Monday, July 15, 2024

Elon Musk – Is He Justified Regarding Remote Work?

In a recent interview with CNBC News, Tesla CEO and Twitter boss Elon Musk criticized the practice of working from home. Musk described the option to work from home as “morally wrong”, he believes that white-collar workers should not get to work from home when service workers, such as people who work in factories, still have to show up in person. So is he right?

As the second-richest man on the planet (or first depending on the day) Musk has a lot of experience and wisdom to add, but in this area his bias is clear. As a manager Musk is no fan of remote work and famously threatened his staff early in the pandemic if they decided to work from home. Asking a boss if remote work is good is much like asking a child how they feel about bedtimes. Musk’s comments not only give away his bias but miss the point about remote work entirely.

not only is remote working completely morally neutral, but its benefits for people far outweigh the flaws. The few that exist.

Elon Musk: Is He Right About Remote Work

Stay at Work Mothers

It is hard being a woman in the modern world. One of the biggest changes to our economy and society over the past fifty years has been the increasing female participation rate. From 1953 to 1990, the labour force participation rate for women grew steadily, rising from about 24% in 1953 to 76% in 1990. Meanwhile, the participation rate for men edged down from 96% in 1953 to 93% in 1990. By 2014, women made up almost half (47%) of the entire Canadian workforce.

While women have become equal partners in the workforce the same cannot be said on the home front. While women on average work similar hours to men, they continue to do all the household work as well. The biggest chore of course is the raising of kids. Because women are still seen as the preferred caregivers it is often women who must manage full-time work and being a full-time parent, while in many cases men focus primarily on their jobs. According to Statistics Canada In 2015, mothers spent an average of 2.6 hours per day on child care as a primary activity compared to 2 hours for fathers, a gap that adds up after days and weeks.

The pandemic changed certain aspects of household chores like childcare. Working from home gave parents a chance to spend with their kids, and for women who do the heavy lifting in that area, the extra time they can save from commuting, or the ease at which they can check on their children was revolutionary for the working family. 

Remote Work & Mental Health

Remote work has proven to be a beneficial factor for mental health in several ways. One of the most significant benefits is that working remotely provides people with more control over their schedules, reducing stress and anxiety levels. With no physical location workers can relocate to cheaper cities, saving the headache that comes with housing costs. Something especially problematic for younger workers.

Also, not having to commute frees up time which can be spent on self-care activities like exercise or meditation. Additionally, virtual communication tools have made it easier for employees to stay connected with colleagues while maintaining personal boundaries and reducing the risk of burnout.

Eliminating office politics and distractions also help remote workers remain focused on completing crucial tasks, eventually reducing stress levels while enhancing productivity and job satisfaction. Overall, remote work offers flexibility, autonomy and benefits that support employees’ overall well-being – proving that the future of work is truly remote!

Elon Musk & The Work-From-Home Debate

Is Elon Musk Right About Remote Work?

In Musk’s defence not every job is meant to be remote. Highly collaborative work like engineering can require some in-person work, but most white-collar jobs have at least some aspects that can be remote. According to Forbes, a full 40% of jobs could be done fully remotely and with only gains to be made. Employees save time, employers save money and consumers can get those windfalls. Even perennial entrepreneur spokesperson and Dragons Den judge Kevin O’Leary agrees:

“We went through an extraordinary period during the pandemic; the idea that you split up a headquarters, and you let people leave … and work from home was not even contemplated, it was considered too risky. Now it’s a proven, effective method of project management.”

Elon Musk should take note as O’Leary provides rational reasons to continue remote work rather than relying on trying to explain how remote work feels wrong. Whatever the future of remote work is there will definitely be people on both sides of this issue.