Return to offices

From CNBC 80% of bosses say they regret earlier return-to-office plans: ‘A lot of executives have egg on their faces’:

A whopping 80% of bosses regret their initial return-to-office decisions and say they would have approached their plans differently if they had a better understanding of what their employees wanted, according to new research from Envoy.

No shit Sherlock. That’s stating the obvious. 🥚 🥚 🍿

The issue is not specific to “tech” where a lot of jobs don’t need to be in an office to be accomplished, but big tech companies have been having very poor work from home policies with the least justification. Recently Zoom has had a bad take which is a bit ironic, but the major trillion-dollar-companies have always had poor remote work policies and recently doubled down on them by saying that employee evaluation (the one used to deny promotions, advancement and other, or simply fire you) would consider not working in the office negatively. Designed in California might become synonym of poor management.

Some claim that given the technology, requiring applicants to relocate for a job is discriminatory against people that have families and other considerations that make relocating difficult. IANAL but it surely is selective to force people to relocate for a job when they could do it from wherever they live.1

These return-to-the-office policies just boils down to over expenses on real estate (not the fault of workers), poor management, and decades of bad urban planning. Advocate for “return to the office” are seeing their market shrinking because the demand for office space is dwindling and because as a city official their urban planning are designed around the business of commuting to the workplace.2 This is just offer and demand. And the people in power are trying to save face by excercising the only thing they have: power.

None of the “opinion” columns consider the well being of workers (less commuting, more flexibility), private offices, cost, etc. And the headline that executives didn’t listen to workers when making decision against the workers is really evidence that it’s not about the workers, and has never been.

What if we lived in a world where employers would have to pay for the workers commuting time and expenses.

All I can say is that much smaller companies have setup remote work policies, and that helps them competing on hiring people against the big companies.

  1. We will exclude requirements caused by jurisdiction (both in Canada and USA, labour laws are specific to states or provinces) or “legal” requirement (“must be able to obtain security clearance”). ↩︎

  2. Cities are run as a business. The one of collecting taxes. Planning where city centers are almost of exclusive use of businesses (office towers), all the economy is based upon supporting the people commuting to work, which lead to city revenue. ↩︎