Technically curious

Why is respecting workers so hard?

respect comic

Working from home is so wonderful.

I keep repeatedly seeing articles about why working in the office is superior and why working from home is terrible. It is remarkable how propaganda the media is. Everyone has an ax to grind, don’t they?

I’m not going to try to convince you that working from home is best for everyone. It’s not. The plain truth is that everyone is different and so we should support people in the ways that work best for them. Many people are extroverts and like being around others. Nothing wrong with that. Others like having a space separate from their family where they can work. Nothing wrong with that either. What is the problem is that we rarely cater to people who are not typical workers. This results in a limited diverse workforce since they don’t get the support that they need.

Let’s talk about specifics. I worked once at a company where a black woman shared with me that the subway ride she had to take each day to get to work made her stressed. She shared that she had been attacked and of course, I can identify with that since I was attacked on the subway as a white man myself. I suggested that she talk to her manager’s manager about this who could help her and I said that I would talk to the manager’s manager as well. When I spoke to that person and explained that she felt stressed going to work each day and that she lived very close to work, perhaps something could be done to help her. Like a Uber ride subsidy for example. My idea was dismissed and a few months later that worker had a serious illness because a result of this daily stress she faced.

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That person could have done a great job and a better job if she was supported in the small way of getting help to get to work. Her salary could not pay for the daily rides this would take. In real terms, this might add an additional $50 per day to her cost, but the value she was bringing far exceeded that. In fact, when she was sick, she couldn’t work at all, so if my suggestion had been acted on, then there is a very real chance she wouldn’t have gotten sick at all. I have noticed that many companies are very short-sighted. If you don’t help your workers feel safe physically and psychologically there are consequences including them leaving.

Why is this so hard to get? Why is respecting workers so hard?