Tuesday, October 6, 2020

"Remote work mandate raises alarm bells for Bay Area economies"

From Smart Cities Dive, September 30:
Dive Brief:
  • A proposal in the San Francisco Bay Area would mandate that employees of large companies telecommute three days a week in a bid to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from driving. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) advanced the plan last week as part of a long-term regional blueprint to create a "more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant Bay Area for all."
  • Under the proposal, MTC would mandate that large office-based employers with remote capabilities have at least 60% of their workforce working remotely every day. The organization said employers can do this through "any variety of alternative work options, such as compressed work weeks, flexible work schedules, or remote work policies."
  • MTC said this proposal, which would affect major Bay Area employers including Apple, Facebook and Google, would build upon the "significant shift" to telecommuting that has happened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Board members voted 11-1 to advance the blueprint, with a final vote expected by year's end followed by an implementation period.
Dive Insight:
COVID-19 has forced millions of people to work remotely, leaving many office buildings vacant and resulting in the unintended outcome of lowered emissions as fewer people drove to work. Some experts were initially skeptical that cities could sustain emission reductions by keeping people at home, arguing the biggest impacts occur when industrial activity is reduced....