I don’t work from home. In this pandemic, I am required by my employer to be in offices 6 days a week. Yet I don’t envy those who have the “luxury of working from home,” because it’s not a luxury. It’s quite the opposite in fact.
Let me make this a simple as I can. Pre-pandemic, the ability to work from home was a luxury. Sometimes reserved for employees as a reward, it was often seen as a perk. As I look around at my friends and family that are working from home, it’s painfully apparent that the only people benefiting from this “new normal” are employers.
Work-life balance is out the window. I see family working extra hours FOR FREE because they are unable to meet the requirements of their jobs during regular business hours due to the pressure of being at home, without a proper workspace, dealing with children who are not at school, other family members who are also working from home, and the myriad distractions that come with that.
“But Paul, shouldn’t they make up the hours for the work they don’t accomplish?” I hear you ask. “Doesn’t the employer deserve to get what they pay for?”.
Yes, they do. But frankly, fuck’em. Let’s talk about what they employer is getting out of everyone working from home, shall we?
In most cases (and yes, I’m sure there are a handful of excellent employers who deviate from the norm,) the workloads have not decreased, but do you know what has? The employers’ costs.
Some have reduced the amount of space they are renting, but others, even if they keep the space in hopes of the full workforce returning to the office after the pandemic, face dramatically reduced costs for that space. Water, sewer, heating (or air conditioning), electricity, office supplies, insurance, cleaning, hardware /furniture /equipment attrition costs have all dropped dramatically. That’s to name just a few.
Those costs are now borne by guess who? That’s right: the employee.
Most people did not have an office in their home pre-pandemic, and those that did usually didn’t have it set up as a long-term work environment.
No matter how cheap you choose to go, it costs time and money to set up a long-term workspace in your home – assuming you even have the space to do so. Who pays for that? Do you get reimbursed for the desk, desk chair, laptop stand, monitors you had to purchase in order to be in any way as efficient as you were in the office?
Who pays for the additional water, sewage, heating / air-conditioning / office supplies / company coffee costs that come with being in your home instead of the office? You know, the normal costs of doing business, those unspoken items that are part of your employment, that are now being dumped on the employees.
Let’s not even talk about the cost of internet usage in America and its “no real choice is an actual choice” approach to broadband providers. I can’t get unlimited where I live. I have a 1TB cap, and we come precariously close every month to passing that cap because one of us is working from home. If we both were working from home, then we would blow through that cap in no time, and then come the overage fees.
And don’t get me started on those who offer advice to others without realizing that their reality is simply not the reality for the majority of folks. Nor could they make it such if they wanted to!
“If you have a standing desk, recreate that at home. You also want to make sure that your chair is ergonomically comfortable and that it’s an ergonomically friendly keyboard,” Mathew said.CNN HEALTH
But that doesn’t mean working from home can’t convey some extra benefits. For Kvinta, that includes regularly working outside.
“So, I do have an office — a dedicated office inside. But on beautiful days like today, I haul everything out, put it on my table on the porch, and I can work all day on the porch. It’s pretty awesome.”
Sure Kvinta – We’ll drag the desk, two monitors, laptop, dock, and everything else out on the back porch, and set up a canopy to stop the Alabama sun from glaring off the screens. Let’s have the cabana boy bring margaritas while we’re at it. Christ on a cracker, at least I have a deck. What about all those poor wretches paying through the nose for studio apartments? I’m sure they can drag all their stuff to… Wait, what’s open and safe, with free wifi?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all great for employers, but my blood boils when I hear that even the richest of the rich (almost) want to reduce employee wages because they are working remotely.
It’s a fucking global pandemic people, and despite the existence of vaccines, the end is not yet in sight, for so many reasons.
If employers want to show solidarity with their remote workforce, maybe they should reduce expectations and increase pay. I’m certain it won’t inconvenience the shareholders all that much. It will go a lot further than platitudes at engendering goodwill with employees and improve retention when we come out the other side of all this.
Your home is supposed to be your castle, your sanctuary. I find it pretty fucking offensive: that the majority of employers just started squatting in people’s homes without so much as a “by your leave.” Fuck, most squatters would at least offer a reach-around to stay…