Will Working From Home Become the Norm? – The New York Times - Freelance Rack

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Will Working From Home Become the Norm? – The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “An Ecosystem Under Threat in Manhattan” (front page, May 13):

Working from home may indeed become the rule in the wake or continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Barclays, Morgan Stanley and many others stand to save a significant amount of money on commercial rents, while stay-at-home workers’ utility and household costs will rise.

Will the commercial rent savings reaped by the corporations be shared fairly with those workers at home? Will the employer pay moving costs and increases in monthly housing costs for those needing larger quarters? Will “Can you work from home?” become the new slightly illicit question asked at hiring interviews, improving the chances of more well-resourced applicants?

If workers continue to underwrite the costs of office work done at home, the wealth gap between corporations and workers, especially less well-off workers, will only increase.

Rita Charon
New York
The writer is a professor at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

To the Editor:

How interesting! You publish an entire article about offices and work, predicting that more people will work from home, without any mention of the impact on the family. How will people work from home if family needs distract them?

Seems as if we are headed back to tenement times, with all the family members working together in cramped spaces. There is a reason offices were invented.

Kate Permut
Scarborough, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “White-Collar Companies Won’t Rush to the Office” (Business, May 11) and “Some Remote Workers Say There’s No Place Like Home” (news article, May 6):

When my colleagues and I began working from home 20 years ago, it was a novelty. We leveraged the internet, but were limited by primitive tools. Laptops were new. Signals were spotty. Broadband was narrow. Videoconferencing was just beginning. Smartphones were years off. And we lacked guidance for adapting in-person cultures to new norms of working anywhere, anytime.

Fast forward to this March. The pandemic suddenly transformed “teleworking” from experimental to strategic, with tools enabling global operations in a wired world. Even skeptics concede that telework works. An Air Force lieutenant general who’s working from home says, “We’re starting to get over our own crusty dude biases against telework.”

Remote working is already a prevalent mode of work. It cannot replace the feelings of community and the sparks of ingenuity from working together, live. But the pandemic has spawned innovations for convening, collaborating and even socializing electronically, with unprecedented results.

Sandy Apgar
The writer, a real estate counselor, is the author of “The Alternative Workplace.”

Editors’ Note: We’d like to hear about your experience working from home and whether you would welcome it as the new work culture. Please write no more than 200 words, include your name, city and contact information, and put “telecommuting” in the subject line.

Email: letters@nytimes.com

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