It has now been a year and a half since I wrote the last entry in my logbook and it is time to get back to writing again. I started this logbook during the COVID-19 pandemic as I wanted to understand what such unexpected and unbelievable circumstances would bring in the short and long term. The title of my last entry was “An unprecedented and unimaginable year”. It was the 23rd of December 2020, and I had written the following: in the meantime, the chrysalis is about to hatch into a butterfly. Over the Christmas holidays, the servers will be transferred to data centres and we will be changing the contract to make remote working permanent. This will bring us full circle.
Six months later, I can safely say that the butterfly has spread its wings and is flying high and confident. These days, the thing that has struck me the most was reading about how Elon Musk, whom is considered by many of us to be one of the most enlightened entrepreneurs of our time, has told Tesla and SpaceX employees who were working remotely to return to the office.
The billionaire sent his employees a letter stating the following: ‘Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean “minimum”) of 40 hours per week or they must leave Tesla. If there are particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly.’
I was a little disappointed with Musk’s decision, especially since we at Spai have noticed that remote work, if done the right way, can be just as productive as office-only work, or even more productive, and that it positively affects the quality of life of all of us in many different ways.
We were somewhat hesitant at first, but things are now moving in the right direction, and I would like to tell Elon Musk and all the entrepreneurs who are asking their employees to return to the office, that if remote work is not working as it should, it is not the employees’ fault. It means that the company is incapable of coordinating its resources through a simple time/goal system.
It goes without saying that remote work cannot be applied to all fields, but I do believe it is the way forward for certain businesses. As I think about the phase we are in now, with one of our two offices being closed and the other, the head office, which is nearly always empty – with me being the only one who goes there now and then – I am pleased to say that we are making a huge investment in new offices. While speaking of new offices seems paradoxical, since we have just closed one and will soon be leaving the other, this is what is actually happening, as we have invested in about 30 new workplaces: our homes. And so I asked my employees to take a picture of themselves working in their new workspaces and send it to me: in their study, in the living room, on the terrace, in the garden, with sea or mountain views… Dear Elon Musk, what really matters is achieving the goal in the set time frame, everything else is quality of life.
Fabio Giovanni Farneti