Why Your Boss Wants You Back is Funnier Than You Think
The Real Reason Finally Revealed
Bosses are trying to pull their employees back to their desks, while newly liberated remote workers are pulling away. “Sorry, not sorry.”
The remote workers say they’re getting more done by not commuting back-and-forth, or eating out for lunch five days a week, or pretending to be busy while sitting behind the screen as their weary minds try to find a little space.
Remote work makes the planet more green, it allows workers to spend more time with family while still achieving their business goals, and it provides a ways for businesses to save massive amounts of money while running more efficient operations.
On the other hand, much of in-office work is a giant charade of people indulging in political warfare, gossip, brown nosing and catty competitions that win nothing for anyone.
Of course, it’s not all bad. Watching an episode of NBC’s The Office shows how much fun people can have while they’re “working.” But that’s just it, the real fun is had when people aren’t doing the work but socializing, playing games or tricks on each other.
Now that is fun.
But that’s only part of why your boss wants you back, at least the ones who are like Michael Scott.
Some bosses will talk up teamwork, about the value of in-person meetings, about smiling into people’s eyes and hitting the ground running on projects together.
And there’s truth to this.
But that’s not really why he wants you back.
Many bosses might also go on about how it’s easier to collaborate when people are around each other, to see what people are doing and know if someone might need help.
Blah-blah-blah. That’s still not why he wants you back.
Of course, I’m not speaking for all bosses, as there are always amazing exceptions (like my current boss). But as someone who’s been both boss and employee, both leader and pawn-in-the-game, I can tell you why most bosses want you back…
Pretend You’re The Boss
Think of what it means when you become a boss, you are in charge of people (rubbing hands together like Montgomery Burns on the Simpsons, “Excellent.”).
You get to tell people what to do and they have to pretend to like it. You speak and people have to appear to care.
What’s the fun of being in charge of people if they’re all remote?
You don’t get to see them genuflect when you pass by, or produce an instant smile and a chipper greeting even if they’re feeling like crap.
Being a boss for a virtual team just isn’t as fun, it’s like being the captain of a basketball team in a video game instead of real life. It just doesn’t quite compare.
There’s a certain enjoyment, a thrill, a glory of being the one in charge and walking around grandstanding, relishing in “leader-ness.”
The reptilian brain we all possess, those influencers of everything we do, feed off of this kind of behavior. It’s literally a legal high when bosses get to walk around lording over people.
So, let’s say you are Michael Scott of The Office, and he just wants to have fun! That’s why he’d want everyone back and that’s how the coolest bosses are, and they’d admit it.
However, there’s an added bonus that even Michael Scott treasures: being a boss means you get to be Top Banana! 🍌
Everything else is kinda fluff.
The boss knows the company can save massive amounts of money by having people work remote, but still, they’ll say, “everybody needs to get back here so we can get some real work done.”
Forget that… Employees might trust a boss more if they just said, “I miss you guys! It’s no fun at home where I’m not in charge! Please come back and make me feel like a boss… I swear I’ll make it fun…”
That might actually get me back, on certain days…
Update! By popular demand, here’s the followed up to this: “The 7 Hells of Remote Work: Maybe the Boss Was Right…”
Reminder to bosses: please take this with a grain of salt, it was written as relief for workers who happen to have unfortunate bosses.