Washingtonian editors refused to post online on Friday after the executive director of DC-based magazine penned an opinion piece on the future of remote working that sparked an immediate backlash.
Cathy Merrill, the executive director of Washingtonian Media, wrote in the Washington Post on Thursday that she was “concerned about what is unfortunately common Office worker who wants to keep working at home and just go inside the office occasionally. “
Ms. Merrill wrote that by opting to continue working from home, employees provide “an enticing economic option that employees may not like”.
Employees who are away from the office cannot take part in the tasks she describes as “additional” tasks, e.g. Such as looking after a junior staff, helping a colleague or celebrating a birthday, she explained, and managers may therefore be less inclined to continue providing these workers with the status and benefits of full-time employees.
“When the employee is rarely there to take part Management has a strong incentive to change its status to “contractor”, ”she wrote.
That way, businesses could save money by eliminating the cost of employee health care, retirement planning, office space, and parking fees.
Ms. Merrill emailed her apologies on Friday, assuring them that she would not make any changes to the employees’ performance or work status.
“Washingtonian is a culture in which employees can express themselves openly,” Ms. Merrill said in a statement. “I appreciate every member of our team not only on a professional, but also on a personal level. I’m sorry if the comment made it look like something else. “
The opinion piece sparked an outcry among staff at the magazine, many of whom posted the same message on Twitter, criticizing Ms. Merrill’s words.
“As members of the Washington editorial team, we want our CEO to understand the risks of not evaluating our work,” they wrote. “We are dismayed by the public threat to Cathy Merrill’s livelihood. We won’t publish today. “
Washington workers who are not part of a union still work from home. The magazine plans to have employees gradually return to the office from the summer and more fully from the fall.
The article and its original headline – “As CEO, I want my employees to understand the risks of not working again” – felt that some Washington employees were threatened that their services or jobs were threatened, a member of the editorial board testified Fear of professional impact wanted to remain anonymous. The headline has been changed to: “As CEO, I’m concerned about the erosion of office culture with more remote work.”