A Pandemic’s Silver Linings: Remote Work as a Free Market Solution


Monday, May 17, 2021

During a global pandemic marked with sweeping unemployment, those who were able to keep their jobs had to adapt to a structure-less workplace. Breakroom conversations were replaced with haphazard texts from a remote workspace, and former reservations of meeting spaces became chunks of time dedicated to video conferencing software. This grand migration to a virtual office environment had plenty of growing pains, but its efficiency has shown that a viable relationship between employee and employer exists outside of the simple confines of an office building, and that the further expansion of remote work serves only to benefit American consumption as a whole. 

It is often repeated that telecommute environments are antipersonal. Older-thinking executives will repeat phrases like, “I miss seeing my coworkers smiling faces when I come to work,” or, “‘Water cooler talk’ is what holds our company together.” While the effects of employee connectedness are certainly productive to companies as a whole, there is little evidence to suggest that a remote work environment significantly detracts from employee efficiency. 

Forbes wrote the article “Benefits Of Telecommuting For The Future Of Workin 2017—three years before the COVID-19 pandemic—and its arguments are only proven further after the experiences of us lucky few who’ve maintained employment throughout the crisis. I won’t regurgitate each point, but note the recurring themes. Benefits include reduced employer costs to house employees, reduced employee turnover for those who can telecommute, and improved morale among those who telecommute. On the employer side, it seems that fostering remote opportunities where possible would improve the situation of all participating firms even after COVID-19 is no longer the driving catalyst.

Even on the employee side of the issue, remote environments are a desirable choice. The corporate surveying firm, Blind, found that over 60 percent of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce employees would decline a 30,000 dollar raise if it meant they could work from home. Granted, these high-tech positions are not indicative of those employed by local mom-and-pop stores, but these tech giants still employ droves of people. If I were an executive at Apple, and knew that 60 percent of my employees would forego a five-figure raise to stay home, why wouldn’t I try to facilitate that trade-off as best as I could?

Obviously, this does not extend to every profession. Nurses will still have to work in hospitals, and construction workers will still occupy job sites. But for those whose entire job can be done behind a computer screen, remote opportunities make the most financial sense. 

Conservatives will often boast their economic aptitude, complaining that the political left fancies grandiose ideas over practical solutions. If they want to maintain that economic superiority, conservatives should promote the new status quo of telecommute and hybrid work environments. Not only does it aid the employee in their own respective work-life balance, it provides cost-savings to the employer that can then be used to grow the economy further. 

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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