The demands for a change in work hours has become more palpable in recent years. Recently, an article surfaced in the local paper about this very topic (Marco Buscaglia, “Why the Rush…,” The Chicago Tribune, Section 2, November 12, 2017: page 10.) . It indicates taxing commutes as one of the reasons for a change in the hours, and I could not agree more.
In the article, Riley Thome, a workplace consultant based in New York, postulates “… he often hears millennials get credit for flexible schedules, Thome maintains that the trend was born out of an older generation, specifically people in the 40’s and 50’s who realized they couldn’t be two places at once.”
It is not a realization. That is everyday life. When all other businesses of other professions maintain the same business hours as your job, one has no choice except to take paid time off. Heaven forbid a doctor puts in an order for a MRI — good luck finding a clinic that is open evenings and Saturdays. Heaven forbid you must leave your pet at a local animal hospital for surgery; the pet has to be dropped off in the evening (and some clinics will charge an extra day for boarding). Drop-offs are not to be made in the morning because most clinics don’t open until the time you have to be at your desk. If you have children, that is whole different ball of wax where such schedules make it more challenging.
This is not possible for every profession, of course. However, for those with exclusive desk jobs, they now have all the available digital tools that allow these employees to work from the comfort of their home.
I entered the workforce at a young age, captivated in the glee that I was to be perceived as a responsible adult by society. My first office job would pledge my status in society: a woman with goals, responsibilities, and a highly keen sense of fashion. I would have an extensive window of time just for me, my job tasks, and my collaborators. The added discipline of strict working hours always gave me a sense of purpose, and a reason to get out of bed every Monday through Friday.
Commutes were often lengthy. The initial five years of my career allowed me to brainstorm for alternative routes that were condensed in both time and population. The mid-90’s saw a boom in electronic memorandums and spreadsheets, as well as the housing and retail market. There used to be a time where empty pockets of acreage could be found near a city’s surrounding suburb, where the warm welcome of open land and tall vegetation was pleasing to the awakening eye.
Fast forward to today, the workforce has become cluttered with high tech agendas and anxiety. There never seems to be a week go by without an “emergency meeting” only to find much ado about nothing and management wants to heighten their superiority. Factor in the co-workers with different personalities, and how management puts you under the observational lens to notate how you adapt to each one. People are required to be at their desks…..for this?
In the last several years, I have been repeatedly asking: why it is required to spend 37-plus hours sitting at a desk, doing work that can now be easily produced at home, with people you irk you on every possible level?
In the digital culture, why is the demand still there to be at your desk and risk descending productivity due to technical glitches, incessant phone rings, and other unfaltering interruptions? Most of all…..
Why…..WHY……is the requirement still present that we spend more time with co-workers than our own family? Time spent with co-workers subtracts the valuable and precious moments with family, who could very well be here one minute, and gone the next.
(Don’t you dare get all nonchalant over what I just typed. You can’t predict the future. You are not powerful and all-knowing, despite what you convey in the realm of social media.)
Management’s default mechanism is the insistence of face-to-face collaboration in that it plays a huge role when it comes to problem resolution and to brainstorm ideas.
Hello Skype and Join.me. Problem fucking solved. What’s next?
Let’s not forget the other trusted resources, such as: Google Docs, OneDrive, Lotus Notes (if that still exists), clouds here and clouds there (though some dark), and email. We have all the tools we need to work from the comfort of our homes. To require someone to come in and sit uncomfortably at a desk for eight hours a day is completely invidious.
The ease of locating a less congested route for the commute no longer exist. The open acreages are now occupied with cheap aluminum structures called townhouses, and the occupants are those longing the suburban lifestyle for them and their families. They did not consider the attractiveness of such edifices would eventually cause overpopulation in the area as well as the roads. The reason commutes are becoming more challenging is that the city and surrounding areas…..all of them, are overpopulated. To make matters worse, they are overpopulated with inconsiderate drivers who care more about their shaving/makeup routines than locate the elongated stick behind the steering wheel. By the way, that is called a turn signal.
Two hours a more per day is dedicated exclusively to the commute. A drop of rain adds another hour. Crystallized rain adds yet another hour. Too much sunshine can inflict havoc for some commuters. There always seems to be some nonsense weather anomaly used as an excuse why we just can’t fucking drive. Yet, the bills and the mortgage doesn’t care, so we must do what is required and tolerate the health hazardous commutes, just to sit at the desk to perform tasks that can easily done at home. Make sense to me.
I don’t care what generation leads the telecommute revolution, as long as it’s implemented, and that it’s here to stay.