How much to go back to an office?

by Randy Gingeleski

3 minutes to read

How much is the freedom of flexible work hours and location worth? Hmmm... a lot.

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Several weeks ago, a friend tried to recruit me into the banking world.

A lot of people are trying to recruit me different places, really, but I block a lot of phone numbers and delete a lot of LinkedIn messages.

He tossed out a compensation figure like 15% over my current. No dice.

Still, this was a conversational prompt. My girlfriend and I talked about it.

How much would it take to buy me back into office world? One where my location and work hours (schedule, quantity) are all fixed?

For simplicity’s sake we’ll assume the actual tasks are the same. Plus vacation time. This wasn’t the case but imagine so for the exercise.

At the time I mused on double my current compensation.

With more thought, however, maybe not even double would do it. My time and freedom are hard to price.

Let’s consider that most office drones really work 38 of the time they’re physically at the office.

“It is a simple fact that most of us believe we work for far more hours than we do – the average person’s estimate of their work week is out by 20 hours. Most workers are only productive for 3 hours a day.”
- Shane Parrish, Farnam Street

Say you have an office person and a remote person expected to deliver the same workload. It costs the remote employee much less time of her life to do so.

After becoming remote, how I thought of chargeable time became very different. You think of what you actually do for your employer. Not how long you’re in the office.

If you work with fixed hours or location, you shouldn’t waste time listening to any “productivity hacking” podcasts. You’ll never be able to manage your time like a remote worker with flexible hours.

Let me also say that if your office job has “flexible hours”, good luck actually flexing them that much. You might be able to kinda choose when you start the day. But between time bloat of commuting to/from home or wherever you’d go in the middle of the day, plus sly judgment from more traditional people that aren’t flexing hours… I know how this ends up. I lived that.

This is a life change to prioritize. It has trumped everything else. Not only would I not have traveled nearly as much over the past 2 years, but I’d go as far as to say my relationship, physical health, and side projects would all be in much worse shape.

I wrote about this on Instagram. With just 4 months of remote working under my belt. This didn’t take long to realize at all.

Old Instagram remote work post

Ultimately, “how much to become an office drone again” becomes a question of “how much to throw away travel, my relationship, gym progress, side projects… and become real stressed out.” 😐

Think about it.