Web work is no fun for the young

telecommuting and the young

While we recognize the dangers and downsides of web work, here at WebWorkerDaily we’re pretty optimistic about the idea on the whole. But not every media outlet is feeling quite so positive about telecommuting.

Writing on the website of venerable magazine The Atlantic recently, Alexis Madrigal compared telecommuting to the jetpack, describing it as a “a long-promised, much-anticipated technological system that’s never arrived.” He notes that while studies show a great many more people could telecommute than presently do, uptake of the practice has stalled (which is true).

So what’s Madrigal’s explanation for the plateau in the number of teleworkers? Telecommuting is less pervasive than some have predicted for a very simple reason, according to Madrigal:

It’s just less fun, particularly for the people most likely to adopt it. For younger people, going to an office is more fun than sitting at home. It’s where they make friends and find camaraderie. Home is great for a few hours, and then it’s kind of lonely and dull. While there are coworking spaces and coffeeshops, the easiest solution is to just go into the office.

But fear not, fans of web work, Madrigal sees a brighter future for telecommuting at some point. Just not before we all grow up and start families. Noting that flexible working is big with parents, Madrigal ends the piece by joining the ranks of those who predict a bright future for telecommuting… eventually.

“As the Internet-native generation, which communicates by IM even in the office, starts to have kids, “ he writes, “they’ll care less about office life and more about home. Telecommuting will take off.”

20-something cubicle dwellers weigh in: Is web work only appealing to the middle-aged?

Image courtesy of Flickr user fodt.


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