Imagine you are working at Apple. It’s April 2022. Your boss tells you you have to go back to the office – that means you’ve read a Slack message on your laptop. You continue your workday, frustrated when your boss doesn’t seem to understand that you can do this work remotely.
Then someone sends you a YouTube link to a a nine-minute ad for remote work, telling the story of a group of people who have quit their jobs after being forced back into the office. The ad is from Apple, which is now asking you to return to the office. You punch your desk so hard that your screensaver stops working.
It’s odd that the companies that make a lot of money from remote work seem to be the most allergic to its possibilities. Google, literally lets you run a company in a browser, forced workers back into the office three days a week.
Meta, Apple, and Google are industry leaders, but they’re leading their industry back – back to the office where everyone will be doing the same thing they did at home.
Meta, which has lost billions of dollars trying to make us live in computers, has also get people back to the office. Having read almost every article on remote work that had been published in a year for my research, I still could not find a compelling argument for why employees should return to the office.
“Direct cooperation” and “accidental” are terms that make sense if you live in Narnia and believe in mystical beings. In fact, the office environment is much like our distant lives, only with more annoying meetings and the chance to smell a coworker’s lunch selection.
The tech industry pretends to be disruptive, but is following a path created by older companies like Goldman Sachs. How Apple and Google, the companies that have so effectively provided us with the ability to work remotely at scale, sound as if they are reading from a generic document The New York Times’ anti-remote pick?