Working at home after COVID-19 should continue – Conservative Article
Before COVID-19, the number of people working at home was relatively low in comparison to the rest of the workforce. Only 1.7 million out of the 32.6 million employees regularly work from home. But many governments during the pandemic have advised people to work from home to reduce contact. As such, working at home has increased by a large amount. To make sure our economy can bounce back as fast as possible this should continue.
There are many benefits for employers with increasing levels of working from home. It is cost-effective through the reduction of office buildings, supplies and their amenities. Space is no longer a worry (especially in the era of social distancing) and the office space itself can be used for something else. Spaces used for offices can have other functions, perhaps as green spaces. Or maybe hold recreational functions.
Another factor is businesses that had to adapt to working from home might keep it that way simply because it is less disruptive than switching back to an office-based environment, providing the necessary health and safety improvements. While it is harder to communicate within the business, this can be overcome by using apps such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams… though this does need a stable connection. While hardship will rise for certain professions such as cleaners and small businesses around offices, this is unfortunately unavoidable.
The environment would benefit from an increase in numbers of people working from home too. Reduced travel will mean less air and noise pollution. Especially when cutting the need for travel at rush hour. This will benefit other areas: shorten travel time, and businesses will not have to cover fuel costs as often. Plus, it will help to reduce transport-related deaths and conserve fuel and road quality for those needing it. Litter will be cut down around offices too.
A final benefit of working at home is that it is positive for employees as well. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that worker satisfaction increased when working from home. This is unsurprising. Working at home can include a more flexible schedule, less commute time, no distraction from colleagues (though other things may distract), and people can work in clothing they choose rather than having to be formally dressed. This leads to higher overall work output, meaning increased benefits for employers.
Now that pandemic has provided a large-scale example of working from home, employers will be able to see the benefits of such a model and stick with it. The environmental benefits have already started to show and will only continue. Working from home will be key to help our economy bounce back, whilst dealing with the climate emergency, and achieving our net-zero carbon target by 2050. Working at home needs to continue as during the pandemic, and with how it benefits both employee and employer, I hope it will.
Written by Guest Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
Point of Information
Potential hardships cannot be ignored. Options are important! – a Labour response
In response to the initial statement: yes, working at home should continue post-lockdown. But the option to choose should remain.
While I do see the benefits, they should not just be for the economy, even if Kieran focuses mostly on it. Not to adhere too closely to traditional party stereotypes, there is much more to consider socially.
As Kieran rightly states, working from home can have great positive benefits for employees. Indeed, it allows for more flexibility and provides comfort where previously lacking. But it goes further than this. People with mental health issues, such as anxiety or misophonia, may struggle with traditional work environments. Working remotely offers them both the time and space needed for them to complete their work. This is undoubtedly beneficial.
Yet, the limitation of this proposal is that there are also mental health issues that would be negatively impacted by remote working. This is not a ‘one size fits all’. These situations also need a great deal of consideration and should not be accepted as “unavoidable” hardships. To dismiss it as such is rather insensitive.
The better option perhaps is to focus on advocating flexi-working, rather than universal remote working. There is certainly a lot to consider moving forward.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Abi Clargo
A typical Tory article about the economy, not the people that make it – a Liberal response
A lot of what Kieran has said about the economic benefiting working from home runs true. Yet, he has neglected a massive benefit of the traditional workspace: human interaction!
The enrichment gained from this comes both for both companies, and employees. Employees will benefit from improved mental health. And companies will benefit from collaboration and creativity stemming from unplanned meetings and conversations. This could never spontaneously happen over a Zoom call.
It also seems like a typical Tory response to the current situation.
What about people without computers or sufficient space for a work area? Those living in a house of six or seven people? Those living with family members of multiple ages?
Instead of focusing on these people, Kieran has just looked at the aggregate benefit for the economy and companies’ big bosses. Continued pressure to work from home may lead to an increased gap in earning potential. Those without sufficient workspace at home may not be able to get jobs they would have got going into a workspace.
I can’t deny there are some benefits to this dramatic growth of work from home. Those finding it difficult to work in the office due to physical and mental health problems, or caring commitments, are now finally being given a level playing field. Not to mention the climate benefits. A quick note, we can travel less without all having to work from home (i.e. work in the office but don’t take international business trips every other week).
There are benefits to be taken from the growth in working from home, that is for sure. But we can’t deny the dangers that can, and will, impose if it continues at this rate forevermore.
Written by Chief Liberal Writer, Olivia Margaroli