In many parts of the world, especially in developing countries where the employment rules are not so stringent, there are still jobs where workers stayed in on the companies that they are working for.
This is especially prevalent in the domestic services and farming industries. Many house helpers for example in many parts of the world stayed in on the house of their employers. For example, in our household which is located in Asia, we have house helpers who stayed in with us.
For some people especially those living in developed countries were the standards of human rights are quite high, this may be an intolerable issue that needs correcting. In fact, when I was living in a developed country, most of the people there have this perception when I told them.
They fail to perceive the economic circumstances why these arrangements happen. They fail to realize that the people who live under such conditions are not exploited at all, but accept their condition fully knowing that it is as such.
When I used to work for a steel processing company, I remember that an entire family lived inside the compounds of the company. They have a home on top of the cafeteria building and the entire family either worked in the cafeteria or in facilities maintenance.
At first I thought that it was a lonely experience for the family especially at night when they are all by themselves inside the company compound, but my mind changed when I talked to them about their plight.
By being able to live rent free inside the company compound, they save a lot of money which goes to the schooling of the children and other expenses. They also have the benefit of not needing to spend money and time commuting to and from work.
I considered what they said and surprisingly, I considered my plight as a single individual working for the company. I realize that if I was in their condition, I could also save a lot of money and time not commuting to and from work.
Of course, rent cost is another motivation for me considering that rent costs are one of the highest costs any individual or family has. I began to realize that the family might have a good deal after all.
In the Philippines where I currently live, it is not unusual for small businesses to have stay in workers working for them. I know for example that bakeries utilize stay in workers to work for them at early hours and late nights.
The reason for this arrangement is pretty obvious, most bakeries in the Philippines open very early in the morning to manufacture and sell their local bread. No normal 8 to 5 worker will agree to such an arrangement, but stay in workers would.
Another reason why this arrangement exists is again because of rent costs. I have seen many documentaries about rural workers migrating to the cities to get whatever job that they could get.
Since many of these workers do not have the qualifications to work in the formal economy, the jobs that are left to them would be working on small businesses which pay low wages. I don’t think I need to make my story long.
These workers would most certainly almost cannot afford for the rental costs of their family much less to themselves. So what usually happens is that these workers leave their families in the rural areas and find themselves cheap accommodations in the urban areas.
I have precisely seen this in a documentary I watched about Indian workers working in small manufacturing businesses. The workers work until the evening and eat their meals right in the company.
When it comes to sleeping time, they just clean the floors of the company or whatever place they would sleep for the night like the tables, and then roll out their sleeping mattress and turn off the light.
This might sound inhumane and degrading especially for people living in first world countries, but consider the option that these same workers might have being unable to pay rent and have to sleep in the open where they are exposed to the environment and criminals.
Consider also that the workers are not only saving on rental costs but on transportation costs as well. For these people, a little money saved goes a long, long way like buying them food for breakfast and even lunch instead of paying transportation costs.
Once again, I looked at my own predicament, when I was working in Australia, my daily transport costs were more than the price of a decent meal. I also have to spend more than three hours of my time traveling each day to and from work.
As we already know, this working and living arrangement have existed for a very long time already, but it’s benefit is now more apparent more than ever. The global pandemic started on the closing months of 2019. It’s now the beginning of 2022 and it shows no signs of abating.
There are countries like Vietnam who have implemented a stay in policy for workers who are working in essential industries like food manufacturing and processing. And by all indications, Vietnam has proven that a stay in worker system can be adopted on a mass scale.
If we ever put the global pandemic behind us one day, I’m still in favor of adopting a stay in program for workers especially those who cannot afford to pay rent or transportation costs. It’s benefits simply makes sense.
The workers save money and time while the employers get more healthy and productive workers who are not tired because they have to travel for hours and are happier because they save rent and transport costs.
It would especially be beneficial for people who live in rural areas but work in the urban cities. Of course, this would not apply to all workers. It would only apply for example to single people who don’t have families to be with at the end of the day.
Just like universities having dormitories for students to stay in, companies can also follow this approach. Much like the concept of Company Towns where a company is usually the largest employer in the area.
In fact, this is still being practiced in many parts of the world like in the mining sector. When a mine opens, a town usually sprung up to accommodate the workers. The company usually governs indirectly how the town is run.
The same is true for large ancestral agricultural lands around the world. A family runs the agricultural area and lets the worker farmers and their families stay within the confines of their agricultural lands.
In a smaller way, your company can do the same thing by providing accommodation facilities to your workers. This consists of a sleeping area and a common living and toilet area, much like the same way a dormitory is set up.
Your employees can pay for their lodging indirectly by reducing their salary demands. I can see this working for areas where the cost of rent is very high like in America’s Silicon Valley. There, the salary of IT workers are already very high but their rent costs negates this.
In an age where work from home arrangement are already fast becoming the norm, this kind of work and living arrangement might seem impractical to many. I mean, would a finance company like to see their workers living right in their own premises?
I guess what it boils down is the rent profit. If a company can find more profitable uses for the space they have in their company than just letting their workers live on them, then they should not use that space as worker accommodations.
But in the case of small businesses like the Indian workers who sleep in the floors of the factory floor in exchange for a reduced salary or more working hours, then the owner of the company has found a profitable use for his factory floor during the night.
Rather than think that the workers are being exploited, think that both the owner of the company and the workers are profiting from the situation. The owner gets to earn direct or indirect profits while the workers get to save on rent and transport costs.
Take the perspective of an overseas contract worker who has to leave his country to work in another country. They have a much worse situation because they don’t see their families for an entire year and even more while trying to earn money.
Though it might not be the perfect arrangement between business owners and their workers, there are situations were providing stay in facilities and arrangement can be profitable for both owners and their workers.
In fact, there are business conditions that necessitate such arrangements. This is when workers are time constrained to arrive in the company very early in the morning or leave very late at night. It might simply be because a worker cannot afford to pay rent.
Used to work in a factory making personal care products. I created hair gels, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, cologne, perfumes and so on. I created them all by myself from the gathering of the ingredients from the warehouse, mixing of the ingredients using industrial mixers and scales, and cooking the products into large industrial sized vats...