RTO for the collective good

RTO for the collective good

Image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay


The opening lines to the old Soviet anthem:

“Союз нерушимый республик свободных / Сплотила навеки Великая Русь.”

Roughly in English this means: “An indestructible union of free republics, united forever, the Great Russia.”

Couldn’t help but think of it in reading this article. You’re a free agent, sure. But, ha ha, not really because you need to swear fealty to the company and its office. IT MAY BE THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THE COMMON IN A WORLD OF REMOTE WORK!  Yet when we look at his own words, the Common for him is the damn office itself. So let’s draw it out.

The office needs to be saved. ➡️ The only way to save the office is to demand RTO. ➡️ Position it as doing what’s best for the collective because the collective is higher than the individual anyway.

If the office was so great, why does it need saving now? Why all the effort to sugarcoat in-person work? Why didn’t the carrots work and why did Corpo America have to resort to the sticks and have their cronies at The Fed crash the damn job market? If it was so wonderful, wouldn’t we naturally go back and be glad for it?

-“Pompous nonsense / another WFH hit piece”  published on May 7, 2023  https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2023/05/07/pompous-nonsense-another-wfh-hit-piece/

Now here we go again. More of the same.

“Remote work is good for individuals but bad for teams, says CEO with fully in-person office: ‘It’s not just about you’” –https://fortune.com/2023/06/26/remote-work-rto-return-office-jake-wood-groundswell-teamwork-productivity/

Umm, when has it ever been about the worker? Isn’t it always about what’s best for THE FIRM? Good grief.

“Working isn’t just about personal productivity—it’s about being a team player and helping to raise the performance of others, Jake Wood, CEO of corporate philanthropy company Groundswell, wrote in a June 16 LinkedIn post.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

Yeeeeaaaah. The classic threat of being branded not a team player. A true kiss of death in the modern cult-like office.

Yeeeeeeepppppppppppppp. For quite some time, being branded “not a team player” was the kiss of death. But what did it really mean? Well, in my opinion, it meant things like:

  • Doesn’t conform to group-think
  • Doesn’t kiss the boss’ butt
  • Doesn’t “go along to get along”
  • Challenges authority
  • Ask questions
  • Wonders why we keep doing something that doesn’t work
  • Doesn’t want to give up all leisure time to sit at the office


My theory is that a lot of these team meetings and “brainstorming sessions” were really just designed to reinforce whatever the company was already doing. One of us… one of us… one of us…

-“Sometimes yes, many times no.”  published on May 13, 2022  https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2022/05/13/sometimes-yes-many-times-no/

“‘I can understand the employee’s perspective, but I think it’s lacking something critical: it’s not just about you,’ Wood wrote. ‘What do I mean by that? YOU might be able to execute your work on time and to standard in a remote environment. But what about your colleagues? Absent your presence, leadership, mentorship — can they thrive?'” -Fortune.com, Ibid quoting Jake Wood

I’ve heard that excuse before. “Well, yeah, Sara, YOU could work remotely by yourself and be fine. But if we do it for you, we have to do it for everyone and that’s not gonna fly.” So Corpo America has to guilt trip you into thinking you are responsible for your coworkers who you didn’t select and didn’t hire. If Bob can’t handle WFH, you can’t either. 😣 Meanwhile, Bob probably can’t handle it because he spends too much time wandering around the office swilling coffee and chatting with everyone.

“Wood is a former Marine sniper who used to run the nonprofit Team Rubicon, a disaster aid nonprofit that he founded in 2010. He stepped down as Team Rubicon’s CEO in 2021 to found Groundswell, a service that enables corporate charitable giving via software and housing accounts. A self-proclaimed ‘huge proponent of in-person collaboration and work,’ Wood told Fortune that remote work slows company progress and hurts efficiency. Groundswell operates fully in-person, and while this made it difficult to recruit a team early on, the model has paid dividends in productivity since, Wood said in an interview.” -Forbes, Ibid.

A couple of things come to mind here:

+ Tinfoil hat alert. Corpo America loves to LARP that it’s the military even though it is not. I once had a mansplainer get mad at me because he said terms like “toe the line” and “fall in step” sounded too much like the military. And I’m like, “What planet are you on, guy? Corpo America prizes conformity and obedience.” So it doesn’t seem surprising to me that companies would call in military or ex-military speakers to rally the team and tell them how good it is to be together in person. If Corpo America could mandate compulsory service wouldn’t they be thrilled?

+ You’re not gonna beat the system. Believe me, I still see the hot air & hopium crowd hanging in there, waiting for every RTO company to go out of business and be unable to recruit anyone. Sorry to burst that bubble, but it’s not happening that way.

“‘I do believe that we move faster and have a better shared understanding of our mission, our objectives, our challenges when we’re together, and I think that the team would agree with that,’ Wood said.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

Dang, I need to send this article to the mansplainer. We move faster. Shared understanding of the mission. Is this a military mission or is this just working in a damn office? WTH? Is Susie in accounting going under barbed wire to cross enemy lines or is she preparing the AP/AR reports for this week?

“The CEO told Fortune that he doesn’t judge those who prefer remote work, but says their priorities don’t lie with the team, so they should consider working independently.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

I don’t judge you, but I totally judge you as not a team player, so go sit somewhere by yourself. Well, yes, I will. Don’t mind if I do. *said in the manner of Obi-Wan Kenobi*

“Teamwork and human connection are paramount for Wood, who explained his leadership style to The New York Times in late 2021 by saying that ’empathy is core to leading with love.’ He added that he doesn’t see employees as tools, but futures to invest in.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

Leading with love?!? I never looked for a manager to love me – merely to treat me with basic human dignity and respect. Love?!?

“For many workers, even a pay downgrade would be worth working fully remotely. A third of workers said they would accept a pay cut in exchange for working fully remote, with the option being especially enticing for people aged 18-25 and single parents, a February survey by employment agency Robert Half found.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

Oh, that’s coming, don’t worry about it. The old “yeah, you can WFH, but it’ll cost ya” razzle dazzle.

“For the Groundswell CEO, the remote versus in-person argument is all about how highly one prioritizes collaboration. If a worker really wants to advance their company’s vision, they should be showing up to make it happen.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

This is getting a bit too “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” for my tastes.

It’s not really about collaboration. It’s about conformity, obedience, power, and control. For that matter, collaboration isn’t really about brainstorming and exchanging ideas. It’s about group-think. You come to the conclusion that your manager or the CEO wanted you to come to anyway and then it’s branded as, “Great! We all agree on this.”

“Not that remote work is without rewards. Remote workers earn $8,553 more on average than their in-person counterparts, according to a study by telecom company Ringover, which combed through over 35,000 remote and in-person job listings on LinkedIn. Remote workers also save on the transit, food, and clothing costs that office work entails. And while CEOs are quick to order their employees back to the office, a survey of more than 250 mid-market CEOs from June 2022 found that less than half were working in-person five days a week themselves.” -Fortune.com, Ibid.

(Note: you can find the pertinent details of Ringover’s study by going here: https://www.ringover.com/blog/remote-office-hybrid-salary-comparison)

Rules for thee, not for me. CEOs can hold multiple positions, take liquid lunches, and bug out to play golf when they want to, but the peons had better be in the cubicles again.

I’m a bit suspicious of the $8500+ figure since it references job listings. The posted salary range online is not always what the hired candidate actually gets.

But even with the legitimate points of saving on transit, food, and clothing costs by WFH, you’re still supposed to think the most paramount thing is getting back to the cube farm to share your knowledge and your pizzazz with your colleagues. 😆 😅 😂 🤣  Sorry, I can’t even pretend to take that seriously.

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