Malcolm Gladwell: ‘It’s not in your best interest to work at home’

I’ve read several of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, like David and Goliath, Outliers and Blink. They’re fun books if you go into them thinking “this is not real science.” It’s a strange kind of anecdotal pseudoscience, where Gladwell throws theories around and uses cherrypicked stories to “prove” those theories. Instead of just thinking of Gladwell’s books as fun, harmless reads, there’s some kind of cult of Gladwell, and of course, a cult devoted to hating on Gladwell. He still works at the New Yorker, although he doesn’t seem to go into the office much, if anecdotal stories prove anything (to Gladwell, they prove everything). Still, Gladwell has surprisingly strong feelings about how people need to go into an office every day.

Author Malcolm Gladwell thinks that remote work is hurting society and that a recession will likely drive employees who are “sitting in their pajamas” back into the office. The bestselling author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point” grew emotional and shed tears as he told the “Diary of a CEO” podcast hosted by Steven Bartlett that people need to come into the office in order to regain a “sense of belonging” and to feel part of something larger than themselves.

“It’s very hard to feel necessary when you’re physically disconnected,” the Canadian writer said. “As we face the battle that all organizations are facing now in getting people back into the office, it’s really hard to explain this core psychological truth, which is we want you to have a feeling of belonging and to feel necessary. And we want you to join our team,” Gladwell continued. “And if you’re not here it’s really hard to do that.”

“It’s not in your best interest to work at home,” he said. “I know it’s a hassle to come into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work life you want to live? Don’t you want to feel part of something?”

Gladwell added: “I’m really getting very frustrated with the inability of people in positions of leadership to explain this effectively to their employees. If we don’t feel like we’re part of something important, what’s the point? If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?”

[From The NY Post]

I’ve been working from home since 2008 and I love it. I can’t imagine going into an office to work at this point. I haven’t even seen CB in person in years, although we talk all the time. Working from home suits my personality though, I was always like this. I’m sure there are extroverts and social butterflies who love office environments and being around other people. But what the pandemic gave us, as a society, was the realization that so much work could be done from the comfort of home, that physical commuting f–king sucks, and that too much real estate has been taken up by commercial businesses.

When Gladwell says sh-t like “If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?” – plenty of people work for the paycheck and it’s not the end of the f–king world. Employers treat employees like they’re disposable and interchangeable, so workers have resigned and looked for greener pastures or working arrangements which suit their situations. All of this breast-beating about “think of the poor employers and their precious commercial real estate” reeks of Gladwell being a corporate shill.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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177 Responses to “Malcolm Gladwell: ‘It’s not in your best interest to work at home’”

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  1. TwinFalls says:

    Reducing people who work from home to people sitting around in their pajamas tells me he has no idea what he’s talking about. I bet he thinks stay at home parents don’t really “work” either.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Very true. People who work at home, WORK at home. For myself, I find I prefer to go to the office so that I can see people & be around people. I live alone & am an introvert, and too much alone time has not been good for me. At the same time, I also like not commuting. I think going forward (just got a new job) I’m going to do a mix of both.

    • Esmerelda says:

      I work from home and I’m not staying in my bedroom in my pajamas – I get dressed in comfortable clothes in the morning and I had a corner of my living room made into an home office. I just don’t bother with makeup – and my skin is grateful.
      Then in the evening, at the end of the workday, I go for a walk – spending the 1 hour I used to waste commuting for myself has made a lot of positive difference in my fitness level.

      I think MG is revealing his own approach to working from home here… And anyone who spends all their days in their bedroom, not changing out of their pj’s for days is probably depressed (i.e. altogether a very different issue).

      • SusieQ says:

        I also have a corner of the living room dedicated to my “office.” I wear my comfy clothes, no makeup (and like yours, my skin is so much happier!), and I can take little breaks and work out and get stuff done around the house. I am so much happier, healthier, and rested now. And I’ve hopefully extended the life of my car since I don’t have to commute 45 minutes each way to work every day.

      • Chicken says:

        I still work from home 90% of the time, after going 100% virtual during the pandemic. I love the days when a bunch of people go to the office for a big meeting and I can see my team, but I also enjoy the flexibility of working from home. I had a very productive day WFH yesterday, and also managed to do laundry and dishes during the workday, freeing me up to cook dinner when I felt like it and have a friend over after work. I am an extrovert, and in the absence of being with people at the office, I make an effort to find other ways to connect with other humans outside of work. I also take an after-work walk almost every day, something I was often too tired to do after getting home from the office in the before times. MG is wildly out of touch.

      • DouchesOfCambridge says:

        Can everybody do whatever is best for them? Personally if I can skip 2 hours roundtrip of sitting in a car or a bus and not breath all the toxic coming our of traffic everyday of my life I would do it no questions about it, it’s a no brainer for me. You have to go and get your social life elsewhere, that’s all

      • Debbie says:

        Quite frankly, I don’t think M. Gladwell gives one toss about the actual people working remotely, happily, comfortably, and well aware that others weren’t so lucky during the pandemic, or those who now have more flexibility in the home/work life. He seems to be speaking more on behalf of employers than employees in this case. What do pajama-clad people, or a “feeling of belonging” have to do with causing a recession? Silly me, I thought that had to do with high interest rates, high oil prices, a credit crunch, a fall in housing prices, fall in consumer confidence and so on. Notice, though, that MG is not wagging his finger at the oil industry people, or at writers like himself who likely work from home. I smell a rat.

      • Vera says:

        I’m an extrovert too, but they will drag me back to the office over my dead body.
        I love working from home, it suits me so much better. I am not a morning person and also prefer to work in bursts and often in the evenings. Today I could take a 2 hour break to go swimming and I can do all my ‘chores’ and my job comfortably at my own time and convenience. I have full control over over my hours and I find that I can do my job much more efficiently from home. I used to get very distracted by the noises in the office.
        remote working gave me a digital nomad lifestyle, swapping homes with other nomads, discovering new places living like a local. This year I worked from Valencia, Tenerife and Budapest and will spend time in Dublin in the autumn. I’m already organising swaps for next year!

      • osito says:

        Remote worker with ADHD here: I’m not depressed, but I definitely wait until my workday is done to “clean up” with a shower or a long bath and change out of my comfy PJs, if I don’t have Zoom meetings or it’s not my quarterly visit to the office. Working from home means I can slip into hyperfocus right away and not waste time with things I find distracting and that would take up too much time. After a quick face wash, I brush my teeth and I’m ready to start my day. I *greatly* appreciate a system where I’m not constantly late and being judged because it takes me *forever* to get ready. I wake up pretty ready, and being able to just get started has been a sanity saver for me.

    • MeganC says:

      I wear pajamas pants all day, every day. They are comfy and no one can see them.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I’ve been growing my casual pajama collection for some time and I have no regrets. Joggers as lounge, but nice enough for a bagel run is ideal.
        And if it’s just a paycheck, why not be comfy?

      • SuzieQ says:

        My PJ bottoms have no impact on my productivity, but discomfort would.

        Also, while I like and respect my colleagues, I love my dog, who’s the best officemate ever.

      • Christine says:

        SuzieQ, your comment hits to the heart of my working from home. My two dogs were really happy while I was at home, during lockdown, over a year. They are my best coworkers ever.

        They are happy to gossip, don’t care if I shave my legs, they will never open the fridge and steal my lunch, and they legitimately like me.

    • ElleV says:

      exactly! maybe *he* needs to be in-person to feel like he is part of something, and certainly some people are probably not cut out for WFH, but office life isn’t for everyone either

      I have ADHD and I’ve worked from home from sevenish years – it’s enabled me to thrive at work.

      I’ve been promoted into management and built a fully remote team I’m proud of, none of which would have happened if I had to show up every day and spend limited executive function on commuting and tuning out chit-chat in the next cubicle

      the best part is no longer having to spend hours every day on hair and makeup – equality!

    • Christina says:

      I recently ran across an Instagram post from Twitter written by a woman who summarized that the only people who want everyone in the office are men who hate being around their families but want to play leader while interacting with younger, attractive women in the office. Boy, did THAT ring true!

      Malcolm, why can’t you create a social life, fella, that pulls you as much as your work does, dude? So many of us HAVE NOT had jobs where we were considered “part of a team”, contrary to what the Gladwells of the world think, even some of us professionals. My husband has worked from home for years, like Kaisar, and he’s efficient and MUCH happier. I retired, but I wanted to go back to the office beforehand because my kid and mom with dementia wouldn’t allow me to work.

      Malcolm is putting too much value on something many of us never really had. He’s a man. I don’t know if he is married, gay, straight, aesexual, but he seems to find more value in being a team than have a real life.

      • Gillysirl says:

        So true- at home their family treats them as people, at the office, they’re the boss! Kiss-ass time. Must be hard to realize you’re a person, just like everyone else.

      • Emcee3 says:

        I can verify that IG post. I worked for several men with young families. Each day after 4pm they called their wives to suss out the homefront. If the kids were acting up, he would find some kind of ‘IT emergency’ that kept boss-man & his team in the cube farm well past 5o-clock.

        I do not miss those days. And neither do my colleagues.

      • MeganC says:

        I work at a creative agency and not being able to meet in person and flesh out ideas has been really difficult. You can’t replicate the energy of an active meeting on Zoom.

      • Alexandria says:

        I can verify this about my ex MD and ex boss. They happen to be narcissists too.

      • Christine says:

        Spot on Christina, I love your comment so much!

      • Deering24 says:

        Christina, this explains so, so much.

      • AppleCart says:

        @Christina that is so spot on. At an old job of mine we had a boss that would keep us in the office unti 2am a couple times a week. And expected us to be back in the office by 9am sharp the next morning. I was young and dumb. And thought this was normal. Since he was the boss and everyone fell in line. I still lived at home and my Mom would hit the roof since she thought it was so wrong to do this.

        Fast forward a few months and another manager pulled me aside. To let me know the ‘boss’ had a miserable home life and would come up with ’emergencies’ to keep everyone in the office so he wouldn’t have to go home. And his wife was a very mean woman (i had spoken to her a few times ugh so unpleasant) so he hated going home. In the office. It was the only place he felt in control. It was like waking up from a fog. I looked for a new job which I have been ever since 20 years later. Where I am treated with kindness and respect. Never looked back.

    • Turtledove says:

      Full disclosure, I worked in my pajamas for two years. Starting with the pandemic when we were forced to go remote. Mind you, it was horrible, and I was working 14 hour days, stressed and exhausted. I was in my pajamas because I was pretty much getting out of bed, brushing my teeth and logging in at 6am, and I’d stay there until about 8pm. Gotta say, I didn’t love the stress, but PJs did not make me any less productive.

      • AppleCart says:

        I did the same thing but I felt I had to be ‘on’ at all times. But then in time realized I could set more normal working hours. Everything would get done in time. Now I log off by 6pm no matter what. And set sime time during the day to go to the gym or chores so I can have the weekend all to myself.

    • Gwenda says:

      Also, it’s not corporations that give us a sense of belonging, it’s community. It’s our neighbors, friends & family.

      And working from home gives me so much time for them, and for me. And time to just enjoy life.

      • Debbie says:

        Imagine anyone, with a straight face, implying that people get a sense of belonging from the companies and corporations they work for? Please Mr. Boss-man, please may I have some time off? Just the other day, there was a story online about a Starbucks worker who resigned after her manager asked her to reschedule an appointment she had to put her dog down. Yeah, we all miss those days. Unbelievable.

      • elle says:

        My work has pretty much nothing to do with my social life. I started working from home a few years before the pandemic and have never been happier. I hope I never see an office again. I like having tasks and completing them, not being forced to pretend that my coworkers are my family.

        We had a team call this a.m. where we spent the 1st half hour (at 7 a.m, my time) taking a quiz… “which team member used to show horses?” etc.

        I don’t care. If you are my coworker, I will help you in whatever way I can, but I don’t need to know more about you and I don’t want to tell you more about me.

    • Ceej says:

      Not only is it demeaning to how people might approach wfh, but why does a sense of belonging have to come from work?!

      The whole idea of belonging to a company, being part of a family etc etc is about being able to milk employees for all their worth without them being rewarded equitably. And that idea is what he’s chosen to build his book career around because its the structure that rewards white men and he doesn’t need to exist outside of the colonial structure.

    • JustBitchy says:


    • khaveman says:

      Facts: I have talked to a few managers in big companies who say they have had the best years EVER since the pandemic. Do the math. I like the hybrid model personally – some direct collaboration, mostly focused, engaged home remoting. It’s gone very well. Depends on what you do, but the 2-3 hybrid is perfect for my needs. Oh and I get to cook healthy lunch meals instead of going out for expensive fattening meals with coworkers.

  2. Maida says:

    Here’s the thing: Gladwell works from home, or wherever he wants to. This is right up there with Elon Musk whining about people not wanting to come into an office. I wish it were possible to require these guys to spend a week following an actual office worker’s life, and for them to realize that people who don’t have full-time personal staff have a LOT of reasons to want a flexible schedule.

    Managing people by requiring them to be in a physical location for a given number of hours a day, instead of managing them for results, is just laziness.

    • DeniseMich says:

      MG barely went to the office pre pandemic . Fortune wrote a story earlier this week about this hypocrite.

    • salmonpuff says:

      He’s just mad because all the new WFH people are taking all the seats in his favorite coffee shop.

    • Christine says:

      He also has the privilege of a job that is not just a job, for him. He is completely glossing over the fact that many people work to survive, their job is just that, A JOB, and they don’t have the luxury of whining about people they don’t know who are still wearing pajamas while they work from home.

      I’ am so tired of white men lecturing about what is best for my life.

      • HoofRat says:

        While completely agreeing that Gladwell is myopic, self-absorbed and overprivileged, I do need to point out that his mother is black. He can still shut his yap, tho.

      • Christine says:


        I can’t be a hypocrite, I get very angry when people use the “she looks white” argument when speaking as if they are an authority on Meghan Sussex’s life experiences.

        Sorry I called you a white man. You are still completely out of touch with reality. Kinda like a white man.

    • Deering24 says:

      And The New Yorker traditionally has not been a place that insists on writers keeping strict office hours, to say the least. Worker bees there—not so much. 🙄🙄🙄

  3. ME says:

    I hate offices and cubicles and office culture. HATE them. Everyone is not the same. Many people prefer working from home for numerous reasons. Just like some kids do better with on-line learning than in-person. Each person is different.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Cubicles are hideous!!

    • Lizzie says:

      If you hate cubicles try my office. Very new modern building, there aren’t cubicles instead long rows of desks side by side. Everything you do or say is on display. I HATE IT. When we came back from lockdown they installed clear Lucite dividers so we could remove our masks while sitting but now they are removing those for whomever requests. Luckily they allowed IT to wfh so I don’t have to deal with that anymore.

      • ME says:

        That also sounds nightmarish ! I hate having to make a phone call and EVERYONE in the office can hear you ! No thanks.

    • Flowerlake says:

      I like being at the office, even the open floor plan.
      But it seems that at least 80% of people don’t agree (at least of people I know). Most want to work from the office 1-2 days a week, and not more.

      I get the feeling that managers want people to be there, so that they still have a function and can keep an eye on people.

      Seems managers were surprised how many people worked really well from home, and nothing bad happened (no extra mistakes, no people lazying about doing nothing).

      I also know someone in a self-managing team (so without a manager) and they choose to almost never meet up in person at all. They’re doing really well without one.

      • AppleCart says:

        100% this the only people in my office pushing to come back are the middle managers. If they serve no purpose in time leadership will catch on and obsolete them. So they come up with these fanciful meetings that HAVE to be in office. Claiming they are trying to create harmony within our teams. We all work fine from home and are productive. Micromanagers can’t stand the WFH model.

    • Fabiola says:

      I loved my cubicle and my coworkers that sat by me in our row. I miss our talks and laughter but working from home works best for me. I can pick up my son from school, eliminating daycare and save on gas.

  4. Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

    Huh…I thought I was ambivalent about Gladwell. Turns out, no, I hate him. What a ding dong. If something is going on for him, I hope he gets help for it, but he better start by de-centering himself in his own head.

    • Chanteloup says:

      Right there with you @Laura-Lee! Fuck this dude, he doesn’t speak for me or know the first thing about what’s in my best interest!

    • SarahCS says:

      Agreed, I’m a business psychologist and I work with senior leaders. This makes me so angry! I could list all the reasons but it seems that my fellow CB’s have done the heavy lifting for me already so I’ll get back to work (remotely).

  5. BlueSky says:

    As an introvert I absolutely love working from home. Even before the pandemic there were moves being made to send us home to work remotely. I’ve been working from home for over two years and I don’t miss the office at all. My coworkers and I still try to get together to have lunch and we talk pretty much every day by phone if either of us have questions or just want to vent about work stuff. It’s the busy bodies, the extroverts, the gossips, the attention seekers, complainers and the whiny Wendys that miss the office. It sounds like he is talking more about himself here and how he misses being around people. That’s fine, but not everyone is like that.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Sorry, no, but I too am an introvert & I do miss going to the office & being with my team, as well as interacting with folks from other departments. I live alone & working alone at home is just too much alone time for me. It’s been depressing.

      • Tessa says:

        but you don’t have to be alone? You have choices: neighbors, friends, heck, get together with coworkers in a nicer environment than a cubicle or cafeteria. Requiring everyone to go back to the office so that some people feel less lonely seems a rather cruel and backwards way of addressing it. I’d much rather address my loneliness by spending time with people I choose than by spending time with people I happen to work with.

      • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

        The fact is that offices are designed to be inefficient and distracting. Their primary purpose is to be socializing environments for men and specifically not working environments for all people. Some people who are not men may find some benefits but as you describe offices are not for working. I don’t feel comfortable with the number of people who are dependent on their jobs providing them social interaction. We have to stop corporations from isolating us from our communities. This is why working flexibility is so important. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to find a group activity outside of your job where you can meet people and get that interaction to combat the workday loneliness.

      • Eurydice says:

        @Tessa – it’s not necessarily true about choices. When everything is remote, then socializing is remote, too. Absolutely everything in my life, apart from visiting my family is still being conducted remotely – social groups, book clubs, volunteer work – even my friends have become so used to being isolated that they’d rather text or video chat.

      • Honey says:

        @BeanieBean – I get it. I am an introvert who could work from home forever, if given the choice. (I work for a school system, so . . . nope, not happening again for me. Big sigh.). I am also one of those introverts who hates all the little ice breakers and community building sessions. Hate them!! However, I also get that people can and do need the up-close, physical, emotional & psychological interactions & social exchanges with their peers.

        Work can be a safe space for that—just to see familiar faces, talk with them, lunch with them—nothing too deep. Not every work environment is toxic. So, I get it. I also get MG’s message about feeling connected. As a matter of fact, in the department where I work, we are struggling to find that old pre-COVID camaraderie. It’s no longer there. It’s almost like we are strangers.

      • Tessa says:

        but it is a choice. It’s not mandated, unlike work, so it’s a choice. It may be more of a collective choice that doesn’t necessarily reflect your personal preference, but it’s a choice nonetheless because you’re free to leave the group and join other groups. Many people have been making different choices for a long time. My friends and I resumed a more or less normal social life as far back as a year ago. We all travelled this summer, too. If everyone you know still wants to be remote and you do not, perhaps you could find new groups to join, I’m sure many volunteer organizations would welcome you with open arms.

      • Joanna says:

        Yeah I struggled with being alone too much as well. I missed the social interaction. I don’t have kids, am not “whatever?” enough to be invited out to do stuff so I was very lonely and started getting depressed. I switched to a job where I have customer contact but a flexible schedule and I am happier.

    • MeganC says:

      As an introvert, working from home has been really bad for me. The more I am home, the less I want to go out. Being around people can really tire me out now.

    • Noodle says:

      I agree with you @bluesky. I’m an introvert and enjoy my comforts while I work from home. One thing that isn’t addressed in his missive is the fact that because I work from home, my employer gets more out of me. I can’t shut off the computer at 5pm, walk away, and come back tomorrow. I’m working at 8pm when a student calls me in a panic. I’m working on the weekends when my students are doing their projects and have questions. Yes, I could draw a line in the sand and say “No, here are my working hours and sucks to be you if you have a problem outside those hours,” but I don’t. I trade the intrusion of students at inconvenient times for the ability to take my kids to the dentist at noon. I work 24/7, and honestly, my students appreciate that. My faculty evaluations constantly comment on how approachable and quick to respond I am, and how it helps them be more successful in my courses.

      • ME says:

        Great comment and I’m in a similar situation. I am working A LOT longer from home and not just because I’m not commuting. Granted my workload has tripled but as I look at going back to the office, I won’t be able (or want) to maintain the same hours. Now I work 12 hours – rarely with breaks and when I start adding a 2-3 hour commute, they’re going to get 9 hours tops.

        I find it stupid that leaders can’t allow people to chose what works best for them – our leaders are going for 3 days mandatory in the office (currently 2) with no exceptions.

    • Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

      I am THAT extroverted gossip, and while I do miss the office, I have realized that I am way, way more productive working from home. My endless distracting of my poor colleagues also prevented me from working efficiently. My introverted colleagues are way happier, I overuse emoticons on MS Teams to fill the void of expression, and we are ALL better off.

  6. mia girl says:

    Out of touch, corporate shill rooted in yesteryear.

    His next emotional plea will be about how “people just don’t want to work anymore!” followed by “why workers demand too much and it’s killing business!”

    Take a seat Gladwell.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      A lot of people don’t want to work. There is a lot of entitlement. I’m a small business owner and I’m pretty much running everything by myself with subcontractors as needed.

      • Christina says:

        @Wiglet, I hear you. I agree that there are a lot of people who don’t want to make sacrifices, especially with younger people. At the same time, people don’t want to give everything to a business anymore because they find that it isn’t worth it, that the business will do what business has always done: dehumanize them.

        What do you need your employees to do? Why do you think it is hard to keep good people at your business?

  7. Kristen says:

    Wow, what a load of bullshit.

    I feel a very strong sense of belonging to my home, my family, my children, and even my damn pets who love me being around all day.

    I get my kids off the bus at 4:00 and we have way more money not paying for before and after school care and I actually want to cook or go for a hike in the evenings. None of that was true when I was commuting into an office every day.

    • Lemons says:

      This is where it becomes painfully obvious that they don’t care about “belonging.” They want you to have blind loyalty to one company and endure the abuses and microaggressions passed out day after day and then take it all with a smile.

      That’s not belonging. I want to belong to groups who share my interests and hobbies. I want to belong with my family. I don’t want to spend the majority of my life battling it out over spreadsheets and text copy in a hideous office space.

      • Shoop says:

        Exactly this. It suits some people, doesn’t suit others. Malcolm needs to realise that he doesn’t speak for everybody, he’s just one guy.

  8. Sequinedheart says:

    I understand what he’s getting at, having somewhere to be *can* give some people purpose but I also think WFH becoming the way has given a lot of people the opportunity to thrive.
    I have a low social battery & get worn out easily. The best of both worlds for me is hybrid. I have an office base but I 2-3 days a week, I work from home. Also, I’ve worked with some major a-holes so being able to focus and not be near them is wonderful. Haha!

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s me, too. I’m finding a hybrid schedule to be better for me & am glad I have the opportunity to do that

    • lucy2 says:

      This is me too. I’m trying to keep 1 day a week at home, because I can actually get more done there without all the phone calls, questions, and interruptions in my office. A hybrid is good for me right now.

      Gladwell is a writer/speaker, which is a pretty solitary job. Does he write his books in his office surrounded by others every day? I think not. He’s also a single guy who doesn’t have children and child care to contend with, and is wealthy enough to hire people, probably has cleaners and assistants and such, and doesn’t have to consider the costs of working in an office. I have a bunch of friends who have worked from home for years, long before the pandemic, and they all enjoy it. Gladwell’s perspective is one coming from privilege and ignorance of many others’ lives,

    • MMC says:

      I’m an introvert and hate hate hate working from home. And it’s not just the human interaction ( which I also like, but I am fortunate to have a really great team and my own office where I can retreat if I don’t want to socialize).

      But I find it very hard to concentrate when I’m home, the gettimg ready in the morning, the commute, the office environment help me concentrate and I’m 10 times more productive.

      Likewise, not everyone has the luxury of having their own office at home. Some people have kids, some people have roommates. Also, a lot of companies don’t pay for internet and other utilities for those who work from home.

      I don’t like the recemt narative where worlking from home has been lauded as this thing everyone craved and I feel like those of us who dislike it are being left out of the conversation.
      Amd a lot of companies are being praised for going full remote, but thwy are not doing it for their employees, they are.doing it to cut costs of remting offices.

      I think hybrid, where possible, is the best option.

  9. MacDuffer says:

    I bet he doesn’t write his books in an office. It’s like reading an Inc magazine or Fast Company article that are all shills for big business, when studies prove that working from home increase productivity and happiness for workers. We’re still plenty connected by phone calls and video conferencing.

    • AmB says:

      @MacDuffer – I’m MORE connected since WFH because access is so much easier via Slack/Teams. In a very tight software engineering job market we’ve been able to pluck some good talent who don’t want to go back to office life – everyone’s happier!

      • Dutch says:

        And I feel like there’s better balance for me working a hybrid schedule (2 days in the office, 3 days WFH). I don’t lose several hours a week commuting to the office every day and when I have a free 15 minutes before my next call, I can do something productive like load the dishwasher or do some meal prep. Makes recharging in my off-hours easier.

  10. Jenns says:

    Who gives a sh*t if a person wants to be comfortable and sit in their PJs all day? That is not his business. Stay out of people’s lives. And he’s crying over this? He should take these issues to a therapists office and leave people alone.

    And FTR, I don’t like working from home. I like to keep my home life and work life separate. But that’s my preference. I would never impose that on others.

    • Sasha says:

      Exactly! I’m so sick of these higher-ups trying to make decisions FOR people and telling them what’s good for them. Let people live their damn lives! If you love the office and feeling like you’re ‘part of something’ then whoop-de-doo, but not everyone shares your same outlook and people don’t need to be told how to live. God. It really winds me up.

    • Christina says:

      Thank you!!! I am the same: I was fine working at the office because it gave me a break from what was happening at home, but I would NEVER tell other people what THEY need, even though I DO think Malcolm needs friends and maybe sex, lol!

  11. Erin says:

    Seriously? It’s funny that corporations and people like this guy think that they know you better than you know yourself and if they say, “No no no, you’d be much happier going back to the rat race because that’s when you felt a part of something bigger, trust me.” That you will sit there and say, you know what you’re right, I did love spending half my life in the car and hundreds of dollars on gas and work clothes just to get crapped on everyday by management the same way I do now.

    I worked in an office for years and they did a pretty damn good job making us feel completely expendable and unappreciated. I also know very few people that actually love what they do. Most people are just trying to provide for themselves and their families.

  12. SamC says:

    I read this story somewhere else and he was slammed in the comments as he works from home and is regularly seen working in coffee shops in his neighborhood. Staffers who work for his publisher also commented he won’t go into his publishers office for meetings as it it too inconvenient/too long of a commute for him.

    • lucy2 says:

      LOL did he really think he wasn’t going to get called out on all that? What on earth is he thinking, telling people this crap when he doesn’t do it himself?
      He was probably minorly inconvenienced by someone not being in their office and is now on this crusade.

  13. supersoft says:

    Sorry, but he sounds like a twat here. Twat as in the English slang for obnoxious person. How he is wording “team” and “belonging to” sounds somewhat abusive, not nice or caring.

  14. GR says:

    What an ass!
    Not commuting to work saves me thousands of dollars a year, and tons of time.

    • AmB says:

      @GR – not commuting saves me at least 7.5 hours (minimum, if traffic is perfect) per week. That’s a whole workday.

  15. Case says:

    God, I can’t stand anecdotal pseudoscience books. I’m part of a very small team that is now short-staffed long-term because of pandemic-related budget concerns. I know my role is absolutely vital, and I’ve never stepped foot in an office. We have video calls and message each other, so I feel perfectly connected to my colleagues. I don’t work in my pajamas but even if I did, my role would still be just as important and I’d take my job just as seriously.

    I find this mindset so insulting and lacking in inclusivity — many need the flexibility wfh provides because of childcare issues, mental health needs, physical needs, etc. If you can do you job from home and prove yourself to be reliable as a remote worker, you should be given the option to do so.

  16. mazzie says:

    I’m an extrovert and I’m more productive at home. I don’t have the distractions I would have at work so I get things done faster (and better). Plus I can work on my own time.

    And I don’t work in pyjamas. It’s just me but I need to change out of what I sleep in to get to that mental state of ‘ready to work.’

    Also, he apparently works in coffee shops so hypocrite much, Gladwell.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Me, too. I dress for work, even when I’m at home (but then I’ve always had a casual work environment, considering the work I do). I go out for walks around the parking lot every so often, just as I would if I were at the office. Can’t do that in PJs!

  17. Watson says:

    Lolol. This guy is an idiot. What about the people who are physically unable to commute everyday due to lack of transportation or medical conditions? Or the people who commute 2 hours per day to get to work? Or the people who cannot afford to live in the city due to costs, therefore making a remote job the only option? Do those circumstances give people meaning in life? Remote work opens up a world of possibilities!!

    What the pandemic has shown us is that employees want flexibility, and employers often want office face time as it’s easier to build an office culture this way and/or they want to monitor your life cause they are dinosaurs. Like this man needs to consider that not everyone wants their work to be their meaning in life.

  18. MissMarirose says:

    Sounds like projection to me.

    • Traveller says:

      Projection exactly.
      How ridiculous it is when someone comes up with a universal theory based only on their preferences. A completely childlike, self-centered view of the world. As others have said, pseudoscience.
      He was mandatory reading for faculty and administration alike in the college where I taught. It became a cult of Gladwell thinking.

      I am an introvert and highly sensitive so I can’t focus with a lot of distraction. Working in the open cubicle environment they put our faculty offices in was so stressful I could hardly cope. I certainly couldn’t be productive. I wound up having to work twice as long, putting in my mandatory on-campus hours required outside of the classroom (unproductively) and then going home to actually get my prep/grading accomplished.
      It’s a big NO for me to be forced into an office environment. To each their own.

  19. Kronster says:

    As an author, is he going to the office every day tho?
    Like, waking up in the effing morning and doing the (long) commute, then working in a fcking cubicle while his co-workers chat all day long and interrupt him with office drama? Does he have to pretend he loves his tiny (work)space? Then join the stupid cooler talk and listen to everyone whine?

    Here’s some newsflash for you, honey – some of us DESPISE the office. Some of us love sitting in our pajamas and doing our work in PEACE when NOBODY distracts us with unnecessary chit-chat. Some of us LOVE the drama-free environment they have at home.

    And spare me with the “part of something important/bigger” sh!t. The employers will dispose of you the second they don’t need you anymore like garbage.

    Part of something important my ar$e…

    p.s – I understand that some people love or need the office, but encouraging the executives to force everyone to come back is just….ugh.

    p.p.s I hope I don’t get banned for this rant )))

    • Ciotogist says:

      It’s like when Michael Pollan talks about cooking. I like his work, but the guy can write all afternoon while he’s got a pot on the stove, getting up once in a while to stir it.

    • Debbie says:

      @Kronster: “Banned”?! If you’re not careful, you may be elected pope! The reactions are all so visceral, whether some prefer to WFH or be in the office. It’s just the nerve of this man to (clearly) advocate for employers after what we’ve all been through. Shame on him.

    • Joanna says:

      Yesssss! That is exactly how I feel about it!

  20. Jillian says:

    This is just more out of touch old white guy nonsense. I’ve worked from home for years, as have many people I know, and we’re not in pajamas in our bedrooms – how absolutely ridiculous. The people that NEED to be in an office are people who don’t do much more than showing up (management frequently), and I suspect that’s how Malcolm is in an office: lazy, disruptive, chatty, and generally useless

  21. Colby says:

    I think I’m the only person in the world who misses the office lol that being said, I don’t miss the office *every day*. My company is fully remote, but I would love to go in 1-2x a week to be around people I work with more.

    I also do feel bad for younger people or people who can’t afford a 2br situation. It does suck to have your office in your living room or bedroom.

  22. Malificent says:

    I work for an international company, so on any given call with more than three people, we’re doing it by conference call anyway. I live 20 minutes from our office, but why go in to make calls because most of the project team I’m on isn’t even on the same continent. I’m in Denver, our manager is in Dallas, and our director is in rural Pennsylvania, where we don’t even have an office. So it’s not like I can get live facetime with my bosses anyway.

    And as a sole parent, the option to work from home has been a lifesaver, and made me more productive. It’s easy to talk about going back into the office when you don’t have to be the one managing the home front too.

  23. Snuffles says:

    My mother sent me this article. She’s extremely extroverted and simply cannot comprehend why I prefer working from home. “Don’t you want to meet and interact with people on a daily basis?” Sure, just not in a toxic work environment! Not to mention how much time and money is saved. Extra 2 hours a day not commuting. Saving on gas money (which is currently astronomical). Saving on eating out and buying junk food snacks. I actually lost 10 pounds because I wasn’t stress eating cookies and doughnuts from the vending machine.

  24. Emmi says:

    I’m an introvert but our office suits me. There are no cubicles, a maximum of two PAs share an office and I like my colleagues. I also like my bosses. I like leaving the house in the morning to start my workday, I like going to lunch or running errands on my break, and I especially like having an end to my workday. I hated lockdown towards the end. Because I’m an introvert I got through Covid relatively unscathed mentally but man I was glad to go back to the office as soon as I was allowed. I use my free time to recharge and I need a lot of time to myself but my workday isn’t that time. I also live alone and have a small-ish apartment, my commute is super short as I live in the city. So there is no real upside to working from home for me.

    I completely understand why people don’t want to give it up completely. But no, I don’t understand how someone wants to work from home exclusively. I would go nuts. But my situation isn’t every else’s so maybe Malcolm needs to STFU.

    • Colby says:

      Yeah living alone in a relatively small space makes it hard to enjoy WFH. When you don’t have in-person human interaction every day, it can be really isolating.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Agree, Colby. I don’t mind not having in person human interaction all day, but I am an introvert and my job does involve a lot of talking on the phone.

        But I don’t like having work in the spaces that I want to live the rest of my life in, and I hate the unspoken requirement that my living areas be cleaned and decorated in a way that’s considered acceptable for Zoom. I know not everyone finds that burdensome, but a lot of those people aren’t trying to work in a living room that they’re cleaning themselves.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yeah, I had a five-minute walk to work at my previous job & I was the only person who worked in my building. When we had a workplace ban on coming to the office in the early days of the pandemic (first year, at least), I tried WFH, but I just couldn’t do it. I had 475 square feet of living space. And I missed my walk to/from work, my one hour lunch at home. I started going to the office & just not telling anybody. Most everybody was gone from the settlement anyway (this was a national park unit), so nobody saw me walking to/from work. I connected with my team via Teams, and that worked well enough, largely because we were already a well-functioning, well-connected team, but it was really hard on everybody over time. We were each way too isolated, living in really small spaces, and not allowed to have group activities of any kind was just so hard.

  25. Kirsten says:

    Says the person who likely pays people to take care of everything for him and doesn’t have household or childcare responsibilities.

  26. CJW says:

    What a crock. After we were recalled into the office, I felt broken, I HATED being there after 6 months I turned in my resignation. My work was so freaked out that they relented and I have worked from home only since Dec 2020. I am more productive as my boss has stated on numerous occasions, I get to spend more time with my family cook better meals and am just over all happier.

  27. Chaine says:

    Ugh, this guy and his constant attitude of superiority over the rest of us plebes! He can go stuff it.

  28. DeeSea says:

    This is just my anecdotal (i.e., Gladwell-approved) experience, but I work for a company that has built its workforce around the philosophy that “we don’t care where, when, or how you work as long as you deliver consistently excellent results.” The standards are high, the work is intense, and my colleagues are brilliant, collaborative, and inspiring. There was zero “adjustment” to quarantine-era WFH orders because we were already successfully operating in that mode. I’ve never felt more a “part of something,” honestly. Forcing me back into a physical office would absolutely destroy that. I work hard and I take my job seriously. I also greatly value being able to WFH; I can’t overstate how much I value it. Forcing my butt into a cubicle would absolutely erode my love for, and commitment to, my job. Go away, Malcolm Gladwell, and let me continue kicking a$$ in my pajamas in peace.

  29. Eurydice says:

    I’m an introvert and, like Henry Higgins, “prefer an atmosphere as silent as an undiscovered tomb” – but, I can see that much information and experience is lost when viewing the world only through 2 dimensions. Color, nuance, context, a sense of belonging in the world and a responsibility toward others, the understanding that others are just as important. In a congregant setting, work isn’t just transactional and then you turn off the screen- you have to figure out how to deal with people as 3-dimensional beings and that skill translates to other parts of life.

    Working alone in my house, the world becomes all about me – what do I want, what do I like, my point of view, me, me, me. There’s no spontaneous “aha” moment that can come from the interaction with another person who has different life experiences and interests. My person-to-person client work is just starting to recover and I welcome it.

    • Colby says:

      THIS! That collaborative spark will always be missing without in person, IMO – even over Zoom or whaetever it’s not the same.

    • Snuffles says:

      We all have work anecdotes, both positive and negative. Here’s mine. The last job where I worked in an office. I got along quite well with my co-workers/peers. We frequently ate lunch together, did work outings, chatted about our lives (to the detriment of productivity, but hey! We were getting along).

      But every last one of them was miserable because our bosses were dicks, especially the one who ran the department. Stress was off the charts. We had to call 911 to the office at least 3 times while I was there. One co-worker collapsed in my arms. She died a few months later.

      So, no, it’s not always a wonderful collaborative environment. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of unnecessary bullshit that people are forced to put up with for no good reason at all.

      • Eurydice says:

        I think the challenge is to be collaborative even if the environment isn’t wonderful. And sometimes the socializing that seems like a time-waster is building a level of trust between co-workers.

        But, very true about the bullshit. During my Wall Street career I worked almost exclusively with men, and I have to say that men who are totally focused on money are extra-dickish. It was a constant battle and incredibly stressful, oddly more so for the men who didn’t have the “advantage” of being a woman who could leave the business because she was “too weak” to handle it. For the men, the only conceivable way out was retiring at age 65 or dropping dead before age 65. So, our circle had its share of heart attacks, suicides and addictions. But I got to travel around the world, to meet strategic thinkers from other cultures and I learned a lot that I would not have done if I had been stuck at home in front of a computer screen.

        Once I left that business, I joined the non-profit world, which is populated primarily by women, and found that women can be just as dickish in their own way. It’s been an interesting and useful experience to navigate this world and learn how to deal with this different set of people. So, maybe not a wonderful environment, but still an environment where I can learn.

  30. Valerie says:

    I like going to work. To have a physical and psychological distance from work and home is good for me but I respect that people feel differently and it does save gas. And if I’m not at the office I miss all the office gossip. I love it when co-workers get into it. Lol

  31. KInChicago says:

    I personally LOATHED working from home.
    Some are more productive, efficient, cost effective and get more done without having to worry about commute, socializing, breaks, etc… more power to them. I love seeing hardworking people innovate and succeed.
    Honestly, I live in a 1 bedroom apartment. At least 30% of the time begging, pleading, weeping , screaming to be left alone to work. It was horrible- would work Longer hours into the late night trying to make deadlines, due dates, catch up for the constant interruptions and obnoxious demands for attention. My home life was miserable. I hated waking up in the morning. Those with children who can do it have my full respect.
    When the office reopened my bosses were amazed at how much more productive and faster work got done. Something that previously required 4 hours got done in 1- I never want to work from home ever again. Ever. Nightmares.

  32. Ciotogist says:

    I’m guessing Gladwell has a lot of the money from his pseudoscience book royalties invested in commercial real estate? I teach college so I work from home 2-3 days a week every semester, which is perfect for me. And capitalists did this to themselves when they instituted open plan offices, which most employees hate.

  33. lunchcoma says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of working from home, but it’s for the reason I hear most from actual humans – my household has one income and my area is very expensive, and setting aside space in my home for my employer’s business operations is burdensome for me.

    The thing that made it a bit better (it wasn’t a choice for me)? Buying a house, something I hadn’t planned on doing. The thing that made it a lot better? Getting a raise large enough that it compensated me for office space that otherwise could have been rented to a human roommate.

    But Gladwell doesn’t get into things like that because he’s only thinking like a boss. Psst, Malcolm: no, the majority of employees don’t feel like they’re part of something and are working mostly for a paycheck. And you think of them like that too. If they actually were part of something, you’d give them some equity, or at least a long term contract so they couldn’t be fired or laid off at will.

  34. Ava Adore says:

    My life is not work. It’s just a paycheck. The brow beating of tying our sense of worth and purpose in life to making other people money is just more corporate shill BS.

    • elle says:

      Exactly. How sad would my life be if my sense of worth was tied to a giant multinational corporation that would discard me at the drop of the hat to meet the bottom line?

  35. Bobbie says:

    I have worked from home for 2 1/2 years. I hate it. I have applied to many jobs that would get me back in the office (my current company will never return to the office) but the money is bad. I feel trapped. I suppose working from home might work if you don’t live by yourself, but I do, and I don’t think it’s healthy to sit in a room by yourself all day long and then be on your own at night as well.

    • Case says:

      I think it’s also dependent on one’s personality and preferences. I’ve been a remote worker for five years. The first year, I lived with my parents and it was too much togetherness for me. For the last four years I’ve lived alone (with pets!) and I absolutely love my setup. I see loved ones on the weekends, but I’m very content being on my own and independent most of the time. I don’t really ever feel lonely or like I’m being too much of a hermit.

    • Fancyhat says:

      I have worked at home for 10 years and loved it until Covid. Then the walls started closing in. I ended up getting a dog and it was a lifesaver. I’ve met so many neighbors walking my dog during the day and really feel part of a community now. My neighborhood also has a walking group for people at home during the workday. Maybe something like that would work until you find an in office job.

  36. girl_ninja says:

    Malcom is just another bro who thinks he knows best. By the way Malcom doesn’t even work from the office and hasn’t in years. Tell me the difference between this guy and Joe Rogan?


  37. Nicole says:

    I’m an introvert that likes going into the office, but would love to do a hybrid wfh and office at some point. It makes my working mom life so much easier. Instead of taking pointless breaks, I can do a load of laundry or prep for dinner. Instead of a commute, I exercise. This is clearly a rich white man giving his opinion on situations that do not apply to him.

    • Andrea says:

      @bobbie I have been working from home since March 2020 and never want to go back into an office again. I live alone. As an only child, I enjoy my alone time and find I am way more productive and on task at home. I’m not distracted by the thoughts of the commute, lunch, coworkers etc. The pandemic has shown me to get rid of friends who were unhealthy for me emotionally. So I am more alone without coworkers or as many friends, but I am far happier emotionally and physically. I sleep better, eat better, exercise more. I have more time for myself. The pandemic was the best thing for me honestly.

  38. Callie says:

    Typical Gladwell giving talking points on a subject about which he has no expertise, which is pretty much any topic he addresses.

  39. Izzy says:

    He doesn’t get to speak for everyone. Some people prefer working from home and are far more productive for it. As for the work itself, yes it IS just a paycheck at the end of the day. It’s great to feel like you’re a part of something, but at the end of the day, everyone can be replaced. Even the presidency of this country has a continuity plan. In my office we are all still working part time from home because none of us want to get COVID. We’ve all dodged that bullet so far, and would like to continue to do so as long as possible.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s just it, everyone can be replaced. The federal agency I currently work for like to talk a lot about how we’re all ‘family’, ha! Load of bull pucky! We’re not family, family wouldn’t treat me the way I get treated at work (current job & previous job, otherwise, I’ve been lucky).

  40. Robyn says:

    I spent most of my 20s and 30s building my community through my office. All my friends were at work. My social life was at work. My entire identity and sense of purpose was connected to my work. I put everything I had into my work.

    And then, when the recession hit and my salary got too high, guess who didn’t need me any more? My work.

    I work from home, for myself, now. I have for years. Sometimes in my pajamas! But my community is thriving. I’ve built it from other sources; from sources that truly value me as a person and can’t fire me overnight because my transactional value has passed. I don’t care about work as much anymore. What clients think of me is not at all connected to my identity. My title and my salary mean a lot less. I think this is a really healthy thing, at least for me.

    People DO need community. But I have become an advocate for building your community in a less transactional environment than the office. Build it through church if that’s your thing; or a music scene; or a hiking group; or just your old college friends; or even your actual extended family. Find your community. Cherish your community. It’s essential.

    But if one outcome of this pandemic is that workers get the same transactional relationship with their employer that their employer has ALWAYS had with them, then I think that is a positive shift. I get why employers are threatened: if we start treating them the way they have always treated us, then that upsets the entire balance of power. It changes all the rules. I see why that’s a problem for corporations. I don’t see why it’s a problem for us.

  41. Kristin says:

    This is utterly ridiculous. I have crippling endometriosis and frankly being able to work from home has saved my career. I am a litigator and the pain and stress on my body of having to put on a suit and heels every day and stand/sit in uncomfortable office chairs was awful to the point that I had to take a lengthy leave of absence. Plus living in the suburbs means I would have to commute to the city every day and my husband and I are both saving a fortune in not having to drive/take the train, catch Ubers or cabs from the train station to the office, and buy lunch/coffee every day. My husband works in IT and he swears his productivity has increased because at the office he was constantly having his work interrupted by co-workers stopping by his desk to chat or ask questions, and now he doesn’t have to deal with interruptions. And not having to commute also means we get to sleep in longer, which means we’re both much more well rested for the workday. Having worked at home for the past two years has been amazing and I don’t anticiapte ever going back. This guy sounds like a corporate shill who has no idea what he’s really talking about. Big surprise (eyeroll)

  42. Glamarazzi says:

    Breaking News: Old White Man Feels Lonely; Wants Co-Workers to Keep Him Company

    Also re: “If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?” What an entitled out-of-touch jerk. Yeah, it’s a paycheck you clown – I need to feed my family. Do you think I’d be slogging in corporate America if not for the paycheck?

    • Dutch says:

      The guy who has a reported net worth of $30 million should not be talking about passion for work and paychecks.

    • Colby says:

      Yep. Spoken like someone who was able to make millions and millions of dollars following their passion. Thats great for him, but the rest of us arent so lucky.

    • Ciotogist says:

      Gladwell isn’t white.

      • NickG says:

        No he’s not white. His mother is Jamaican. But I went to the same college as him at University of Toronto, and lemme just say, he would sweep past me and my (very small) group of Caribbean friends in his robes on the way to dinner and we would have to shoo ourselves out the way! He had a very select group of cronies who seem mostly stayed close, and at least back then, they embodied white privilege at its finest.

        Have enjoyed the books very much though.

  43. T3PO says:

    Work from home since 2020. I am awake by 6 am. I work out. By 7 I am taking my kid on a walk which I would have never gotten to do if I was going to an office. 8 am I can start my meetings. Then when I’m done holy cow I get to spend more time with my family instead of listening to Spotify in the car/on a plane.

  44. Mila says:

    Like many people here, I prefer to have a choice – some days I like working from home, and some days I know I’ll be more productive in the office. The only “danger” I can see with home-based work at the moment (and it only applies to a certain type of jobs/corporation) is that the line between private and professional life is blurring. Sometimes I feel the need to leave everything behind the moment my office door closes behind me, and working from home this is not always possible. What’s more, many employers are able to take advantage of this, because if you work from home and not from the office anyway, why the hell do you need fixed working hours? So they bombard employees with after-hours tasks. But of course, it is not a point he’s making. That’s just my two cents.

  45. Tricia B says:

    This seems very personal to him. Maybe he doesnt like working from home cuz maybe being in the office is the only time he gets to socialize with people. It’s a job, most of us work to get a paycheck. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to use their jobs to feel necessary to to feel apart of something. Whether im in the office or working from home, the feeling is the same, work to get this money so i can live my life. When u miss social interaction, go outside to be among people. Work from home is amazing and I have zero interest in going back into the office everyday.

  46. Amy Bee says:

    The pandemic has made me realise that human beings are not supposed to be in an office. I loved working from home and would do it again if I get the chance. Gladwell is indeed a corporate shrill.

  47. candy says:

    Yes, we need a sense of belonging, but it’s late-stage capitalism that forces us to get that at work and only work. There are plenty of ways to participate and feel socially connected, especially with more free time. I am up for a work-remote position and I’m strongly considering it. I’m sick of commuting and dealing with the same people for 50 hours a week. The monotony is hard to deal with. I would love to work at a cafe some days, then work out of my house, or go to a new city for a week. The only good thing to come out of the pandemic was that people woke up to the antiquated notion of working in an office, especially with all the technological tools we have at our disposal.

  48. Mel says:

    I understand what he’s saying, but not everyone thrives or loves that environment all the time. I come in when I want, I’m fine with that. I like that when the weather is lousy, I get to choose to stay home. Let people alone and let them decide what they need. Oh yeah about that working for a check, most people are . When companies are more loyal to stockholders than to the people who actually do the work, that’s what you get.

  49. DogObsessedGirl says:

    I’ve never had a job that could be done from home, and I’ve never felt that I am my job.
    Some people’s identities are provided through their work. Mine is not.
    Whenever someone asks, “What do you do?” I know the person wants to know what my job is, but I want to respond with “What do I do for money or what do I do for fun?”
    I don’t gain purpose through my work.
    I gain purpose through my life and what I choose to do, or not do, with it.

  50. RoyalBlue says:

    The biggest cheerleaders of back to the office are the business owners. Apparently businesses have struggled with people working from home. The business case for this is offices are empty so businesses are not renewing rental contracts, utility companies will lose out on the higher electricity and phone rates, fewer people are eating in the city, fewer people are using transportation, fewer people are taking walks and then browsing and impulse buying from stores etc. and it is having a huge financial impact on businesses, There are also individuals who prefer to work in the office, but when I go in the office it is the clear minority with this preference.

    On the other side, it’s great for our carbon footprint to reduce the number of times we are driving on the road, it can improve our relationship with our family and have better outcomes overall when we are closer to and more present for our children.

    It’s a fine line, but I think the businesses insisting on 100% return to the office are going to lose this one, and the end result will be workers will achieve a new normal of a hybrid work environment in the long term.

  51. SAH says:

    How frickin privileged of him to say people are only working for a paycheck! Yes, majority of people around the world do not work because its a passion. Majority of working class and working poor literally work so they can eat. Get the f out of your own head you dumb a$$.

    But yeah, there is a huge push from businesses (i.e. major cities) where they rely on office workers. I understand their pain but no way are people going to want to pay for commuting costs, gas, time etc when they can easily do their jobs over a computer and save all that money and time. The world is always evolving. This is just another part of human evolution.

  52. searchlight soul says:

    i’m sure that the whole WFH movement has been wonderful for plenty of introverts. it’s also been great for extroverts like me who appreciate not spending 3 hrs a day in traffic and paying out the nose for gas. it’s also great if one has kids or a spouse they’d actually like to spend time with.

    i’d even say it’s good for the businesses who support WFH. less spent on real estate, maintenance, cooling, lighting of said real estate.

  53. Steph says:

    I didn’t read most of the comments but I notice people mentioning he is coming from a place of privilege. However, I didn’t see mention of his biggest privilege in this discussion: he’s an artist being paid to create his art. When he goes into the office he’s surrounded by like minded individuals. It’s not work to him. There aren’t that many people who can say they are getting paid to do what they love. The vast majority of us are just cos in a wheel making someone else rich. I have several life long friends who started out as coworkers, but it connection started with a shared hatred of our office cultures.
    If the job can be done from home, give the talent the choice as to what works best for them. They’ll be more productive if they are in an environment that works for them.

  54. BeanieBean says:

    You know, I had never heard of this Gladwell guy. After reading this article & comments, I’m not going to bother looking him up. What an entitled jerk.

    • kirk says:

      Malcolm Gladwell is a Tina Brown journalist hire for New Yorker. But he would have risen without her given his penchant for glib story telling, cherry picking data for his many pop-sci topics which he glides between easily, occasionally citing scientific studies or contributions thereby dressing “his arguments in academia’s clothes” (Eric J Hollenberg, The Harvard Crimson 8/7/2014).

      Since you’re only becoming aware of MG now that most people are on to his shtick there’s no impetus to check. Remember thinking a few years back that I ‘should’ read him, so picked up something (Outliers?) and discovered that my heritage (Scottish, North Euro transplanted to SE USA) condemned to me to a brutish mindset prone to feuding à la Hatfields & McCoy. And I do mean condemned; according to MG it was hopeless. Too bad I didn’t read this first –
      ‘To each his own’ for work style s/b obvious from all the comments here. For my part I will continue clinging to my brutish feuding mindset vis-à-vis Malcolm Gladwell.

  55. Elsa says:

    I LOVED working from home during Covid. I had an office set up and I wore sweats everyday. I would throw on a cute scarf for zoom meetings. I am an introvert and an extrovert. I just love my home. It’s pretty, comfy, there is food and best of all, I have my dogs.

  56. Kathryn Greene says:

    Working in PJs was very early in the pandemic when this was new and scary. Most everyone I know puts on real clothes, has a dedicated space or area to work in, and even second monitors. I work from home 4 out of 5 days a week and can’t say I see much benefit from the required day. Yesterday, I commuted an hour each way (usually it’s about 40 but there were delays), no one in my office talks to each other, just pings from 5 feet away, says “Good morning” and “Good night” and that’s the extent of the interactions so yeah, can’t say I see a point.

  57. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Well I think everyone piling into their cars Monday through Friday, congesting roadways, spending money we don’t have during an inflationary period for food, gas and clothing does more harm than good on a variety of levels. Pj’s or not.

  58. Steph says:

    In my previous comment, I meant to say “I didn’t read all of the comments.” I did read most.

    I wanted to add a few things: 1. I don’t think it’s completely just about personality and lifestyle, I think a lot of ppl are making the choice based off of culture at their office. I think many ppl would shift decisions of their office culture did a 180, on both sides.

    This is kinda making me laugh bc a few days ago I asked my closest friends if they thought I was an introvert or an extrovert. They all said extrovert but the only job where I didn’t mind going into the office everyday was the one where I was alone 75% of the time. When lockdown hit, I didn’t feel isolated until Christmas bc it marked a year since I’d seen any family and was my first Christmas (and Thanksgiving) alone. I also live by myself and still haven’t really picked up on my socializing again completely. And I’m content. I’m not sure I agree with the extrovert part.

  59. MRowe says:

    When I started working from home, I shifted my focus of interaction from the office to my community. I go to the gym, walk my kids to school, volunteer for a local nonprofit. Working from home gave me my community back. And I’ll never give it up. Work is work. Home is where my community is. And I love my job.

  60. Lizzie says:

    This guy is full of hot air. Pajamas and belonging, dude get dressed, make your bed and find where you belong in the world outside of the office. He is actually the one with the problem.

    After lockdown I decided that even if I go back into the office I’m done with ‘belonging’. I have a life and there are people I would socialize with outside of work but I’m done with the company culture.

    I will say there are plenty of people who benefit from working in the office. I’m thinking of younger people starting their careers needing mentors and looking to impress, and looking for a social group.

  61. Tiffany:) says:

    ” If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?”

    It is ABSURD that he just equated your job with your LIFE! A person is not defined by how they earn money!

    • StrawberryBlonde says:

      Hear hear. Sorry but my job is NOT my life. My life is my toddler, my husband, my family, my friends.

      I came back to work in April 2020 after a 13 month mat leave. Prior to that I had worked in the office since 2007. I do NOT miss going to the office every day! I like my coworkers and I like my job. But after 2+ years at home the idea of being at the office 5 days per week is soul crushing. I don’t need the connectivity. I get plenty from my 3 year old and husband (who is home all day as he works nights). I get plenty from my family and friends. My friend network was never based in work but rather personal interests/old friends.

      Work =/= life.

  62. Matilda says:

    One thing I learned from my first corporate job many years ago is that in the end you are just a number, just a cog in the wheel to help them achieve the numbers they want. Ive been in four department layoffs where everyone was talented and working hard, including the boss only to have us all let go so the shareholders can be happy with their returns. It only takes ONE person in your work environment to make it toxic for everyone. I happily work from home, in a light summer kaftan for warm weather, cashmere joggers in the winter. We meet once a week for updates so I only need to get on the subway twice a week for work (I live in NYC). I meet my company goals and feel much happier. My last job had one person who bullied me (the boss brought this person in so when I complained it was my word against theirs) and this young 23 year old who spoke about how amazing she was ALL day and constantly tried to compare her life experience to her fellow colleagues who were decades older. I felt like I was being water boarded whenever she spoke so between these two individuals my mental health was deteriorating (HR was offsite and no help at all). There are extroverts who need the social going ons of a workplace so they should seek that. I live next to a huge construction site where Disney Plus and Google are building new corporate headquarters, it started before Covid, then stopped during the epidemic then continued construction again last summer. All these people were working at home and the companies did not fall apart, if I’m right they made their numbers. All of this real estate that could have gone to affordable housing (something our country is in desperate need of especially in urban areas) is going to companies forcing their employees back to the office so they can holler their “we are a team” brainwashing methods over them when that team would be eliminated in a New York minute if numbers aren’t met. I believe this man has been paid off by corporations to spew his ridiculous observations. I know what works for me. They say people are lazy and don’t want to go back to work. No, people are tired of being treated like a cog in a wheel and not experiencing the life we should all have the opportunity to lead. Sorry so long, I’m passionate about this.

    • candy says:

      I had a similar experience of being bullied. It was so awful. I’m hoping to transition to work-remote and that this will help me regain the well-being I lost working with this person. I agree, it only takes 1 to ruin it for everyone!

  63. Skye says:

    Ugh. This take really pisses me off. I work hard from home, and frankly I now have more time and space to do work that requires deeper thinking because colleagues aren’t always stopping by for impromptu discussions and meetings. I do like to balance it with a few days in the office here and there to build that connectivity. Also, I am one of the lucky people who find meaning from my work, but as I’ve grown older I realized that it is a very important to find that connectedness outside of work. I’m more healthy and a better mom and employee for it. Not impressed with Gladwell‘s take at all or lack of acknowledging different perspectives or work styles.

    Also, yes to everything @matilda said!!!

  64. MsIam says:

    I go into the office one day per week and tbh almost no one is there. Most people chose to be 100% remote. The only reason I chose a hybrid remote is my boss said I could work from home in bad weather. I do not miss my daily commute at all. People like this guy, Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon are full of ish.

  65. Chlo says:

    Why is some dude who doesn’t even work in an office getting emotional over others not working in an office? This makes absolutely no sense and reeks of entitlement.

  66. sillyb says:

    absolutely a coporate shill. they want us back so they can control us. nope.

  67. Mrs. Smith says:

    HE works from home. He’s also a millionaire, so it’s pretty rich that this is his (paid) attitude about WFH.

    We already know that corporate/office life was created by men for men. It suits them perfectly! As Christine mentioned way earlier on this thread, it’s the men who are dying to get back to the office to avoid spouses and kids and household responsibilities.

    WFH is amazing! I have been required to return to the office a couple of days a week and it’s a total waste of time. I would rather be productive while at home, spending time with those I care about, not making small talk with coworkers everyday, all day.

  68. Juxtapoze says:

    WFH has been a god-send to me & my husband. I NEVER want to go back to being a slave to a dangerous stressful commute & the 8-5 grind. I’m so much more productive in my home where I can control the noise level, temp, bathroom breaks, no distractions from noisy coworkers (other than my hubby occasionally lol). I’m healthier too since I get more sleep from zero commute, can fit workouts in on my schedule, eat food from my fridge, pee when I want. I 💯 believe there are people who thrive in an office setting because of coworker relationships. But don’t assume what works best for you works for someone else.

  69. The Recluse says:

    Having people work from home is also helpful environmentally. Less people commuting, less pollution.

  70. 2lazy4username says:

    It’s not my job to create justification for the multi-year corporate leases people can’t get out of. And it’s most definitely not this a$$hole’s place to decide what’s in my best interest.

  71. Deering24 says:

    “… we want you to have a feeling of belonging and to feel necessary. And we want you to join our team.”

    As a very-scarred corporate veteran, I say this guy can. Fuck. Right. Off. 🤬🤬🥷🏽 Do corporate shills still think we’ll fall for that “We’re a team/family,” garbage?

  72. HeyKay says:

    Each WFH experience is as different as the worker, IMO.

    I am better of financially since switching to WFH.
    I get my work done in 4 10 hour days and I do not miss the in office politics one tiny bit.
    I plan to never go back to in office, I will go freelance.

  73. Lov3zone says:

    And I think ALL MOTHERS should be paid 1MILLION Dollars in EUROS to compensate us for all the tireless work we do…………….yep….just as I thought…..another day…..ANOTHER OPINION

  74. Hellodannie says:

    Dude is so out of touch with his toxic boomer mentality. I’ve been working from home for years and it’s done wonders for my life across multiple fronts. They only want us back in the office because onsite workers drive the local economy. Who cares about positive climate change impact with less commuters on the road not to mention quality of life improvements for teleworkers. If everyone works from home, the economy will suffer. Greed and capitalism at its finest.

    • Call_me_AL says:

      Yeah, and why the hell is he CRYING about it? Probably because he won’t be able to sexually assault any interns anymore, poor baby

  75. SusMom says:

    I have older kids and a husband that works from home. When I was commuting, all hell would break loose at home and I’d have to spend time trying to unruffle feathers from my office. No one was doing the laundry or cleaning the house so then I’d get complaints about that too (where’s my uniform? Why is there stuff everywhere?). With telework, I can use my former commuting time to stay on top of those things and to connect with my kids. My work day is more relaxed. I eat better and get more exercise. I’m not missing out on happy hours that I could never attend anyway and that helped people get promotions. Yes, I would love to see my co-workers sometimes and summers can be rough when everyone is at home, but I prefer telework hands down. I’d be interested to know what the ratio of men vs women and married vs single agree with this dude.

  76. Sarah says:

    The Pandemic has been a gamechanger for me. I normally have a 1 hour train ride and my work just started going back to the office recently. We only have to go in 5 days a month. Over the past couple of years. I have enjoyed walking my daughter to school and meeting neighbour’s. That morning mad dash is mostly gone and I can tolerate a few days a month but I don’t want to go back to the old way. I get less done in the office because there are too many distractions. I can only get light work done there (printing docs, answering emails. Making calls) I feel like we are in the middle of another work revolution. The jig is up. Many office employees can work from home.

    • Anna says:

      My days in the office were also for low-focus tasks because I couldn’t focus in open space madness! And as I like my colleagues and to have lunch together I have zero delusions that we have anything more in common than our job. I’ve changed jobs a couple of times and if there is one person I keep in touch with after I leave the job it’s good.

      WFH gives people work-life balance, stops morning commute madness, saves environment and I can keep going. Totally second that the only people missing office are the ones who love gossip, wandering around office till 7pm and telling everybody how long they stay in the office etc.

  77. ZeeEnnui says:

    Oh, boohoo, Malcolm. Go Scrooge McDuck dive into your royalties at your local coffee shop.

    The pandemic proved to companies that workers could be just as productive (if not more) from home. But everyone is different, some people work better in the office and some people work better at home. That’s fine. I think moving forward what people want is the choice to do what’s best for them. I was laid off during the first lockdown and was out of work for 7 months. After a while, I began picking up freelance jobs. I hated working from home. I’m in marketing so I missed the interactions, the impromptu brainstorming, etc. But the biggest reason I hated working from home? I had roommates. I had a huge apartment for a great price in an enviable area. Pre-pandemic, I wasn’t home. It was a shock. It didn’t help that my roommate who had been working remotely for her company for eight years, didn’t react well to having people at home while she was still working. Once I moved into my own place, my current job is 100% remote and I love it. I have my own office space. I can wake up right before I need to start working. I don’t need to worry about disturbing people with my calls. Also, I’m always in contact with my coworkers on Zoom or Slack. Are their kinks? Sure. But I love not having to battle L.A. traffic and waste precious time that could be used for me to pop out for a gym class or run errands. Again, there is no judgment for the people that really want to go back to the office but I feel like *some only want to go back because it’s their only source of social life. I always end up making friends at every job but my work isn’t and shouldn’t be my only opportunity for socialization. If I end up at another job that’s a hybrid, I won’t have an issue going into the office 1-2 per week, but I don’t want to give up WFH altogether. My time is better spent, there are fewer interruptions, I’m happier, and I can walk around in sweatpants. Companies should be listening to their employees not best-selling authors that work from their own expensive home offices and coffee shops.

  78. Resi says:

    I have zero interest in feeling any sort of sense of belonging towards my colleagues. I have friends and family for that, not Brenda from accounting.

  79. SourcesclosetoKate says:

    Idk I grew up a latchkey kid, well sort of. My parents would get home around 6 during the work week. I kind of liked the feeling of having the house empty out in the morning and being the first one back from school and have the house to myself for a few hours. Now that I’m always home, it certainly is a luxury and my kids love it, but I wonder if being here all the time is giving enough breathing space for everyone else.

  80. Katherine says:

    You can feel a part of something while working from home. No need to go anywhere.

  81. Bisynaptic says:

    Gladwell’s become a corporate shill.

  82. shanaynay says:

    When I first saw this picture before reading the name, I thought this was a woman. MY bad!!!

  83. L says:

    This doesn’t make much sense to me, so many thoughts: your job isn’t your entire life (WFH can help offer the flexibility to do more in other areas of your life), I don’t think being physically near each other is the lynchpin of what creates community and purpose (the content of your work and your business/org goals should inspire that), if leaders are dependent on proximity to communicate and motivate their teams, it sounds like they have terrible skills.

    Your work isn’t the sole thing that helps you feel like you belong and are needed (there’s family, friends, neighbors, volunteer work, etc. etc.).

    And +10000 to it’s totally fine if you are just working for a paycheck – that’s most of the world. It’s incredibly privileged to think you must find purpose, belonging, etc. at your job.

    And what does he think of online communities, pen pals, etc.? Does he think it’s impossible to create a sense of belonging online?