It’s about trusting the story that the employer tells about going back to the office. The minute there is a hole in the plot, the employer loses trust. Often employers are telling employees they need to come back for innovation and collaboration. If you try to innovate and collaborate but those efforts are not appreciated, that story falls apart. You aren’t in the office to make innovation or collaboration happen. You are there because the employer wants you to be there. Trust is broken.

The Tetris/Roblox metaphor is brilliant. I often think of game design in conjunction with organizational design because games are fundamentally based on intrinsic motivation. No one has to play a game - you play because you want to play. We all could benefit from work that attracts.

Expand full comment

This metaphor is truly mind-blowing. Everything just clicked. Thanks for writing this!

Expand full comment

A really flexible brain could enjoy both Tetris and Roblox, it doesn't have to be binary.

That doesn't detract from your premise that organizations were built hierarchically, and to the extent that people have more power in a tight labor market and they want to use that power to improve their lives, but organizations are trying to reclaim their past power to control the lives of their workers.

I get the feeling that the federal government, and the Fed Reserve in particular, are using their tools to try to put the cat back in the bag and return power to the organizations.

Expand full comment

This a fascinating insight into changing attitudes in the workplace! Very thought provoking!

I slightly take issue with the second 3 trust bullet points from the employee's perspective. I think that only the third is truly a trust question - the others more about expectations.

Expand full comment

Hi Rachel, I believe you’re onto something important here.

I have also myself been for a long while already reflecting on this particular subject, since the day we heard in the media that people in general (and employees in particular) had to get back to “normal” after the Pandemic.

But our idea of what “normal” was, had already shifted. After almost 3 years of going through the forge, our lives had absorbed new habits, learned new things and forgotten a lot of what we previously took for granted. As the need of accepting other’s rules to earning our money.

I didn’t know Roblox (my son is only 7) but your metaphor here is brilliant.

I only perhaps had used “stories” instead of “trust” paraphrasing Noah Yuval Harari from his book “Sapiens”; stories that we have abandoned and replaced for other stories that we embrace much more quickly than old establishment organisations would like to believe or are ready to accept.

Expand full comment