Why is a startup hiring 800 people in the middle of the pandemic?
Going against the crisis provoked by the coronavirus, a home call-center company shows how business for people and for the climate can prosper.
While companies prepare to face the largest crisis in their history, a pair of Brazilian entrepreneurs is hiring and has announced the opening of 800 vacancies. They are going against the recession provoked by the coronavirus pandemic. When the friends Ricardo Galdino and Geraldo Brasil had the idea for JobHome, in 2017, they obviously did not imagine that shortly afterwards the world would face a pandemic. Or that the measures of social distancing imposed to contain the advance in the number of cases of coronavirus would oblige people to stay at home.
However, they already knew that work at home was a promising trend. And it was with this in mind that the partners founded the first Brazilian company specialized in a 100% home office call-center. By creating a software that allows the management of both projects and operators remotely, they anticipated what now is a necessity.
Most call-centers still do not have home office systems. The most common justifications for this work to remain on-site are the protocols that, for security, can only be accessed from a physical location. But a moment of need was enough for companies to realize that there are solutions for this. This is the situation of the service offered by JobHome. Now, due to the imposition of a virus, at least 800 operators are being hired by the company and will undergo distance training. "In 15 days, we closed deals that would take all year," says Ricardo Galdino. "They are companies that were postponing the home office, which ended up being inevitable at this time," he adds.
In a scenario where leaving home is a risk to public health, the home office presents itself as an alternative to protect people, physically and financially. At home, they can also take care of their children, because the schools are also closed. In the long term, this work model can also help to decentralize the income in the country, which today is still mainly concentrated in the large capitals, so that, remotely, workers who live in any region can be included.
Another advantage is to dispense with unnecessary travel. On average, a call-center worker, for example, loses between an hour and a half and two hours by commuting, which is a problem that can be avoided. According to data from JobHome, in 2019 alone, there were 57,856 less hours spent travelling in traffic, which means a 53,9796 kilograms reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Everyone's wish is for the pandemic to be controlled as quickly as possible and that people can go back to leaving their homes as soon as possible. However, the experience of going through a pandemic can yield some discoveries. The change in perspective of companies, which had been resistant to the home office, may be one of them. The forced testing may make many business owners realize that this is a path to be included in their long-term planning.
They will realize that it is not only an interesting alternative with respect to the productivity and quality of life of their employees, but also that they need tools to implement the model efficiently. “You have to be very careful and understand that home office is not just sending the employee home, with a computer and a phone. The management needs to be very well prepared to monitor all of this,” explains Ricardo Galdino.
Furthermore, according to him, the market has space for everybody. “I don't see the fact of more companies investing in this as competition, but as businesses that are helping us to disseminate what we believe in. We are talking about a change in habits that is better for cities, for the planet, and which is what we need now: to think collectively.
The home office, of course, is also good for the climate because there is less emission of gases into the atmosphere. The calculation is simple: less transport, less pollution. Within a few days of the containment measures, it is already possible to notice even more stars in the sky of São Paulo. In addition to providing good photos for Instagram, this is a sign that the atmosphere is cleaner. Air quality has also improved, according to monitoring platforms and local environmental departments. Phenomena have also been noticed in other major cities around the world: Italy and China recently reported notable drops in the emission of pollutants in the first month of social distancing.
Gustavo Pinheiro, the coordinator of the Low Carbon Economy portfolio at the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS), highlights another positive aspect of the issue. For him, the time is right to give an urgent answer to the question of public health, in the first place. How to do this? "There are good examples of public-private organization that show that at a time of great pressure, Brazilian society is able to organize itself collectively, with companies and people engaging in solidarity campaigns," he observes.
We can already begin to think about the long-term impacts that this change in mentality will bring to various sectors, including the acceleration of the transition to a low carbon economy. “For the wrong reasons, this is now happening very quickly. We would have liked it to be due to awareness, by the alignment of the investment with human values, and in compliance with the international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement,” he says.
Gustavo Pinheiro recalls that the sectors that invest in remote work and communication technologies were already growing and, at this time, are experiencing a leap. “Digitalization, including work, is something that has been going on for at least 30 years. What is happening is that we are seeing, in weeks, things that could have taken years to accomplish.” He explains that, in general, the digital economy emits less greenhouse gases than the traditional economy and still has the benefit of running on any type of energy.
Large technology companies, such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook, have been concerned for some years about making a transition to renewable energy, at least to supply all their digital operations. And this is another important factor that makes the digital industry cleaner and makes us hope that these changes are here to stay.
The operator Jaqueline Isabella da Silva Orestes has been working at JobHome for four months and already reports a lifestyle change. “With the on-site workplace, my life was a rush and I spent more time on the street than at home with my family and doing my chores. When it rained, I arrived at work tired, which, of course, had an impact on my productivity.” For her, the new work regime has changed everything. “I went back to college and managed to give the necessary attention to my three-year-old daughter. I work with more animation and disposition.” She welcomes the changing trends in the market. “It is good both for the company and for the employee. Companies need to start thinking outside the box and this is the time to prove it to us.”