Covid-19 and the Future of Work

From Emergency Conditions to Regimes of Surveillance, Governance and Optimisation

Authors

  • Anthony Lloyd Teesside University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5617/jea.9653

Keywords:

Covid-19, Work, Technology, Surveillance, Algorithmic Governance, Optimisation, Harm

Abstract

This paper offers a critical reflection on the impact of Covid-19 and government public health measures on patterns of work in the UK. This paper will focus specifically on remote or home workers as this generates myriad questions about the future of work and employment, particularly in the context of advances in digital technology and the growing emphasis on environmental inequality, the spectre of climate change and a green revolution. If the laptop class work from home, they can help control the spread of Covid-19, tackle climate change and rebalance their lives – we were told. Reflecting on the pandemic, an assumption of harmlessness underpins home working. Then I look towards the future and raise questions about the role of digital technology, algorithmic governance and surveillance in our working lives. As more of us are encouraged to utilise the latest digital technologies in our working lives, it is crucial to look critically at these developments and their implications for workers. Working practices deemed necessary to tackle the pandemic are now part of a long-term future which requires further interrogation as to whether the short-term and long-term changes associated with digital technology, algorithmic governance and surveillance also make hidden assumptions of harmlessness.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-black-and-white-stripe-polo-shirt-using-macbook-4939671/

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Published

2022-10-31

Issue

Section

Articles