Guest editorial: A National Work from Home Day would be a silver lining in the pandemic
Its been said “Don’t waste a crisis.” While these are difficult times, it would be sad if we can’t learn a few things along the way. My heart goes out to all the small business owners, self-employed people and commission-based earners who are sweating out rent payment and equipment lease payments with no income. If you haven’t already, please be generous with giving to our local charities. As restaurants and retail shops open back up, let’s do our part by supporting them with our business.
Has your relationship with your family improved or been strained in the recent months? It seems like half the people I meet (at a distance, of course) are loving the extra time at home, while the other half can’t wait to return to the office or have their kids return to school. If you are in the latter group, cherish the moments, as in the end, how you loved and were loved by your family will be far more important then how funny your work buddies thought you were.
January wasn’t all that long ago: Do you remember your biggest complaints about living in Utah? For most of us it was traffic and air quality. I’m sure you’ve noticed on that rare trip to the grocery store how few cars are on the road and the clarity of the skies. For those of us that have lived here awhile, its like Utah circa 2000.
They say 5% of Americans worked from home pre-crisis and about 40% could work from home post-crisis. With quality teleconferencing like Zoom and high-speed internet, many of us are finding we are more productive at home than at the office. No more wasted commute time, primping and ironing shirts. While we had assumed our clients needed to see us in person, we’re finding many are just as happy getting business updates or even listening to new sales pitches online. Many of my colleagues are saying two to three days in the office vs. working at home would be the ideal mix going forward.
So, here is my proposal (and you heard it here first): As Americans we love to celebrate momentous occasions marked by a holiday. The Fourth of July for Independence Day, Memorial Day for us vets. Given the depth of this current crisis, how about National Work from Home Day? Once per year would be nice, but not all that impactful. Monthly? Better. How about one day a week? Now you are talking some real change. Two days a week, you’d be a real trend setter.
I have a friend who works as a software engineer for a public company. During the financial crisis of 2008, his company closed all regional offices except for the headquarters and had all employees work from home. Not only have they saved the office expenses, but he and other employees love working from home. So, while not for everyone, a National Work from Home initiative could do more to alleviate traffic and air pollution than virtually any green proposal we’ve seen. Best yet, it’s a cost saver vs. one more added expense to your annual tax bill!
Now go use those savings to take your family to one of our finest Park City restaurants and buy a new shirt on Main Street — I’m sure your spouse would appreciate a fresh look!
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Christopher Smart writes in a guest editorial that, until police reform happens in Utah, young men will continue to be ripped away from their families.