Presently, American businesses are planning to have their employees return to their offices this fall, pandemic-allowing. After a year of mass telecommuting, however, American employees may have something to say about that.
Despite what business owners have been telling everyone for decades, the last year has proven that working from home does work for the majority of office-type tasks. Bosses have always complained about productivity and worker distrust, using this as an excuse to outright refuse telecommuting for their employees. This was a shame, because telecommuting cuts down on traffic and the use of gasoline, with the resultant lowering of pollution that contributes to global warming and climate change.
But in the last year that COVID has forced telecommuting on businesses, whether they liked it or not, we’ve managed to discover and develop methods of tracking jobs and productivity, thanks to cloud-based shared systems, team apps and online meetings. And now that we have a year’s worth of demonstrated proof of concept, employees can reach out to their employers and make a clear and convincing case for continuing to work from home, for most or even all of the week.
And why do I love this? Because I’ve not only been arguing for telecommuting for years due to its environmental benefits, I’ve always maintained that if a company tried mass telecommuting and worked out many of the kinks and unknowns related to efficient operations, they would end up with the set of procedures that would make telecommuting practical and effective, procedures that other companies could apply in their own offices.
Today, we have those proven procedures to work with, provided by an entire nation of companies. There are no more excuses for applying telecommuting to any and all offices, because we all know now how to do it.
We’ve also reduced traffic, cut gasoline use and lowered pollution levels, in our major cities and nationwide. Telecommuting has provided measurable benefits to society, and to the environment, that we shouldn’t overlook in our desire to return to “normal” after the pandemic. This is a chance to improve “normal” and make business and employees happier, not to mention continuing to reduce our carbon footprint.
So, if you are ordered to return to office work, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about permanently adopting a regular telecommuting schedule for 3, 4 or even 5 days a week. I assure you, you won’t be alone.