Bob Goldman on

It's time to face the music.

The elevator music, that is, which will soon be ringing in your ears as you climb on board for a fast trip back to reality.

That's right.

In the near future, you may be required to leave the cushy cave that has been your workplace during the really-not-so-bad nightmare of exclusively working from home. And whether you get to your office by elevator or tunnel or submarine, being back at work will end the peace and quiet that have sustained you these past months, bringing you crashing back to the awful realities of the awful office you thought you had escaped forever.

Or will it?

Even as office managers are dusting off desks and sharpening No. 2 pencils, a wide divergence has sprung up within companies. Most managers want workers in the office for five days a week. Most workers want to be in the office for zero days a week.


It's what we call a conflict.

As companies wrestle with the question and workers squirm over the answer, Robert C. Pozen, a senior lecturer, and Alexandra Samuel, a technology researcher, both at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, have published an article in The New York Times in which they list a series of questions for managers to ask themselves. They call their system "FLOCS": function, location, organization, culture and schedule. Will your manager FLOC you? Let's find out.

No. 1: "What is the function of each team member?"

Does your team do a lot of brainstorming? You have my sympathies, but you will probably have to be in the office to make this work. On the positive side, you will get donuts. Team members who do a lot of "deep, focused work" and "benefit from the relative quiet of home" get no donuts, but they do get naps.


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