Roblox says employees must return to office because the metaverse still isn’t good enough

Roblox went fully remote in March 2020, but, according to Baszucki, the company had “numerous deep discussions” about its future and ultimately decided that “we needed to get back to working in person.” While he “hoped” that it “might be possible to imagine a heavily hybrid remote culture,” he had a “pivotal moment” during the company’s first “post-quarantine, in-person group gathering,” he says. “Within 45 minutes I came away from three separate conversations with spontaneous to do’s and ideas to put in motion, something that hadn’t happened during the past few years of video meetings.”

It's deeply ironic that a company claiming to provide meaningful online experiences has decided that digital interactions are less valuable than in-person work. For a brand centred around imagination and play without physical limits, it strikes as nothing less than hypocrisy to set a rigid requirement that employees should be office-bound to do their best work.

What does this say about Roblox's confidence in its product if even its developers require real-world encounters to brainstorm and innovate? This close-minded policy imposes unnecessary geographic restrictions on talent recruitment and ignores the many benefits of flexible work.

After two years of proving remote collaboration was not only possible but often more focused and efficient, Roblox has regressed. To attract the most creative thinkers, they should empower employees to do groundbreaking work from wherever inspiration strikes. Instead, Baszucki's reliance on chance hallway conversations shows a lack of trust in his teams.

By forcing physical presence, Roblox damages morale, regresses its workplace culture and raises uncomfortable questions about the virtual worlds it espouses.

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