Are people who work from home shirking their responsibilities to infrastructure that was already built?
Should remote workers be taxed?
Those who work from home are getting a free ride, argues a new analysis from Deutsche Bank, and the economic ills that have been exposed by the sudden migration of roughly half the workforce to their living rooms rather than offices should be partially offset by a tax.
“The sudden shift to WFH means that, for the first time in history, a big chunk of people have disconnected themselves from the face-to-face world yet are still leading a full economic life,” wrote strategist Luke Templeman. “That means remote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving its benefits.”
We’re all familiar with the “infrastructure” Templeman refers to. Huge swathes of downtown office real estate sit empty, along with their computer networks and utility hook-ups. Transportation systems designed with double the farebox revenue in mind are in serious financial distress.
On the other hand, the benefits to those workers able to do their jobs from home are quite large, Templeman argues.
“WFH offers direct financial savings on expenses such as travel, lunch, clothes, and cleaning”, he said. “Add to these the indirect savings via forgone socializing and other expenses that would have been incurred had a worker been in the office. Then there are the intangible benefits of working from home, such as greater job security, convenience, and flexibility. There is also the benefit of additional safety.”