What is work, really?
We all have our own relationship to work, which is as unique as we are. It tends to combine some form of settling — because bills don’t pay themselves — and ideally some form of satisfaction because paying bills, while necessary, is not enough by itself to provide anyone with enough meaning to sustain life, if we are to understand the latter as “something more than just not dying.” Or, you know, not being in arrears with our utility bills.
Many of us want our work to matter. To make a difference.
I am primarily a writer and editor. It’s the perfect work for me. And it happens to be work that’s best done in an environment I find congenial, aka my home. Or wherever I happen to be. As I wrote last week, I am quite the expert in transit productivity, having long ago learned that “work” does not need to be geographically tied down to any place in particular. I work in planes, on trains, in hotels or while jogging.
I even work while I drive. I get my AirPods in my ears, pair them with the iPad Pro, and dictate all manner of notes and substantive content while I get from point A to point B.
Productivity, for someone like me, means “getting the job done, and done well.” I’ve been doing this from home (or wherever I happen to be) for 25 years. I do not understand why anyone would have difficulty understanding that for some people and some jobs, remote work is the best option.
Many individuals who work in the public service are in similar situations. And they want to be able to keep working the way they have been for the last almost three years without being made to feel like they’re the ones with the problem, thanks very much.
In my Citizen column this week, I say it’s time to end the debate over remote work in the public service and allow people who can work from home, and who prefer to work from home, to continue working from home for as long as it works for them.
That should be the end of the discussion.