National Links: Office Work Will Never Be The Same

Every day at The Overhead Wire we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Corporate headquarters abandoned America’s suburbs: Big empty office sites in suburbs around US that were once-trendy campuses have been abandoned over time for metropolitan centers to in order for businesses to attract young employees. Who and how should these “big empties” be redeveloped and is it even possible? (David Bernstein | Pro Publica)

Teleworking’s hidden effects on the environment: Amid the virus spread and lockdowns, teleworking has increasingly become a popular option adopted by various companies and individuals. At first glance it may appear that this will benefit the environment with reduced VMT and falling emissions, the reality is mixed as energy use is decreasing but longer and non-work trips are increasing. (Eric Sunquist | SSTI)

Office work will never be the same: COVID-19 has not only changed where office workers work, but also how they work for the foreseeable future. While only a small percentage of office workers are predicted to actually go back to thier offices, technology will become increasingly important along with a distorted day of longer hours and more meetings. (Rani Molla | Recode)

CAHSR decides to reduce costs by hiring state employees over consultants: The California High Speed Rail Authority plans to cut private-sector consultants in a bid to reduce costs and bring more expertise in house. 88 consultant jobs will disappear and 70 employees will be hired for a $16m a year net savings. (Andrew Sheeler | Sacramento Bee)

The Collapse of rush hour: In these times of lockdowns and preference for telecommuting, traffic demand has completely changed. Specifically, demand at previous peak commuter hours has plummeted which could be positive news for a future of less rush hour only service and better efficiency and equity. (Jarrett Walker | Human Transit)

Quote of the Week

“Deaths from accidents are the biggest source of organs for transplant, accounting for 33% of donations, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS, which manages the nation’s organ transplant system. But since the coronavirus forced Californians indoors, accidents have declined. Traffic collisions and fatalities in the state dropped by half in the first three weeks of sheltering in place.”

April Dembosky in Kaiser Health News discussing the reduction in organ transplants due to Coronavirus lockdowns.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Boris Lipkin, the Northern California Regional Director of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

1 thought on “National Links: Office Work Will Never Be The Same

  1. Monte Castleman

    The “Teleworking’s Effect on the Environment” uses UK data, and while interesting I’d be hesitant to extrapolate the data to the U.S. due to the vast differences in culture and built form. The company I work for has had a teleworking program for 10 years with the vast majority of the back office staff like myself taking part. There is a trend towards people moving farther and farther out for all the usual reasons (lower crime, able to afford bigger houses, more space) once the daily commute was eliminated. Finally someone wanted to work from North Dakota and HR said no because they didn’t want to deal with more than two sets of tax laws and they wanted it to be somewhat feasible for people to still come into the office if it were important. (In 10 years it’s happened four times where I’ve been summoned to the office, and then twice a year for optional company events).

    However the impression I got is rather than replacing short trips to the city with long trips to the city, there’s usually a Target near where they live, and they’ll only make a long trip to the city for something a couple of times a year. Maybe they have to drive everywhere in North Branch, but I get the idea these were people that always drove everywhere on their errands even when they lived farther in.

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