RE: RETURNING TO THE OFFICE

An Inter-office memo about what to do with all this SPACE we have been paying for.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

From: Julie in A̶u̶t̶o̶m̶a̶t̶o̶n̶ Human Resources

Is it still a memo if it’s on Slack? I don’t know how else to get information to you people anymore. Were you always ignoring my memos? These are strange times indeed.

While the company has persevered through these tough times with minimal layoffs, building management is asking questions about our lease and what we plan on doing with our space now that working from home has become so, well, normal.

Watching you all work remotely over the past several weeks has caused Justin (CEO) to fall into a black hole of contemplation about the hours and resources he spent to have an in-office staff. All of the money spent on parking space, the time you spent commuting, the electric bill, the dedicated internet, stocking the company kitchen! He swore to implement changes right before he used company finances to buy his way, in secret, to a rehab facility in Costa Rica. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Right now, Mario (from custodial) is doing the final wipe-downs of the workspaces we so hastily abandoned. He swears the place is virus-free! I’ve made a note to leave him a nice tip in December.

So, the question is: what do we do with this place we collectively knew as “the office”?

Some ideas submitted in private Slack Channels:

Darrin From IT: Go-kart track. Surefire morale booster, and you can rent it out on weekends to birthday parties. Darrin argues it was always “meant to be” since we never got around to installing real flooring over the poured concrete.

Barb, who you previously knew from accounting, suggested walls. As in every desk has a set of walls that go up to the ceiling. And a door? For everyone? We wish Barb well as she embarks with her new employer — whoever that may be.

An idea texted from Justin, one word: Golf? As big as the space is, we’re not certain as to how to accommodate a driving range. Although, with Darrin’s go-kart idea and the golf carts…

One thing was abundantly clear, the executive team resolved that we needed to have office space. Our identity as a real-live business depends on it. After all, what would we use for pictures on our Facebook page? Where would we theoretically host clients and vendors who rarely visit us?

As we return to the office, here is what you can expect:

We’re starting four new companies. Every department is now a company, five companies in all, each built exclusively to serve the other four companies. Keep a lookout for an email about the upcoming contests to name these companies.

One company will occupy the office for each day of the week. You only have to come in one day a week. Keep an eye out for your assigned day.

Keep in mind another company may require your duties from another one of your jobs (looking at you, cross-departmental folks), you might have to come in several days in a week. Please keep a “team player” mindset about this.

No Screens.

In a radical reverse-course from our “Bring Your Own Tech” policy implemented a decade ago (because Darrin thought “chromebooks” were such a brilliant idea). For years we had the unrestricted opportunity to leave our homes and go anywhere we pleased with anyone. What happened? We stared at our phones. For hours we sat in coffee shops for the express purpose of staring at our laptops.

There will be no screens permitted in the office. No phones, no computers, no monitors, no televisions. We will provide plenty of chalkboards, chalk, butcher paper, and sharpies. As he cleans up in the evening, Mario will photograph all chalkboards before they are erased and upload them to the private company Facebook group, where you might remember to review them for valuable notes.

The Meeting Rooms Have Been Abolished.

Yeah, I guess they could have been an email, amirite (smiley emoji)? However, this means much of the apprehension we had in meetings have moved to emails. As a result, our meeting rooms are now arbitration pods. They will be automatically reserved for 2 (duels) or 4 (tag team) people by our newly acquired AI system. The system will scan all emails for signs of tension, neglect, or passive-aggressiveness and schedule in-person meetings for you to, as they say, “duke it out.”

Please keep in mind: The AI will issue a “no holds barred” ruling for any messaging with the words “per my last email.”

Also, please be sure to clean up after your bouts.

New WFH and Sick Day Policies

Now that our attitudes towards hygiene and illness have been forever changed, we anticipate going through 10 times as much soap as we previously did (especially in the men’s room) and we no longer consider it weird to wipe things down (but you no longer have a computer, or a desk, so what are you wiping?) so obsessively. In short, we expect less illness.

However, if you feel sick and show up to work with symptoms, you will be shamed. Illness shaming is not prohibited under any of the new company’s harassment policies.

Additionally, if you feel you really need to get work done, please continue to stay at home. We will see you at the holiday party — unless you aren’t feeling well, in which case we will stream you in via Zoom.

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