An Open Letter to My Employer About Returning to the Office

returning to the officeDear Employer,

I just want to thank you for recognizing how our company’s staff kept us in business through the pandemic. When you asked us to work from home, we did. When you asked us to find a way to balance work and family at home — even if that meant working longer hours — we did. When you asked us to use our own WiFi, cell phone, printer, electricity, etc., we did. Yay, us!  

Come to find out, in return for all of our collective efforts, you’re mandating that we return to the office full-time after proving for more than a year that we can, in fact, be productive working from home while enjoying things like no commute and being able to spend more quality time with family. Maybe you didn’t enjoy these same things?   

It’s a shame to see our company taking this approach when so many others are asking employees for feedback and listening to what those employees want. News flash — if you ask the majority — it’s to work from home. Sure, there will be people who need to be in a physical office for their job or who prefer an office to avoid interruptions at home. More power to them — I bet they are happy with your mandate.   

For the rest of us, you are about to turn our lives upside down… again. We’re only just now starting to feel comfortable again going out in public (and some aren’t there yet). We’re just now starting to plan for the fall school year and the return to daycare for our little ones. These are not easy transitions for anyone, and they take time. I’m guessing you don’t have small children.  

The amount of anxiety I am experiencing just from hearing the words, “return to office,” is more anxiety than having COVID-19 caused me. We are forever changed as humans, workers, families, parents, and friends. We’ll never look at things the same again. In 2020, our lives changed forever. We adapted. The world adapted. Yet, you fail to adapt to the reality of post-pandemic work life.  

I wish I knew the REAL underlying reasons you will no longer offer remote work as an option. Not what you said in your email, but the real reasons. One of my suspicions is the price of office space sitting empty. Maybe that’s something you should focus on — finding the right space for the future of the company — not the space we left behind 16 months ago. Another potential reason could be that you still don’t trust your staff and think if we aren’t physically in the office and being watched, we aren’t really working. I guess the company has just been running itself then? 

I tried to find a more positive way to express my frustration and disagreement with your approach. But it truly makes me angry because you are chipping away at my well-being, disrupting what little family time we get as full-time employees, forcing us to be somewhere we don’t want to be (which, by the way, probably isn’t great for productivity or morale), and last but not least, not listening to a thing people are saying because you think you know what’s best.    

The bright side is that other companies and leaders DO see things differently. These same companies are hiring and offering great benefits to attract those of us who are tired of being treated like this and are finally putting our foot down. You may not see it now or ever admit your approach wasn’t the best choice, but one day you’ll notice those loyal faces you saw for so many years are gone. The small environment you tried to build around being staff-centric fell flat on its face. And most of all, you’ll burn out the ones who decided to stick it out, and they’ll leave eventually, too.  

It’s such a shame to see our company react this way. Be in denial all you want. I’ll take comfort knowing I did what was best for me, and I’ll find somewhere else to lend my talent and hard work.

Your Disgruntled Employee


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