‘I’m not against remote work’ they say
- ‘But what about the people who can’t work from home’
- ‘Not everyone can afford an extra room for an office’
- ‘There are people who miss the human interaction’
Variants of the same argument are currently being blasted on social media. It’s never the person writing that suffers these things, but they’re trying to look out for other people.
The office is a critical element of living it seems in the minds of many. A second-family. The quality of face-to-face interaction is so much higher than it is virtually. The risk to the business if you can’t mistakenly solve problems informally in spill out areas or round the water cooler. The gossip. Politics. The instantaneous gratification of having others available to help ensure the day passes as quickly as possible with as little done as possible.
The way that the office has been painted a type of sanctuary misleads the reason why this has occurred. The notion of a second family, the expansion of services, all conveniently achieve one thing: to elongate the time people spend there away from home,
The office is great for certain people at specific stages in their lives. Older men in particular bristle at the thought of the death of the office. Stating that draws ire and anger, unlike almost any other obvious statement I’ve seen shared on social media.
And it makes sense. Men are far more likely to be around people in the office exactly like them. They are likely to benefit from the environment more than other groups which enables them to progress in their careers more easily.
What others miss, is the cost
Each office space costs your employer $20,000-$50,000 per worker per year. This exorbitant cost will not only make companies economically unviable as their biggest competitors go remote and become increasingly more distributed. The act of having a physical office means you can only hire the best person you can afford in a 30-mile radius of the office. Remote companies hire the most talented person on the planet for every single role.
‘But what about the people who can’t work from home’
This is the argument being positioned by the government. What about the economy that has been built around the office. The sandwich shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, bars, and corner shops. What this argument misses is that it puts the horse before the cart. These things grew due to the fact the offices were placed in these locations. As these people redistribute across the country those services redistribute with them.
Rather than having countries that having thriving individual cities at the expense of the collective whole, remote work enables a renaissance of smaller cities and towns which people desert, leaving behind friends and family, in search of opportunity. Unfortunately, what people often find is that opportunity comes at a far higher cost of living.
‘Not everyone can afford an extra room for an office’
Ironically, this is an implication of the office rather than a reason why remote working can’t work. Younger people being forced to live in tiny shared apartments, families living in tiny homes are as a direct result of the expense of living in a city. As companies go remote, workers are able to decouple from these cities and live wherever they want.
The beauty of remote is the flexibility it gives. Live anywhere. Work anytime. Spend time in the city. Have a lower cost of living, a higher disposable income, and a better quality of life.
‘There are people who miss the human interaction’
The office as a focal point of your social life is not a good thing. The people you spend the most time with being selected by your companies HR policy is bad. The deepest common bond that you share is the success of your employer’s bottom line, where if that changes you’ll never see the vast majority of those people again, is a recipe for disaster.
There are deep societal issues right now around meaning, isolation, and loneliness. Arguing that this could be made worse at a time the office deepens these issues is wrong.
Remote work lets you spend more time with your family and live closer to them. It enables you to have coffee with friends, go for lunch with colleagues. It empowers you to spend time doing the things you care about most. Dedicate time to your hobbies. Build relationships with people that you control, where the things you have in common tie you together and allow you to develop deeper more meaningful relationships.
The Office is Dead
That doesn’t mean places to meet up with your team will not exist. Those screaming for flexibility are ignoring the reality that remote is the ultimate flexibility. You can still go into an office if that is your preference of workplace. You can meet up with your teammates as frequently as you want. Your company should pay for any co-working space you need if this is not something that you need yourself.
Why the Rise of Remote is inevitable
Companies will increasingly go remote. Those who don’t see this coming are ignoring what has happened during the most difficult possible circumstance of working operating from home. Lockdown, homeschooling, inability to get out of the house and away from their workplace.
They have done incredible work. Productivity has risen. Companies benefit. Workers even more. At a time where they are only experiencing 50% of the benefits and 10X of the problems that don’t normally exist workers know they want to continue working remotely.
How Do I Develop a Remote Strategy?
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