragment, automate and outsource work that could be performed remotely and online had begun. This work, sometimes called ‘gig work,’ has been hyped as ‘flexible,’ and promoted as a ‘lifestyle’ option. In reality much gig work is simply piece work, benefitting from a captive global workforce locked into unpaid care burdens. The rise in remote work, coupled with challenges to care infrastructure, poses a real danger to hard-won gains for gender equality and other rights at work.

The term ‘work from home’ has entered the lexicon as businesses have been compelled to find ways to accommodate lockdowns and restrictions on their operations. Schools in several countries have adapted to remote learning. As children attended classes from home, working parents have learned to juggle their schedules to supervise children’s learning. As Covid-19 variants continue to disrupt school and office schedules, there is growing demand for flexible work schedules.”