Required return to office; the impact on the organisation, staff and environment.

Please note this post is about ‘office only’ environments; I’m aware there are many other work environments where the contents of this post cannot apply.

I’m trying to understand why some organisations are requiring all staff to return to working in the office full time. I’m struggling to find a reason that is positive for both the organisation and the staff. However, I can think of several negative reasons; here’s a few potential examples:

· The organisation has always been fully office based.
· The organisation does not trust staff to work remotely
· The organisation requires staff are very closely managed.

I’ve heard it said that the accidental interactions, such as bumping into someone in the corridor, can lead to initiatives and forward movement. There may be a point here, however the same can be said of companies that use Slack or Teams – it’s just that the staff bump into each other online.

This ‘remote bumping’ has always been true for companies with multiple sites as well as for those companies with remote workers.

I can understand an organisation requiring most staff attend the office some of the time. For example, sometimes a meeting is better face to face. But all staff all the time? No. The days of typewriters and telex are long gone.

Time lost in commuting benefits nobody.
Neither does the consequential increase in pollution.

Time for innovation and change? The next normal? I believe so.