LONDON — White collar staff reaping the financial benefits of working from home should be taxed to help other workers who aren't getting the same advantages, experts at Deutsche Bank said in a new report.
In its report on how to rebuild the economy after COVID-19, the bank proposed a 5% daily tax on each employee who continues to work from home, which could raise tens of billions of dollars for governments. The money could be used to help lower income workers who have taken on greater risk because their jobs can't be done remotely, it said.
The bank noted that the global pandemic has turbocharged the shift to remote work, a trend that looks set to last for the long term with many workers expecting to spend at least a few days of their work week at home even after the pandemic ends.
These workers benefit from more convenience and flexibility. They also save money directly because they don't have to pay for commuting costs, takeout lunches, or buying and dry cleaning work clothes, but it means those businesses that have grown up to support office workers won't be able to recover and "the economic malaise will be extended," the report said.
While it doesn't make sense for the government to support, say, a downtown sandwich shop if it doesn't have any more customers from nearby office towers, "it does make sense to support the mass of people who have been suddenly displaced by forces outside their control," the bank said. "From a personal and economic point of view, it makes sense that these people should be given a helping hand."
The tax would amount to just over $10 a day, assuming the average salary of an American working from home is $55,000. That's roughly the amount the worker might spend on commuting, lunch and laundry, which would leave them no worse off than going into the office, the report said. It could raise up to $48 billion in the U.S. Deutsche Bank carried out similar calculations for Germany and the U.K.
But the proposals faced heavy skepticism.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna.co.uk said the idea was misguided and predicted it would be incredibly unpopular.
"It punishes progressive companies and those with kids or caring responsibilities, who were responsible during the pandemic, who are already taking on more costs and helping the environment by staying at home," said Hunter. "Let's be honest, there are many better ways to raise taxes!"
12 gifts for anyone working from home:
Homesick Beach Cottage candle
Homesick’s natural soy wax blend Beach Cottage candle with cotton wicks and custom fragrance oils transports you to a stroll on the beach. You don’t have to walk on the water to feel as if you’re there with this nontoxic candle that burns for 60 to 80 hours.
Silk Worm ‘You’re on mute’ mug
We often forget that we need to unmute ourselves during meetings until our colleagues remind us. But with Silk Worm’s “You’re on mute” mug in front of you on a daily basis, you’ll never forget.
Baudville appreciation plant cube
Plant the (money plant) seeds of gratitude for a working colleague, or show some gratitude to yourself with Baudville’s appreciation plant cube. This flowering, daily reminder of thanks in a pine box will grow with your productivity.
Hay Paper Paper Bin
Brighten up your workspace with Hay’s Paper Paper Bin made from recycled paper with a protective coating. Contrasting colors and a slanted folding technique create a playful and colorful bin for waste or storage.
Square Wave kinetic mobile with stand
The Square Wave kinetic mobile is composed of 21 connected metal rods, which curve and mutate unexpectedly with the introduction of energy. Designed by British sculptor Ivan Black, the mobile is inspired by the Fibonacci series, a famous mathematical sequence, as well as geometric formations that occur in nature. Manipulate it while holding it in your hands, or spin it on the base to relieve stress.
Revolution Focus standing desk balance board
Step up your standing desk game with Revolution’s Focus standing desk balance board. Balance as you type, and once you get better at balancing, add more air to the rubber cushion (no pump required), and step up the difficulty. Whistle as you work? More like balance as you type.
NiceSeats seat cover
When you do venture out for that first business trip, the NiceSeats seat cover could come in handy since it goes over the seat and seat back of your chair, regardless of whether you’re on a plane, train or bus. It offers another layer of protection from germs and takes seconds to put on. Machine washable and reusable.
Global Attic black beaded necklace
Practicality doesn’t have to be the sole feature of your workspace. Beautiful things that inspire are also necessities. And this black necklace from Global Attic made from feathers and beads on jute on a metal stand fits that bill.
Drum solo during Zoom meetings? Sure. Why not? With these No. 2 writing utensils from Suck UK, you can get your rhythm on for that song on the radio or the music in your head.
Keep your hands busy with PlayableArt’s Helicone. Take a moment to twist the thin brass tube back and forth, and the 38 laser-cut wood pieces swirl rhythmically into a pine-cone shape; twist it the other way, and it transforms into a helix.
Akari light sculpture
The Akari light sculpture is a table lamp created from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribbing (supported by a metal frame and tripod base). Designer Isamu Noguchi blended Japanese handcraft and modernist form.
Glass rainbow marble spinner
Michael Trimpol and Monique LaJeunesse’s glass rainbow marble spinner, complete with glass ball and saucer, lets you take a break from the screen by watching mesmerizing ribbons of color as they twist and dance.
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