I hope this email finds you well. By now, you have no doubt read the memo from Corporate announcing that we’re going to return to the office full-time soon. I’m sure you’re all excited to see each other again in person.
Since the announcement, we have received a few questions that we would like to answer so that everyone in our corporate family can be on the same page.
Q: Why are we required to return to the office when we all did our jobs perfectly well at home?
A: We sure get this question a lot. I know that you have received many emails from Corporate lavishly praising your work during the pandemic, and, indeed, our profits and productivity are up since the pandemic started. You might think there’s no reason to make everybody commute into the office if they don’t want to.
But let’s face it, your managers’ talents are being wasted with you at home. Sure, you low-level cubicle dwellers can do what you’re good at (spreadsheets, I guess?), but what about your boss? He has a right to use his skill set too. And his skill set is remembering people’s names and taking credit for other people’s work. That’s way harder to do over Zoom.
Take Larry, Director of Accounting. He has two loves: his pontoon boat, Berth Control, and strolling up to his subordinates and making passive-aggressive small talk. If we’re not back in the office, we’re not allowing managers like Larry to be their best selves.
Q: Since we demonstrated that we could get our jobs done outside of a traditional nine-to-five workday, can we have more flexibility in when we arrive and leave?
A: Another great question. The answer is no. We found it exhausting when we had to measure your value to the corporation based on the quality of your work. We plan to go back to our tried-and-true system: awarding promotions to the people who are still pretending to work when their manager leaves, with special consideration for those who can shamelessly kiss ass. Oh, and they have to be men.
Q: What if I’ve realized I work better without the distractions of an open-plan office?
A: Whatever could you mean? Open-plan offices provide wonderful opportunities for serendipity and creative conversations. By serendipity, I mean a chance encounter with the foot-sweat odor of Alan’s Greek yogurt container in the trash can two feet from you. And by creative conversations, I mean that you will be forced to listen to Belinda narrate a complex family dispute in excruciating detail, even though you lost track of who was cousins with whom twenty minutes ago. These are essential parts of the office experience, and we assume there is evidence that it makes companies more productive. Plus, do you have any idea how expensive giving you all a dignified amount of personal space would be?
Q: Are we still going ahead with a return to the office even though the Delta variant is ravaging the country?
A: Yes, we admit that this isn’t great timing! But we are confident that our plan will keep you safe. Why are we confident? Because it took so many meetings to make this plan, and there’s no way we are going to have any more meetings to make a new one.
Q: So we are going to require vaccination for all employees before we come back?
A: Nope! Nothing could be further from the truth! We here at Corporate know that we could easily make the workplace safe for everybody by requiring you to get the shot. But we suspect that Jane down in Marketing is a yoga-mom anti-vaxxer. Plus, there’s Bill from IT who has that DON’T TREAD ON ME sticker on his truck right next to a sticker of the Punisher. We would rather endanger your family’s health than deal with that shit.
Anyway, we prefer to use carrots rather than sticks. Therefore, we’d love to announce that those who have been vaccinated will be entered into a raffle for a $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse and a corporate fleece we found in the storage closet. We’re sure that will do the trick.
Q: You’re going to require masks, though, right?
A: Let me repeat: Bill has a Punisher sticker on his pickup truck. Nope, we are not talking to him about masks.
Anyway, we prefer to let you, the employee, make your own decisions. Mask up if you want to signal to half of your coworkers that you’re a risk-averse, anxious ninny. Don’t mask if you want to signal to the other half that you’re a sociopathic asshole. Your choice!
I hope these answers can help everyone transition back into the office as smoothly as possible. We in HR want to make sure that everyone feels safe, comfortable, and valued. We’re hoping that if we say this enough times, we won’t have to actually do anything about it.
See you all Monday!