Back to the Past

Bob Goldman on

Told you so! I told you that the moment there was good news on COVID-19, your managers would celebrate by demanding that you get your cute little butt back to the office.

It isn't that they feel verklempt at the idea of sending your paycheck to a beach hut on Bora Bora. It's just that your managers like you so very much they want to see your smiling face sitting at your smiling desk in your smiling office, if not all the time, then at least from 9 to 5.

But are you appreciative? Do you care that they care so darn much?

Not really.

Instead, you carp and complain and insist that you can't go back to the old ways. You do your work. Why should you have to get out of your pajamas to attend a meeting, or go back to a miserable commute or spend your days sitting cheek to jowl with a bunch of annoying losers who drive you cray-cray when they stick their noses in your cubicle five times a day to ask, "What's happening, dude?"

Julie Creswell and Peter Eavis understand. "Returning to the Office Sparks Anxiety and Dread for Some" is their recent newsflash in The New York Times.


But is it really news?

"Some employees are not keen to go back to the office," Creswell and Eavis write in their introduction. Well, Julie and Peter, let me be the first to clue you in: Some employees were not keen to be in the office in the first place. Nor were some managers, for that matter.

As any psychiatrist -- or bartender -- will tell you, your managers don't mind you working from home. What they mind is when you seem happier than they are. It's only human nature, though I leave it to you to decide if "human" is the right adjective with which to describe your managers.

Obviously, what is needed here is compromise, and, at first blush, some employers seem willing to bend. Not groovy companies like Amazon, who told employees it expects to return to "an office-centric culture as our baseline." But companies like Target, Ford Motor Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers insist "they are going to let office workers work remotely more frequently." Even business bulwark JP Morgan Chase is "telling some workers they can cycle in and out of the office."


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