What ‘return to the office’ really means

“Come back to the office.

We want you to be less productive (interruptions count as collaboration, right?).

We want you to be less happy (work’s not supposed be fun).

We want you to eat less healthily (but, hey, free fruit!).

We want you be more tired (can’t you sleep your commute?)

We want you to see less of your family (they’re such a distraction, aren’t they?)

We want you do less of your hobbies (but you can go to the lunchtime crafting sessions. If you have time, that is).

We want you to do less exercise (look, gym discount!)

We want you to spend money commuting (what do you mean, you want a raise?)

We want you to spend money on expensive sandwiches to eat at your desk (so you can clear some of those emails – don’t want ‘dead time’ do we?)

We want to see you working (or pretending to work. Looking busy at least, that’s the way to get on).

We want you to be disconnected from your community (that way we can send you anywhere we want and it won’t be wrench).

What do you mean it’s a poorer quality of life? Aren’t you grateful you’ve got a job?”

When you strip away all the bollocks, this is essentially what they are saying when they insist you return to the office full-time. Or even on mandated days. But that’s not all, they’re also saying

You are untrustworthy

You are lazy

You are selfish

You are irresponsible

You are incapable of organising yourself

You lack self-motivation

You lack respect for yourself and others

You are a mercenary

It’s a less than compelling argument, is it?

The opportunity is not just to create new and better ways of working, it’s to create new and better ways of living. That means moving forward, not clinging on desperately to the past.

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