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Going back to the office

With vaccinations being rolled out in many countries, and with the new year rolling around, there has been general optimism around and people have started talking about when and how the return to office will be.

Some people are on the camp that once it is conclusively safe again (perhaps post vaccinating a good portion of the population), we ought to return to working out of the office just like we used to pre-Covid.

Others, including me, are on the camp that the last ten months have shown us that we can be even more productive working out of our homes (or anywhere) than having to be in office five days a week, morning till evening. 

Fred Wilson had a good point a few days ago on how flexible work locations (i.e. work from the office when needed, but only as an option and not a mandate) can be more economical, more productive as well as more beneficial for employees. 

While I see little to no benefit in having to work from the office five days a week, I've been curious to see why some people see a benefit in it. 

There is a section that don't have a quiet environment at home to properly focus on work (those with little kids, for instance) and they would prefer to work from a location other than home if possible to focus better. And this is a completely valid reason.

However, there are also many that think that returning to office would be better from an 'optics' perspective, in the same way that interns at banks and law firms tend to arrive before their managers and leave after their managers, just to signal that they're dedicated and working hard. This set of people feel that those who work from the office will be perceived as working harder than those who choose to work remotely (should that be an option) and will thus be preferred for promotions, etc.

I feel that we ought to let our work speak for us and not worry about the optics. If it is more productive to work remotely most of the time, then that should be the choice irrespective of the optics of the decision.

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