“Kingdom of Hypocrites” .. Why are managers terrified of the remote work system?

Translation introduction:

When you hire someone, it is assumed that you assign them to perform a task in exchange for a sum of money. But some believe that the employee’s responsibility from nine in the morning until five in the evening does not revolve around work only, but rather about appearances, work parties, and degrees of comfortable hypocrisy for managers at all levels, and from here abusive and exploitative work cultures grow, and the employee’s superiority does not become related only to his achievement, and employees turn into property . That’s why Ed Zitron, a writer and CEO of a technology company, finds that some managers are daunted by the idea of ​​working remotely.

Translation text:

In 2019, American director and producer Steven Spielberg demanded that films on streaming services sites such as Netflix be banned from nominations for Oscars, claiming that “movie theaters should exist forever.” Spielberg was not only angered by the threat these platforms posed to the personal viewing experience, he was also worried after Netflix announced the huge profits it made from streaming movies, even though those are not the ways one evaluates the quality of films.

In the face of these harsh criticism, “Netflix” withstood, declaring that it provides fun for everyone everywhere at the same time, and thus gives more opportunities for filmmakers to share their art. Although Spielberg initially rejected these ideas, he eventually succumbed to them, and last month his production company signed a deal with Netflix. Perhaps he eventually realized the failure of his theory with its impossibility to apply it in our world today, so he had no choice but to acquiesce in the fact that modern audiences enjoy watching movies at home.

In key respects, this battle is similar to the current debate surrounding telecommuting in industries such as technology and finance. Since the emergence of the Corona pandemic, this dispute has often appeared as a battle between the guardians of the old business image and its necessities, and the guardians of the modern image that provides a better way to get things done. In this context, Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of Netflix, stated that one of the biggest “disruptions” of our time is caused by remote work because of its completely negative consequences.

Hastings, 60, is at the forefront of the debate on this existential crisis in the world of work, calling for people to return to offices even though he has no one. Hastings criticizes telecommuting because he sees “people being unable to meet face-to-face as a very bad thing”.

But every manager has to ask himself several questions before asking his employees to return to the offices: First, before March 2020, how many days of the week were you personally in the office? How many teams have you contacted directly? And what teams have you spent the most time with? Do you have an office? If you don’t have it, why? What is office culture? (What exactly is your office culture?) Has your work been negatively affected by telecommuting? And if it really affected, how did that happen? Be clear and specific in your answers.

The negatives exposed by remote work

Distance working

We can confirm that some of the people who have raised their voices calling to return to the offices will not be the committed people who will actually return to the offices regularly. Keepers of the old picture (of office work) are increasingly concerned about their empires of “white-collar workers” (a term for those who do mental office work such as managers and specialists), and they also remain concerned about the spaces they rent and the number of people who hired them.

Earlier this year, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, introduced a disproportionate plan for its 130,000-plus employees to get back in the office. The plan states that the majority of workers should soon return to the office three days a week, while allowing others to continue working from home, and has even allowed one of the company’s top executives to work remotely from New Zealand.

Working remotely reveals many brute shortcomings, problems that executives are unwilling to deal with. Remote work truly empowers producers, and gives them enough space for creativity, while standing in the way of employees who have reached this stature relying on their diplomacy par excellence, and those who have succeeded in finding someone to blame for their failures instead. It also breaks the stereotype that you need to be sitting at a desk to appear productive, with signs of stress on your face and the phone in your hands all the time. Most important of all, remote work may reveal the number of bosses and managers who simply do not contribute to a minimum level of productivity.

I’ve been running my telecommuting company, focused on technology, media, and PR, since 2013. I ran this business for a year out of the office, but I quickly ditched it because it was just a place to meet before going for drinks. Over the seven years prior to the pandemic, my colleagues continued to express concern that my project might “not succeed without my office team”.

Some professions really need people in the workplace, as there are tasks that require a physical person to complete them. It is not possible to wash dishes on the “Zoom” application, for example, or change the bed sheets using the “Slack” application. Blue-collar workers, the working class who do manual labor and earn their hourly wages, are the backbone of the city. The same applies to the tourism sectors and their workers, who have suffered greatly during the pandemic, because their jobs depend on the recovery and prosperity of tourist destinations.

Room service

But for the tens of millions of us whose jobs depend on the use of computers, the pandemic has proven that telecommuting is complete work, no different from office work. Rather, every company that did not need to have employees in its offices concluded that it had to develop its efficiency by using production tools or programs that help improve its productivity, in addition to abandoning offices that have recently become mere places with internet access.

While many CEOs have spent the early months of the pandemic telling their employees that “remote work won’t last long”, today we have tangible evidence that their businesses are still up and running, so they are forced to make false statements such as: “Working Remotely will make us miss the office culture and cooperation.” And with the threats we face from new mutations, which may sometimes delay many companies’ plans to return to the office, the value of working from the office faces an even greater test. If you have children who haven’t been vaccinated, or you live with someone with a compromised immune system, is risking their safety by “flashing conversations” with your office mates worth the adventure?!

Do we really have to go back to the offices?

Last fall, 94 percent of employees in a survey conducted by Mercer, a leading US management consulting firm, reported that working remotely was as routine as they do in the office, or even better than working in the office. This is likely due to the lack of distractions, harassment, and abuse hidden behind the soft tone that comes from co-workers and middle-ranking managers. Not to mention that employees are happier in this case that they do not have to commute daily from home to the office, and they receive an evaluation based on their actual competencies and capabilities, not on the appearances governed by “office culture”.

The main reason managers dread working from home is that personal work has become the mainstay of many modern businesses. In our societies, we tend to view management as a title rather than a skill, something that we promote and keep people looking forward to, as well as a place you can take advantage of to weed yourself out of all the tasks that require productivity. When we abandon the idea of ​​the office—the physical space in which managers shout at people—it becomes much more difficult to intimidate and threaten employees in the name of management. Also, justifying your position will be more difficult if you are simply delegating business to others, harassing and humiliating them all the time.

Work from home

When we all share the same physical space (offices), we are often judged not on our efforts at work, but on our diplomacy, by which I mean our ability to court people of stature, or to solicit their sympathy, rather than behave in an honorable way. My field of work (along with others) has allowed me to get to know a lot of people who have built their careers on the principle of being “kind” and getting closer to everyone rather than producing something. I have also witnessed vivid examples within companies of people who have maintained their position not because they are productive, but because they are highly likable.

Subsequently, several people sent me messages confirming similar remote working stories. I have also known really horrible managers who built their empires on stealing other people’s business and presented them in their names, and held leadership positions, such as chairman of the board, or vice president, and this is the main and first reason for destroying the trust between the employee and his manager.

As for the remote work environment, it is difficult to practice such foolish and ridiculous behavior. If you once got away with your act and weren’t punished for negative-aggressive comments you make to your colleagues in private meetings or calls between you, you will undoubtedly be able to be a bastard and show these behaviors on the “Slack” app, or send them via email or text, because anyone can Someone easily accused you of taking screenshots of these messages and sending them to the administration. Also, if you are one of those people who mix up their productivity in the office with others and claim work that is not theirs, your fake will easily be exposed in a fully digital environment, where every employee in the remote work environment can send their own productivity directly to management. Hence, remote work clearly shows who is making a real effort, and who is dependent on others.

Even if we are talking about some kind of fancy office where everything is perfect, where everyone appears to be loving and helpful, every day that passes without a business failing with no staff in offices proves that the movement back to the offices is unnecessary. As for those in power who claim that remote work is impractical, they are delaying an inevitable future that depends on remote work, arguing that “they like to see the people who pay their wages all together in one place.” I have yet to come up with a compelling case for a single reason why a company that has moved telecommuting could return entirely to offices, other than the old logic rooted in control and vanity.

Work from the office

Our problem is that we glorify and elevate corporate founders and CEOs and the dysfunctional ones despite their reputation in offices as tough geniuses who treat their employees as a commoditable commodity. Because most private companies do not share profits, we often associate employee numbers, property, or real estate with success. The idea of ​​giving up offices forces modern companies to justify themselves with real annoyances such as “profit and loss” (a financial statement that summarizes the revenue and costs incurred by the organization, and indicates the company’s financial performance by showing whether the company has made a profit or losses incurred during that period).

When you hire someone, it is assumed that you hire them to perform a task in exchange for a sum of money. However, it seems that the party opposing the idea of ​​remote work believes that the employee’s responsibility from nine in the morning until five in the evening does not revolve only around work, but also about appearances and work parties as well, and from here abusive and exploitative work cultures grow. Getting people to work late is even more difficult if you can’t confine them to one place and offer simple services like free food or table tennis, which are benefits you receive instead of monetary compensation. When you are a full-time employee, you may think that a company owns you, so you should be grateful for the generosity of its leaders who allow you to come into these offices daily.

Forty-six years ago, the first masterpiece of American director Spielberg appeared, entitled “Jaws” (one of the most famous thrillers and horror films of the twentieth century). At that time, the goal was not to see the movie and become terrified, but the whole point was to experience that feeling with a group of other people in a common space (the cinema, for example), so that everyone feels something intangible. But now our world has changed. Two years after Spielberg tried to prevent films on Netflix from being nominated for Oscars, his massive production company finally signed a deal with Netflix, which means more people will be watching more movies at home soon.

Over the years, Spielberg was able to get to know his audience well. The 74-year-old film educator had to understand that whatever his reservations were about how and where people watch movies, it didn’t matter as much as making films themselves and people watching them. Perhaps he eventually realized that the world is constantly evolving, and that its provisions seemed obsolete and outdated, and even stood as a barrier to creativity. Who knows, perhaps one day we will see the world of business follow the example of the world of cinema, and follow in its footsteps.


This article is translated from The Atlantic It does not necessarily represent the site of Medan.

Translation: Somaya Zaher.

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