20 January 2023 |

Remote Work Sucks


If you’re looking for an opus about why remote work is the future, I suggest trying a different newsletter (there are many.) Of course, remote work has a ton of benefits, for people who can work in different countries which opens up economic opportunities, and for companies who can hire their workforce from a much broader and diverse set of candidates.

But in my opinion remote work fucking sucks.

2023 will hopefully be the last year I work remotely in any capacity. By year’s end, Stevie and I are hoping that we are in an office 3-5 times a week, and most of our team is based in and around LA. This obviously makes things harder—finding office space, finding the right talent locally or convincing people to move to LA, etc. But we are positive it’ll have a ton of benefits for us.

You’ve probably read a lot of folks talk about this mystical, magical, ~vibe~ that doesn’t translate digitally. There’s a ton of truth to that but its a bit more concrete than people let on; simply, humans need to work together, in person, to brainstorm and solve complex problems. It’s been that case since the beginning of time. While remote work makes things convenient, there’s a dynamic that’s lost when not working in person.

But one of the biggest issue I’ve noticed is that, for a lot of folks, remote work has created some awful working habits—myself included. Unless you’re an amazing independent worker, you’ve probably suffered from some issues around structuring your calendar or separating your work and home life. All of this creates the circumstances for unfocused work.

My therapist, Pam, says that remote work might be one of the worst things to happen to my generation. I think younger people have adjusted to it much more easily than older people. And even though I’m 31, I still fall into this older people bucket—if you’re someone who has spent a few years in a workplace going to the office from 9 to 5, your remote work habits are probably terrible. My hypothesis is that essentially those are folks that fell into the normal work structure, and recreating that structure in your late 20’s or beyond is just too difficult. People are too much like sheep—take away the fences and some sheep might stay in the pen, but most will wander off. Without structure and the forcing function of an office, I think it’s really hard to create structures for the workplace from scratch.

Lastly, I think there’s something about the ritual of going to an office that’s inspiring. I think just getting to the office by X time creates a feeling of an accomplishment for folks and helps people come to work with the right mindset. I’ve been reading a lot about morning and evening routines—in order to fall asleep better, a lot of folks suggest creating a ritual to help get your brain into the mindset of falling asleep. The same thing probably happens to our brain as we get ready to go to work in the morning too.

Like I said, remote work has its benefits. And I’m speaking from a point of privilege—I don’t live in a different country where my work is much more scare, I don’t have any disabilities preventing me from going to the office, or any kids to take care of. But for us the structure, serendipity, and ritual of an office has been hard to replicate over the last few years. So, I’m definitely excited to get back to an office later this year. (If you’re in LA and wanna hear more about our office plans, reply to this email!)