“Gesture Management” by Companies regarding Remote Working

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
7 min readOct 9, 2021


It’s best not to believe the hype, or you’ll be back behind a desk in six months.

Photo by Produtora Midtrack from Pexels

I read an article this morning in a national newspaper here detailing how some ‘leading employers’ were forming an alliance to discuss (and facilitate in some ways) hybrid¹ and remote working in Ireland.

The quote that stood out for me was,

“Our model will give our employees the flexibility they want, while maintaining the opportunity for social interaction and the collaboration and innovation that comes from being together in the office.”
Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland

Call me cynical if you will, but decades of experience of the workplace, both in academia and industry, along with the continued ongoing observation of the slow motion car crash interaction of politics, economics, and working people just sets off the alarm bells inside me.

There are always subtexts in political statements and political statements aren’t always trumpeted by politicians. Management modus operandi dictates that once a manager rises above a certain level in the management hierarchy their allegiance switches from being one managing or representing their underlings to one managing or representing the business².

Gesture Management

The gesture management³ I believe is inherent and strong in this quote has to do with offering the working masses the “flexibility they want”.

I’ll unpick that a little as it’s not the flexibility we want as workers, it’s the flexibility that is deserved. As I’m written previously at length, the office based workplace is an anachronism from more controlling times where management insisted workers have their ‘bums on seats’ so that they can be properly observed, ensuring they do a proper day’s work for the pay begrudged to them.

Suggesting remote work is something we want warms up the alarm bells as it makes it seem like a request such as that as a pay rise, more annual leave, or perhaps a seat by the window when we’ve been in the firm for a decade or more.

Social Interaction



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.