In the blustery Northeast, it has been a terrific time for those who have the option to work from home. While I work primarily from home for a company located several states away, I have local colleagues, family and friends whose work is such that when the ‘Polar Vortex’ hit, they were told to work from home several days over the past few weeks.
Long before I worked remotely I have advocated for an increased use of remote work. We have all this technology, as I blogged about earlier, why not use it to unclog the roadways in the morning and afternoon rush hours? Think about the relief to parking congestion, and the benefits of reduced carbon emissions fewer cars on the road would contribute? What about reducing some of the stress for people who spend entirely too much time on the road and circling like vultures for a parking spot in crowded and parking-poor cities. Might we see health care costs start to edge downward – especially if people can go to the gym at lunch and not have to worry about reassembling their work-ready “look” after sweating it out for 30 minutes on the treadmill? With all the howling about increasing health care costs, I would think this alone serves as motivation to move even more quickly to a remote model.
If companies really wanted to be efficient, they could maximize real estate with smart utilization of remote work and let’s talk RETENTION. These kinds of perks are harder to walk away from than a 2% raise, any day! Let’s face it: you’re not hiring us to look good, smell good or be cute. We have some combination of skills that contribute to your bottom line. If we can do this remotely, you win (you = employer) but the whole community wins too!
Now, I know what some of you may think: not every job can be done remotely. This is true. We still need hands on nurses, teachers, physicians, engineers and more. No, the construction crew rebuilding the bridge can’t work remotely, BUT – if the people who CAN work remotely are allowed to work remotely, think about how much more quickly the non-remote folks could get to work in the morning. Think about road repairs during normal business hours might be possible without a 3-hour traffic jam. It just seems so much more civilized than the way we are doing things now: midnight road repairs, 2 hours in traffic (idling and filling the air with noxious fumes and boosting carbon pollution) just to go 10 miles and more stress than doctors tell us is healthy.
Not sure I’ll convince the Type-A/Retentive managers out there who aren’t happy unless they can count cubicle noses at 8:01am every day, but in the 21st century, I can at least hope there is a path to a better way; especially when that better way is being modeled slowly but surely across the nation.
I’m thankful to work for a company that sees value in remote work days!