From The Blog

Dear Americans: Don’t Work At Home; Work Less

I have no doubt that as I write this column, someone, somewhere in America, is busily stitching together her very own Marissa Mayer voodoo doll. But...

I have no doubt that as I write this column, someone, somewhere in America, is busily stitching together her very own Marissa Mayer voodoo doll. But despite all the furor that has raged since the Yahoo CEO ordered her employees to cease working from hometo improve productivity, that debate has barely caused a ripple on this side of the Atlantic.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to get all sanctimonious on you and remind you of how far the United States lags behind most of the rest of the world in providing workers and their families with supports or protections. Nor am I going to point to the growing body of work suggesting that telecommuting may actually be more efficient for many work-related tasks and help keep employees around.

I’ve got nothing against offices. At heart, I’m actually that annoyingly over-zealous co-worker who rushes to Bagel Fridays and can’t wait to perform at the annual office karaoke night.

But I do think that this entire debate has largely missed the point. To my mind, the problem facing American workers isn’t where they work, it’s how.

Read the rest of this post at The Washington Post’s She The People blog


Image: How to Work From Home by pwenzel via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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  1. C.M. Mayo March 5, 2013 at 2:12 am #

    Great column, Delia. I often wonder whether the workaholism so prevalent especially among the younger urban professional crowd in the US isn’t a symptom of a very deep seated albeit, alas, economically warranted insecurity– and a lack of creativity. Tim Ferriss is such an interesting case. His books are over-the-top and I can see why he must annoy the bejesus out of so many people, but I salute him and what he calls his “lifestyle experiments.” He sure does look like he’s having fun.

    • delialloyd March 10, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Hi CM-Yes I think you’re right re: young people in US. And also agree vis Tim Ferriss. He is completely over-the-top and I can’t see most people, including myself, heeding his advice 100%. But if we all moved even 20% in his direction I think we’d all be a lot happier. Thanks for reading!

  2. D. A. Wolf March 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Excellent column. Enjoyed the read at Washington Post.

    As for the “workaholism” referred to above, it is nothing new but likely came to the fore in the 80s. This was the norm in certain industries and segments of the population at that time (high tech, investment banking come to mind), certainly in the 90s (“do more with less”), and in the millennium, with increasing technology connectedness and the recession – a matter of necessity to hang on to a job if you have one, to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and that’s not even addressing the issue of independents who have zero protections whatsoever, and must constantly be generating leads (more hours) or bidding on projects (more hours) or learning new technologies (more hours) – all necessary and uncompensated – while working for pay without any employment relationship.

    This is, I believe, less about working less or working smarter for select segments in an economy where there are too few jobs and virtually no safety net.

    Hello, Common Sense? A healthy population in the long run is a less expensive burden on society. That means not dropping individuals and families over their own fiscal (medical, residential) cliff as soon as they no longer receive a W-2.

    Hello, Finland? Care to offer a few pointers on what a real education looks like?

    (Fascinating data at the OECD, of course – and we all have much to learn and potentially borrow from each other – would that open minds would allow, and not label what some of us think of as “humanist”… socialist.)

    The links at OECD allow you to select countries and view comparisons (to the US, for example) on a variety of measures. Interesting stuff.

  3. Delia Lloyd March 14, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Hello Finland? Love it! Thanks for the OECD links…I’m going to hang onto those for future posts…

  4. Manuel March 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    This is a great blog, if you can work less, that is the way to go.

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