2 min read

Why the 180’s on Remote Work?

The niceties of offering a flexible work-life quickly take a back seat when fear and pressure creep (or flood) in.

1-minute 15-second read

“Remote or die” has been a dominant narrative regarding organizational culture in tech even before the pandemic made WFH mainstream.

Now, we’re seeing an increasing number of tech companies reverse course. It feels like office life is a thing again for tech firms. And for some execs, this is an unapologetic move.

What’s causing this shift?

I think it's likely due to two things:

1. IRL connection is better for solving hard and complex problems.

This might not be true at an individual level. But when it comes to collective problem-solving, camaraderie and connection move the needle faster. At least that’s the argument.

Anecdotally: I haven’t worked in an office in a decade. We’ve built a fully remote company with BYA and never plan to have an office. I also haven’t seen my cofounder IRL in over 2 years. I miss him dearly. I also know that if he and I were able to be in an office together with guarded hours every day—removed from the at-home demands of family and life—we might have grown faster and made more money. The trade-offs of WFH are real.

At a small scale, we (Jackson and I) accept, acknowledge, and choose these trade-offs. At a large scale where layers of C-level execs and middle managers' jobs are on the line, where board members are in place, where continual fundraising cycles are predicated on productivity outputs, and where shareholder value is always the focal point, these trade-offs can equate to making or losing millions or even billions of dollars. The niceties of offering a flexible work-life quickly take a back seat when fear and pressure creep (or flood) in.

2. Adult daycare centers needed to be reopened.

This is about maturity (lack thereof) and trust—not productivity.

The laptop class (this includes both technical and non-technical roles) got paid way over market value during the recent boom time. And a portion (some? many?) of these workers were essentially cashing large paychecks without contributing anything substantial to their companies.

Bottom line: Too many workers scammed the system and finally got caught.

Now, instead of being given the gift of flexibility and autonomy, they need to be watched over like the little children they are. And they’ve ruined it for the rest of their peers who are grateful and eager to show up—regardless of where they’re physically located.

The brave, outspoken quiet quitters blew it for everyone else by needing to post about it on social. Yes, the irony of the quiet quitter/outspoken social media warrior is hilarious.

In all seriousness though, I think social media gave us a glimpse into something that execs were keyed into long before the lid got blown off.

A closing note:

This is not an opinion piece about remote work. This is simply an overarching theory on why the narrative about WFH is shifting. In the end, as an operator and as a worker in the tech space, do you.

– Nate

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