So back to work from home for those in England who can do it next week. While it’s not some people’s cup of tea, for many who have been forced back to the office it will be a relief. The real long-term problem, unrelated to the pandemic, is choice.
Many prejudices against working from home
But there are still so many prejudices against working from home. I went on Twitter the other morning, as usual. It’s not something I would do if I didn’t have to do it for work, but it can be useful when it comes to spreading information [in the midst of all the misinformation …]. He likes to feature stories that really bother you, so the first thing I saw was a Telegraph story titled What Makes Your Brain Work from Home. Being the Telegraph, I knew it wasn’t going to be any good and sure enough, based on some chess player studies, it showed that being remote dulls your brain.
I’m pretty sure there are all kinds of studies that show all sorts of things about remote working and that it depends a lot on a lot of different circumstances. I’m also pretty sure there are all sorts of studies on work in an office that show all sorts of things as well. For example, how does commuting affect levels of exhaustion and mental alertness? What about office politics? Rushing home to get back in time to pick up the kids from kindergarten can’t have a particularly positive impact on mental well-being unless you enjoy living your life against the clock.
Studies that highlight the links between stress
There are many studies that highlight the links between stress and lack of control over what you do, including when and where you do it. We know that stress is related to burnout and that burnout levels have been high for years. I’m pretty sure none of this has a particularly positive impact on your brain and, of course, many people quit their jobs in big city centers due to the pressures.
Media seem to focus mainly on the negative aspects
Yet some media seem to focus mainly on the negative aspects of remote working, often based on studies of remote working during Covid, which is an emergency situation; and when, during lockdowns, we were all isolated from everyone and our mental health was under siege due to concern for our health, our jobs, money, the health of our relatives, our children’s education, and much , more.
Your job is making you sick
Why do they find work from home so terribly threatening that they feel the need to portray mostly the negatives? It’s the same when it comes to Prince Harry’s comments the other day on mental health. He basically said that if your job is making you sick and you can, leave. Isn’t that just common sense? Sure, many people can’t quit their jobs, but why stay if it’s not necessary? I spent a few months being bullied by my boss at another job. I stayed to fight my case. I would not recommend it now. When I left, I was unable to go to the office to hand over my pass without shaking and feeling physically ill. It took months to feel good again and to rebuild my confidence. How was that good? Why is it wrong to leave in that situation if you can? If, as an employer, you treat people badly you don’t deserve to keep them and, with the current skills shortage, many people vote with their feet.
However, you can only pump so much one-sided fear. I have been working from home for years now. Maybe my brain is completely confused, but I know I’m a lot more productive than ever and a lot less stressed than before.
Also, I can spend valuable time with people I really like, rather than wasting time on useless power politics. Yes, some people like to go to the office, but some people just don’t and what’s so terrifying about giving people choice?