Ghost Offices

Ghost kitchens are all the rage. [Read it as Virtual Restaurant – there is a lot of it going around now due to the pandemic.] My buddy operates/owns/runs a bunch of restaurants in Tampa Bay. His take on Ghost Kitchens is that it misses the key ingredient to both owning a restaurant and dining – guest interaction!

“You can’t see a guest’s delight when they take their first bite or sip of something…”

When everyone says the new normal is remote working, I shake my head.

For an established business with a strong culture, virtual work can function. The example most give is Basecamp. Think about that: a software company that was built to be virtual with founders that understand remote work so well one wrote a book about it! That isn’t the average executive.

This reminds me of cloud servers. Everyone thinks you just slam that server into a data center and the application is in the cloud! That isn’t really how most migrations work, but I don’t want to digress. too much.

There is more to an office and an organization than the org chart and the real estate. The interactions, the celebrations, the non-visual clues and so much more happen under the roof. It is only by intention that a manager could possibly help bake that virtually.

People under-estimate how much a culture is the glue of an organization. Does anyone know what the vision and mission of their company is? I’ll wait.


A Ghost Office will need a strong culture, mission and vision. It will necessitate good management and well defined role expectations. How wonderful was your last performance review?

It is these intangible factors that will be necessary for remote work to work. It isn’t as simple as hitting tasks unless the strategy is clear and broken down to tasks/goals that are well managed.

A software company (Basecamp) with less than 60 employees that is task driven is probably not the company you work for.

The cloud industry would love it if FINALLY they hit pay dirt and everyone was remote, but that isn’t going to work for (in my estimation) more than half the companies and more than two-thirds of employees.

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