workplace return's karmic lessonThe workplace return’s karmic lesson is that we will not go back to pre-pandemic normal.

Last week, the staff of Washingtonian Magazine refused to post a new edition. The surprising move happened after publisher Cathy Merrill argued, in a Washington Post op/ed,  that working in the office has more value than working from home.


To defend her point, Merrill wrote this:

“While some employees might like to continue to work from home and pop in only when necessary, that presents executives with a tempting economic option the employees might not like. I estimate that about 20 percent of every office job is outside one’s core responsibilities — “extra.” It involves helping a colleague, mentoring more junior people, celebrating someone’s birthday — things that drive office culture. If the employee is rarely around to participate in those extras, management has a strong incentive to change their status to “’contractor’.

So, the CEO of a major monthly magazine threatened her remote work favoring staff with contractor status? Let’s just say that the CEO’s op/ed didn’t set well:

workplace return's karmic lesson

Merrill did write that the trend in business is towards hybrid workplaces. And that pivot is likely for many businesses.

But she also wrote this:

“People considering just dropping into their office should also think about FOMO, fear of missing out. Those who work from home probably won’t have FOMO, they will just have MO.”

While the FOMO frame has some merit, the intent of it is clear: workplace intimidation.

During the pandemic, many career professionals discovered that they were more effective on the job working remotely, or perhaps in a hybrid fashion, than they were working from a co-location. They saved thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket commuting costs, gained several productive hours during the day, and were better rested.

Most importantly, workforce professionals experienced the feeling of bliss that resulted from work becoming part of their day, and not their entire day.

The workplace return’s karmic lesson is that we will not go back to pre-pandemic normal.

C-suites that value the karmic lesson will benefit from a newly engaged and committed workforce. Those that cling to the notion of pre-pandemic normal, to intimidate and control, do so at their own peril.

A workforce and workplace revolution is well upon us. And, because of it, our best days lie ahead.

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Image credits: Socially distant worker with laptop, SouthWorks for iStock Photo; Twitter post screenshot 5/7/2021, Andrew Beaujon (@beaujon); Podcast button, J. Brandt Studio for The Dan Smolen Experience.