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What Is Your Aversion To Working From Home In Unicorn Pajamas, Malcolm Gladwell?

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What Is Your Aversion To Unicorn Pajamas, Malcolm Gladwell?

Malcolm Gladwell, author, and journalist slams the work from the home community and pins them as lazy and disconnected without a sense of belonging, despite being remote himself for years.

Malcolm Gladwell’s books have graced my tall white bookshelves for years. I never thought twice about removing them – until now.

Today, Gladwell shared his thoughts on the “Diary of a CEO” podcast about working from home, which got many of his readers up in arms. I am not quite up in arms, but I am disappointed.

I am disappointed at the lack of insight and how tone-deaf he sounds in his explanation. Not only does he lack understanding of the bigger picture that surrounds the complexities of working from home for both employers and employees, but he also sounded like a hypocrite.

In 2005 he told The Guardian that “he hates desks, and starts his working day using his laptop from his sofa”. In 2020 and called himself “someone who writes in coffee shops for a living” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Malcom Gladwell is the Canadian author of “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point.”

Working From Home Is Not In Your Best Interest

Yet, the Canadian author made it clear that working at home is not in peoples’ “best interest.” He also hypothetically asked the audience, “If you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work-life you want to live?”

Quite frankly my answer is a resounding yes. *raises hand*

I have worked remotely for 24 years due to a rare health condition. I can speak to the fact that working from home has saved my life and given me flexibility. Working from home has also given me the ability to stay off disability and take care of myself.

Also, assuming that people working from home live in their pajamas is ignorant. First, there is nothing wrong with working from home in your pajamas – but, plenty of people get dressed normally for their work days.

Just because someone works from home does not mean we are laying around in the same pajamas for 5 days with no shower, surrounded by 14 cups of old coffee on our desk while we eat a bowl of stale Cheerios.

As long as the job gets done, who cares?

Should Work Give You A Better Sense Of Belonging?

Gladwell also said, “We want you to have a feeling of belonging, and to feel necessary. And if you’re not here, it’s really hard to do that.”

Listen, I get it. I have not felt like I have belonged to a workforce in a traditional manner of speaking for almost 2 decades, and there is a sense of disconnect. Yet, my ideal work-life balance does not include my life revolving around if I feel I belong at work.

Being a part of something (anything) is important to living a healthy life – but it does not have to be at work. You don’t need to spend a lot of time commuting or sitting in cubicles, as Malcolm Gladwell suggests, to build relationships or feel a sense of belonging.

If I was back in a traditional setting (which I hope to never return) the last thing I am there for is to get the warm fuzzy feeling of belonging. If an employer called me family – I am out.

It’s great to be part of a team (when not in a toxic work culture), get out of the house, and have a sense of value and contribution to society. If that is something you want to get from your career or job, then do it.

This is not a requirement for happiness or belonging in life.

We have family, friends, hobbies, and a lot more things to help us feel that we belong.

“Belonging” does not have to be attained at work.

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How We Work Has Changed Forever

Over the last few decades, home and work life has been so out of balance and we thought it normal.

Many of us in our 30s+ came from an era where work was life and that you had to bend over backwards, do jumping jacks, come in at 2 am, answer your phone on the weekends, stay late (grab your sleeping bag), work long hours and be everything to everyone just get a paycheck.

If you wanted to have a baby – make sure you are back to work the next day. If you were sick and throwing up, don’t worry we will bring you a second waste basket to put under your desk and some paper towels.

Extreme work dedication helped you get a paycheck and a raise if you were lucky enough to be liked by management. It also gave you sleepless nights, family and marital problems, and heart disease.

Why does no one want to go back to the office?

Seems obvious to me.

Your Employees Keep You In Business

Gladwell said he’s “frustrated” with business leaders who are unable “to explain this effectively to their employees.”

Perhaps Gladwell should be “frustrated” at employers not listening to the wants and needs of the people that keep them in business. Companies need to understand that they need us more than we need them.

People are starting to realize that bosses are not the boss of their lives. So, we are not really interested in business leaders “explaining this effectively to their employees (us).”

As a business leader myself, I find that as we grow as a company and as a Proud Disabled Business Owner I will always be open to remote and hybrid work environments. We value the people that support us and keep our business thriving.

Fascinating Remote Work Stats

  1. According to a survey by ConnectSolutions 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time.
  2. People who work remotely earn $4,000 more per year on average.
  3. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index (published in March 2021) found that 66% of employers around the world are redesigning their workplaces to accommodate hybrid work arrangements.
  4. Research shows that businesses lose $600 billion a year to workplace distractions and that remote workers are 35-40% more productive than their in-office counterparts.
  5. For better or for worse, the work environment has a direct impact on mental and emotional health. The 10th Annual Survey found that 70% of respondents said a permanent remote job would have a considerable improvement or positive impact on their mental health.

People Took To Twitter To Offer Opinion

It became clear quickly that I was not the only one who felt working remotely had improved their work/life balance. Most people took time to respond to the New York Post @nypost.

Remote And Hybrid Work Provides Opportunities

Remote and hybrid work environments are allowing people to work in ways and at places, they might not have had the opportunity to due to limitations. Adaptability in the workplace (40+ Examples of Adaptability in the Workplace) is paramount to the success of any business.

Being open to adaptability is an important conversation for both employees and employers. Remote and hybrid work is helping with the fight for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

It is helping people live better lives with healthy work and life balance. People are more productive and truly we all win.

As a community, we need each other – one way or another. We also need to learn to adapt and grow with the changing times because the work world is nothing like it used to be and most of us are elated by that.

Now let me go wash out my bowl of Cheerios.

Aunia Kahn, Rise Visible CEO

Aunia Kahn is the CEO of Rise Visible. With 24 years in the industry, she is a highly sought-after digital marketer, strategist, designer and public speaker. Rise Visible was named a Top-Ranking Woman-Owned Digital Agency by Clutch and is a certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE®). Kahn is also an internationally renowned artist and photographer and has been in over 300 exhibitions in 10 countries; at places such as SDAI, iMOCA, and the SLAM. She founded Create for Healing, is the host of the Rise Above Be Visible Podcast and a contributing writer for Better Marketing and Just Creative. She been featured on Yahoo, Prevention Magazine, Authority Magazine and Entrepreneur on Fire. She also identified as a disabled business owner in STEM surviving and thriving with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Type 3), MCAS, Dysautonomia, POTS, PTSD, etc.


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