COVID-19 : Let's do a Work-From-Home experiment in New York

COVID-19 : Let's do a Work-From-Home experiment in New York

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A NEW YORKER started this petition to Tech companies and

With this new coronavirus outbreak, working from home is no longer a privilege, it’s a necessity.

The sanitary risk of a 2019-nCoV outbreak in New York City is an opportunity for most companies to test working from home at scale.

Apart from contributing to a healthier environment, helping employers and employees save money on transportation and office space, and promoting equal opportunities in the employment market, working from home might be the most efficient containment measure each individual could take part of.

Of course, working from home is not ideal, it's a skill, it takes time to acquire, both for employees and employers. It’s going to mean a lot of video chats and phone calls, but many tools are already available for a reasonable price: Slack, Zoom, Yammer, Dropbox, Google Drive.... and or course VPN tools to improve cybersecurity. 

Yes, some jobs are not really adapted. Retail industry for example, but most importantly some critical services like power generation, grid services, communications, and food production. However, those services only require a small percentage of the population to maintain in the modern days.

Focusing first on tech companies, advertising firms, and financial institutions would make sense. A growing number of US companies are already working as fully distributed teams. More recently, some Chinese corporate giants including Alibaba Group and Tencent have asked staff to work from home for one week after an extended Lunar New Year break ends, seeking to limit the spread of the 2019-nCoV virus.

A 2015 study from Stanford University in California found that productivity among employees at a Chinese travel agency went up by 13% when they worked from home due to fewer breaks and more comfortable work environments.

Working from home seems to result in higher productivity, help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, commute congestion, and most importantly would be an efficient measure to contain a possible rapid outbreak of the 2019-nCoV virus in densely populated cities such as New York City.

It's time for New Yorkers to lead the country's largest work-from-home experiment!

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