There’s Actually No Good Reason for Us All to Go Back to the Office

Productivity and quality of life are not mutually exclusive. There are good reasons to let people work from home forever.

Joel Nihlean
Published in
6 min readJan 29, 2021


Photo by Martin Vorel

Remember when the idea of working from home every day (or any) made management clutch its pearls? It was an issue of technology, the policies, the logistics, or the company culture… or a dozen other excuses. Then the pandemic hit.

As it turns out, your company’s rules about working from home weren’t about what was practical or necessary to get the job done. They were more about the outdated management philosophies — neuroses? — of your boss.

Our coronavirus-induced experiment in long-term work from home has proven largely a success. Office employees and knowledge workers can do most office work from home or almost anywhere there’s an internet connection. That’s why the moves by some companies to get everyone back to the office seem so nonsensical.

The expectations of work-life balance have been forever changed. According to Gallup, most Americans working from home want to keep doing so “as much as possible” after the pandemic ends.

People are happier, more efficient, saving money, they’re less stressed, and they have more time for family, and for themselves. They can work out, cook healthier meals, read a book, focus on a hobby. They have an overall better quality of life.

Twitter was one of the first to announce it would let employees work from home permanently. The list of companies allowing work from home forever has kept growing.

The genie is out of the bottle, but some bosses will want to try to put the genie back. Workers will need to fight to keep these benefits when the pandemic ends.

Your boss’ reasons to return to the office are bad

Returning to the office is the ultimate “we’ve always done it this way” move. Making workers return to the office now is the same as implementing a pay cut and a cut in benefits. Not great for morale!

Working from home permanently, or even just most of the week, improves lives and makes sense. But employers won’t…



Joel Nihlean
Writer for

Essayist, editor, drummer, and dad thinking about the climate crisis, politics, faith, political theology, policy, and punk rock. Texas forever.