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 coworker or celebrating a birthday, she explained, and managers may be less inclined to keep providing these to 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.
In this way, companies could save money by eliminating the need to pay for employee health care, retirement benefits, office space and parking fees.
“Washingtonian stands for a culture in which employees can express themselves openly,” Ms. Merrill wrote in an email to the New York Times on Friday. “I appreciate every member of our team not only on a professional, but also on a personal level. I couldn’t be more proud of your work and accomplishments in the incredibly difficult circumstances of the past year. I have assured our team that performance or employee status will not change. 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. “