2021-06-01 The Office

Summer break is here. Four months of not doing much. Certainly nothing “productive” or “efficient”. It’s all going to be chill, it’s going to be done leisurely, and there won’t be any “point” to it. I bought myself a musical instrument and I want to get better at music stuff.

And then… who knows. Is the pandemic over in September? I just read Employees Are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working From Home, by Anders Melin and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, for Bloomberg Wealth.

The recruiter that approached her … asked what it would take to get her on board. She replied that she would prefer something 100% remote. “They said, ‘we can do that for you immediately.’”

Right on.

I get so much more done at home. No babbling, no phone calls by other people, no discussions at the next table. Ugh, dreadful! I understand people preferring the office life, perhaps they have small children at home, or they live with other relatives. It can be distracting at home as well!

The office wants us back for two reasons, I think. The first reason is that project managers feel more in touch with their teams if they can see them. Then again, many project managers aren’t sitting right next to the table every day of the week. Also, I’m suspecting many project managers did not change their interpersonal routines. What steps have they taken to replace the physical proximity and activity awareness they used to benefit from in the past? If the answer is, “uh… what?” then I’d say the problem is theirs, not mine.

The second reason is that management feels working with clients is good for business. We see how they work, they see how we work, we get to know each other on a slightly more personal level, and all of that is good. Then again, what steps have they taken to replace the physical proximity and activity awareness they used to benefit from in the past? If the answer is, “uh… what?” then I’d say the problem is theirs, not mine.

I recently told somebody at the office the simplest, most basic step I’ve taken: show up a few minutes early for every call. If other people are there, waiting for a meeting to begin, don’t just mute yourself and keep on working: act as if you’re sitting in that meeting room and start small talk. The weather, the weekend, family life, simple stuff. Get to know other people, make yourself vulnerable and let them know about you, too.

I discovered that physical presence in an open plan office is a very high price to pay for little gain.

I keep thinking about that quote in the Bloomberg Wealth article:

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said at a recent conference that it doesn’t work “for those who want to hustle.”

Good riddance, hustlers!

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