What is the future of working from home?

I was interviewed for a WalletHub feature (link here) examining the future of working from home. As part of these features, WalletHub includes an “Ask the Experts” section that explores some of the underlying questions about work and workplaces. Among other things, I was asked to consider the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, generically speaking. (You can access all of my responses here.)

Here’s what I said about the potential advantages:

  • “Time and money saved, and stress and hassle avoided, from not having to regularly commute to the office by car or public transportation, are significant benefits.”
  • “Remote work allows parents to care for children, and individuals to care for elderly family members and others while reducing if not eliminating costly childcare and caregiving expenses. This was a boon to many during the acute phases of the pandemic.”
  • “Work-from-home options allow some workers to negotiate to live a considerable distance from the main office, perhaps in another state or even country.”
  • “Some people simply work more effectively in a less social environment.”
  • “Work-from-home policies may provide disabled individuals with viable employment options, without having to request reasonable accommodations.”

And here’s what I said about the potential disadvantages:

  • “As many experienced during the heart of the pandemic, we may experience negative mental and physical health effects from spending so much time cooped up in our dwellings, staring at our computer screens.”
  • “Especially if one’s peers are in the office more frequently, then one might lose out on opportunities to interact informally with co-workers and managers. And if an employer offers a work-from-home option only grudgingly, then employees who choose it may be perceived as being less dedicated or productive, even in the face of contrary evidence.”
  • “When employers feel a loss of control, they may insist on installing electronic monitoring tools on home computers to measure work time and productivity, which many workers may find invasive.”
  • “If there are too many distractions, responsibilities, or stressors at home, then working effectively at home may be challenging.”

Of course, this is hardly the last word on the topic, but if you’re interested in the future of working from home, then you might spend some time pondering the full feature, including insights from five other academic and professional colleagues.

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