Nothing you have mentioned comes anywhere near balancing
1) the aggravation and weariness of commuting
2) the interruptions and distractions we must endure since the industry moved away from private offices.
Even in an office we can have conversations that don’t include you. So what.
"Optics." You call that an argument? If I am getting my work done working from home, why should I or you give a goddamn how it “looks?” That’s a very shallow argument.The very idea that we should have to spend an hour in barely-moving traffic twice a day for the sake of “optics” tells me you are probably not a very good manager. I bet you have a “morning standup” that requires everyone to drive in rush hour traffic, don’t you.
I think managers like you are going to discover that office life and commuting are so unpleasant that your best people are going to leave your company within a fortnight of your announcing that WFH is over. In fact your announcement email may get several resignations in response.
Suppose you need a new hire and the best candidate lives outside your area, in another state or another country. Do you think it’s reasonable to expect him to relocate because of your control-freakishness? Are you not aware that moving is more stressful than a major auto accident? And you can decide to cancel the position while he’s still in a hotel, out of mere caprice. “Business decision,” don’t you see. This is how two of my friends ended up homeless.
I haven't worked onsite since 2010 and there is no way in hell I would go back. And I’ve worked across 16 time zones.