The Upside Of Covid-19… Working From Home

How Covid-19 Forced An Inevitable Generational Shift In Attitudes Towards Work

Chamath Working From Home Tweet 06/04/2020

The ‘Michael Jordan’ of venture capital, Chamath Palihapitiya, has a habit of going viral. Himself, much similar to fellow venture capitalist and effortlessly clear of mind comrade, Naval Ravikant, have elevated themselves, unwillingly it seems, to an anointed status within the Twitter community.

Whether it be the consequence of their superior level technical minds. The application of logic to the randomness of culture or some other disposition. The effect of their thoughts is the same.

Extremely mulled over and misspoken threads of society tend to get filtered all the way to a clear top on Twitter.

We were all thinking it, but couldn’t quite say it.

1. You Only Work 2-3 Hours A Day, The Rest Is Busy Time Or Socialising.

Whilst embellished, and clearly not universal, there is more than a mere element of truth to this.

But look around you. The last few businesses I have worked in have fit this model quite neatly. Especially in an open office space. If ‘work‘ is defined as time spent in added value productivity then imagine your day between 0900 and 1700. How much of it was real work?

Constant gossip, interval coffee breaks, cigarette breaks, internal politics, long meetings, short meetings, social distractions then in and around that… work.

Your atypical day is one of productivity in an office. Especially in an open office, which further compounds the factors of distraction listed above.

2. Politics Is Rampant When Your Physically Close, But Impossible Over Zoom And Slack.

Whatever truth this point holds is only to highlight the degree of change WFH provides. If your office has a relatively non invasive political bent, then WFH won’t do much to change that dynamic over Zoom and Slack. Your emojies still matter, and toggling video on versus off is still important. But if your office is rampantly controlled by office politics, then WFH offers the blessing of escape.

The emojies and timing still matter. The video on and punctuality of questions and enthusiasm still matter, but power of the group dynamic is lessened. WFH stimulates meritocracy, whereas being in the office rewards signalling.

3. Your Company Has 50% Too Many Employees.

This might be the truest of the three points, however it deserves a punctuated caveat.

It is only true if you assume those 50% leftover work more productively than the first two points suggest.

A general rule. The more bureaucratic the organisation, the more true this point is, irrespective of industry.

Covid Marking A Generational Shift In Attitudes Towards Work.

Ever since Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Work Week published back in 2007, there has been a cultural shift against the supposed necessity of the office and a wider cultural shift against career uniformity.

People knew back then as they continue to know now that there is something inherently unnatural and metallic about going to an office. You work an arbitrary amount of hours (irrespective productivity). You hear the dull clanging of keyboards, listen the menial chit chat, absorb the sunless light, force on the uncomfortable dress, and endure the costly transit. People desire the escape, and Ferriss tapped right into that desire with his written solution.

The distributed nature of our actual productivity, the productivity determined through our interface with various softwares, has been making the case against the traditional career and office for years.

For those born after 1995 this is plainly obvious. And the inability to empathise the situation between generations has caused the message being articulated so poorly. These people are in the workforce now, and have been for several years.

They. We. Disagree and don’t identify with the obvious inefficiencies laid bare in the office.


Had Covid not forced the hand of offices around the world, then this experiment – mass working from home – might have taken years to see and not enough scale to prove.

Have efficiencies wavered? Is employee satisfaction equal to before? How much money have you saved on rent?

Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, has overseen a workforce of thousands distributed for years now. He weighs in on Covid’s mass lockdown by emphasising that working from home is restricted no longer by technology. All the necessary communication tools exist.

Covid-19 forced the inevitable shift in attitudes to work, working from home is here to stay.


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