Fandango has set a very interesting question this week, another one that you could argue both sides of but I won’t. Jump across to his blog to read the comments made by Elon Musk that inspired this question.
If you are not yet retired, do you regularly work from home? If not currently, have you ever telecommuted on a regular basis? If so, did (or do) you prefer working from home? Why or why not? And finally, how do you feel about Musk calling working from home “morally wrong”? Do you agree or disagree? And why do you feel that way?https://fivedotoh.com/2023/05/24/fandangos-provocative-question-215/
First of all I do not believe that working from home is “morally wrong”. It is just another way of working. I’ll come back to why I disagree in a minute.
Let me qualify my comments by saying that I have never been in position to work from home because I had the sort of job that you couldn’t phone in. I was a cleaner. I don’t think there is a way to do that remotely.
Even before the pandemic I can think of good reasons why working from home makes sense both for the individual and for society. First of all it enables people who might not otherwise be able to enter the workforce to participate.
It might mean that you could accept a job in a distant location without having to commute for hours or uproot your entire family to move and give up jobs or change schools. Not everyone wants to move for work. It might not make financial sense to do so.
It would mean that someone who was caring for young children or an elderly or infirm family member might be able to stay in the workforce.
It also means fewer cars on the roads, that has to be a good thing and that there would be less need for companies to rent or build giant office towers. (I hate office towers). Surely it would save them money?
So I see that there are more benefits than problems being created by working from home. Of course there is probably a downside. Some people may need the companionship of others and the pressure of daily deadlines to do their best work. I’m sure that many companies have found ways to get the best of both worlds by having their employees interact with each other online and holding regular in person meet ups.
Of course what Elon Musk says is true. A lot of people can never have the privilege of working from home. Nurses, cleaners, carers for instance. You can’t phone that work in. Most people in the so called gig economy have no choice either. I’m not so sure about manufacturing. I think a lot of that is automated now, maybe it could be done remotely. I guess that may be a reason that so many young people are trying to create their own income by becoming “influencers” online. I have to admit that doesn’t feel like a real job to me but if you can earn a living doing it good luck to you.
If I were still working I would probably feel envious of people who didn’t have to go to work in a place they didn’t like every day but I would not feel resentful towards them. I feel that Elon Musk is getting on his high horse and talking as if he is for the workers but isn’t this the man that sacked half the staff of Twitter when he bought it? Did he feel sorry for them? I doubt it. I think that a bigger issue than whether people work from home or not is that many workers are so poorly paid that they don’t have a home! I don’t think that Elon Musk wants to improve the lives of working people. If he did, he’d be out there advocating for a decent minimum wage in his country not just insulting people who have found a work life balance that suits them.
An excellent take on the question. Yes, there are probably more jobs that require people to physically show up for work, like those who work at his Tesla factories. But I wonder how many human workers he’s gotten rid of and replaced with robotic machines. But for those whose work can be done off-site, I see all of the advantages of working from home as big pluses.
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Very well said! I spent more time on the work part, but you really NAILED Musk. Good job!
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