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Posts Tagged ‘telework’

If we have to choose a single factor that came out of Covid-19, it would be teleworking and its corollary: the death of the city (The death of the city – Politico 17/08/2020) as we know it, since supposedly we can now move anywhere and continue working.

But is it true that we can move anywhere? Even if we disregard manufacturer workers, healthcare professionals, service providers, and other professionals that cannot possibly do their job by teleworking, there is a tendency by journalists to focus their assessment of the situation created by Covid-19 on a very narrow sector of the population: those 30-40 year olds that, like themselves, have no kids,  no health problems and who can telework without major problems.

Cities were invented, and they flourish, because they provide care from cradle to grave. They have the facilities to make sure you are born without problems. They provide the network for you to socialize with children of similar age and learn your first skills. They keep up their offer as you grow, so that you can meet your first love. And it goes on, so that when you become an adult, the city will provide you with a partner and a job where  you can interact with your peers and together come up with bright solutions for whatever your concerns may be.

The wheel continues: in the city, you have a hospital nearby for your children’s safe birth. Maybe the same hospital to which you will accompany your parents for a checkup.  And we have not mentioned anything about ample shopping experience, movies in different languages, and restaurants and bars to mingle.

To sum up; I can identify certain red lines that most people are not prepared to give up. Those are: close availability of healthcare services; ample supply of goods and services; and social activities. Do you know of any environment that can provide those three aspects other than a city?

Let us stop talking about the death of the city and start talking about making the city more humane. A place to enjoy even when going to work. With more room for pedestrians and less room for noisy cars. The place in which we have most of the conveniences within walking distance, forgetting about those horrible malls and huge office buildings. A habitable city.

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NOTE: I am using “he” throughout the post for the sake of simplicity, you can substitute it by “she” and it reads exactly the same.

The sudden coming of age of teleworking due to the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to  many complaints. Some of them focus on the fact that teleworking, as it has been implemented, creates very stressful situations. The fact is that, since it was implemented as a response to the situation and not based on a planned voluntary assumption of the system, the teleworker found that, at home, life goes on. Home is not an office, home is a living entity.

How weird! The teleworker discovered all of a sudden that in the house there is more activity than what he imagined when comfortably working at the office. There are rooms to clean and beds to be made. There are children to attend to and help with schoolwork. There are questions from the teenager that need an answer NOW! There is shopping to be done and meals to be prepared. There are …  fill the gaps.

All those tasks were fulfilled by someone other than himself. Now he is in the middle of all that activity, and this intrudes on his teleworking activity.

That somebody has been using their multitask abilities. That somebody, who in past was the mother of the household, has gotten used to performing a myriad of tasks at the same time without any problems.

My point is that the worker who moves into teleworking should develop multitasking abilities. He should be able to move seamlessly from the computer to baby feeding. There are moments in which a certain degree of concentration is needed, and no external interference is welcome. But I hardly think that concentration is needed 8 hours a day. The teleworker has to get used to moving easily from office work to household work, that work that was done by somebody else while he was comfortably (sorry – sweating) in the office.

Stop complaining and learn to incorporate into your life, and enjoy, those tasks that are needed for your own wellbeing and of those of your household.

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