But what about less drastic measures, such as encouraging people to work from home, as the Telework Tax Incentive Act would do? This, dear bill sponsors, is not the solution. If working from home were as effective as working at the office, office buildings would never have been built in the first place.
There are certain network efficiencies that come from face-to-face contact with colleagues that telecommuting simply cannot match. Nor is more urbanization the answer. The notion that cities reduce congestion defies reality. Moreover, many Americans dislike living in cities, and an emphasis on urban growth detracts from development of suburban and rural office-residential complexes.
The major social challenge to living at work is couples who work in different locations. But here, Congress again may serve as a model. For example, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) married her colleague Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), while Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) married former Rep. Max Sandlin (D-Texas).
It is often said that “Americans live to work, while Europeans work to live,” but it has not yet been said that Americans live at work. In this respect, when it comes to solving our nation’s infrastructure, housing and environmental challenges, perhaps we should take a cue from Congress.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.