Listen up, whitey. Your eagerness to get out of the house and back into the office might be an inherent trait of your skin color.
The polling powerhouse fivethirtyeight.com presented a detailed analysis in an article titled “Who Wants To Return To The Office?” penned by Angelica Puzio, whose bio describes her as a freelance gender reporter.
Ohhkaaay … that is apparently a title one can ascribe to themselves.
The 538.com polling aggregation website collects data and reorganizes it by employing their own calculus in averaging and weighing past accuracy of various and prominent polling firms to arrive at their conclusions, generally with great success.
The study was geared towards “knowledge workers”, that is, people who handle information for a living, rather than those whose jobs can not be done remotely, such as maritime, agriculture, medicine and military, to name only a few.
The chart below reflects this conclusion from 538.com:
“The group most enthusiastic to return to in-person work is white men — 30 percent want the office to be the only place where they work. Roughly half as many Black men — almost 16 percent — feel the same. White and Black women are in the middle, around 22 percent each.”
In a thesis overflowing with conjecture, Angelica Leigh (that’s two Angelica’s already if you are keeping track) the Duke University professor at their business school tendered some new terminology: identity labor. Her research contends that “when dealing with the aftermath of massive social events that disproportionately affect people of color, such as the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, many employees of color suppress their emotions in order to fit into the norms of the office.”
Naturally, this so-called identity labor is the expected and predictable demon-spawn of too much whiteness in the workplace.
The article goes on to say, “The American workplace started to integrate women and people of color in the 1940s and ’50s.” And then asserts a presumption that cannot be proven nor disproved, saying, “Until the 1990s, many office spaces favored a transparently hierarchical way of working. Lower-paid employees, who were often women and Black people, sat in the same large room under supervision. Executives, who were more likely to be white and male, worked on higher floors and in private, closed-door offices.”
Leigh suggests that more resources need to be allocated to facilitating a comfortable working environment for people of color, although how much of other people’s money that entails she could not say. Of course, the existence of the supposed problem is more important than any solution. Whatever money there is, it’s not enough.
It could also be that “knowledge workers” just prefer working from home. More time with family, no commuting in automobiles (far more deadly than inanimate “gun violence”) and a healthier work/life balance.
But it all comes back to the immutable characteristics of race and skin color, doesn’t it?
“For Leigh, who is a Black woman, working remotely has relieved her from having to endure comments on changes in her hairstyle from non-Black colleagues,” the study concluded.
She says, “Dealing with racism, sexism and other forms of oppression is exhausting, and sometimes employees do need a break from just pushing through. Remote work can provide employees with that time and space to escape.”
Outside of race-related concerns – that which unnecessarily permeates everything, and was not a front-and-center problem until a certain newly-elected president made it one in 2008 – parents “of both genders rated their remote working conditions as more favorable than in-office conditions.” (Yup, they only cited two genders. Surely that was a lapse in woke-ness on their part.)
Finally, the cryptic code of the article:
“And so the question isn’t whether working from home will stick — it’s whether executives will take into account the findings of this widespread work-from-home experiment to reevaluate who the system is working for.”
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