More and more offices are adopting the work culture invented by the technology upstarts.
These are not the offices where your grandparents worked, clocking out at 5 sharp, eyeballing the corner office. There is no corner office here—just “hot desks” and open floor plans, wide as the prairie.
Offices used to be gulags, but at least they had a clear purpose. You wouldn’t hang out in a cubicle farm, let alone spend time there on the weekends. Then companies like Google came along and reinvented the rat race into something with purpose and, along the way, confused work with the rest of life. Now, your coworkers are supposed to feel like a family. Hierarchies have been flattened, conventional job titles replaced by ones like “wizard” and “ninja.” The vacation days are unlimited (not that you’d ever take them). And forget about work-life balance. It’s all about work-life integration. Why else would the office have on-site acupuncture, nap pods, and free dinner after 7 pm?
Everything from casual dress codes to free office meals and the rise of remote work has been driven by Silicon Valley. But Silicon Valley’s biggest export, Robbins says, is the collapsing barrier between work and life. His latest book, Bring Your Whole Self to Work, advocates for workplaces where people feel safe to take risks and practice vulnerability with their coworkers. (Kombucha on tap is not required.) But there’s a dark side. As the boundaries between work and life become more porous, everyone works all the time.
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