Many CEOs and companies are pushing for a return to the office. They can’t all be crazy – they must have some justification.
Remote work increases individual productivity, so what are they trading off against then?
One argument is serendipity and those spontaneous moments of collective ideation. I doubt it. That’s not something that a CEO would be able to feel.
I think it’s about responsiveness and the instant gratification it brings.
When everyone is in the office, the CEO can get a response to any question in a few minutes.
A CEO can feel that. They can stroll to their VP’s office, and interrupt their phone call to ask a question. They get an immediate answer. If the VP doesn’t know, they can saunter over to the director’s office and ask them. In either case, the CEO’s gratification is instant.
If people are remote, however, there’s no sauntering to be done.
Does that translate to a better-functioning and more productive company where alignment on key decisions is quicker? I doubt it - but since the CEO feels good, they probably think it does.