Telecommuting can slash emissions. Should it be required?

Working from home has become the norm in the San Francisco Bay Area, leading to a sizable drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission has voted to move forward with a proposal to require people at large, office-based companies to work from home three days a week as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes.

“There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a member of the transportation commission who supports the proposal. She said she felt “very strongly” that a telecommuting mandate should be a part of the region’s future.

Although the Bay Area air quality would benefit from the mandate, not everyone wants it to go through. “We do not want to continue this as a lifestyle,” said Steven Buss. “It’s probably fine if you own a big house out in the suburbs and you’re nearing retirement, but for young workers like me who live in crowded conditions, working from home is terrible.”

Other residents said that if car emissions are the problem, the commission should focus on cars, not all commutes.

Now, you might be asking: if this mandate were to go through, what would it look like? From documents, we know the mandate would apply to “large, office-based employers” and require them to have at least 60 percent of their employees telecommute on any given workday. They could meet the requirement through flexible schedules, compressed workweeks, or other alternatives.

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Telecommuting can slash emissions. Should it be required?

Working from home has become the norm in the San Francisco Bay Area, leading to a sizable drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission has voted to move forward with a proposal to require people at large, office-based companies to work from home three days a week as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes.

“There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a member of the transportation commission who supports the proposal. She said she felt “very strongly” that a telecommuting mandate should be a part of the region’s future.

Although the Bay Area air quality would benefit from the mandate, not everyone wants it to go through. “We do not want to continue this as a lifestyle,” said Steven Buss. “It’s probably fine if you own a big house out in the suburbs and you’re nearing retirement, but for young workers like me who live in crowded conditions, working from home is terrible.”

Other residents said that if car emissions are the problem, the commission should focus on cars, not all commutes.

Now, you might be asking: if this mandate were to go through, what would it look like? From documents, we know the mandate would apply to “large, office-based employers” and require them to have at least 60 percent of their employees telecommute on any given workday. They could meet the requirement through flexible schedules, compressed workweeks, or other alternatives.

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