The phrase “telecommuting” was first coined in the early 1970s by a NASA employee named Jack Nilles. Nilles claimed telecommuting could offset traffic congestion, promote resource conservation, and be a major convenience for those so engaged. In addition to the societal and environmental benefits, CEOs of major companies said it increased productivity and offered greater flexibility for workers, as workplaces across the country adopted it as an option.
But when COVID-19 hit, telework quickly went from an option to a necessity. Overnight, more than half of Americans went to work over Zoom. Months into the pandemic, we’re starting to see the consequences. But in the current environment, many major companies have announced that their employees will work remotely on a long term basis. Are we ready for this?