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The Ownership Mentality

What's with the ownership mentality of leaders and business owners? 


Could the going back-to-work madness come from this mentality? Employers truly believe that if you are employed they own you. 


As I am negotiating with a company about a project I proposed to be present twice a week and do the rest of the project remotely as design and strategy making doesn't require me to be in the office. Furthermore, I am much more efficient at home where I am not disturbed during design. However, the business owner insists on me being present five times a week. 


This made me think of this ownership mindset that rules the world of work, "If I pay you, your time is mine and I want to see how you spend that time." Even if we are unproductive and just sit around or have many cups of tea and coffee with our colleagues. 


Social media is full of work-from-home debate and statistics supportive of productivity and efficiency yet, people are ordered back to their offices which makes you wonder what is driving this. 


Of course, there are plenty of players in this saga, empty, a lack of trust and understanding about the required performance, and the fact that working from home highlighted that supervisors and managers are not needed as much as we thought and their numbers can significantly be reduced. If you ask me, supervisor as a role should be eliminated. 


And then we have the "ownership mentality" as a player that seems to be running high and overruling every productivity and employee satisfaction data that supports remote and hybrid working. Have you thought about that? 


Organisations are desperately trying to come up with arguments for why remote work is bad and some points are valid. But nobody is raising this question; Why do we have this ownership over people the moment we pay them? Work is a transaction and we should have ownership over the output not over the person or the person's time. Companies pay for the output produced by skills, knowledge, and expertise and not for the person. So can we please abandon this mindset of "Wanting to see you!"


This was my literal reaction to the email this business leader sent me requesting to see me five times a week: "Why? Does he wanna marry me?" 


Maybe it is time to be honest with ourselves and think about it at a personal level, why do we want people to be back in the offices full-time? I actually want to know the answer. I want to understand it. And it cannot be because it is easier to communicate or because of the culture. Communication is easy and you don't have to communicate face-to-face every single day. As for the culture, well, if the culture is being an overdressed cubicle worker then yes, let's all go back to the offices. 



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