I have been following a lot of the dialogue around the Return-To-Work Mandates.
Most of what I have read and seen has been based on faulty logic and a complete misunderstanding of the Psychophysiology of what is happening with employees and what "could" happen under perfect circumstances (that don't exist currently).
Recently though, I have read some of the thoughts coming from Mike Bloomberg, whose Net Worth is over $96 Billion, and they give an interesting perspective.
Let's look over what Bloomberg has stated recently, what he believes is being revealed, and then we can dive into other equally (if not more) likely meanings of his findings.
"If you think [work] can be done at home, I don't know... but every golf course that I've heard about in the last three years has had record summers, okay? It is funny, but it's tragic."
So here, Bloomberg is claiming that employees seem to be ditching the offices so that they can waste time at golf courses.
Presumably, he is also implying that this is being done on "company time".
There is some validity in what Bloomberg is pointing out here.
Golf does seem to be having a boom currently.
This boom also does seem to be occurring during the midafternoon of the week.
So, based purely on the data, he may have a point that there are some employees trading the office for the golf course during traditional work hours.
But is this the whole story?
Let's first look at what else has been said by Bloomberg.
"This has gone on too long. The pandemic is over. Excuses for allowing offices to sit empty should end too..."
In particular, Bloomberg has also stated around this topic that Washington, D.C. is a "Shadow of its former self", and claimed that (at least in the government space) tax money wasted on empty office space has decimated public resources.
So, overall what is being gotten at is that there are many organizations that are maintaining large office spaces that are simply not getting used.
There is absolutely proof of this as well.
Many of the traditionally "largest cities" have been struggling due to the amount of remote work that has been occurring.
This means that office spaces are sitting empty, many businesses are locked into contracts for those spaces, and the economy around the empty spaces is decreasing.
As fewer people go to the office, businesses will struggle in those areas, forcing them to shut down.
As this occurs, the value of these office spaces will also drop significantly.
This can be a problem for businesses, as they could end up losing tremendous resources that appear to be "going to waste" in the vacuums that are occurring.
"Our managers have seen the benefits of returning to in-person work, and we have heard about those benefits from their teams, too, especially from young people just starting their careers."
I can also state that it is "technically" true that there are benefits to in-person work that will be more difficult to obtain from remote work.
In particular, onboarding new employees and establishing a culture have been claims of some of the difficulties around remote work.
These can definitely be easier to work on in the office, and I haven't heard of anyone arguing against that point directly.
Now, indirectly there are definitely arguments to be made which we will get into later.
Another extremely interesting point with his quote here is to take into account "who" sees, and "where" things are coming from.
His accounts of these changes appear to come directly from the Managers, not from the employees.
It likely is very true that managers are having an easier time seeing benefits by pushing in-office work.
However, is that the actual problem?
"Human beings probably don't change very quickly in what they do..."
This argument is a fascinating one, claiming that our Biology tends to be slow to change dramatically.
There is a level of truth to it (but not as much truth as most people believe).
Normally, massive changes across society at a Biological level do tend to take many generations to adapt to changing environments.
So he is right that it is unlikely that Humans have changed dramatically in how to become more productive as a society, at least from a Biological level.
However, there are some points here that are being completely overlooked that I'll get into when it comes to Psychophysiology.
"I can't work with you if it's over Zoom... You can't do the same thing via Zoom that you can do face-to-face. Period."
Well, there's a bit of truth to that.
Zoom has barriers to certain types of communication that it can't make up for.
The largest truth of this has to do with our Neurocardiology.
It is a function where our emotions can directly impact the people we interact with.
Through electromagnetic waves our bodies produce, we can directly impact others who are around us.
This can happen, and be tracked, anywhere between 3 and 15 feet away from us.
At this time, there is no hard data that I've read (only theories currently) that this can happen at longer distances.
So it seems there is a point to what Bloomberg is saying with this.
I would say that it is concerning that Bloomberg is displaying a fixed mindset.
"I can't work with you..."
That is a choice, and a determined choice to reject other opportunities that may exist.
Overall though, I believe that Bloomberg's stance is the strongest argument I've seen yet, based on some data, against remote work.
But does that change my opinion in the slightest?
The Tragic Flaws In Bloomberg's Reasonings
There are so many flaws in this, it is extremely hard to know where to begin.
Fails To Acknowledge Productivity Has Either Maintained or Increased During Pandemic
This is probably the biggest flaw in the argument.
Despite all of the potential benefits of in-office work and potential problems with remote work, the data shows it doesn't matter.
Based on the Data, even if everything being claimed is true, the Data shows that based on the current work environment, Productivity has either been maintained or increased since Remote Work began.
If people are going to the golf course in the middle of the day, it doesn't seem to impact what they get done and potentially is actually aiding them.
Who Is The Typical Golfer?
Another huge flaw in this argument is the fact that even if it is true that there has been growth in golfing, it fails to acknowledge "who" is golfing.
Estimates say that starting golf as a hobby is anywhere from $500 to $2,500+ JUST to get started.
Not to mention to get access to golf clubs it could have a startup cost of $1,500 up to $150,000 to simply be accepted.
With this, there are often fees to maintain membership that can cost $3,600 to $18,500 annually.
Plus, there are ongoing costs that continue to be associated with just the gear, such as access to Lessons, Ranges, and the like.
So, not just "anyone" can afford golf.
There is a reason that golf is typically played by the rich and elite - it is expensive!
This means that your average employee is not who is going to these courses during the day - they can't afford it, especially in this economy where the cost of living is skyrocketing and many employees are struggling to keep a place to live.
Do you know who may be going to the golf course more frequently?
Those in management positions and higher (with an emphasis on the higher).
So, it is unlikely that "most" employees are doing this, but it is EXTREMELY likely that Leaders are doing this.
Lack of Executive-Level Oversight
So what does this mean when we combine these ideas?
Executives are pushing for employees to return based on things like Golf Courses being frequented more often.
What we are seeing is the Executive Leaders do not really have any oversight on what their lower level Leaders are actually doing.
This seems to be creating a fear that these middle Leaders are simply wasting company time doing things like playing golf.
However, those Leaders are not the ones who actually get the "results", rather it is the ground-level employees who do the legwork.
So, Executives are seeing a potential problem with "some" of their middle Leaders, which wouldn't surprise me.
Leadership success has been at record lows, so it is very possible that there are some of these leaders abusing their positions.
There is no data that I've seen on this directly, so we have no idea what percentage of "middle" Leaders are abusing this.
To attempt to fix this problem, Executives are calling ALL employees back to the office.
However, who gets hurt most by these changes?
The employees who get the real results.
Sure, you will see these "middle managers" do work while "under watch", but the employees will suffer because those same "middle managers" are likely the ones creating Toxic Workplaces.
Instead of using this time to discover which Leaders are the abusers and getting rid of them, Executives are choosing to make employees' lives more difficult.
Seen And Heard Problem
This is another problem that is tied to the previous problem.
Who is saying that these changes are beneficial to the Executives?
Those "Middle Leader Abusers".
It clearly isn't the ground-level employees who are saying returning to the office is beneficial - the data is VERY clear about that.
So, the data these Executives are getting must all be "Anecdotal".
The REAL data shows that Employees HATE being forced back into the office, and it's clear they hate it because they hate their Leaders.
The Executives are failing to listen to the Employees, and are only paying attention to the wrong people.
Do you know what it is called when "Middle Leader Abusers" craft a tale to benefit themselves, but not the organization overall?
They are ACTIVELY working against what will help the company best, and they are doing it for their own self-preservation.
The Executive Leaders are so disconnected from the reality of their workplaces that they refuse to see the real data and follow where the data actually puts the problems.
This will only make work more difficult for these Executives as Remote work has FINALLY made workplaces more bearable, and instead of fixing the Toxic Environments employees are being forced back into them.
Executives listening to the "Middle Leader Abuser" will simply be "told" that the employees are the problem, and those employees will be let go based on a false story.
The most dangerous Actively Disengaged employees are the ones that hold power and have the charisma to fool Executives who don't look at the data.
The Office Problem
So, there is an issue with these large offices being vacant for Executives - it's a huge cost for something that isn't being utilized.
Executives understand this is a problem, but are coming to the wrong solution.
If they believe refilling these offices is the solution, they are missing the bigger picture.
Large offices are a problem, but the solution is to change what offices will look like in for the future.
There is a lot of data that shows the way offices have been designed is detrimental to employees.
Currently, offices are soul-crushing environments in their design.
This isn't anecdotal either, this is Psychological.
Office design has been making huge updates in how to create office environments that contribute to well-being and they have been having tremendous success!
Offices are a problem, but putting employees back into them is a bigger problem.
Offices being empty might be a problem for Executives, but it is not a problem for Employees.
Employees don't care about the current offices because their well-being is negatively impacted by our current offices.
Instead, Executives should be looking at 2 other solutions to this problem.
Reducing the size of their offices and making the office more attractive.
If employees are equally productive at home and at the physical office, but there are additional well-being benefits to remote work (which data shows there are), why do companies need so much office space?
Simply reduce the office size to accommodate those changes!
This also creates fewer expenses, so really everyone wins with that.
Plus, if you actually make the office space attractive, employees will WANT to come into the office!
Instead of FORCING them back to a place they don't want to be, they'll be significantly MORE likely to choose to come back.
Executives become the heroes instead of the villains.
Golfing And Traditional Hours
Now, let's go back to golfing for a moment.
Let's say it is true that employees are going to the golf course during the middle of the day.
Better, let's assume employees are doing other things during the middle of the day, such as taking care of children, going to their children's sporting events, or maybe going to the gym.
All of those are FAR more likely than the Golf story for the vast majority of employees.
What you would expect is that their productivity would decrease because they are "wasting" precious hours during the day.
But the data is showing we are not seeing that, and instead are seeing increases in productivity at some levels.
Employees still seem to be making the hours they need to, just not in the "Traditional" 8 hours.
What we are seeing is that the "Traditional" 8 hours of work straight is not really beneficial to employees.
You know how Bloomberg said, "Human Beings probably don't change very quickly in what they do..."?
He was right, but "what human beings do" traditionally wasn't 8 hours of work straight!
In the timeframe of human existence, the 8-hour straight workday is an extremely new phenomenon, and humans just don't seem designed to do it.
Based on science, we have only seen humans suffer under this "Traditional" 8-hour day, which only came into being during the Industrial Revolution.
We've seen that what employees suffered during that time was pretty horrific, and we have been working as a society to improve what obviously has never really worked for humans.
Instead of trying to force employees back to this detrimental "8-hour" workday, Executives should be working WITH human Psychophysiology.
Our Psychophysiology was never designed to sit at a desk for 8 hours.
Our bodies were never designed to do anything for 8 hours straight, and a couple of "15-minute" breaks or even an "hour lunch" also aren't anything they were designed to do.
If productivity stays the same WHILE employees are golfing (or doing whatever they do) in the middle of the day, why take away what is obviously working?
If anything, this also means that Executives should be focusing on ways to unlock MORE Psychophysiological benefits.
Flow States, Active Recovery, and improving employee Movement could all become HUGE benefits for the Executives who work on improving these for employees.
The Adaptation Argument Further
So, here's the other part of what goes with Bloomberg's "don't change very quickly" quote.
Sometimes that is true, but sometimes it also isn't true.
Certain negative evolution actually DOES happen in very short amounts of time, even within less than a lifetime!
That is right, we can undergo Negative Evolution in our own lifetime, and we have been seeing it happen more frequently.
There is a reason we have seen sickness and disease become so astronomically rampant in the past century.
Just as an example, the YOUNGEST case of Alzheimer's recently was diagnosed in a young man at 19 YEARS OLD!
Our lifestyles can actually LITERALLY destroy our DNA, causing Negative Evolution.
This is a factor of Dis-Stress.
In our bodies, when we are too stressed out, we burn through Copper (Cu), and Iron (Fe) gets trapped in our cells, which causes our energy (Mg-ATP) to drop and it becomes difficult to make enough energy for the body's needs.
When this happens, our bodies will "strip" whatever they can to make energy until nothing is left.
When nothing is left, cells fail to replicate correctly, causing DNA damage.
This then can cause disease, cancer, psychological breakdown, and so much worse.
Do you know what is also extremely prevalent in In-Office workplaces?
This is just a word that means stress is so bad for employees that their body is "stripping" and failing to get what it needs.
Nearly 80% of the workplace is experiencing Burnout, and it's worse In-Office.
If you throw employees back into the same environment, without fixing the problems first, Burnout will simply get worse.
As it gets worse, Wellbeing will continue to diminish, costing businesses significantly more in what is already an excessively costly system of care for employees.
Not to mention that productivity will also decrease as more people become sicker.
The Young People Argument
One final aspect to look at is the onboarding process and the "benefits" that are gained from having them in the office.
This is one that, again, is likely true.
However, there are a few problems with this that are being ignored.
One problem is that though it may be easier to get these new employees "started" in the office if the workplace is still Toxic then it will not serve these new employees well for long.
They may enjoy the initial "camaraderie" that is created, but it will quickly become disillusionment when the workplace reality settles in.
Not to mention - are the young employees "actually" enjoying it, or are they just "saying" they are enjoying it?
New employees are often hesitant to say anything bad when they first enter a workplace because they "just" got their job.
If they rock the boat, it could cost them long-term success at an organization.
This means that initially "New Hires" are mostly "Yes-People" on the outside, especially to their authorities.
So of course they are saying they are benefiting.
But on this inside?
It is likely a completely different story.
This story could become extremely MORE inflated as well if you have those "Middle Leader Abusers" that consistently tell you how "great" employees are doing, thriving even!
Are they giving you a picture of reality?
Given the staggering data, it is extremely unlikely.
The fact that this data all appears to be Anecdotal, and all the hard data shows otherwise, leads me to believe that calling all employees back to the office isn't based on any real data of worth.
What would likely be better is to onboard in person (which does have real benefits), perhaps go through a short period where new employees can meet with members of their team in person (where able), and then quickly allow these employees to join the flexible workplace or let them go fully remote.
At least until we fix the workplace problems that exist.
There is also something to be said that Remote Work has existed and been the norm for 3 years, but we've FAILED to improve the onboarding experience.
Are businesses suffering because they are refusing to adapt?
If the fixed mindset of Bloomberg's opinions around Remote Work says anything, I wouldn't be surprised.
I think there are many businesses and Executives that are afraid to Adapt and are simply ignoring the obvious data because of that Fear.
That Fear is likely also causing them to fail to recognize who is helping them, and who around them is only out for themselves.
In a first in my series on the Return-To-Office Mandates, I see some potential REAL problems that Executives may be looking at with potential real justification.
However, I still stand with the Science and Data that it is very clearly the wrong solution.
As REALITY currently stands, offices are terrible for employees, and Leadership at many levels is horrible.
Until you fix those problems, especially your Leadership problems, you are only going to make things worse for employees.
If Executives were wise, they would take time to look at the REAL Data that exists.
Instead of looking for easy solutions that will cause more long-term problems, they would look at how they can Adapt from a broken system that has been perpetuated for too long.
There are so many opportunities and benefits that could be obtained if we keep employees out of the office right now, at least until we fix the glaring problems that exist.
As they say, the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
We've been doing the In-Office experiment as it is for a long time now, starting in the Industrial Revolution, and the Data shows that it just doesn't work.
Executives are acting Insanely if they think continuing to do it will lead to different results.
The results we are seeing are Burnout, Fear, Awful Leadership, Failure to Upskill Employees, Skyrocketing Costs, Inability to Create Better Leaders, and more.
Now, Executives do have tremendous opportunities available if they are open to Adapting.
I would also venture to say that whichever business(es) figures out how to capitalize on these opportunities will become the best and most important companies of the next century.
About the Creator
Creator of the Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Speaker, Writer & Podcast Host | For More of Cody Dakota's Work Go To: https://www.TheLeadership.Guide