When no one is in-person for your in person interview

I interviewed with Capital One in Northern Virginia in 2017 and was the only person in the corporate recruiting center for my in-person interview. Cap One had me drive 45 min to their beautiful McLean headquarters.  They gave me snacks and a drink and put me in a room with a laptop where I did 4 interviews all via zoom. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chairs-2181923.jpg

This type of pre-pandemic event happened a lot and can cast doubt on some of the benefits claimed return full-time return to office (RTO) benefits.
  1. Two of the interviewers were located in Richmond located 2 1/2 hours away from McClean. They weren't going to travel 5 hours for a couple interviews.
  2. Capital One is located in 5 buildings in McLean in separate office parks. None of the interviewers that were actually on campus could get to my interview and to their next meeting if they showed up in person.

Teams are geographically distributed - They are never in the office together

Technology companies create teams based on expertise and capabilities and not geography.   Every team I've been on for the last 15 years has been in multiple time zones. It started with outsourcing and has evolved into being standard practice. This means that every meaningful meeting has to be held electronically. Every participant must join the electronic meeting individually if we want everyone to be an equal participant.  I had a geographically distributed team 8 years ago and the remote participants were always 2nd class citizens if 8 of us met in a video conference room with 2-3 being remote.  We ended up buying cameras giving up on the conference room.

Corporate Campuses have inter-building commuting penalties

In-person meetings on corporate campuses add a 30-minute penalty to each end of any meeting that is in a different building.  Meetings start on 30 min boundaries.  It can take 15 minutes to travel between buildings. Meetings start on 30-minute boundaries so every remote meeting had to block out 30 minutes on each end. At Capital One this meant we had to block out an extra hour for every meeting in another building. Of course, travel per meeting can be averaged down if you can schedule multiple meetings in that time block in the remote building.  

IRTO isn't Return To the Same Office

Everyone agrees that in-person has its advantages for networking and design activities.  It has the advantage of ad-hoc communication.  Some of those advantages are disadvantages when taking into account the distributed nature of modern organizations.  The pandemic has also shown us there are disadvantages when it comes to bias and micro-triggers.  

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