Perhaps one of the most unexpected highlights of the pandemic has been how much those who are able to avail of working from home enjoy doing so. Even when office workers were unceremoniously chucked into remote work in early 2020, bereft of home office or childcare facilities, high numbers reported satisfaction with the new arrangements.
Depending on the 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. In Ireland, according to one large university study, 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.
Remote work, of course, has potential benefits for the environment, health, and personal relationships. It also has several benefits for democracy.
Workers in large cities typically spend between 60-90 minutes commuting each day, with some (often the lower paid) travelling twice that long. This translates to between 250-650 hours commuting per worker per year. Small wonder that many companies have reported increased productivity during the pandemic. Unshackled from frustrating hours in traffic, more rested workers can focus better on the job and still enjoy more leisure.
And that is important, because a frequent argument against democracy is that citizens do not have time to inform themselves about political issues or to take part in local politics.
Read the full article at The Irish Times here.