Preface: I’m a Simple customer and I greatly admire the company. Before I founded UpBuild, Simple was a company I dreamed of working for in-house. I still think they’re great, but I’ve been trying to blog more regularly and this recent news really got me worked up. I’m inspired.
“If we remove the geographic constraints we can be hiring the best tech talent wherever they are“, said a company spokeswoman while discussing the company’s move to herd once-remote employees into a brick-and-mortar office. And, yes, “herd” is an appropriate description for “collecting a number of scattered employees in the city under one roof”.
I hope I’m not the only one who noticed that establishing an office in a new city to house your employees directly contradicts the idea of “removing the best geographic constraints (to hire) the best tech talent wherever they are”.
It sounds like there were toying with the idea of hiring the best talent where they were, noticed that most of them were in one city, and then slammed an office down in said city. Now, that “talent” who once had the flexibility and freedom of remote work will now have to come into an office each day and be “the best tech talent that’s willing to work in an office in Seattle.” That’s called “creating unnecessary geographic constraints”.
Perhaps a more accurate statement would have been, “Our new Seattle office represents our discomfort with remote work and, potentially, our inability to work with the distribute workforce model”.
The thing is, it’s fine to not embrace remote work and I acknowledge that for some (many) companies it’s simply not a viable option. But, c’mon. You don’t get to shut down remote for 22 employees and herd them into four walls but still borrow the value propositions of a distributed work model to spice up your press releases. Especially when the claim that you are “hiring the best tech talent wherever they are” is patently false.
Let’s also not gloss over the irony of an online bank (one built on the understanding that its customers don’t want to have to deal with brick-and-mortar locations) building their whole offering from inside brick-and-mortar locations.
Give me a break.