Great Resignation Thoughts, IT Perspective

The Great Resignation. It is a term that has become more popular with the number of people that are quitting their jobs because of the shift in the work culture.

Break That Lease

Many companies lease, not own, the office space that they have. Typical residential lease is about 1 to 2 years. Reason being is people graduate college, get new jobs, move to start a family, and other things. Thus, having a yearly lease is reasonable because it allows them to move as their needs change.

Companies on the other hand usually have longer leases. Much longer. I have seen where some organizations and companies agreed to 30-year leases. Why? Because the company C-suite executives knew that the company would be around for several years. Also, because some government entities will give company's tax breaks and incentives for creating jobs. Tied to that is that they stay in the area for a specified duration, which is usually when the tax breaks and incentives will run out and then the company would have to start paying their fair share.

The constant commentary of C-suite executives of they will be back in the office by insert date here is in part because the company is locked into a lease. A least that if they were to break it to allow their employees to work from home (WFH), would result in the company having to file for bankruptcy or having a significant drop in profits over the next several years.

Those At The Top Never Worked From Home

It is usually Boomers (1946-1964) or Generation X (1965-1980), that are currently making the corporate and staffing decisions, most likely never had the opportunity to work from home. Those that have worked from home did so, because they had a deadline that needed to be met and could not finish their work during normal business hours.

It is also this same generation of people that believe that you must be in an office, warehouse, restaurant, department store, or wherever in order to be able to do your work and to be productive at doing your work. Now for some professions, this is true that you have to be on site in order to do the work (e.g. hospital, restaurant, cashier). This article though is speaking for IT (Information Technology) roles that do not always need someone on site to do the work.

Thing about this is COVID, Millennials, and Generation Z have all proved that this is far from the truth. Number of people have reported that they have been able to get more work done working from home than working in an office. This is even more true for most people in tech roles as they only need an internet connection and a computer to be able to do their work.

More productive than at home? How is that possible? Believe or not, it is true that one can be more productive at home than in an office. Here are some of the common reasons why, including some of my personal reasons.

Control of the Thermostat

If you keep a heater, fan, or jacket in your office, then you know what I am talking about. Office environment is very generalized because you have a mix of people that have to be accommodated.

I worked in one office where my desk was underneath the HVAC vent. In the summertime, the thermostat would be turned down to like 68 and I would be at my desk with a jacket on, sometimes with the hood over my head as well, because I was cold. Thus, sometimes it would be difficult to focus because my body is trying to conserve heat while I am working and thus would struggle to stay awake.

Control of the Lighting

Fluorescent lighting has been a topic of back office environments since the 1980s when it was wide scale adopted and introduced. It has a lower operating cost than incandescent bulbs, and thus is preferred. On the contrary, these lights have been known to cause eye strain.

I have personally experienced this. I could work from home all day on the computer and not have any issues with my eyes because I allowed the natural sunlight to illuminate my home office. At the work office, the blinds where often closed because they caused a glare on the screens and thus the fluorescent bulbs illuminated the office. This resulted in having burning eyes from eye strain and dry eye. If I did not wear my computer glasses, my eyes would remind me to put them on after a couple of hours.

Control of the Interruptions

As a programmer, getting into a working groove means you can figure out any coding issue quick, fast, and in a hurry. On the contrary, that one coworker comes up to talk about the Monday night football game in the middle of your groove, and immediately your groove is gone. That's right, you have been interrupted.

To cut the number of interruptions that I would experience, I adjusted the computer notifications, playing music via headphones, and would often delay responding to people until I got to a point that I was comfortable with taking a break.

My Predictions

In the order listed, I predict the future of work in America in regards to tech will go as follows:

  • C-suite executives will continue on this path of getting people back in the office.
  • Millennials and Generation Z will continue on the path of finding jobs that do not require them to be in the office. Meanwhile Gen X and Boomers will be retiring.
  • Friends of Millennials and Generation Z will leave jobs that require them to be in the office
  • This will result in companies with a shortage of workers, especially in the tech sector.
  • That shortage of workers will mean that the ones that do remain will eventually become overworked.
  • The overworked will leave their jobs because they are not sleeping, they are stressed, and having other issues that come from overworking.
  • Companies will be forced to either change their policies to allow remote work for those that are in tech fields or be forced to go out of business because most will not want to work for them sitting in an office while their friends are at home.

I make mention of companies in this article, but the same could be said for government entities as well as they are facing the same challenges, especially when it comes to tech related roles.

Posted: 2022-04-20
Author: Kenny Robinson, @almostengr