Dear CEO, Why are you suddenly down on flexible & fluid workplaces (aka remote or WFH)?

Dave Malouf
7 min readJun 11, 2023
Woman Checking Messages On Her Smart Phone While Pushing An Infant Stroller by Jacob Lund Photography from NounProject.com
By Jacob Lund Photography from NounProject.com

There have been a host of organizations who have made the decision to move back to office, after 4 years or so of SUCCESSFULLY working from home and supporting all the worker preferences of a true flexible and fluid distributed workplace. How do I know they are successful? Almost NONE of them lost money during the pandemic itself. They only started losing stock value in the last 8 months after the pandemic ended. DURING the pandemic almost all of these organizations thrived.

So what the heck suddenly happened? Why are y’all blaming remote working on your market misfortunes now?

I have some theories and they are all related to poor, short-sighted investing in real estate. But that is just an assumption. Ya see, what’s changed now, is that y’all let go of a high percentage of your staff and well, that has left you with a lot of empty seats you feel bad about paying for. Ya see if you explicitly targeted all of your remote employees you might find yourself with backlash due the fact that many of them are women (caregivers), people with neurodiversity, disabled, and other groups we are sympathetic to.

Let’s assume my assumption is wrong. That the remote experiment failed in these organizations. I’d really love to see the “proof” though. Why did the experiment fail? What analysis was done to understand the outcomes? I ask this because I genuinely feel that most organizations, even the ones committed to remote work, don’t do all they can to make remote working as successful as it can be.

First let’s do some term definition. I know, sorry:

  • Remote: The type of workplace where people work away from each other. It is a catchall phrase that is an umbrella for everything else.
  • Distributed: A team is distributed even if everyone is an office. They just might be in different offices. Often this workplace type is ignored (see real estate assumption above). However, the reality is that this workplace type is incredibly common within an organization with multiple offices. It is almost impossible to ensure that everyone who needs to work on the same things are in the same office location on a near daily basis.
  • Back to office, often paired with…

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Dave Malouf

Dave Malouf is a specialist in Design Operations with over 25yrs experience designing and leading in digital services. I coach ppl and act as a thought partner.