Ramble and legs by Emmjay. Working from Home – WFH

Todays’s production brought to you from the Pig’s Arms’ working from office.

Reflecting on how western economies have become dominated by services as opposed to manufacturing, it strikes me that even small scale manufacturing can follow services into decentralised places.  

Perhaps not so much the home, but in small hubs.  Recall the charm and utility ! of localised specialist places – Saville Row, Akihabara and any number of bookshop enclaves holding out against the Genghis Khan Amazon.  A local cafe that gets things exactly as we like them.

3D printing is offering amazing opportunities for specialised manufacturing, but it’s hard to imagine printing oneself a new toaster.

The labour side of working from home should spawn a clutch of PhDs.  As far as my work in IT is concerned, our small team has really embraced WFH.  Our boss is incredibly supportive, trusts us and is open to suggestions about how we could project the practice into the future.  

But I do have some sympathy for people writing about Zoom fatigue and I find fascinating the psychology drawing distinctions between onscreen and real life face to face communications, purporting to explain causes for this fatigue.

Frame of reference is really important in this discussion.  I am mindful of middle class privilege and stage of life as major determinants of whether WFH does in fact work.  Or having a decent internet connection. WFH is clearly not such a windfall for people living in cramped accommodation especially with children, or folks living a tad off the beaten data track..

Returning to the benefits of city folk not commuting to work, we see echoed important concepts like “ food miles” – the benefits of consuming local production – namely cutting down the cost and ecodownside of transporting stuff all over the planet as well as the evils of cash cropping in third world countries.  

The pandemic has starkly demonstrated that unfettered travel carries with it more than people and freight – and we are told that Covid-19 is a glimpse of the future for a planet groaning under the weight of far too many humans.

WFH then, can be viewed as a small, but valuable step in the right direction provided that we don’t turn off Zoom and go and make another baby.