Let's recognize that working from home sort of rules
Now it can be said: as the TV critic at my newspaper I had an office with a door you could shut to avoid annoying your workmates with your television. And I took full advantage of that perk to crawl under my desk and take naps. DAILY.
>>The main argument against working from home is that it's bad for productivity. I understand this argument, but I think that it badly underestimates my ability to sit at a desk and do absolutely nothing.<<
This whole paragraph cracked me up because it's SO true. My first office jobs corresponded with what I consider the golden age of the internet (obviously not from a graphics standpoint... <shudder>) -- lots of quirky independent content, mostly created by smart weirdos. I would guess my late 90s-early 00s time spent on the job was 90% reading TWOP & 10% work. I got semi-reprimanded at my first position in a call center: "Look, I realize you're taking more calls than anyone else, so I can't exactly say, 'stop surfing* and get back to work,' but... could you maybe hide it a little better going forward? It makes me look bad."
(* remember when we called it "surfing the web"? Sounds weirdly wholesome now)
Now I work remotely at my dream job, the bookshelves around my desk are all cat perches, and I get to take long lunches with my husband, who works non-standard hours & whom I'd probably rarely if ever see if I had a traditional job. I work more (& better) hours now than I ever did when I was under supervision. And no more "work clothes" -- the worst thing about office jobs after commuting & that guy in the adjacent cubicle who's constantly making those disturbing sinus-clearing noises.
A few years ago, when 'mindfulness meditation' became all the rage, I began using it as a cover for sneaking in a quick nap at the office mid-day. "No one bother me for the next 30 minutes - I'M MEDITATING!"
"You can also — and this is huge — take a nap sometimes."
Yes! I often cite this is a primary benefit of remote work. I've been doing remote work, and thus enjoying afternoon naps, for six years, so the pandemic didn't change anything for me. Prior to going remote, I would have at least an hour after lunch, if not the whole afternoon, when I was basically a zombie. But 20 minutes to an hour of snooze time in the afternoon works wonders for mental and physical health and productivity.
I would take naps during lunch in my car like a homeless person. I now get to be as comfortable as one can be in my bed while I now nap. Also, full thermostat control is a godsend
I largely agree and enjoyed reading this column while I enjoyed a late lazy breakfast and also “called in” to a meeting I wasn’t really needed for. BUT... I then drove into the office for the rest of the day. I’m of mixed emotions on this. I just like people, or a good percentage of them, for some of the time? I like being around my colleagues. Just as I was typing this comment, two newer colleagues just stopped by my desk to ask about a project we’re working on and I was able to help explain it to them. If I’d stayed at home this morning, they would have been confused for at least a few more days. These claims about increased productivity from home are undoubtedly true, but only in an individual level. The network effects of productivity that come from informal conversations though, even at the cost of marginal individual productivity, are being neglected. How is the next Jeff Mauer supposed to learn your ways while you’re miles away chilling with your cat? (Maybe your cat has a future in comedy writing?)
I work at a publishing house and it's very interesting--there are roles here that benefit from working from home, because they generally require less time sensitive interaction with other employees, and then there are roles where working from home is like having a productivity head cold that never goes away. Editors, who are "author-adjacent" in this field, get the most out of working from home. But there are other roles (like mine!) where working from home renders several of the bullet points on my job description useless.
They are doing a split model at my job, which seems to make sense for mainstream publishing, since it's generally based in New York, and there are in-person events that authors need to attend in town. (Cable news aside, a TV appearance is better if they're in the studio with the presenters / hosts.) So people are in the office some of the time, and home the rest of the time. But it's been fascinating to me to see how the utility of working from home doesn't just change business by business, it can be very different within an organization role by role.
Boy did you get this argument right !
Remembering the times that I sat starting at a screen, shuffling papers, or nodding out because I had to appear busy from 9 to 5, when most of my work, being done with Europe or Australia, didn’t fit the LA time zones comfortably. As a result, working from home gave me the “privilege” of putting in 18 hour days, plus commuting.
Now that I have retired, I sit and a screen and read blogs such as Jeff’s and laugh out loud without a sense of guilt.
I honestly don’t get why businesses are opposed to working from home, now that we have Zoom and other communication tools. Since March 1, 2020, I can count the number of times my husband has gone into the office on one hand. If anything, he is more productive now, because he doesn’t have any distractions (unless our dog decides to protect the house from the FedEx guy) and he isn’t tired out from a commute.
Working from home saves companies money on business travel too. Before the pandemic, my husband made multiple transatlantic work trips per year, and his company paid for his business-class ticket every time. Now he has monthly meetings with people in the US, Switzerland, and Australia over Zoom, and the travel cost to his company is zero. What’s not to like?
As a recent resident of DC, which arguably has the highest concentration of the types of people who could permanently switch to remote work anywhere in the country, how do you think this trend will affect that metro area? So much of suburban DC exists only because people need a place from which to commute to a job. I’m thinking about, for example, a locality that has the words “Man” and “ass“ in its name. Unless you’re really into outlet shopping, I can’t imagine a reason apart from having to commute into the District (or maybe Arlington or Alexandria) why a human would choose to live there. Will these places become 21st Century ghost towns, with tumbleweeds rolling through empty Macaroni Grill parking lots?
You're cat looks Ace.
Bravo! Instant Classic! But tell the truth: you wrote it in the break room with the gross coffee maker, right?