Working from home turns out not to be the dream we were sold | Torsten Bell

Homeworking is all the rage. Apparently, we’ll all be at it permanently. So proclaim lifestyle gurus and HR consultants. Many make a profession out of talking as if only professional work exists, forgetting that only a third of working adults are working entirely from home even in this lockdown. You don’t find many scaffolders working on the kitchen table.

The gurus aren’t just predicting that working from home is here to stay, they’re also prophesying that it’ll be great and cheap. Not only will commuting costs disappear, homeworking will make housing cheaper, as not living near the office will mean everyone is paying small-town rents while earning city-centre salaries. Back in the real world, new research shows that homeworking households actually spent about 7-10% more on housing compared with similar non-remote households in the same region. Why? Homeworkers need more space so have bigger houses. The only thing less fun than a pandemic spent at the kitchen table is a lifetime at one. Homeworkers also tend to live in more expensive areas. Maybe you care more which neighbourhood you live in if you never leave it.

So a bit more working from home will become the norm for some with flexibility benefits, but it’s no nirvana. Homeworkers aren’t abolishing the office – they’re just paying for the pleasure of taking it home.

The Guardian

Leave a Reply