Remote Working – It’s Not an Either Or!

I had to laugh (but it wasn’t funny) when I read this:

“Nicole Duncan, chief executive of CR Commercial Property Group, labelled the current generation of workers as “selfish” for not returning to the office full time. She claimed hotels and businesses in the Sydney CBD were suffering because of the post-pandemic shift to hybrid work.”

This is an extract from The New Daily article – “Hybrid workers return to the office for connections and promotions”

So … why did I laugh?

Is it really selfish for office workers who can work from home (WFH), to add back hours per day to their life by not commuting, avoid catching colds and flus often shared in office environments and who can more flexibly manage their work/home priorities and be just as, if not more productive than in the office?

In short, is it selfish to choose a more flexible lifestyle and well-being (for those who can), or does it just make sense?

It could just be me, but maybe Nicole Duncan, chief executive of CR Commercial Property Group, might be biased toward occupancy rates in cbds being higher rather than lower … and I acknowledge that often reporters don’t always print full context of a person’s quote.

All that aside, the key point in the article remind us that WFH needs to be balanced with the well-being benefits of workplace relationships.

This extract from the article nails it … “It doesn’t matter where you work from – feeling connected to your company and colleagues is an important aspect of the employee experience”.

This is a conversation leaders need to have and at the core of this isn’t productivity … it’s Trust.

I posted the above on LinkedIn and had a great response. Of all the responses however, my mate and futurist Gihan Perera made some points of context that I want to share here:

  1. Nicole Duncan doesn’t say ‘the current generation’ of workers is selfish; she said ‘the YOUNGER generation … 25-year-olds who don’t know what they don’t know [about the benefits of the office] …”. I don’t agree with her. Watch her interview on Nine here:
  2. Nicole Duncan is not totally against hybrid work, and in fact cites recent research that ’employee experience scores have declined since last quarter as more people are pulled back into the office’. You can check this out on LinkedIn here.
  3. The real problem is not commercial property owners (although, of course, they do have an obvious vested interest); it’s leaders and managers who have never had to lead people they can’t see, and are too lazy to learn. It’s far easier for them to force people back than to become better leaders.
  4. And yes, I agree it’s about trust!

And, I reckon Gihan’s got it right!



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