Most remote workers discovered telecommuting with the pandemic. Rare were the bosses, before the necessary contribution to health measures, who let their employees correspond from home. On average, in 2021, 22% of French people teleworked at least one hour per week. In April last year, when the annual peak was reached, teleworking then concerned 30% of the working population. A very large adoption, but yet far from equal.
The vast majority of teleworkers are executives. Statistics show us that qualification levels greatly determine access to this decentralized organization of work. As a result, in many couples, only one of the two spouses enjoys this luxury, leaving aside the question of transport and the stress of the office.
A site journalist Fortune investigated these couples divided by the arrival of telework in the life of one or the other. It all started with a message on a Facebook group, posted by a certain Hillaire Long, residential and commercial construction project manager. At 37, she saw the balance of her household shift. Her husband, a vice president of a company in Mississippi, started working from home. She was not so lucky, and continued to get up at 5:30 every morning.
The American news site has identified numerous testimonies on a problem that gives rise to jealousy, an unequal distribution of household chores and free time. A factory of resentment, a factory of guilt, and a real source of conflict. “I’m incredibly jealous of the time he has to train, travel, clean – how much happier they seem in general”wrote Hillaire Long on his post, where more than 50 people reacted to add their testimony.
8 out of 10 psychologists admit it
The Psychologue.net site, a platform for making appointments for psychology sessions, questioned its practitioners in January 2022 to ask them their opinion on the question of teleworking and couples. The result was formal: 83.3% said that teleworking was a nuisance factor for couples. Especially if it corresponded to 100% of the working time in the week.
Jealousy is not the main problem. For them, teleworking is also a factor of emotional fragility – just like unemployment can be. The remote working spouse can indeed suffer the situation just as much, and the problems can materialize in many ways, such as a lack of independence to concentrate when the other is there, at home. Nothing very good for the balance of a couple.
Teleworking, a new meeting criterion
Of course, the problem of working from home on couples is not new. Especially since during periods of confinement, when many couples worked together in telework, living together brought its share of new challenges. On the other hand, the problems of inequality in access to telework are set to remain and in the long term, remote work could well become a real criterion for some people looking for their other half.
For Hillaire Long, who testified for Fortune, the solution will rather be to change jobs. Even if she measured the advantages of her situation to socialize and separate her professional life from her personal cocoon, her desire to telecommute to find balance in her couple took over. “It definitely made me consider looking for another job. It’s hard not to see some serious benefits in this”she admitted.