Imagine you are working at Apple. It’s April 2022. The higher ups tell you to get back to the office, which means you’ve read a Slack message on your laptop. You go about your work day, annoyed that your bosses don’t seem to understand that you can do this job remotely.
Then someone sends you a YouTube link to a a nine-minute commercial for telecommuting about a group of people who left their company after being forced back into the office. The ad is from Apple telling you to get back to the office right now. You hit your desktop so hard that your screensaver turns off.
Oddly enough, the companies that have made the most money from remote work seem to be the most allergic to its potential. Google, which literally lets you run a business in a browser, forced workers back into offices three days a week.
Meta, Apple and Google are the industry leaders, but they are taking their industry backwards, back to offices where people will do the same things they did at home.
Meta, which has lost billions trying to force us to live on the computer, has also made people come back to the office. After reading nearly every telecommuting article published in a year of my research, I have yet to find one compelling argument for why employees should return to the office.
“Personal cooperation” and “serendipity” are terms that make sense if you live in Narnia and believe in magical creatures. In fact, office environments are similar to our remote lives, only with more irritating meetings and the possibility of smelling our colleagues’ lunch choices.
The tech industry pretends to be disruptive but follows a path that has been forged old firms like Goldman Sachs. How is it that Apple and Google, the companies that effectively gave us the ability to work remotely at scale, seem to be reading from the commons? New York Times Anti-Remote Control Pamphlet.