Of all the policies proposed in the options memo, the one that makes the most sense is option C: Grant employees the ability to work remotely whenever possible, and incentivize companies to become fully remote. This policy would be more likely to work than the others proposed because it presents an option that is low-cost, high-reward. By switching to having mostly remote employees, companies would actually save money—and the cost for the government to incentivize them to do this would be well worth the trade.
Main benefits of the policy:
1. Less carbon emissions.
“Close to 143 million Americans aged 16 and older commute to work each day. That’s about 45% of the population that’s on the move at any given time.” (Lake, 2015).
Working remotely would lead to significatly less cars on the road, which means less carbon emissions going into the atomsphere. This would not only reduce air pollution, but it can even reverse some of the damage caused to our ozone layer that contributes to climate change.
2. Less energy wasted on powering office spaces.
Office buildings are typically large spaces that need constant electricity. Having hundreds of lights on regularly, as well as running the air conditioning constantly, are both things that use up a huge amount of energy, and things that office buildings need. This level of energy usage negatively impacts our air quality. With more people working from home, the need for office spaces would decrease, which would in turn save significant amounts of energy.
This policy could possibly to be met with initial resistance. After all, people generally do not like change and they fear the unknown. That is why the typical work-week hours have not changed in decades, even with how different and technologically advanced life is now. However, the fact of the matter is that we have the technology needed to be able to make this change seamlessly. The public, as well as the government, need to remember that countries and policies should not remain stagnant through time. Adapting and evolving should be encouraged, not feared. With air pollution on the rise again, as well as all of the other environmental issues plaguing the world, perhaps we need a drastic change like this to actually start seeing a noticeable difference.
In conclusion, encouraging employees to work from home and incentivizing companies to adopt this change would be beneficial in many ways. First, there would be a significant decrease in pollution due to the decrease in commuters’ cars on the road. Also, the need for office buildings would decrease significantly, and so too would their sky-high consumption of energy. Additionally, companies would save a lot of money that they could reallocate, which would allow them to raise their employees salaries so that they can afford accommodations for a home office. Finally, employees would have the freedom to work from anywhere, meaning they could move away from crowded cities and into other cities, which could ultimately improve the economy and housing market.
Lake, R. (2015, November 16). 23 Commute Statistics to Know Before You Go to Work. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.creditdonkey.com/commute-statistics.html
What Can I Do to Help Reduce Air Pollution? (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/tsb/ams/aqmdp/share.htm