I’m surprised to hear from young folks that they don’t mind working from home. It actually shocks me. You’d think they’d be bored talking with the same family member every day or significant other or spouse. I’m bored of hearing my spouse repeat stories he’s already told me during this shelter in place. But the young folks aren’t complaining. What is going on? Let’s examine three cases:
The first case is an engaged couple that both previously fought commute traffic to get to work. They live in the suburbs of Oakland. One has a toll bridge charge each day. They are finding that they can save around $500 in cash each month on travel expense alone not to mention going out to lunch and this pleases them. The second case are a couple that are not engaged but have been sharing expenses and live in the suburbs of L.A. They find when they do go out, the freeways are less crowded, the air is cleaner which pleases them, and they believe in climate change. : >/ The third are a young married couple with two small children living in suburbs of San Francisco. Normally one would commute to SF either by bus or ferry. For some unknown reason he doesn’t mind working from his bedroom amid kids crying and a dog barking. Could be, not taking public transportation pleases him.
Whatever the case, I’m flummoxed. When I was single it was actually part of the American Way to go to work and mingle with co-workers, go to coffee with them, and dare I say, flirt with a single person that caught your eye and possibly go for a drink after work. You can’t find a date over your cell phone. You can, I guess, but it certainly won’t be as truthful. We need to see what one wears, how one walks, and their mannerisms one cannot see over a cell phone. You may meet your future spouse at work not at home on your laptop.
Interaction with other humans, whether you are single or not, is still necessary at work. You can brainstorm a work topic more effectively. You can attend group office meetings in the conference room. Your boss calls you into his office to show you plans, files, or material for your next assignment. You can all go to lunch and relax together. None of that happens at home in your bed.
I think it is healthier for the kids to be in school with other kids–not be home everyday with two parents. Save that special time for the weekends. One parent home is easier to be the disciplinarian. But two parents at home trying to work off their computers plus teaching their kids is not good for anyone. As a child I never saw my father home during the week with my mother. It never happened.
The American Way is to Go to Work not Stay Home to Work. We never went to a job interview to be asked to stay home and work, unless you were a novelist. We’d look around the work environment to see what they had to offer. Does the building have windows, offices, or work spaces? Does it have a cafeteria? For companies like Facebook to say now that they will keep half their workforce working from home remotely, good luck with that.
Out of sight, out of mind. You will be first to be forgotten and fired when there is an economic downfall. They will keep those that are in the office. So careful what you wish for. Working from home is one foot in the door to the unemployment office. And I say that to all my kids. Don’t be the one who chooses to stay home (unless you’re pregnant.) You’ll regret it. Maybe not now, but in the near future. Choose to go back to the office. Healthier all around for your family. Even for the kids. Leave the homeschooling for those that are trained for homeschooling. The average parent is not.
2 thoughts on “To Work Remotely or Not? That is The Question.”
All of your points have merits for sure, especially for young people. I have been working from home for going on nine years. But working from home requires a lot of mental discipline to stay focused on your work and not get distracted. I think it works for me because I am an old geezer, my outside interests are certainly less than they would have been 30 years ago. I always hated office politics and constantly having to watch your back. Now the only back I have to worry about is my dog visiting me in my office a couple of times a day for me to scratch his. Enjoyed your article as always.
It was meant for younger folks who were my reason for writing it. At our age, sure, home is preferable to driving to an office. Trying to get my kids back to the office is all. I don’t see it as healthy for them at home everyday. You make friends at work. Maybe two days a week max at home. Politics at work is different these days I’m sure. My one son had a female coworker come crying into his office after Hillary lost. Ugh!