Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Review: Out of Office by Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen

 Title: Out of Office 

Authors: Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen

Format: Print

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

Publish Date: December 7, 2021

Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "Out of Office is a book for every office worker - from employees to managers - currently facing the decision about whether, and how, to return to the office. The past two years have shown us that there may be a new path forward, one that doesn't involve hellish daily commutes and the demands of jam-packed work schedules that no longer make sense. But how can we realize that future in a way that benefits workers and companies alike?

Based on groundbreaking reporting and interviews with workers and managers around the world, Out of Office illuminates the key values and questions that should be driving this conversation: trust, fairness, flexibility, inclusive workplaces, equity, and work-life balance. Above all, they argue that companies need to listen to their employees - and that this will promote, rather than impede, productivity and profitability. As a society, we have talked for decades about flexible work arrangements; this book makes clear that we are at an inflection point where this is actually possible for many employees and their companies. Out of Office is about so much more than zoom meetings and hybrid schedules: it aims to reshape our entire relationship to the office."

My Two Cents: 

I recently took on a new role at work, which has made me want to add more business and/or leadership books to my rotation. I feel like I had been waiting for this book to come out for a really long time. I have been a huge fan of Anne Helen Petersen's work for a long time and I have also been watching my work world grapple with the idea of working from home (WFH). It has opened so many opportunities but it has been really difficult to move away from the past and embrace WFH as the "new normal." This book examines this "new normal" from many different ways and is somewhat a call to action for workers and management to come together and embrace new possibilities.

As much as I was excited for this book, it did take a bit for me to get into it. A lot of the beginning of the book was scene-setting and sort of the equivalent of a "don't knock it til you try it" explanations. It almost assumed that the reader would walk into this book buckled against the idea that WFH could actually be beneficial for workers and employers.

Once the book hits its stride, it dives into a lot of different research and examples to back up the main theme of the book. The authors do a great job of showing the issue from a lot of different angles and all of the possibilities that are out there if only we reach out to grab them. Some of the most interesting parts of the book were the civil planning aspects (i.e. how towns and cities can benefit by attracting WFH people and how reshaping work can actually reshape both the physical and mental manifestations of community). 

This book ended up being a solid read that gave me a lot to think about that. It also is one that I want to hang on to in order to reference it later!


  1. great cover and it looks like one i would enjoy too
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. I wish this new attitude to flexibility in work and the workplace had been in place when my kids were young and in school!


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