Feature Story

Dear Office Workplace: A letter

All lasting relationships need to stay open and flexible to remain strong. Consider this our proposal for a hybrid relationship.
Jul 28, 2021

Dear Office Workplace, 

We need to have a talk. We haven’t had one in a long, long time…maybe not for decades. But all lasting relationships need to stay open and flexible to remain strong. People change. Situations get complicated. And we are going to have to adapt how we relate to each other if we want to make it another decade. I mean, this hybrid situation we find ourselves in isn’t going to be easy, but then again, no relationship ever is. Am I right? 

Look, it’s not you. It’s me. I’m just not the same person I was a year ago. I’ve changed. (And by “changed”, I’m not talking about the 19,260 times I changed back and forth from sweatpants into pajamas, last year during the pandemic.)  

It’s my needs that have changed, that’s all. 

I know what you are thinking, but don’t go there. We’re not breaking up. We’re opening up. We are a hybrid team now—you and me. And if we stay together as a team, we win this relationship, you know? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

Yes, it’s true that during the day I might see other places, and be in other places, but I will still check in with you and you will still be on my mind that entire time. This is because I’m still dedicated to you; we are still a unit.  

It’s just that, I feel more independent now. 

Come on…you know me and how much I value my individualism and autonomy. For instance, remember that time I ate pizza every day at lunch for two weeks just to make the point to the water-cooler crew that I could do that if I wanted to? I’m fierce that way, remember?  

Anyway, I need to do what’s right for me and stay true to myself. Besides, how would I possibly keep my daily workout streak going, if we go back to the old-fashioned five-eight-hour-days within your sturdy walls? Not needing to shower between meetings is a key time-saver. 

We still have so many memories from the old days.  

Do you remember the first time I ran into you? I was running late on my very first day. I tried to impress you with my new laptop bag. I’m pretty sure it worked. 

We took long walks together while I searched, in vain, to find a place to have a conference call (mostly because all available meeting rooms were constantly pre-booked five months in advance). Even though those extra moments together were golden, nowadays, it’s much easier to fire up a Webex meeting and record it. No meeting room necessary. 

Do you recall seeing the relief on my face when I walked up to you after my daily one-hour-and-sixteen-minute commute (one way, in rush hour). Well, you’ll still get to see that relief on my face, when I sit down at my hybrid hot desk. Just not every single day. 

Remember all the meetings that could have been emails. The emails that should have been Webexes. And the doughnuts that should have been brought to meetings when they actually happened (which let’s face it, they probably shouldn’t have). Well, we still have lots of emails and Webexes to manage. And it’s a heck of a lot easier to order donuts online now for any Webex you want. 

Rest assured, I’m confident I’ll still get to wade through a sea of dirty dishes, every… single… time… I want to use the break room sink when I come to the office for an ad-hoc hoteling session. These little rituals help us stay present and in-the-moment, so I’ll be able to continue cherishing them. 

And while your sleek, sealed concrete floors, carpeted extremities, exposed HVAC systems, and free or discounted snacks are tempting to see every day, I do admit, I won’t miss your bathrooms at all. Not even one little bit. I prefer my own thank you. 

And so, my darling Office Workplace, we just are not meant to be together the same way we used to be. But don’t fret. This isn’t the end for us it’s our new beginning. Consider this the “renewing of our vows.” I’ll always be there when it’s really important and will still stop by when it makes sense…just not every day, because I don’t have to do that now. You are something that goes with me wherever I go—on the computer in my backpack, on my phone, in my headphones.  

This isn’t good-bye, it’s just good business. 

I’ll see you around, okay? 

Almost all my love,