‘Stuff you miss when working from home’
So I read in the New York Times today that there are some twenty-and thirty-somethings out there who are resisting going back to the office. “Is this mandatory?” was one Young Whippersnapper’s querulous query.
Some are even quitting their jobs when told to pull up their socks (make that put on some socks) and report to work in person.
Now, I have heard the arguments for working remotely: no commuting time (or expense), the opportunity to prepare a healthy lunch, fewer dry cleaning bills. (That last one is a no-brainer, especially if you’re talking about pants).
And I’ve also heard the other side. As a pro-office guy in the Times piece said, “As a manager, it’s really hard to get cohesion and collegiality without being together on a regular basis, and it’s difficult to mentor without being in the same place.”
Hmmm. “Cohesion?” “Collegiality?” Using “mentor” as a verb? Sorry, fella. I think I’d stay home too.
But, aside from my dread of Manager Jargon (which can be spouted on Zoom, too, to be fair), I’m squarely in the Back-to-the-Office Camp.
Cramming a bunch of crazy, funny, quick-witted people together in an office creates a truly combustible — and richly productive –situation. Or at least it did so for me.
Yes, there was Cohesion (“Team-Building Sessions” — not so much fun) and Collegiality (“Officers’ Outings” — sometimes too much fun) But also plenty of Spontaneity (A coffee ring on a napkin led to a Maxwell House campaign. True.) And Collaboration — in, among other places, The “War Room,” where you’d sweat over new business ideas while polishing off bad pizza. (“No fighting in the War Room,” I Sharpied on a Post-It).
Working remotely might be more convenient, but I can’t imagine it could be more fun. You can’t sit on top of a desk and smoke a cigarette with your toes while Zooming. Well, maybe you can, but you’d better be wearing pants, preferably just-dry-cleaned ones.
And what about pranks? Now, it might be possible to “prank” your remotely-working cohabitor by, say, tying her hoodie shut (as seen in the photo at the top of this post), but, after awhile the element of surprise could pall if it’s just the two of you. Much more fun to have a pool of prankees, in my opinion.
I’ve written about some of my favorite office pranks before. Like the time the writer and the art director switched the account guy’s hat every day and slowly drove him crazy. (“My Head Feels Funny.”) Or the time this guy ordered a special treat for our boss at a group dinner. (“Harvey and the Grilled Half Goat Head.”)
There was also the time somebody sealed up another hapless account guy’s office door with foam core while he was on vacation. So when he got back, his office had “disappeared.”
And, another time, at another agency where everyone seemed to be named “Mike,” some wag went around one night and changed everyone’s name plate to “Mike.” I should have kept mine; “Mike Whitmore” has a nice, sort of Daily News ring to it.
Oh. One more thing. All you Millennial fans of remote working who are also fans of The Office: Would you have binged a show called The Zoom?
I rest my case.
Amagansett, New York. July 2021