Mónica Alzamora, Operations Director/Natural Resources Manager at Rainforest Partnership, provided valuable insights as stated below:
“This is the first time in my professional life that I have worked 100% remotely. At first I thought this new way of working would be complex and unproductive, but now I actually think this can be a nice experience professionally and personally. I have more time to spend at home with my family now. Additionally, this situation has significantly reduced the amount of fuel and clothing I use to go out to a workplace – my wallet and the planet are happy.
In this global pandemic context, I am looking at remote work as an opportunity that is not without its challenges. Being effective with my time at home without traveling to work sites and feeling like I am neglecting my family is nice. This is also a time to strengthen capabilities in the use of new applications to improve work from home (Slack, Google Drive, Trello, among others).
However, since a large component of my work involves building and maintaining relationships with people to discuss social and conservation processes, not being able to meet personally and exchange ideas is difficult. Human relationships are key to promoting commitments and trust among the actors we work with, mainly with local communities. While personal encounters have been interrupted, the use of social networks and telecommunications is helping to maintain links with local actors. This is not enough for decision-making or making key commitments, unfortunately.
In general, I am most concerned that a scenario of social isolation will expand and delay some processes with partners communities and local governments where our presence is important. But, on the other hand, I am motivated by the fact that we can develop our creativity and resilience to carry out the conservation processes in which we are immersed.
Regarding remote work with state officials: they have reduced their work hours and sometimes only have inaccessible meeting times. This is frustrating because remote work provides an opportunity to better organize virtual appointments, reduce travel expenses, and expedite processes. However, reaching an optimal scenario will depend on the state officials with whom we work having the necessary tools to carry out remote labour (like a strong internet connection for video conferences).
Speaking from a labor-related point of view, efficiency in the use of time for work could be better and I could produce more writing. However, I know that human connection, the feeling of healthy communities, and being in nature are necessary to feed my conservationist spirit and to motivate me.”