BARC partnered with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute on a study(link is external) on remote work in the Bay Area that was released today. The study analyzes the number of workers eligible to work remotely and the potential longer-term economic, environmental, and equity impacts of sustained remote work in the region.
On May 5th, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to examine ways to continue to encourage telecommuting after the COVID-19 crisis ends, recognizing the benefits of improved air quality and reduced congestion that the Bay Area has experienced since shelter-in-place policies began and many employees began working from home.
An article in Fast Company argues that while technology has made working from anywhere possible, breakthroughs in innovation are still more likely to occur in larger cities, which offer larger and more diverse populations, more varied thinking, and access to cultural and academic institutions.
An article in the New York Times today highlights the economic impact that remote work could have on service industries, which are dependent upon white-collar office workers for business. In cities in particular, the service economy sustains tens of millions of workers without college degrees.
An article in Bloomberg CityLab highlights the 60% telecommute strategy recently added to Plan Bay Area 2050, and some criticism around the proposed mandate. At its September 23rd meeting, BARC member agency the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) proposed, as one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050, that large office-based employers should have a minimum of 60% of employees work remotely on any given workday by 2050.
An article in the New York Times highlights how the overlapping effects of climate change and pandemic-induced remote work, combined with the Bay Area's high housing prices, could threaten the economic foundations of California's economy. Although it remains to be seen how large-scale remote work will affect companies, many companies had already started re-locating employees to areas with lower real estate and labor costs prior to the pandemic.