Hey, Bosses…no matter what your justification for demanding workers return to the office in the fall, we don’t want to go back. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, but otherwise, your argument for making us is invalid.
For convenience and clarity, I’ve created a collective brief to help you reconfigure your priorities and assertions, which can also serve as a cheat sheet for your employees to forward to HR.
Here are some current top reasons. Employees should feel free to make this personal:
This is supposed to be the most important thing, right? Right??? Well, unless you are clairvoyant with proof of 100% accuracy, you can’t assure anyone’s safety right now. You likely never could. Even science, defined by discovery, doesn’t know everything. So, if you love the thought of endangering your employees for the sake of your own ego or taking up (rented) space, by all means bring them into a potentially-infected group setting and make them wear a mask at their desk. And if you’re one of those bosses who’s ever guilted an employee into coming in with walking pneumonia or during a snowstorm, maybe take this time to get treatment for your flagrant sociopathy. We know who you are, and it’s pretty much the only way you can redeem yourself at this point.
For those whose industries haven’t dipped devastatingly during the pandemic, you’ve saved tons of money by not having employees in the office. Go ahead and share your electric bill—we dare you. In lights and heating alone, you’ve saved just enough to give everyone a raise. Google estimates they’re saving about $1 billion annually with their employees working from home. So…what are you saving? Do tell! WFH employees pick up the tab on so much, so stop acting like it’s a luxury.
Workflow (a.k.a. Micromanaging)
We get it—you already wasted all that money on workflow software that everyone hates, so you have to keep the charade going. With all the good folks looking for jobs, surely you can find skilled adults with integrity to complete tasks in the allotted time. You know, like the good old days. And if you STILL think people are more productive in an office, well—haha! That’s just funny.
Team Building Is Dumb
Trust us, employees who like each other will find a way to connect in a way you’ll never know about. Anything else is boring and outdated. “Forced fun” is forced without the fun part. Keep your pizza parties and weird game days to yourself. Oh, and anyone who said they liked this stuff lied to you.
“Come Back to the Office” Bosses: Are you planning to prioritize measuring your environmental impact and issue honest reports on your progress? Yes or no? We’ll wait.
It’s obvious that cutting daily commuting reduces the carbon footprint. It’s also true that whether you’re at work or at home, there will be workplace emissions. Maybe if WFH employees were given a grant to measure their WFH impact and make environmentally-conscious changes, we could finally make some real workplace change. For now, we’ll start with a no-commute day.
Mental Health (and Dogs)
For the offices that attempted to integrate dogs into your workday, good for you. There have been countless studies to confirm all the good dogs do for our mental and physical health. Clearly, working from home allows employees to benefit from this beautiful entrainment, and, if even if there’s no dog present, avoiding catching the backend of a manager on an aggressively shrill day has to be pretty amazing for your mental health, too.
In sum: You either care about your employees or you don’t. We’re not the same we were before the pandemic and we won’t be the same again. If we’re happy, safe and more productive at home, then leave us be. Despite what the Who said, the new boss isn’t the same as the old boss. We’re watching to see whose side you’re on.