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5 Things We Hope Never Return to the Office

From sexist bosses to stinky lunches, these are the things you hope never to see when you return to work.

By Caitlin Abber

If you’ve been working remotely for the last 16 months, you’ve likely fallen into a new routine—a routine that has hopefully given you some freedom from the parts of office life that you aren’t a huge fan of. And even if you’re looking forward to going back, you’re probably wondering how different the office is going to be post-pandemic. Will you once again find yourself eating sad salads in front of your computer? Will you be required to attend after-work “team-building” happy hours? And don’t forget dress codes—will you ever put on pantyhose again?

There are some things that sadly stayed at the office in March 2020 (like our desk plants—RIP), but there are also things that we hope never make a comeback. In the spirit of rewriting the rules, we asked our Instagram followers, “What do you hope never returns to the office?” (Unsurprisingly, the most common response we received was one two-letter word: “Me.”)

Here are some of the other, very relatable responses we received. 


Coming in While Sick

This doesn’t just have to be for Covid—no one wants your ‘little head cold,’ ‘24-hour bug,’ or ‘minor pink eye.’ If you’re sick, stay home. It’s that simple. 

When people say they have a cold—stay home!”


“Expectations to show up to the office when you’re only a little sick. Keep the germs away!”

“People who are clearly sick coming into the office. That shouldn’t have been normal in the first place.”

“Colds. Ban people with colds if they’re not wearing a mask!”



Women were over this issue looong before 2020, but after a year when they were forced out of the workforce in ginormous numbers, overextended in every direction possible, and given very little support (not only by the government and their companies, but by their partners, too), the last thing they want to go back to is a hostile and misogynistic workplace. 

“Toxic masculinity.”

“Male sexism”

“The boys’ club.”

“Misogyny. Sexist Oppression. Glass ceilings.”

“The patriarchy.”

“Men who put their mental load on women.”

“The need to be smaller to make others comfortable.”

Sexist air conditioning. It’s a thing, look it up!”


Uncomfortable Clothes

Making clothes easier to work in has always been our goal at M.M., and when we all started working from home, we took it one step further by launching T-shirts, leggings, and even a cashmere sweatsuit. So there’s no need to settle for uncomfortable work clothes—just make sure you’re wearing something you actually like

“Mandatory dress codes.”

“Changing into heels at your desk” (Note: We call that a “shange.”)

“Pants without stretchy waistbands.”



Stinky Lunches

One of the perks of working from home was definitely not having to smell your coworker’s lunch. Hopefully they’ll go out to eat more, now that they can?

“Debbie heating up fish in the microwave.”

“Heating up seafood in the communal microwave.”

“Fishy lunches.”

“Coworkers reheating brussel sprouts.”


Everything Bad About Work

If you’re an executive or manager reading this, take a look at the following responses and see if there’s anything you can do to keep these things out of the office when people return. We promise everyone on your team will thank you for it. 

“Strict, arbitrary arrival times. Performative work has got to go!”

“Toxic people can leave forever.”

“Time-consuming chit-chat.”

“Meetings to plan the next meeting”

“Micromanagement, clock-watching, and misogyny.”

“Feeling guilty about taking time off.”

“Mean people.”

“Pressure to conform to a work style that doesn’t work for you.”

“Beers with coworkers.”


“Working through lunch everyday.”

Written By

Caitlin Abber

Caitlin Abber is the Brand Editor at M.M. LaFleur, and an award-winning writer and content creator. Over the last decade she has held senior editorial positions at MTV, Women's Health, Public Radio International, and Bustle, and has bylines at InStyle and

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