Hello, Broadsheet readers! The House of Representatives moves forward with impeachment, black female chefs see their careers blocked in gastronomy, and we discover an unexpected benefit of working from home. Have a thoughtful Tuesday.
– Get out – from your living room. In the midst of a raging pandemic, the ability to work from home is a blessing – and one that many Americans do not have. But among those with the luxury, feelings are mixed as to whether the current WFH mode is, on the whole, a good way to work or a less good one.
I’m not sure that will settle this debate, but this story of the Wall Street newspaper history puts a strong count in the “good” category. The piece takes a look at a little-discussed benefit of remote working: It has made it easier for some transgender employees to hang out with co-workers.
People who spoke to the Journal about their experiences list a host of ways being in the spotlight of the physical office made the process less painful: they could share their news from the security of their own home, turn off their cameras. if they have felt scrutinized and have more control over when and how to interact with colleagues’ questions.
It makes sense. Much of what binds people to other people’s gender identities comes down to self-presentation (which is itself often based on stereotypes). At its best, remote working can shift attention from how a person looks, dresses or wears their hair to what they have to say and what they bring to the workplace.
These benefits can extend beyond trans employees. The WSJ also speaks with Carol Cochran, vice president of the FlexJobs remote employment website:
“She says offering remote jobs can help level the playing field for under-represented workers, such as those who are LGBT, non-white and employees with disabilities. This “at the very least gives them a continued chance to let their talent speak for themselves first,” says Cochran. Remote workplaces can also help eliminate unconscious bias when hiring, for example, when interviews are conducted by phone rather than video. “
At the very least, our current global experience of WFH requires us to consider how the usual office routine just doesn’t work for some people – exposing how workplaces have long been designed to meet the needs of certain groups. , while ignoring others. And with this knowledge, there is a real opportunity to improve it for everyone. So while I personally look forward to being able to return to the office, I hope that the workplaces we return to aren’t quite the same as the ones we left.
Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.