Updated: 4 days ago
Why the constant hand-wringing eulogies for the modern workplace as we know it are a little bit silly.
My spam folder fills constantly at the moment with emails from “experts” selling me their top 5 for remotely managing teams. LinkedIn, industry journals and the webpages of every HR industry body is awash with articles and pulse reports of how the workplace has changed forever.
I’m sure it has, we’ll have more options now. More ways to find fit between humans and organisations…but I believe that we will undoubtedly have a snap back to a new normal at some point. I think that the constant hand-wringing eulogies for commercial centres and the modern office space as we know it are unnecessary, premature and a little bit silly.
Jerry Seinfield summed my feelings up pretty well in a letter to the editor of the NY times in August:
Energy, attitude and personality cannot be “remoted” through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place. You ever wonder why Silicon Valley even exists? I have always wondered, why do these people all live and work in that location? They have all this insane technology; why don’t they all just spread out wherever they want to be and connect with their devices? Because it doesn’t work, that’s why. Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together.
I was never much of a fan of The Seinfeld Show but I could come around.
I was talking to a family member this week who works in a large office adjacent several other large regional corporate headquarters in Newcastle. He proclaimed that “it’s worked, nobody is going back, why would we when office space is so expensive”. In my mind I quietly wondered to myself at what point somebody will look at the P&L and happen on the realisation that rent wasn’t ever even close to their biggest expense, it was people.