There is a debate raging on LinkedIn.
Should we all go back to the office one day?
I say no freaking way. Working from the office is my least favorite way to work. I’m not going to go easily, you hear me?
The Armpit Smell Commute
The train I catch to work is full by the time it arrives at my station. This means I smell the armpits of many people while being one of the many sardines trapped in the train carriage, unable to breathe.
The commute takes so much of my day, and I live close to the city. The commute means I will have to buy my first home closer to the city than I would like. In a big city such as Melbourne, this comes at an enormous cost.
The cost of living close to the city means I will have to work longer and harder to pay off the huge mountain of debt that awaits me when I buy my cardboard box townhouse in an alley inhabited by rats, close to the obligatory office.
I can do my job fine at home. Why do I need to mortgage my freedom to live close to an office that makes me less productive?
Commutes are a nightmare after you’ve worked from home every day for a year. Unless you like the smell of armpits, of course.
The Pandemic Isn’t Over
People at my office keep planning to return to work. The pandemic doesn’t care though. We had many days of zero cases in Australia. Now we have outbreaks again and I’m back in lockdown.
Vaccines are going to take their sweet-ass time to be administered which is to be expected. The idea the pandemic is suddenly going to go away is ridiculous. What Donald Duck would ever say that?
The office remains a fantasy. Let’s keep it that way. Maybe we could convert offices to housing for the homeless, rather than waste the space having meetings with no clear ROI.
The Sudden Interruptions
Remember the good ol’ days of the office. You pour yourself a cup of el cheapo instant coffee (or badly made barista coffee if your workplace is one of those types). Then you walk towards your office chair. You’re almost there. You’ve almost reached freedom. Then Bob wanders over. He wants to ask you lots of questions that would be better as an email. He can’t ask them quickly either. Bob is bored.
Once you fight off Bob, then comes the next person. A day in the office is a day of constant interruptions.
The productivity gurus say notifications on your phone are the kiss of death. But what about Bob and his band of misfits? I don’t miss office interruptions. Maybe in the next life I’ll be a cat living in solace.
The All-of-a-Sudden Meeting
You know the one. That moment where you decide to sneak out the side door of the office to have an early lunch. As you walk through the door, look behind you, see the coast is clear, and then walk through the door, a colleague randomly bumps into you.
“Are you going for the meeting?”
Me: “What meeting?”
“The meeting we decided to have now to discuss the thing. You know, the thing? That important thing.” *Lunch ruined*
When everybody is co-located like tigers in a cage at the zoo, it’s hard to avoid meeting overwhelm. You have the scheduled meetings. But it’s the all of a sudden unplanned meeting that is a death by a thousand paper cuts. The office is a place where there is always an excuse for a meeting.
The Free Lunch for Cavemen and Cavewomen
I eat plants. In the world of office catering that makes me a weirdo.
The free office lunch is where I go to be punched in the face by a pork sandwich.
This is another reason I hate the office. Why do all office lunches have to be made of meat? Why can’t offices catch up with the times, and if they insist on feeding a bunch of hungry cavemen and cavewomen, serve a few plants here and there?
Office food makes it easy to cheat on your diet. When I eat too much at the office my pot belly returns. At home, I eat healthy food because I don’t allow junk food to be purchased.
Junk food in, bad quality work out.
The Office Needs to Die
Let’s add the office to the grim reapers’ list, along with Facebook. The office is from the old world.
In the new world, everything is virtual. We can still have offices but they need an update. What we need is a virtual office where we don’t need to pay craploads of money to be physically located near it.
Star Wars predicted the future. Holograms of me standing around in my underpants should be good enough for a business meeting. Trust me, you don’t want a meeting with me in person. The Instagram filters aren’t turned up so high when you’re standing inches away from my face.
There is virtual office real estate now, too (via Decentraland), where you can stick a giant over-bloated headquarters in cyberspace and pretend to be all grown up and business-ey. I don’t ever want to return to a physical office.
The perks of work from home are far too great to give up. Let’s make physical offices extinct, so virtual offices can be the future.