I was listening to the radio this morning and heard a US Senator discuss an issue that had been reported to her by large employers.
All of us are now familiar, because of the response to Covid-19, with the phenomenon of “remote work”. People were permitted by their employers to work from home. In many cases, this was pushed heavily by government.
We had all heard about the rampant unemployment fraud that was caused by the response to Covid-19. But it turns out that many employees working remotely during the pandemic were essentially holding down two remote jobs simultaneously. They were doing both jobs simultaneously from their homes.
There are enormous issues with remote work. Many employees are not nearly as productive; and it is much more difficult for employers to monitor their work. Some of the creativity associated with people working together is lost; and it is creativity that often drives innovation and solves problems. But most importantly, customer service tends to suffer with remote work.
There is also one potential benefit to remote work. Some employees who are particularly vulnerable to mental health effects of difficult interactions with bosses and/or co-workers tend to do better with remote work. These are difficulties with which many people deal; and we ought not discount that. It is also helpful for people who have transportation issues.
One of the major problems with the response to Covid-19 is that it was very difficult to “unpack” many of the measures or mindsets that proliferated. People still wear masks although most of them don’t work. People are still afraid of doctor’s offices and of being exposed to infection. People still seek remote medical care even though in many cases it might be substandard. Many people never returned to church. There was enormous resistance to re-opening various types of facilities. Many people dropped out of the workforce prematurely– and permanently.
Some of this was due to fear and hysteria. Self-interest was also intermingled in some cases.
But it never occurred to me that some people were defrauding their employers by holding down a second remote job, and failing to give their primary employer their best efforts.