It was an emergency. During the pandemic, knowledge workers were sent home with laptops, webcams, and headsets. Video calls replaced person-to-person meetings, and work happened when it could.
Now, companies are increasingly asking people to come back to the office. Understandably, people are hesitant. In fact, post-pandemic, interest in remote work has skyrocketed.
And people should be questioning the importance of working in-office. We’ll say it right here: everyone who wants to work from home, your aspirations are valid. More than that, they might even be noble.
Never feel guilty for wanting to work from home. Here’s why remote work is actually good for the world.
The problem of ‘productivity’
According to “Remote Work Is Making Americans Less Productive, Official Data Show,” a recent article in Barron’s, “The U.S. is 1% lazier.” And backing that up is a statistic showing the amount of time worked; in 2022, the total decreased to 3.23 hours, down from 2021’s figure of 3.26.
The article attributes this decrease to the third of Americans working from home. It states that these people put in 2.5 hours less each day compared to those at the office. But despite the .03 fewer hours worked in 2022, the real GDP increased by 2.1%, which is right in line with pre-pandemic rates.
But what if all of this data on economic output is actually missing the point? What if we should actually be looking at remote work as an unmeasurable social good?
The labor missing from the statistics
The ‘work’ that these statistics consider worthy of inclusion is, of course, limited. These stats ignore $1.5 trillion worth of uncompensated domestic work. That includes cooking, cleaning, childcare, and looking after old or sick relatives, among many other responsibilities. Without this labor, society would not function. No food would be bought or prepared, children would be left uncared for, and the ill would be left to fend for themselves.
If domestic labor were included in the figures cited in the previous section, things would look radically different. So perhaps people who work from home are indeed on their company-provided laptops for fewer hours. But this does not mean that they are not working. Cooking is work, cleaning is work, and caring is work. Just think about it: when others do this labor for you, they get paid for it. It’s only considered unworthy of compensation if done within a family unit.
And you already know who bears the brunt of this unpaid work: women.
Working from home is anti-sexist
Chances are, the person you imagine doing these domestic tasks is a mom. That’s no mistake; these obligations fall disproportionately on women. In a study cited in the article linked immediately above, men contributed two and a half hours a day to domestic chores as compared to women’s four hours.
You can see where we’re going. With the rise of working from home, men are increasingly taking on domestic responsibilities. The trend hasn’t brought us anywhere near equity, but according to one survey, when men are allowed to work remotely, they self-report doing more domestic labor — 32% cook more and 34% clean more. Importantly, the survey also showed that nearly half of fathers of young children said they spend more time on childcare when they work from home. This gives their partners more time for whatever else they might want to do.
This deserves underlining. When male partners are allowed to work from home, the disproportionate burden of uncompensated labor ticks towards equity.
And it’s not just good for women who want to spend less time on domestic labor. It’s good for men who want to spend more time on itBalancing College, Work, Family, and a Part-Time Bootcamp to Find Tech Success: Jeremy Rivera’s TripleTen Story.
Because society has expectations for men, too
Culturally, there is pressure for women to stay home to do uncompensated domestic work and for men to go out for the compensated variety. Admittedly, things have been shifting — women are increasingly expected to be present in the workforce and men are likewise asked to be more hands-on with the domestic work — but norms remain.
In fact, in a pre-pandemic Pew Research Center study, a majority of men said they don’t spend enough time with their children. The reason? Work. It’s not a hard thought to conjure: just as women want more time for things outside the home, men might also want to spend more time inside the home.
Working remotely makes that possible. Men don’t have to sacrifice time with their children to work on their careers. They can have stand-up meetings in the morning, put in some hours on their projects, pick up their kids from school, fix themselves and their kids a snack, and then go back to work. Want to be more engaged in your kids’ lives? Work where they are: at home.
Work from home because it’s the right thing to do
It’s a simple equation. More time at home equals more time at home. Women are unburdened from unpaid labor as men take on more domestic tasks. Men get the chance to actually spend time with their children. And despite what people may say, our economy is still thriving even with the shift towards remote work.
So if you’re looking to switch to tech to get a work-from-home job, don’t let anyone discourage you. Tech is, after all, the most remote-friendly industry. Our grads prove this. After switching to a tech career, Rachelle PerezFrom Tourism Sales to Data Science at Spotify: TripleTen Grad Rachelle Perez Lands a Career in Tech managed to find more time for her son. AC SlametA Producer Switches to Tech to Find Time for Life: AC Slamet’s TripleTen Story stopped working holidays.
Work from home. Make the world more equitable.
For more stories about how people like you have made the switch to tech and improved their lives, check out our student stories section.