Return To Office (RTO) And Innovation

Several months ago, I noticed a tweet by a well-regarded health professional who bemoaned a “coordinated media campaign against remote work” by elite decision-makers who are “losing money on empty offices.”

The thing is, it’s a false assumption that there is no money to be made in empty offices.

It just requires innovative thinking and the willingness to pivot, which many organizations apparently pride themselves on doing.

Here’s a thought. If we’re willing to actually be innovative, that it.

There is a housing crisis. Perhaps offices could be renovated through adaptive reuse to create ample new housing in well serviced core locations. Win-win.

There will always be a need for on-location work for many types of jobs. But this is the 21st century, and I find the unwillingness to embrace innovation in this way at this juncture really quite astounding. Especially from sectors that so zealously emblazon their halls with vows of innovation.

Want to actually be innovative?

This article from The Atlantic includes a great example (toward the end) of my previous commentary on opportunities for innovation.

In addition to innovative thinking, that article also offers a great quote on the topic of both solving problems and putting people first:

“If employers are struggling to find workers, they should offer better pay and conditions. If that comes at the expense of some profits, or requires some prices to rise, well, that’s how markets are supposed to work. In most other contexts, capitalism’s proponents celebrate how the market creates incentives for businesses to solve problems. In that respect, a labor shortage is a great problem to have. Only by challenging employers to improve job quality and boost productivity will we find out what the market’s awesome power can achieve…”

Oren Cass, The Labour Shortage Myth, The Atlantic, June 2, 2023

Read more about meaningfully innovative leadership mindset here.

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