Comments from Malcom Gladwell about working from home have sparked a backlash on social media, with some critics accusing the author of hypocrisy.
“It’s not in your best interests to work at home,” said Gladwell, during an appearance last month on the Diary of a CEO podcast. “If you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work life you want to live?”
Gladwell, author of “The Tipping Point,” “Outliers” and “Blink,” explained that feelings of belonging and being perceived as necessary are important. “If you’re not here, it’s really hard to do that,” he said.
Gladwell has previously discussed his own flexible work schedule. In a column for the Wall Street Journal in 2020, for example, he described how he writes in coffee shops.
In 2005 he told the Guardian that he hates desks, and starts his working day using his laptop while sitting on a sofa.
Set against this backdrop, his stance on working from home has sparked some interesting responses on social media.
“Malcolm Gladwell has an instagram filled with pictures of him working from home and in remote locations,” tweeted Max Burns, director of communications for New York State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
“You don’t need people in an office to make them part of a team. You don’t need a ‘work life’ that requires a cubicle or spending inordinate amounts of time commuting simply to build relationships,” tweeted Josh Smith, senior manager of e-commerce at Newsweek.
Users on social media also highlighted the ways in which remote working has improved their work/life balance.
“My 45+ minute commute each way has been replaced by morning walks/workouts, extra time to read, cook dinner, and see the friends I’ve made in and outside work. Wild concepts all around!” tweeted entertainment editor and writer Jessica Derschowitz.
“Malcolm Gladwell is a man who writes books from the comfort of his home or homes. Who is he to even have an opinion on this subject? The American workforce finally woke up to the fact that they can have quality of life by working at home,” tweeted P Hough.
“What company does Malcolm Gladwell work for, what are his commute and office hours like?” tweeted Dr. Jennifer Gunter. The Canadian journalist was born in England and lives in New York. He has been a New Yorker staff writer since 1996.
In a survey released earlier this year by software company Qualtrics
workers viewed flexibility more as a matter of “when” than “where.” Some 41% of employees said they would prioritize the ability to choose which hours of the day they work, while 25% said they would prioritize what days of the week they work. Just 14% said they would prioritize the ability to work remotely from any location.