I’ve got a warm take for you. Most desk jobs can be done from home with greater efficiency than they can be done from a centralized “office”.
It’s a warm take, not a hot take. I am not the first person in the world to offer this opinion.
A silver-lining to the mass-moral panic and hysteria of 2020 is that I finally got to work from home, and prove that I have been right all along about WFH, and prove that various managers, Controllers, VPs, and Directors I have known have been embarrassingly and completely wrong about it. I have long believed that going into the office is an absurd and insulting waste of my time. I am more efficient and productive, and an all-around more valuable asset to any organization’s accounting/finance team if I can work from home.
I’ve known this ever since I was given a job that required me to take a work computer home (they wanted me to get even more work done on the weekends). I noticed that I was faster at completing tasks at home on the weekends by a factor of about 5.
Yet, to this day, the pointy-haired bosses (that’s a Dilbert reference, kids) of the world still insist that my lack of physical presence in the office is some sort of profound, intangible loss to the company. Why is this? Well, I have identified what I think are some main drivers of the WFH hate:
1) Insisting that all employees come into an office massages the egos of nanny/helicopter/lonely managerial executive types who firmly believe that their magnetic personalities inspire the team and set a tone for success.
2) Such executives have, furthermore, made giant personal sacrifices, choosing to live in offices, away from family, pets, nature, etc., spending lonely evenings in a drab office, and frustrating hours behind the wheel of a car. I’d imagine it would bring terrifying emotional pain for a late-middle-aged executive to face the truth that the sacrifice was not entirely necessary.
3) Said executives have a deep need to avoid conflict with other employees who, for various reasons, really can’t be allowed to work from home, and need to be at the office. It would be very difficult to tell a clerk that he still needs to be in the office, at a desk, making copies and running for coffee, whereas the more advanced professional who sat next to him is allowed to work from home in his PJs now. That is reality, and it is fair, but most managers did not get to where they are by telling people blunt, painful, unpopular truths. The office has long been the unquestioned norm, and now they’re clinging to that conflict-avoidance crutch-of-the-norm for dear life.
3a) People with chaotic homes. Do you have 5 screaming kids running around at home? Do you live in a studio apartment with a full-time piano player? Is your dwelling place simply a chaotic and depressing mess? Then you probably need to come into the office. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that **I** don’t need to come into the office. I have that sweet WFH setup pictured above. Life here is serene. You may think this is unfair, even though it is totally fair. Get your “stuff” together.
4) Extroverts. Extroverts need to be among other people. It makes them feel good and gives them energy. Many extroverts don’t believe in the existence of introverts. They tend to regard introverts as extroverts who just need help to come out of their shell. Extroverts can’t fathom a reality in which a person would do better work in isolation. Naturally, extroverts tend to have a strong conviction that WFH is just bad for everyone, even if the evidence clearly refutes that claim.
I think that 3) is the most powerful, of the reasons I’ve listed. It’s one of the governing moral principles of our society that all people should be equally miserable. That, above all, is why I think my wonderful WFH days are limited, at least with my current employer. But who knows – cumulative cases continue to rise, and there is no telling how long it will take for that trend to reverse.