Working from home is sustainable only under the right conditions. To truly get it right, working remotely is an adaption - getting rid of the inefficient and maddening parts of the office - that feels like a little act of protest.

Offices are bullies. They force us to orient our days around commutes; commandeer our attention  with [sometimes lovely!] unscheduled, drive by meetings, and enforce toxic dynamics like trying to look busy or staying until the boss leaves.

All these weird quirks are ported over to the remote work world, but they can be quickly silenced by closing your laptop, even if just for a few moments.

When the pandemic loosens its grip on the world, the world will look different. Many knowledge workers may leave the office and and their now-desiccated desk plants behind for good.

Mass remote work could be an opportunity to begin to right the many wrongs of work overreach and burnout. But not if it resembles the remote office lives we've constructed during quarantine.

Many of us are laboring in confinement, under duress. Let's look at the greatest and most advanced economy in the world : The United States economy:

The privileged 40% of U.S. workers who can do their jobs remotely have spent the last few months working from home. Maybe they're struggling. Or maybe they have achieved Diamond Medallion WFH status - which includes but is not limited to sending an email from the toilet using the phrase  ''let's circle back''.

Whether it's going well or miserably, they are doing their jobs from where they you live. But they are not working from home. They are laboring under confinement, under duress.

To be very clear : Work from home troubles are mostly gilded problems - not in the same universe as the exploitation of workers happening in meat-processing plants or the stresses faced by front-line and other essential workers. But workers still struggle.

They're stealing a few minutes to send emails between home schooling sessions. They're fighting a cold war with their kids. They're not thriving they're surviving.

Which is why I'm anxious about seeing the  Facebooks of the world  turn their gaze on remote work. Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, expects that half his staff will work remotely in the next five to 10 years. On the surface this sounds great.

But basing work from home policies on case studies conducted during a pandemic might prove misguided, especially around ideas of ''productivity''.

The WFH Forever revolution promises to liberate workers from the chains of the office. In practice, it will capitalize on the total collapse of work-life balance.

In an interview with The Verge's Casey Newton, Mr. Zuckerberg cited surveys suggesting that around 40 percent of the employees were interested in working from home. And he was surprised to find that the staff seems to be performing well at home.

''A lot of people are actually saying that they're more productive now,'' he said. Increased productivity   - but at what price?

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research and Publishings on WFH, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Charlie Warzel, who covers technology, media, politics and online extremism.


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