Telecommuting in the developing world: a case of the day-labour market
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in general, and mobile phones in particular, have demonstrated positive outcomes in the various social transformation and human development dimensions. As a result, many researchers have focused on ICTs innovations targeting the poor. Among the poor are the low-skilled day-labourers who belong to the Day-labour Market (DLM), which is also made up of employers, job-brokers and intermediary organisations. The DLMs’ main activities involve a great deal of travelling in search of jobs by workers and a search for workers by employers. These travels place heavy economic pressure on the day-labourers, hence reducing their net earnings while they struggle with extreme poverty. The first objective of our study was to find out how and which ICT interventions can be used to alleviate the challenges faced by the DLM stakeholders. The nature of our problem resembled studies that use ICTs to reduce travel distance. Such studies fall under subjects such as teleactivities and teleworking/telecommuting, and advocate for prospects of working anywhere anytime. These studies have not received much research attention in the developing world. They have mainly been done in the developed world, and mostly on white-collar workers and organisations. This brought about our second objective: to find out whether the ICT interventions for the DLM could be studied under teleworking/telecommuting and whether the telecommuting benefits can be realised for the blue-collar workers.