Going Back to the Office


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“The debate continues about going back to the office or working remotely. What are your thoughts on the debate?”

I think the debate is fake. I think the debate is false. I think the debate is a debate where there shouldn’t be a debate. Let me tell you why I think that there’s a debate where there shouldn’t be a debate when there’s still a debate.

The debate continues about going back to the office or working remotely. That’s the debate I think is foolish. It shouldn’t be going back to the office or working remotely. It should be what is the combination? Look, there are some of you watching this, because I know some of my viewers very well, there are some of you watching this who have a really strong bias toward working in the office and there are some of you who believe that you can’t really be productive from home and that’s probably your bias.

It’s probably the fact that you can’t work remotely, and that’s fine. There are people that can’t. I do. I do all the time. I can. I don’t have productivity issues working remotely. In fact, our whole company, all five of us now work remotely and we are very productive. We create a lot of work and we put out some really good stuff but I’ve got a very good friend who can’t and that’s okay.

I know that some of you viewers are CEOs of companies or leaders of groups who think you want everybody back but do you want everybody back because it’s more comfortable for you or because it’s best? Is it possible that there are those who are more productive from home? Those of you who are in large cities, are some of your people commuting an hour, an hour and a half each way on the train or on a bus, helicopter, whatever it is. Maybe that extra hour, hour and a half, three hours they get back in a day would make them more productive, make them more happy, help them more engage or what about a hybrid?

What about weeks where we now say you need to be in the office one day a week but you can work remotely five days a week or four days a week or whatever that is. You guys, things have changed. Employees now understand that what we used to say about you can only be productive in the office, that you have to go to work, may be dinosaur thinking. It may not be the case. What I am simply suggesting is that perhaps what we need to do is have an and philosophy instead of an or philosophy. Maybe it’s working at the office and working remotely. Maybe it’s a combination. Maybe it’s a hybrid.

For those of you bosses out there who are punishing people for working remotely, I had a conversation the other day with somebody that said, “My boss told me flat out I didn’t get a promotion because they hadn’t seen me in the office,” when the company told them they didn’t have to work in the office anymore. That’s terrible. That’s just terrible.

So it’s a false debate. The fact of the matter is most of your employees and those who are employees learned over the last few years, those last couple of years that we don’t have to be at work to be productive, but some of you may prefer it. You may have a bias in that direction and some of you may be in jobs where you do. If you work in a call center, even though the technology’s there, maybe you’ve got to go in. If you’re a pilot, can’t fly an airplane from home. There are jobs that require it but this debate is a false debate and I want us to let it go. Let it go like the song says.

Hope that was helpful.

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