Remote work or work from home (WFH) gained a huge momentum when many organisations all over the world asked their employees to work online and over the phone due to the surge in Covid-19.
During the peak of the pandemic, more than two-thirds of professionals were working remotely, according to a report by Upwork.
For many organisations, it was a bit sudden for their employees to have access to all the tools they would need to work from home. However, once everyone had settled down, it soon became clear to many office-based teams that employees could still be effective and focused when they were not in the office - in many cases, much more so.
Employers from all around the world started to realise working remotely is indeed effective. Remote working has caused employees to rethink and better accommodate their priorities in life and employers to rethink operations regarding how they can best work with professionals and create teams.
During this time of national fuel insufficiency, drop in national reserve, upcoming global economic recession, uncontrollable traffic congestion, and climate change - work from home can be one great step to minimise all these issues.
In an interview with Insider, Urban Studies Theorist and University of Toronto Economics Professor Richard Florida said remote work will hasten the exodus of families from big cities to rural areas.
This will help to release some population overflow from the mega cities and improve quality of services and lives and savings of resources. Without daily commutes, workers will have more hours and bigger bank accounts with savings.
These extra time and money can be used for skill improvement, savings and investment. Savings are the foundation for investment since giving up consumption makes common commodities available for investment.
A nation's economic development depends heavily on investment because it is the primary driver of employment creation and economic growth.
An increase in investment implies rising national revenue and the GDP. Investment also stimulates economic growth and a general improvement in welfare.
People who are concerned about climate change can get their chance to minimise their carbon footprints by not commuting to work. More WFH means fewer people travelling every day to work and hence reduced transportation related energy demand.
According to a study conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA), working from home is likely to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint of those who commute by car.
By analysing commuter trends and labour market data, IEA found that if everybody able to work from home worldwide were to do so for just one day a week, it would save around 1% of global oil consumption for road passenger transport per year.
Widespread adoption of WFH can shape long-term energy trends and the economy, and its success depends on how organisations, government and the society respond to this flexible work practice.
The author is a development practitioner.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.