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Working from home is here to stay, so let’s get it right

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The COVID-19 pandemic has crushed economies, sent joblessness soaring and killed more than a million people worldwide. But there are a few ways in which the pandemic may prompt society to improve, and one is remote work.

Though it was initially necessary to keep employees from getting sick, remote work promises to make people more productive and happy while helping the environment and preserving infrastructure.

When the coronavirus struck, those who could do their jobs remotely often did. The number has gradually declined as our understanding of safety measures increased, but it’s still substantial.

And while many people will go back to the office after the pandemic is over, part of the shift will probably be permanent. A recent survey shows a substantial increase in the number of workers who say they won’t go back to the office full time.

There are certainly drawbacks to the remote trend. Those working from home are far more likely to be in higher-income, professional occupations, such as engineers, lawyers, financiers or consultants. Most lower-income jobs can’t be done remotely, such as those in food service and brick-and-mortar retail. That has created inequality in terms of both unemployment and exposure to COVID-19. And when........

© The Japan Times

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