A friend of mine posted an Instagram story about how a manager justifying his position through the removal of remote work. Half-jokingly, I remarked about how the image reminded me of a meme of a shared manager we had in the past. Yet the post aimed to demonstrate an implied lack of empathy that middle management has towards the idea of remote work that gave me the epiphany how going forward in a post COVID-19 world that companies lacking remote work options will become the measuring stick of company culture.
I think without a doubt the yearlong effort of office workers who have enjoyed working at home also have mostly managed to prove to the corporate world that remote work not only is effective, but actually increases productivity. Despite the not-so-surprising numbers, many companies have long muttered for the return of in house working conditions, a situation many moving forward are describing as being unreasonable.
In some cases such as Google, companies that had previously spent tons of money on office spaces and perks for having employees work onsite actually provide a reasonable situation for wanting workers to come back. However, without the perks such as free lunches, commuting benefits, etc., companies without these options will begin facing glaring suspicion at how management views their employees.
The joke from my friend’s story basically shows that middle management’s purpose ultimately is micro management in order to justify being paid. And what I’ve found is that insecure middle management types who actually lack real skills are the ones who require onsite workers. This aspect is the warning that companies moving forward with the removal of remote work options will face as people look at staying or applying for such a position.
The other thing about companies who are of the mind that remote work is worthless is that it shows not only their value of employees as a commodity to improve their bottom line, but their ineptitude at seeing the bigger picture at how onsite work affects the environment. I have been saying for years that offices are the bane of the modern/post-modern world in that they plague humanity by:
- Creating an unnecessary demand for space that destroys the land with spiraling towers
- Increases the cost of real estate all around
- Harms the environment by forcing people that do not require their jobs to be onsite to use cars, thus increasing pollution
- Rising the cost of gas
- Helping sketchy industries like oil and automotive which traditionally have been problems against the environment
- Force traffic jams that clog up the skies
- Increase the risk to human lives unnecessarily through causing people to get into accidents because of stupid demands like schedules, meetings, etc.
- Decreased the health of people as a result of the lack of proper food options as people end up depending on overpriced restaurant food or fast food as opposed to allowing employees to have a home cooked meal
- Endangers people’s lives further through long hours as a result of said micromanager types that are empowered through a corrupt system of deadlines rather than quality controls
Another thing that remote work has done which offices have killed off is the rebirth of the nuclear family. One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has done is brought families closer and tighter, whether people wanted it or not. Parents would get to see exactly what their children go through in school, more home cooked meals, etc. On top of that, apparently, some managed to return to their parents as a result of the need to care for the elderly. I think this is a positive because of how alienated the modern family has become due to offices and the growth of cities.
Yet the idea of absolute control by tyrannical, Machiavellian style management (I almost used the word leadership here, but there’s a HUGE difference) will be indicative by the overall lack of empathy in the way the world works. Some probably think that now with various vaccines, the world is now cured and can return to normal. However, bringing people back into an office so quickly and eagerly simply demonstrates that these companies continue to look at employees as disposable. People must be on guard for these situations and continue to remonstrate these conditions now that we are more aware of the cost of toxic office culture that has eroded traditional family values and placed a high status on capitol and human greed.