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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"Nobody Wants To Work."

Maybe, if you treated employees better when they were working for you, they'd come back to you today.

"We can't find any good employees and we're just starting to come back."

"People do not want to work and who blames them? They can stay at home and make just as much as I would pay them!"

Well then, maybe you should pay them more.  Maybe you should have valued them more when they did work for you.  Maybe, you shouldn't have demanded they stay late, and miss their kid's soccer game.  

"Our employees don't want to come back to the office.  They are the least engaged."

Could it be that after nearly 100 years of office work, everyone is recognizing that engagement with a corporation is a one-way escapade?  

That corner office, 401k, and 12 days of vacation are all part of the trap.

Companies have convinced employees that long commutes, cube farms, terrible co-workers, hostile working environments, company policies that defy logic, 2.5% pay raises, overtime, water coolers, ping-pong tables, and company half-barrels are worth the cold dinners, missed little league games,  red-eye flights, brainless managers, and corporate disloyalty.

They've convinced you that your worth is determined by who you work for, how many hours you put in, and how loudly you tow the company line.  They had you believing that if you worked anywhere but under the florescent sting of an open floor plan, you wouldn't get anything done.

Remember the companies who just 12 months ago were saying, "We're all in this together.  We want what's best for all our employees." and are now treating the same employees like nothing happened you are shameful.  They worked in a completely unfamiliar environment and learned more about technology, human-to-human communications, and getting things done than a dozen of your "corporate training sessions" could ever muster.

Your revenues went through the roof.  Company travel costs approached zero - no client visits, no hotel, dinner, or drinks on the expense reports - FOR A YEAR.  Sure, bigger companies still paid rent - but utility costs tumbled, and what about all those government loans?

Every one of your employees who worked at home deserves a HUGE increase in salary, a bonus, or both and you know it. 

Additionally, the mantra, "Everything has changed because of the fear of COVID-19." is true - so why are you going to manage your workforce the same way you did in 2019?

But if we let our employees work from anywhere, we'll lose that personal touch and will kill our corporate culture."

Personal connection in the business world is a fallacy - it does not and can not exist.  Any bond established under the influence of business transactions is by definition, impersonal.  All the relationship-building, all the dinners, lunches, and drinks spent with a client or prospect are designed with one goal in mind, get their money into your pocket. 

Don't play the "personal touch" card in an effort to force employees back to the cages. 

By the way, working from anywhere doesn't kill the corporate culture, it IS corporate culture.

The argument for returning office workers back to the office revolves around:
  1. A need for centralized management is built on mistrust and insecurities.
  2. The Luddite view of "getting back to normal".
  3. An effort to bolster commercial office space return on investments.
We are witnessing the struggle between indenture and freedom; between value and being unvalued.

The good news is that your skills are transferrable to organizations that want to be part of the future and understand monolithic structures of management are part of a bygone era.  Find those companies and go work for them - from anywhere on the planet.


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Greg Walters, Incorporated