Sirwin
Sirwin

What's With the Great Push to Be Back in the Office?


Business executives and managers do a lot of stupid things, especially when they work in large organizations where they are not "working managers." What I mean by this is essentially, managers who spend their entire day in meetings or typing memos about outcomes of meetings, for meetings, or planning to be in a meeting. They don't do a darn bit of actual production, they don't build anything, create anything, code anything or analyze anything. No surprise, they have no working context when making decisions. Yet, surprisingly, to a T, they will all state they are experts at decision-making and can do that part of the job with their eyes closed and hands tied behind their backs. They also leave out the part about any decision being made actually making any practical sense.

The "back to the office" push is a classic example of executive stupidity at its finest. Trust me, I'm not arguing the point to be made here just because I'm full fan of remote work. As a manager myself, it takes a lot of time to plan, track, coordinate and stay on top of what my staff are doing everyday when remote. I actually prefer the middle of the road, the hybrid work approach, with some some time in the office part of the week and some time remote so I can focus on major issues effectively. 

I also work with my staff, do design and coding, build and get frustrated, work through challenges and produce something good every day or every week with them. I abhor meetings for the sake of only presence, and I got an "F" in hallway networking because I don't have the time nor want to spend the energy on inter-office politics. So I'm a weirdo; I get it. And I also can see from the clear metrics, my staff produce more doing remote work than they ever did in the office. So do I. There's less interruptions, better focus, and better product is realized. So, if that's what's occurring across industries that can do remote work, which seems to be the case by the metrics from lots of surveys, why the hell would companies want their people back in the office?

Stupid ego.

Seriously, the practical arguments simply don't add up.

  • We need people back in the office because...we need to justify our building rent and space. So, why don't you just cancel the lease or sell the building?
  • We need people in the office because, we need a public face. Your company services and produces digitally. Improve your website and social media presence instead. 
  • We need to key an eye on what they are doing. Really, what actual added value are you going to layer onto the work product that won't already be checked at the deadline when it is due?
  • We have to be back in the office to run a better organization. Your metrics are up, productivity is up, and people are happier. How exactly do you think your organization will improve by reversing all of that?

One of the most recent studies noted that productivity has slumped in 2023, the same year that people are being ordered back to the office. Hmm, I wonder why people suddenly aren't enthusiastic about their work anymore...

No, sorry to say, "back to the office" movements have nothing to do with sound business practices or improving profits. They are, purely, egotistical empire protection rackets.

You see, the problem goes back to my very first point above. Remote work exposes useless managers. The fact is, if everyone is being seen by what they are producing, there are a lot of managers who suddenly don't have any real worth. Project managers and line supervisors handle the daily scrum meetings and productivity guidance. One mid-level manager can easily guide 5 line managers (in fact 1:5 ratios are what are recommended for optimum command designs). So, that ultimately leaves a whole lot of high-priced heavy top-side managers with nothing to show for their cost.

Now, one would think that a savvy business would realize this top-heavy situation and start lopping off the fat that's not needed. However, remember, the same managers and executives being exposed are the ones who run the fiefdoms in a big business. So, no surprise, they suddenly have realized they need to drag everyone back into the office to protect the C-suite title. If they are seen managing and directing people actively, they must be doing something important, right? Well, that perceived "value" can't be seen if the work is remote, BECAUSE THE FACT IS THEY ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING AT ALL.

So let's not bullshit ourselves. Remote work does actually work and it works extremely well. The business organization system, like fiat banks with crypto, doesn't want to willingly let go of its corruption. "Back to work" is a restoration of the cover-up and a re-establishment of the useless manager's empire as it was before the pandemic shook things up. Think I'm making things up? Spend some time reading the horror stories in r/antiwork on Reddit. Even if you cull out 50% of the posts as made-up stories, it's still insane the nonsense occurring in companies that should have fired the useless fat a long time ago. 

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WinterYeti
WinterYeti

A professional freelance writer for the last 20 years and a budding photographer by hobby.


The Intersect of Crypto Musings & Consumer Impacts
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