An employee highlighted the absurdity of her company’s demand that she head into the office while all of her peers are working from home.
In a viral TikTok video, Kim (@kimmm_ale) touched upon a frustrating trend some employees are purportedly finding themselves in more and more frequently: their bosses require that they come back into the office to “collaborate” while everyone else seemingly hasn’t gotten the memo. This leaves office workers to go about their tasks in liminal spaces all to themselves.
“I’m here at the office you know, cause they want us to ‘collaborate,'” she says, using her fingers to pantomime quotation marks, casting sarcasm upon the claim that working in the office among peers will foster a communal sense of solidarity or purpose.
And while that certainly can be the case, Kim pointed out how there is one small issue with this work initiative. “But there’s no one here for me to, ‘collaborate with.'” She looks into the camera while reaching for a cup of coffee. She takes a sip. “So why the f*ck am I here? I could have been at home collaborating with my dog, like,” she says, before sighing, then huffing into the camera before ending the video.
In a caption for the post she borrowed an infamous line from Love & Hip Hop: “WHAT WAS THE REASON,” she mulls over again in her head, wondering aloud why she wasn’t allowed to just simply work from home.
There have been several major companies who, after the fervor surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, made it mandatory for employees to come into the office for at least full or hybrid schedules. Apple, Tesla, Disney, Starbucks, and Google are a few.
There are successful business executives who stressed the importance of having employees perform their job duties in an office environment among co-workers. Tesla CEO and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk made it extremely clear to employees that working from home was not an option unless there were specific circumstances that made regular trips to the office untenable.
Fortune reported that surveyed CEOs have been “secretly” pushing against work-from-home and hybrid schedules and are hoping that a full-on return to an office environment will ultimately happen by 2026.
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t clear examples of successful businesses that have a portion, if not all of their employees working in a remote capacity. Take WordPress for instance. It’s one of the world’s most widely used content management systems and has been for years, and its workforce is pretty much a 100% work-from-home team of individuals.
There are also clear financial benefits to businesses adopting remote work options for their employees. The most obvious benefit is that data shows that folks who work from home are 32% “less likely” to leave their jobs, which ultimately minimizes employee turnover in the long run, which is a pricey business expense that can end up costing companies up to two and a half time the cost of that worker’s salary.
And then there are the more immediate benefits: fewer in-office workers means there’s no need for a large central office so companies can save money on renting or mortgage costs. Fewer workers in the office also mean fewer amenities costs, cheaper utilities, fewer tech expenditures, and fewer office supplies. Some analysts estimate businesses can save around $11,000 per employee in overhead costs alone by having them work in a remote capacity.
However, when it comes to employee productivity, it seems that there are conflicting reports. Apollo Technical claims that employees are 13% more efficient when working from home and that they typically put in more hours than their commute-to-office counterparts. But Forbes published an article that suggests the opposite, flatly stating that employees aren’t as productive when it comes to working from home.
@kimm_ale WHAT WAS THE REASON #officelife #corporatetiktok #officedays #fyp #iwanttogohome ♬ New Home – Frozen Silence
Commenters who responded to Kim’s video agreed with her assessment of having to go into the office, especially when there’s no one else there. One person thought that the cash being used towards office expenditures could be spent better elsewhere: “If only they took the money they spend on leasing these offices and put it into employee salaries.”
Someone else said that even when they do work in an office with other people, they’re still performing all of their tasks through their computer. “My favorite is when I drive into the office just to sit on Teams all day and then drive home,” they wrote.
Others echoed this sentiment.
“My office still does zoom meetings as we are sitting on our desks like what’s the point….,” one said.
Another penned, “The truth is that even when the office is full it still feels lonely as hell because you have to put on an act the entire time of someone who is happy.”
For one TikToker, the time out of their day they lose commuting is what grinds their gears: “I go in twice a week and i cant even describe the dread and how long those days are. I spend 1.5 hours commuting each way.”
Unfortunately, Kim isn’t the only employee who has been asked to “take one for the team” and commute into the office while everyone is performing their job duties from the comfort of their own home.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Kim via email for further comment.