It Was Fun While It Lasted

Much has been written about working remotely. After three years of telecommuting, let’s check the tote board to see how it’s going.

More and more companies are insisting that workers come back to the office. The logic is, ‘we’re leasing the whole damn floor and I want to see butts in chairs.’ But nearly half of the workforce (46%) doesn’t want to return to the office. Experts refer to this as the ‘proximity gap.’

So, as more companies require employees to punch the clock, it’s decision time.

Forbes just released a new study that revealed what we suspected. Remote workers are working at a disadvantage. Promotions and raises go to people around the leader. Sure, you’ve got no commute and can take Friday off. But if you’re expecting someone to notice, you’re off-the-radar.

For some who aren’t climbing the corporate ladder, it may not matter. But for those looking to ascend, face time is how to score points. In-office workers are better positioned to impress their bosses. On the flip side, women and people of color may lack the professional networking that come from being in the office.

Here’s my take. It makes no sense when companies arbitrarily demand your presence on Tuesday and Thursday without a clear purpose (team meeting, mentorship etc.). Too often employees drive to work just to join a Zoom call with coworkers in adjacent cubicles.

So, if you’re ordered back to the office, should you stay or should you go? Ask yourself the three questions that matter most:

  1. Do you believe in the company and its mission?  
  2. Once you get past your new title and salary, are you a good fit with their culture?
  3. Will you wake up feeling excited about your work?

If you can’t answer yes to all three, it’s not the right job for you.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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