What work can be done from home? What work needs to be done at an office?

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2022-05-13 20:00:10

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

The problem is that any work that can be done from home is also work that can be outsourced to India, Vietnam, Romania or Brazil, so this becomes yet another force that pushes wages down in the USA, by making American workers compete directly with people overseas. Here in New York City, I’ve been helping companies hire software developers, and companies have been offering as much as an extra $30,000 to get people back in the office. But that also means that everyone who works from home is effectively taking a pay cut. Which doesn’t matter much when it happens for just one year, but over 5 years this will lead to huge differences. I can imagine two workers who start off at the same level, making the same money, but after 5 years, one is a manager making $250,000, and the other is still a mid-level software engineer working from home for $110,000.

Are you suggesting though that the workers of these 37% should return to the office to maintain the illusion that their job cannot be outsourced and by extension keep wages high as a result? Because a job that can be done from home doesn’t change the fact that it can still be outsourced whether a worker is doing it from home or at the office so the only conclusion I can draw from what you’ve said is that they should definitely go into the office to keep the illusion alive so that they don’t ultimately lose their job which is a bigger problem IMO because you’re effectively trading actual benefits that working from home provides for a unspoken threat that will always hang over our heads and that in order to prevent it from ever happening, we need to keep up appearances by playing pretend.

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