Working from home doesn’t have to suck. Here’s how ‘Out Of Office’ can be better

Sharing an expert from an NPR article.

Today, the phrase “work from home” comes with a lot of baggage. Though it has been several months since COVID-19 first led to office closures nationwide, remote work likely still involves Zoom fatigue, working on the couch, and rarely going outside.

But two writers want to make remote work better. Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen are co-authors of the new book Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. In the book, Warzel and Petersen explore the history of workplace culture in the United States, and how to use the shifting employment landscape during the pandemic to chart new ways of working.

Warzel and Petersen are not only co-authors, but also partners who have been working remotely since before the pandemic. After transitioning to remote work, they’ve both been able to successfully advance their careers on their own terms. Warzel currently writes “Galaxy Brain,” a newsletter for The Atlantic, and Petersen writes the Substack newsletter “Culture Study.”

Warzel and Petersen say that all offices tend to have a monoculture: an unofficial set of expectations that all employees must follow to fit in.

“The monoculture is this unstated way that you need to carry yourself, and it’s stifling for a lot of people,” Warzel says “

An office monoculture can manifest in different ways, whether it’s a culture that privileges white employees, or a post-work happy hour that might exclude employees taking care of children or elderly family members.

Remote work has the potential to disrupt an office’s in-person monoculture. Research conducted by Slack during the pandemic found that many Black employees actually felt more belonging in their workplaces when working remotely.