*This is a not book review*


In short, yes!

It is not as mad as its sounds. Since the pandemic has proven that many types of office work can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. Meaning that there is no need for these workers to return to the office after lockdown.

Unfortunately, some companies are now demanding people to return to the office. With their workers paying for the privilege in money and time. Why should millions have to commute to the offices, to sit at the same computer they could use at home?

If companies where made to foot the bill, they would be all the other way on the subject. Let us say they paid the equivalent of an hour’s wages as traveling expenses. This would mean that pay would reflect the actual hours taken up by the job.

UK Statistics


Not only has the pandemic shown that working from home is possible, but for many desirable. With the Office for National Statistics stating that in April 2020, 46.6% of workers did some work at home during the pandemic.2 Furthermore, according to YouGov, 57% of those working before the pandemic want the option to continue working from home following the pandemic.3

Benefits of this approach


1) This would benefit everyone: Either with higher wages or less time spent commuting. As those who have to travel would have higher wages to compensate them. With those working at home having no commute. This would mean that wages would more accurately reflect hours.

2) Having traveling expenses determined by wages and not by cost of travel has several benefits:

  • Employees are still responsible for how they get to work. They are still incentivised to keep the costs low, as they are the ones paying. They cannot travel first class on the company’s expense. Nor could companies find ways out of paying for commuting.
  • Calculating travel expenses on wages requires a lot less paper work. Since a breakdown of travel expense has be thorough to avoid abuse of the system.
  • It would prevent companies unfairly hiring those with a cheaper commute.

If working from home becoming the norm:


Society


1) Huge savings for those working at home: The cost of owning a car or traveling by train solely for the purpose of work is expensive. Even if you still own a car, you will benefit from less maintenance and fuel costs.

They will further miss out all that misery that comes with traveling to work. With trains and buses never being where you want them and regularly late. Often being made worse as the trains comes to a halt as another power line has come down.

2) Less congestion: With office workers being employed at home, traveling by road and rail will become less congested for everyone else. This will mean that you will spend less time stuck in traffic during rush hour.

3) Infrastructure savings: With less demand on roads, rail and air with less people commuting, there will be less infrastructure costs. For example, there may be no need for an extra runway at Heathrow Airport. This would leave the government with more money to spend elsewhere such as hospitals, industrial enablement projects or paying off the national debt.

4) More environmentally friendly: Less people traveling, means less pollution and depletion of scarce natural resources. This would be especially beneficial for those living in cities with respiratory problems. Furthermore, we would have less global warming at a stroke, without any expense required.

5) There would be less train and road related deaths with less people traveling. Furthermore, as the pandemic has shown with less people traveling, this would reduce the spread of airborne diseases.

6) Why not: If people like working from home, and they do all the work expected of them, then let them work from home.

Picture of seats in train

Business


1) Corporate savings: Ironically, companies themselves would befit from not spending money on huge offices they do not need. Companies that do this would be more profitable and competitive.

2) Companies would be more resilient. They would no longer be at mercy of transport problems including snowfall and future lockdowns. They could just use their work laptops at home. Although companies may have to provide office furniture to their employees at home.

Job and house market


1) In the near future, many jobs will no longer be location dependent. People will no longer have to live in certain locations to gain high paying employment. For example, you could live in an isolated costal town and work for one of London’s tops banks. However, as things stand, you would have to live in London to work in one of London’s banks. With many jobs, requiring people to live in expensive overpriced accommodation.

2) This would open up the job market to more deprived areas. People, who live in places where there is no work available, will suddenly have access to thousands of remote jobs. This would lessen the divide between those living in London and the rest of the country. This would also lessen the north south divide. This could bring in more money into places outside of London.

3) However, for those in London earnings would fall and competition for jobs would rise. Epically given they would no longer have an unfair advantage, simply because they live near high paying employment.

4) House prices would become less dependent on work accessibility. With many jobs changing to remote working, there will be less competition for housing in inner cities. Therefore, house prices would correspondingly drop in cities and rise in rural areas. This would also get rid of the London weighting (where people are paid more for living in London).

Changing socialising habits


1) Workplace: Unfortunately, working from home reduces socialising with work colleges. Although working from a computer is not favourable to socialising anyway. With teams and other social platforms still allowing for some socialising from home.

2) Working at the local library, beach or Internet café: If people do not want to work at home, other alternatives will pop up. Instead of traveling 10 miles to the predetermined office, they could go wherever they want. This will lead to companies dedicated to meeting such demand. Such as offering a secure Wi fi connection from a beach. 

3) Meeting friends. As people are no longer having to and from work, they have more time for meeting friends. Moreover, since they no longer have to live within a traveling distance of work, they can live closer to friends and family.

British Government response


Downing Street has said it would make working from home the default. This is leaving many feeling that this does not go far enough and wanting working from home to become a right.1

The problem with these two approaches are clear to see:

If you make working from home a right,1 then companies are prevent from having people they need in the office.

Whereas if you make working from home the default1 companies with enough power could simply ignore it.

Although I will finish with a word of warning:


If working from home becomes a thing, we will have to find a way to keep socialising!


By Arran Wilkins © 2021 (text only)

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(1) Jones, Alan. INDEPENDENT, Government intervention ‘not needed’ on working from home. 2021. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/business/government-intervention-not-needed-on-working-from-home-b1867717.html [Accessed 17 June 2021].

Winter, Alex. THE SUN, OFFICE NO-MANCE Millions could be given right to work from home FOREVER as flexible working to become new normal. 2021. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/15301108/millions-staff-default-work-home-illegal-force/ [Accessed 17 June 2021].

Stewart, Heather. And Jolly, Jasper. The Guardian, UK government could make working from home ‘default’ option. 2021. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/17/labour-demands-clarity-on-plans-to-make-working-from-home-a-default-right [Accessed 17 June 2021].

(2) Cameron, Alastair. Office for National Statics, Coronavirus and homeworking in the UK: April 2020. 2020. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/coronavirusandhomeworkingintheuk/april2020 [Accessed 2 July 2021].

(3) Smith, Matthew. YouGov, Most workers want to work from home after COVID-19. 2020. Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/economy/articles-reports/2020/09/22/most-workers-want-work-home-after-covid-19 [Accessed 2 July 2021].

(Image One) Free-Photos. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/train-station-woman-train-863337/ [Accessed 16rd June 2021].

(Image Two) Rudy and Peter Skitterians. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/train-commute-travel-people-2344374/ [Accessed 16rd June 2021].

(Image Three) Free-Photos. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/subway-station-commute-1209419/ [Accessed 16rd June 2021].

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