27 Feb Big statements for hype
Image created by me using Canva.
According to the Founder & CEO of Firstbase, “This is why full-time office work is dead.” And then he shares an infographic. You can see the post here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7031628837129965568?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop
I won’t share the infographic since I didn’t make it and don’t know if it belongs to the company, but I can describe it. On the left side, you see a pie chart that divvies up the work day in the office between things like sitting in traffic, getting lunch, chatting, drinking coffee, and then working. Whereas on the right side, you see a pie chart showing that WFH is dedicatedly solely to work. For this, you get more than 3K likes on LI. 😣 See, this is why I say: The Algorithms Reward Nonsense. It’s Not Hard to Figure Out Why. (https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/12282676) I mean . . . wow.
IMO, this is a case of: remote work is here to stay, so says the people whose business revolves around WFH.
+ It’s easy for the people who build and design offices to push for RTO and/or tell companies with existing real estate that they need to redesign the spaces to woo workers back. Create a problem – present a solution – collect the money. The govt has done this for years and so has Corpo America. Rather than continue to allow the plebs to work from home, spend millions of dollars redesigning your offices with “quiet spaces” in them. 😞
A company with a vested interest in RTO may tell you RTO is the wave of the future (which I think is sad but true) and a company with a vested interest in WFH may tell you that remote work is here to stay. This is not difficult to suss out.
From Firstbase’s website:
“Firstbase has built the employee experience management platform for remote work.
We’re making our customers’ IT and HR teams jobs easier by delivering all the technology, furniture, and other equipment employees need to create an incredible remote work experience.” –https://firstbase.com/platform
So look: it’s smart business to get on social media and present a pie chart like that. I get it – I own a business, too. And for the record: I’m 100% remote and don’t ever want to go back to the cube farm. I left for very good reasons and I do not miss at all. My point in all this is not to disparage remote work. I don’t wanna be like this guy:
“Malcolm Gladwell slams working from home: ‘What have you reduced your life to?’”
His comments drew backlash and one reason why is because HE works from home!
I’m writing this not because I object to WFH, but because I think it’s incredibly naïve to pretend that RTO for most people is simply unfathomable. NO, IT’S NOT!
A few more times for the people in the back of the theater:
+ This is not about productivity, IMO, and it never has been. I believe it’s about obedience and compliance – who will RTO and toe the line versus who won’t.
+ You can make a thousand pie charts saying WFH is better for workers. This will not stop Corpo America from demanding RTO. 🤷🏻♀️
+ IMO, petitions and angry Slack channels will also not stop RTO edicts. (https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2023/02/23/imo-a-petition-will-not-stop-whats-coming/)
+ I also do not believe that millions of people who live paycheck-to-paycheck and who have personal debt will sit at home unemployed for months on end in a nationwide strike against RTO. This is some fantasy of leftists who refuse to accept the absurd power of Crony Capitalism.
+ Companies who temporarily walk back RTO come back to it. The key word there is temporarily. GM is a case in point.
“General Motors walked back a message requiring employees to be in offices three days a week starting this year, saying that no worker would be required to return until next year — with the number of days to be determined by individual teams. The original message late Friday had been sent in error, Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday. It also provoked anonymous comments on message boards about blindsiding employees, who had been allowed to work anywhere during COVID under a corporate ‘Work Appropriately’ philosophy.” –https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/gm-reverses-rto-push-amid-backlash-4968497/ published in 2022
In other words: you get a temporary reprieve and then you’re going back.
*slips on tinfoil hat*
If you want to make the argument that empty offices will not be bulldozed or repurposed for something charitable, but will instead be used for “you vill own nozing” style 15 minute city housing, OK, I will listen. To me, that is a possible argument. But imagining that Corpo America will give up on RTO wholesale . . . sorry, I don’t buy it.
As if a gift from the gods, while I was writing this, some dude decided to offer me this:
“So if the serfs have options, they’ll take them often for 10% less pay. And often, commuting costs serfs to reject job offers with long commutes, which is what people increasingly face due to high urban housing costs. Corporate America can dictate all they want. But as nascent companies increasingly go remote-only, remote work will be the norm for many office workers.”
If you say so, pal. The people who will take less money to stay remote are people who can afford to. That is not a luxury available to all people, especially in situations where every dime counts. I’ve told the story before of paying bills and having 7 cents left in my bank account. I’m not sure that 10% less pay is a realistic number – I think he may have just pulled that out of thin air to make his unsolicited argument. Ten percent might be viable for some. Maybe. And it might be enough to offset the costs of gas, vehicle maintenance, taking a sack lunch to work, etc. But what if the cut is deeper than that and you can’t swing it financially? Most likely, you’ll RTO. As for “nascent companies increasingly go remote-only” and remote work becoming the norm, I’d love to have the same hopium he’s been using. Must be some good-good. 😂
Do you have an RTO survival plan? Are you ready in case people like that poster are WRONG in their hopeful dreams that most white collar workers will stay remote forever and corpo real estate will eat the loss?