One of the most unexpected highlights of the COVID-19 pandemic has been how much those who are able to avail of working from home enjoy doing so. With office workers suddenly working from their home office or the kitchen table, although this caused some inconvenience, the overall consensus was that people enjoyed working from home and high numbers reported satisfaction with the new arrangements.
Although it did vary from country to country, between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of workers said they wanted to continue working remotely at least part-time after the pandemic. Here, In Ireland, according to our survey carried out with Trinity College Dublin, this number increased from 83 per cent in early 2020 to 95 per cent as of mid-2021, with over 30 per cent of respondents stating that they would prefer to work fully remote.
Workers in large cities typically spend between 60-90 minutes commuting each day, with some travelling twice that long. This translates to between 250-650 hours commuting per worker per year. During the pandemic, workers who were no longer dedicating hours to the morning/evening commute found themselves more rested, having more focus and overall less frustrated by traffic delays.
As workers are now spending more time in their home community, working from communal workspaces in their home town and no longer commuting into big cities, they have more time and energy to give back to their own communities. Workers who previously spent an hour commuting, they can now devote just one-third of that time to a local organisation, translating into 87 additional hours a year. This would help to put commuters back in the community.
Enabling remote work could fix many current issues; property ownership becomes more feasible; people have time to participate in current affairs and social cohesion is improved by allowing people to live in less homogenous communities.
Of course, many people will still want to live in built-up urban areas but this allows those who want a quieter life the opportunity to do so without missing out on career opportunities.
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