'Bet Your Dog's Missing You': Office's 'Welcome Back' Signs Dragged, Mocked

While the managers of an office building sought to welcome employees back after working from home during the pandemic with humorous signs, the attempt was derided as tone-deaf by the denizens of Twitter and Reddit.

Writer Audra Williams first surfaced the signs in a viral tweet Sunday evening, racking up nearly 100,000 likes and over 15,000 retweets. The signs she shared read "Miss your sweatpants yet?"; "Seriously, we missed you" and "Bet your dog's missing you," along with a "Welcome back" slogan at the bottom of each.

"In the lobby of an office building in Toronto. I guess to make sure employees are flooded with resentment the instant they walk in the door?" Williams wrote.

Williams confirmed to Newsweek that she did not take the photos, but found them in "some Toronto ad job related FB group."

"I thought it was mega gross and I tweeted it just before falling asleep. The person who posted it in the group hadn't taken it, or I would have credited them," she said, adding that she didn't think anyone would think they were her photos, since she's no longer in Toronto.

In a later tweet, responding to claims that the pictures had been photoshopped, Williams said that her followers had told her the signs had been placed in the lobby of the Toronto, Ontario office building Waterpark Place, but had been taken down.

Waterpark Place is managed by Oxford Properties, who confirmed to the Toronto outlet blogTO that the signs were indeed real and had been removed. BlogTO also reports that the signs were seen at another Oxford property, the Richmond-Adelaide Centre.

"Unfortunately, in an attempt to be lighthearted the signage came off as uncaring, which was never our intention. The signage clearly missed the mark and was removed last week as a result," Oxford Properties' media team told blogTO. "The campaign should have not made it into production and we sincerely apologize to any customers, colleagues and members of the public that were offended."

toronto back to work great resignation sign
A viral tweet captured an image of signs meant to welcome employees back to the office with slogans like "Bet your dog's missing you," alongside a stock photo of a dog sadly looking at a laptop. This is a different stock photo of a sad dog. iStock/Getty

Despite Oxford Properties taking responsibility for their misaimed attempt at humor, the signs were dragged both on Twitter and on Reddit, where a screenshot of Williams' original tweet had been upvoted on the popular r/antiwork subreddit over 30,000 times.

"The dog one would make me turn around and go back home," journalist Amanda Jetté Knox tweeted.

On Reddit, a popular meme from The Simpsons came up several times.

"Don't forget, you're here forever," u/eddyathome shared, quoting the sign Homer's boss, Mr. Burns, erected after Homer attempted to quit the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant in the Season 6 episode "And Maggie Makes Three."

"Was ruled out as too kind," u/marcuscontagius replied.

The Reddit original poster even chimed in about the "Bet your dog's missing you" sign—clearly the least popular of the signs pictured on both Twitter and Reddit.

"'HAHA Your DOG is probably CRYING at home' Like, what the hell is wrong with these people??" u/travissff wrote.

Redditor u/roywoodsir offered a few alternate signs that they felt better captured what returning employees are feeling.

"F*ck it they should just post them over the sign. 'Bet you like the interruptions while working in office Huh? GLAD YOU'RE BACK!'," they wrote. "'Oh do you still have a 7AM meeting with staff who work in other locations. Coffee is across the street! Glad You're back!'"

"'Oh wow, did not know the office is so cold, Grab a sweater but make sure its professional! GLAD YOU'RE BACK!'" u/roywoodsir continued. "'Right some people are still working remote, but not you, not anymore! Get on the zoom call and find a room not being used! GLAD YOURE BACK!!!'"

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a number of changes to the modern workplace. Workers who were able to do their jobs from home were encouraged to do so, with office buildings shutting down across the globe since early 2020.

As vaccines became available and other COVID mitigation measures have taken affect to slow the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have lifted mask recommendations in much of the United States at the end of last month. The end of mask recommendations has spurred management to call employees back into the office.

However, a poll from the Pew Research Center conducted in January, shows that 61 percent of adults working from home a majority of the time are working from home by choice. That figure is nearly double the 36 percent who said they chose to work from home in October 2020.

In addition, the poll found tht 64 percent of people who work from home find it easier to balance work and personal life. And when the pandemic is over, 60 percent told Pew in January—four percentage points more than in October 2020—that they would continue to work from home if given the choice.