business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios reports that new data from reservation app OpenTable suggests that occurrences of dining out have passed pre-pandemic levels.

The irony, Axios, suggests, is that people seem more willing to eat out than return to the office:  "Average workplace occupancy is just 44% in a 10-city back-to-work barometer from office-security giant Kastle."  As Axios writes, "While the fight rages on over going back to the office, other areas of our lives have returned to something like normal."

KC's View:

I'm someone who has long worked from a home office and hasn't actually worked in an office with other people for close to 30 years.  It had nothing to do with a pandemic, but rather because, as Mrs. Content Guy likes to say, I don't play well with others.  (I don't think I'm that bad, but…)

Because of this, I am sympathetic to people who don't want to return to the office, but also think it isn't really fair for folks to use the pandemic as an excuse if they're willing to go to restaurants, sporting events and concerts.  Let's call it what it is - a personal preference.

Now, it is hard for some companies to argue that it hurts the business when people aren't in the office, if productivity and profit numbers are up over the past few years.  Which, at a lot of companies, they have been.

As it happens, CNBC reports that "Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company doesn’t plan to order corporate employees to return to the office.

"'We don’t have a plan to require people to come back,' Jassy said on stage Wednesday at the Code Conference in Los Angeles. 'We don’t right now. But we’re going to proceed adaptively as we learn.'

"Amazon tech workers were told to work from home in early 2020 as the coronavirus spread rapidly. In October, Jassy said Amazon would leave it up to individual managers to decide how often workers would be required to come into the office, which marked a sharp reversal from its earlier goal of returning to an 'office-centric culture.'

"Jassy said Wednesday most employees have returned to physical offices and are spending some days working from home. Certain teams tend to be at the office more often, such as hardware or creative units, while others, such as engineers, continue to work largely remotely, he added."

So, what we really need to have here is a nuanced discussion of company and personal needs and preferences that is fact-based while still taking place in a culture of caring - people who are happy tend to be better employees, though companies can fairly argue that it is harder to nurture a culture when everybody is remote.  I tend to think that some sort of hybrid arrangement probably is the best choice, though for people who want to be mentored, want more opportunities to shine (and yes, even suck up to their bosses), and want to advance their careers, I think returning to the office will be a higher priority.