A new piece in The Wall Street Journal yesterday appears to make some startling claims about the American labor force: After spending a year and a half working largely from home due to pandemic safeguards, most people have found that they much prefer to decompress with a couple episodes of Nailed It! over spending that same amount of time stuck in their hellish, repetitive commutes to and from a joyless office environment.
“According to a 10,000-person survey conducted in May and July sponsored by the University of Chicago and other research institutions, 76% of Americans said they hope to never again spend five days a week inside an office. A similar number said they expected their employers to honor the wish,” explains the WSJ amid examples of individuals who swapped their hours traveling to and from their jobs with shows like Survivor and The Chair.
The preference to sit inertly on our comfy, familiar sofas instead of careening down highways and crowded subway stations could even be, dare we say it, healthy for our psyches.
“Intentionally or not, we often used the time alone to do important mental work. We shed the fiercely focused mind-set that makes us good bosses or salespeople. Alone in our cars or lost in headphones, we created space for the gentler traits of a parent or spouse,” says the WSJ, who has clearly never commuted through a morning rush hour’s fog of car exhaust, hurled expletives, and coffee burps.
That said, experts chime in that zoning out in front of the tube can create positive, meditative environments for ourselves. Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology, goes out on a limb to posit that watching some television during downtime “captures our attention and perhaps stops us ruminating about that last bad meeting or work problem. It may also modify our mood or give our attention time to recharge.”
“For some, an evening-only drink supplies the sensory shift needed to fully ease into an episode of Gilmore Girls,” the newspaper also alleges. It’s quite the assertion, and something which we’ll need to test out ourselves to know for sure.
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