An increase in tolerance for teleworking would also help young parents. Think of a father who might work from home on some afternoons so he can make it to his son’s Little League games; picture a mother who would love to work part-time but can work only from home and at the times when her children don’t require attention. This Public Discourse article by Eileen Reuter, a young mother who is finishing a Ph.D. program remotely, notes that remote conferences already have been a boon to her and would benefit women in similar circumstances.
Not only might this time of remote work help employers rethink what it means to be a productive employee, but it also might help the average worker reframe his work–life balance. Instead of our usual chronic busyness, many of us now confront empty days we need to fill, seemingly endless hours that allow us to seek true leisure rather than mindless entertainment to dull our anxiety at the end of a draining day and a long commute. Judging from what I’ve witnessed on my long walks through my Virginia neighborhood, suburban residents have changed their habits dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Where once the streets were packed with cars while sidewalks and yards were mostly empty, neighborhoods are now full of children biking up and down the streets or playing in the early evening with their parents in the front yard. This time of mandatory stillness and government-created homebodies might remind parents of the value of stepping away from the rat race, spending more time with their children, or sending their kids away from screens and out into the beauty of the world.