A Perfect Storm Of Return To Office Stress

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
7 min readMar 13, 2022


Modern times have laid bare company tomfoolery — it’s time to take back control of your life, stay sane, and try to be happy once again. Somehow.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

A part cathartic rant, part emotional plee today about the state of the world, how employer care for the ‘wellbeing’ of their employees is really just cash based (no surprises there, I’m afraid), and primarily how they should just let us all continue to work from home because things are bad enough already.

Let’s dig in, literally, and do stay for the bit where I say I care about you — because I really do.

It’s part of the reason why I write these things in the first place.

The Shadow of the Mushroom Tower

Many companies are requesting that their employee drones return to their company cattle pens at the office.

This necessarily brings forth the unfortunate prospect of not only decreasing work efficiency for the company, but also making employees extremely unhappy as they’ve generally had a more tolerable, lower stress, and generally better time of it as regards work¹ over the first two pandemic years².

With recent changes to the world, that frankly keep me awake at night in the same way that living under the shadow of the mushroom tower did in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the world is not in any way returning to the way it used to be anytime soon. Who needs it?

Bearing that in mind, now is not the right time at all for any company to start mandating its employees to return to an office — unless they’re absolutely physically required to be there for a specific purpose.

Not only do we have an ongoing pandemic to deal with, we also have spiralling fuel costs, rampant price inflation, and most importantly a general feeling of looming existential dread.

All of these factors do not in any way motivate your standard employee to pay through the nose to commute needlessly to a stressful, middle manager monitored, forced social engagement situation of a Victorian era office any more.

Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Woah!

Commuting was bad enough pre-pandemic.



Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.