The worldwide coronavirus Covid-19 has led to governments urging a number of temporary practices, such as “self-isolation”. There may, however, be longer-term effects on the way we live our lives. One of those is likely to be that of working from home.

This has its limitations. It is not possible for someone working on an assembly line to work from home; the option is merely to stay at home. It is, however, possible in the era of the internet for office workers to work either from home or in an office location that does not require a long and costly commute.

Responding to the suggestion in the British government’s Covid-19 action plan’s encouraging greater home working, Telegraph columnist Maria Lally wrote: “I went freelance when I had my first child in 2010 and worked from home for the following eight years, until 2018. From the outside it’s a jammy set-up: an extra hour in bed, a 30-second commute, the opportunity to work in slightly grubby jeans without judgment. But there are also significant drawbacks, such as loneliness and a lack of motivation.”

Managers would need to develop new techniques for dealing with “remote workers”. Even with the availability of conference calls and the like, there would undoubtedly be a need for regular (if infrequent) person-to-person meetings. The overall effect, though, would be of reduced stress and much reduced commuting time. In turn, there would be far less pressure on peak-hour road space and public transport. It might even contribute to a solution to the e-tolls dilemma.

Working from home has been stimulated by Covid-19. But the long-term effect may well be one of widespread adoption of new ways of office working.

Paul Browning
Moreleta Village

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