Journal from the Future – 4

This is a work of fiction in the form of my journal entry set in the future. All events and situations described here are purely imaginary and any resemblance to an actual situation or event is purely coincidental.

March 20, 2025

Besides work-from-home, another popular option now is living very close to one’s workplace. Commuting is more infrequent and undesirable these days. For most people, this option is more difficult that working from home. Many companies are now having smaller offices that are spread out across a city. Initially, the companies balked at the additional cost of smaller rental units, but I think that got balanced out by the gains from not not needing to be present in prime areas of a city. Essentially, offices are no longer trying to be located in a single central location to cater to people from across the city, but are instead trying to cater to their immediate neighbourhoods only.

Before COVID–19 struck the world, mass transportation was routinely promoted as a more sustainable option over personal transportation, to reduced urban pollution and congestion. However, the distancing norms gradually made public transportation somewhat less desirable. Now, for many people, work commute is only once a week, and that too of a short duration. Urban congestion is slightly less of a worry now.

Even those who usually work from home often prefer to live close to their offices because they still visit their office once or twice a week.

There’s less warmth during the weekly in-office days between people now. However, it is much better than permanent work-from-home with no in-office option. After the initial productivity boost due to the first set of lockdowns, it is now amply clear that the lack of contact with colleagues has created isolated individuals and that has brought a new set of challenges in terms of stress, burnout, and other mental health issues. When measured in the traditional ways, the overall productivity suffers because of the lack of work-life balance.

Most people have found an equilibrium that works for them. There are those that still need to commute every day and also those who permanently work from home. Either way, we have fewer people complaining about traffic. If COVID had a positive, this may be it.