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"Now that I have experienced freedom, I don't want to go back to the office"

"Covid-19 and the remote work that many of us have to do now, are eliminating the "era of micromanagement" that should have died many years ago"

"In times of change, those who learn inherit the world, while those who know will remain wonderfully equipped for a world that no longer exists."

Eric Hoffer


The guidelines for the pandemic and physical distancing are compelling companies to change routines and practices in the workplace, as well as interactions with customers. Many companies temporarily shut down production lines, to cope with supply chain disruptions and respond to revenue shortfalls.

The immediacy of the new situation required keeping a cool head and making the most of challenging circumstances.

In order to adapt to new circumstances, we will have to go one step further towards survival to identify opportunities and not sink into threats.

At this moment the organizational adaptation implies a change of point of view, to go from the approach of "Command and Control" to one of "Collaboration and Commitment".

I have heard in the corridors of the companies that I advise, as well as in the universities where I teach, phrases like "Now that I have experienced this freedom, I don't want to go back"; It seems that the new normal is to have freedom, confidence and autonomy.

Covid-19 and the remote work that many of us have to do now, are eliminating the "era of micromanagement" that should have died many years ago; companies that continue with this <micromanagement> process will be overwhelmed by circumstances, like some North American bankers.


The fourth wave of change that we began to experience since the late nineties, known as the Information and Communication Revolution, also called the Digital Age, began to convulse our planet a little before the tragedy of the twin towers, however Not everyone was aware of this change that took place more than 20 years ago.

It had to be the Covid -19, who pushed us to raise awareness that the world was different and that the efficiency of companies and organizations should be measured through the results of people and not through the time in which employees they spend it sitting at their desks.

In addition to the above, the new generations seek a better quality of life, family time, and give results out of conviction and pleasure and not because of the pressure of authoritarian, despotic and archaic bosses like James Gorman and David Solomon, clear examples of personalities who they are wonderfully equipped for a world that no longer exists.

Who is James Gorman?

He is an Australian-American financier who is Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley. He previously was Co-Chairman and Co-Director of Strategic Planning for the firm.

And what is Morgan Stanley?

Morgan Stanley is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company based in New York City.

With offices in more than 42 countries and more than 60,000 employees, the firm's clients include corporations, governments, institutions and individuals.

And why did James Gorman get popular this week?

Because of the way he invited his collaborators to come back to heat up seats in the offices.

"If you can go to a restaurant in New York, you can come to the office and we want you in the office." That is the stark response offered by Morgan Stanley bank chief executive James Gorman on Monday.

During a financial services conference, Gorman said he had not yet started ordering employees back to the office, but believed he had sent a "very strong" message about his desire to have them back at their desks.

He said he would be "very disappointed" if the workers of that finance giant do not return to their jobs for Labor Day, which is celebrated in the United States on September 6. "Then, if not, we will have a very different kind of conversation," he warned.

The Devilish Jimmy Gorman added "that he would not look favorably on employees who do not work regularly in the office and, especially, those who want to carry out their work remotely from places like Florida or Colorado, noting that those who want to get your own salary from New York must work there.

He believes that working from the office is especially important when it comes to younger employees, who are still training to do the job, because that's where they learn.

He pointed out that, currently, more than 90% of the employees who are already back in the company's offices are already vaccinated and that they hope to increase that figure to 98%.

The same stance that Morgan Stanley's Jimmy Gorman has David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, who are calling on their employees to return to their desks.

David Solomon, gave an ultimatum to the workers of the company when warning that those who have not returned still have until next Monday to see how they will do to return to their positions.

As early as last March, Solomon had called remote work "an aberration."

For its part, JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, advised its employees to prepare for the return to the office next month, although by then it will still limit the occupation of its headquarters in 50%. New York.

Bank of America does not anticipate a massive return of workers to offices until the fall.


But not everyone in big American finance is betting on a return to the old normality.

Citigroup has told most of its employees that they will be able to adopt a hybrid work style between home and office in the long run.

Its CEO, Jane Fraser, who took office a few months ago, continues to bet on flexibility towards workers, something that - according to analysts - could give the company an opportunity to differentiate itself as an employer within the industry.


For companies that haven't done it before, now is the time to embrace agile management practices, upgrade digital infrastructure, and put robust risk management measures in place so that the next crisis or disruption doesn't catch them off guard.

As a consultant, I have had to see that at this time there are four types of companies:

  1. Those reluctant to abandon the old ways

  2. Others who are trying to break down hierarchies and old organizational charts

  3. There are some who have realized that digitization offers more opportunities than risks if you really get involved.

  4. And a great majority have not tried any of the aforementioned paths, they continue with inertia and will continue that way until their death. The point is the human factor that lives in an unmotivated existential work vacuum.

A recent Gallup poll showed that, in the United States:

  • Only 34% of employees are motivated and engaged.

  • 53% are not engaged.

  • 13% are even actively offline.

Employees are tired of the pressure, the endless and often unproductive meetings, the floods of emails and PowerPoint presentations, most executives wonder: What is this? Was this my dream?

The answer to this situation is something that has been forgotten. People First!

Kent Blanchard already said it more than 20 years ago through his book "The One Minute Manager": "People who feel good about themselves produce great results."

Assertions like those of James Gorman and David Solomon, generate fear which does not make people more productive. Quite the contrary: fear makes us rigid and risk averse. In fact, there is nothing worse in the workplace than fear.

Employees want to be recognized. Not (only) with money, as we know by now that financial compensation does not create lasting or intrinsic motivation. Employees should be viewed not only as professionals but also as human beings: as a father, mother, hiker, travel enthusiast, etc.

It is time to adapt structures and processes to improve the knowledge of people: employees, customers and also all other stakeholders, such as suppliers, associations or social groups. Address your changing needs! If you live human-centered on a daily basis, if you put people first, you will automatically make this part of your company's corporate culture.

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