I’m sure that in both of these cases these people mean well, but they come at times when people don’t want to hear it. I think during most times, commentary like this feels right because it speaks to leadership that is trying to figure out some knotty issues within their organization. But this underplays the fact that it also has a very strong effect on the rank and file, some of whom have barely even ventured outside in the past 14 months.
There was some lasting trauma caused by the unexpected shift in life—and that life does not end when people log off for the day. People felt like they lost a whole lot of agency during that time frame, and while they might want to shift back to normalcy at some point, it is not something that they will be able to do at the drop of a hat.
I think whether or not people feel like they can go back to an office on a full-time basis is an open question, but it’s also a personal one and one that should not be forced. For one thing, we do not need to force it: We have a lot of evidence that people can be productive and do amazing things without the benefit of a workplace or a collaborative whiteboard
But I think it requires a lot of empathy right now, and takes that question the level of productivity of remote employees after the pandemic should be seen as exactly what they are: the wrong take.
Let’s get back to a semblance of normalcy before we pile on with the bad remote-work takes. Thanks.