What about remote work has museum leaders so afraid?
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Recently I watched a webinar from the website Quartz about returning to work. (Quartz is worth reading, though much of it is paywalled; I consider an annual membership worth the cost.) One thing I appreciate about Quartz is its mix of business and worker focus; one slide, focusing on worker anxiety, stuck with me:
Some workers feel that they're being asked their opinions about remote work but not getting to be part of the decision.
Workers feel that they're the ones figuring out how to manage and excel during remote work, but the leaders back at the office are the ones dispensing "tips and practices for effective remote work."
In-office work benefits extroverts over introverts. (This is a topic which I'll deal with in an upcoming post; both introverts and extroverts feel that workplace dynamics benefit the other type, a pattern which is a classic hallmark of a toxic organization.)
Leaders frequently proclaim that people are their most important resource. Yet the leaders resistant to permitting telework are not living by that principle. Instead, they’re doing what they feel comfortable with, even if it devastates employee morale, engagement, and productivity; seriously undercuts retention and recruitment; and harms diversity and inclusion. In the end, their behavior is a major threat to the bottom line.
Later on, the article adds:
Many people feel a desire to go back to the world before the pandemic. They fall for status quo bias, a desire to maintain or get back to what they see as the appropriate situation and way of doing things.
A major factor in leaders wanting everyone to return to the office stems from their personal discomfort with work from home. They spent their career surrounded by other people. They want to resume regularly walking the floors, surrounded by the energy of staff working.
Sounds like "hallway conversation delusion syndrome"? (See what a Medium article says about what's driving bosses to distraction.) But it reveals that while workers are concerned for themselves and their families (aside from whatever they may enjoy about being at home), leaders are concerned with maintaining leadership. I'm not saying that no museum leaders care about their workers, but the balance doesn't always tip the humans' way.
Enjoy the links, and may whatever arrangement your workplace has made be one that provides for your safety. I share your anxiety and hope that humanism prevails in our workplaces. Hope, after all, is one step from action.
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