I don't know what it's like in the US, but in the UK renting sucks. Landlords and letting agents are generally awful people. Trying to get a landlord to fix anything is often a nightmare. Standard contracts mean you can get evicted at any time with just six months notice, which is particularly awful if you have kids and are forced to move away, maybe twice a year. And then they will try and steal your deposit on spurious grounds. You generally can't have pets, decorate, or even put up pictures on the wall. Mostly, you're treated as second class citizens.

At best, renting is ok if you're young and don't have kids, which is just as well since it's pretty much impossible to afford a house here if you're under 30.

I believe it's a lot better in the rest of Europe.

Oh, and "water cooler" time is good for generating trust and forming bonds within teams, which is essential. Raj Choudhury has some good things to say on this subject here https://hbr.org/2020/11/our-work-from-anywhere-future