Why return to tech offices will fail
There are several toxic truths about being in an office. Offices are a miserable place made worse by even worse, oppressive practices.
- Open concept kills morale
Sitting there making eye contact with people constantly is distracting. Sitting in a cube is less soul-crushing when you have privacy and you don’t have to pretend to be working, you work when you are effective. Noise is ever present and you have to be totally aware of every little thing you do. You’ll hear irrelevant water cooler convos because everyone wants to be visible at their little square of hell, and you get smells of pungent food your coworkers are making. You’ll also hate some coworkers because now they are audible with their personal thoughts, feelings and hot takes on politics.
- Working is not performance art for the c-suite
Along with the open concept, the out of touch governance of a company tend to see more bodies as more productive. They love to see the army they think they command.
- Everyone is double-booked
Your happiest employee is juggling multiple gigs and that’s why they are happy .Here’s a hard truth, it is expensive to survive, especially when employers are trying VERY hard to lower rates, remove benefits, insurance, etc while cost of living is going up. Rents are up, rates are down. Nobody is coming to the office with a Rolex on the wrist with a Rolls Royce parked outside. The reality is we take on what we can handle, that doesn’t mean we can do more for “client X”, sometimes that second thing we do helps clear our mind. Given how much has moved offshore (with those hours), why care what anybody does in the privacy of their own home on their own time.
- Commutes suck
People are getting more and more miserable, and longer, more costly, and unreliable commutes are bringing in people that have two things to look forward to: lunch and leaving. I’m usually useless for a few hours after an hour-long commute.
- Hybrid pivot
Hybrid isn’t convenient when you have to spend more than half your week and effective but it can be useful for a once a week or partial days (NOT 9–5), and letting people that feel effective in an office, come in. Some people, like me, find WFH to pollute your home life, but some can balance it. Having managed offshore teams and working 1am-3am to manage some teams, an office isn’t going to work for me.