Author Topic: Work after COVID  (Read 1634 times)

Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2021, 01:29:43 AM »
Just the idea that one can work from home and stay around family instead of staying three quarters of your life away, not eating most of your time with them on the table and so on of the small things that yet make a difference, is I believe worth it to fight for.

There are 168 hours in every week. Even if a person works 50 hours a week, and has a 1 hour commute each way, that's still only 60 total hours. (assuming a 5-day work week, which is the norm for most people)  That's not even close to three quarters of one's life away.  I know you were being dramatic with this, but the exaggeration is rather extreme.

There's nothing that says you have to sit in your chair for 8 hours straight every day. In fact, in most states breaks are required by law, and there's nothing stopping a person from getting up and stretching, typing while standing, etc. I have a coworker who has an app on his phone that reminds him to stand up on a regular basis.

I know you included a conditional "if people are able to do as good a job" as part of the rationale for working from home, but I would suggest that the percentage of people who are able to be just as efficient, and more importantly, being just as accessible to their fellow coworkers, bosses, etc., is lower than you may think. Offices have resources that can be difficult to replicate at home, and zoom or similar software is not a person substitute for being able to walk down the hall 50 feet to speak with someone. The number of distractions at home (family, snacks, 'toys') is hard to resist, and even well-mannered kids can easily interrupt a worker who is at home.

Offline Ranb

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2021, 01:35:01 AM »
I work in a shipyard and monitor work on nuclear propulsion plants.  I could not do this work remotely even if they installed cameras everywhere.  So other than wearing masks, trying to distance and being less busy, things have not changed much.

One nice thing is that middle management is still teleworking most of the week.  This means I don't have to interact with them as much.  I hope this never changes.  :)

Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2021, 01:37:45 AM »
I think demonstrating the ability to work from home has been one of the big upsides of the pandemic. I get the impression a lot of bosses objected to people working from home because it was hard for them to see their staff working - that is, they were more concerned with seeing the process of work happening as opposed to worrying about the outcome. When lockdowns made WFH necessary (and micro-management much harder), it turned out that the work was still being done (and therefore micro-management largely unnecessary).

The other positive I think that has come from the pandemic is the demise of business travel. I get the impression that a lot of business travel wasn't really necessary, but was instead just a pleasant little (or not so little) executive perk. The need to conduct meetings by Zoom saved a lot of travel time and air fare/hotel expense for little loss in productivity when compared with face-to-face meetings.

Having said that, WFH isn't for everyone. I disliked it when we had our first lockdown in 2020, and I'm disliking it now as we go through our Delta lockdown. It's hard to focus, it's hard to do on-the-job training, and most homes aren't set up for work as efficiently as offices can be. And Zoom and Teams are no substitute when you want/need to interact with work colleagues.

WFH is also impossible in a number of situations - transport, security, hospitality and care are four sectors of work I can quickly think of in which WFH is fundamentally impossible.

All good points. I think that some business travel is actually quite beneficial, as it's difficult to establish relationships online in the same way that one can in person. (the business dinner cannot be replicated, for example, nor can things like tours of facilities, at least not with any ease)  But I do agree that some/much was not needed. I also agree that the lack of interaction with colleagues can be detrimental to some workers, although eliminating the casual conversations that often happen probably has increased productivity. And even after I went back to work, most of us kept our office doors closed, so we're not interacting at nearly the same level.

I also have to think that there are generational differences/effects that are influencing the ease, comfort, and efficiency of WFH. Just as younger people tend to prefer texting over speaking on the phone, I wonder if they prefer WFH for some of the same reasons - they actually like distance / don't like in-person interactions. Those of us who are older may see this distancing as abnormal and uncomfortable, while younger workers may see it as a natural extension of their preferred modes of communication.

Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2021, 01:58:43 AM »
I am also happy for the kids. I don't know what to call the education system that , like employees, gets children to sit all day on chairs. What to call a system that makes 4 years-old children get up in wintery days when it is still dark and  take them from the warmth of their mothers and take them crying to the school. I understand however that there have been many challenges for this system of online and for the teachers, but everything has pros and cons.

Perhaps it's different where you are, but there was never a single day of my educational career where I sat all day. In fact, especially in the early grades, you are frequently moving, doing activities, etc. There is also lunch and recess, gym, etc., where kids move around a lot. As you get older, you change classrooms between classes, and so are moving, even if not to the extent of a dedicated exercise session.

Do some kids cry initially when they go to school?  Yes, but not all. Also, how are teachers possibly supposed to efficiently teach a class of kids if those kids are at home with their mothers? Talk about distractions. I teach at the university level and can tell you that my students weren't anywhere near as focused in the online classes as they are in person. And they are ostensibly adults. The kids are also missing a very important component of school - socialization. This is a HUGE part of child development, and they are not getting that to anywhere near the same extent while at home no matter what technology is being used. They also learn to interact with those both younger and older than they are, as well as with authority figures (e.g. teachers, administrators) and those with other jobs (e.g. janitors, "lunch ladies", guards), all of which teaches them valuable skills.

I agree that not having to pay for things like day care can help families a great deal, and that some people can be equally productive at home as in the office. For those that can I think it's a great option.  But it's not clear that the pros outweigh the cons for the majority of workers. And if they do I don't think it's by as wide a margin as you may be imagining.

Offline LionKing

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2021, 03:55:55 AM »
Just the idea that one can work from home and stay around family instead of staying three quarters of your life away, not eating most of your time with them on the table and so on of the small things that yet make a difference, is I believe worth it to fight for.

There are 168 hours in every week. Even if a person works 50 hours a week, and has a 1 hour commute each way, that's still only 60 total hours. (assuming a 5-day work week, which is the norm for most people)  That's not even close to three quarters of one's life away.  I know you were being dramatic with this, but the exaggeration is rather extreme.

There's nothing that says you have to sit in your chair for 8 hours straight every day. In fact, in most states breaks are required by law, and there's nothing stopping a person from getting up and stretching, typing while standing, etc. I have a coworker who has an app on his phone that reminds him to stand up on a regular basis.

I know you included a conditional "if people are able to do as good a job" as part of the rationale for working from home, but I would suggest that the percentage of people who are able to be just as efficient, and more importantly, being just as accessible to their fellow coworkers, bosses, etc., is lower than you may think. Offices have resources that can be difficult to replicate at home, and zoom or similar software is not a person substitute for being able to walk down the hall 50 feet to speak with someone. The number of distractions at home (family, snacks, 'toys') is hard to resist, and even well-mannered kids can easily interrupt a worker who is at home.

About the hours, consider that you sleep normally few hours after you reach to wake up early in the morning, and that the time left after work of the day doesn't let you do anything (for most people) because you are tired. This is all time lost from your life because of work.

About stretching, yes you can get up and stretch, go fill a cup of water, etc. This is not the issue. Hoe much is the time in total you sit down behind a computer rather than sitting comfortably in your bed or comfortable seat at home? It is most of your time at work. Many people developed back aches and neck aches, sciatica as well, because of that type of work.  This is why we started stretching.
There are distractions at home, but to me I set strict standards that no one should interrupt me. I am not married so no kids, others will be inderstandably more distracted, so each one should choose what is suitable. Ithink also the type of job in addition to the personality and personal preferances play a role in this. I don't mind zooming or talking on the phone if comapred to daily waking up early anf coming to work and all the tiresomeness that comes with it. I even work Saturdays and sometines Sundays because I feel comfortable and don't work as long hours as I did before.

For the rest of arguments, education is hard online, I know, but the education system is also unfair. Again, you msot of the time sit down. Yes you go toa recess and there are two hours a week for sports (thatI did not enjoy anyway), but still  Iam talking most of the time. I wish it was doable whatPlato said that children should be taught in open air. That will make schools in Summer and Spring rather than waking up in cold Winters for the young. Iknow it might be hard to do, but when there is a will there is way.

I thonk the generational difference is valid. I don't like speaking but texting.

At any rates, I repeat that itshould be an option as long as qualitywork is delivered. If the management finds that the person is not delivering well, they should give the option of coming to work or leaving work all together.
“When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
... When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!”
 Rumi

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2021, 10:06:54 AM »
I have experienced a degree of freedom in work online from home that I think I can't let go after cpvid ends. I can sleep till I want, work when I want, the most important thing is to deliver on time and do the work as expected. What we were living before was slavery, unnecessary slavery, and out of l9ve of ourselves and respect of our freedom, I believe we as employees should lobby that the idea of sitting in an office should be optional. I think this should be negotiable when the employee has been productive in the online period. I understand that for some types of jobs this option might not be feasible. Maybe it can be feasible in some days in the week for others, but for those whose work can be delivered online, we should not go back to where we were. It is complete control of our lives that we should not be allowing to happen again.


Melodramatic, much? You always have a choice in that you can choose to get a different job. I would suggest that if you have that choice then you are a long way away from anything resembling slavery.

Not really melodramatic. It is your life that is being taken from you, and life is very precious, so is your freedom. 8 hours sitting on a chair is slavery to me.


Oh FFS, cry me a river. What you are describing is luxurious to probably >80% of the world's population. If you can't differentiate between working 8 hours a day to earn a crust and actual slavery then this conversation is over.
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Offline gillianren

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2021, 11:10:34 AM »
My kids are miserable at home.  Even though it's not safe, they are very much looking forward to starting in-person school, because their emotional development is shot.
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Offline jfb

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2021, 01:00:40 PM »
Working from home for over a year has not been good for me.  I legitimately missed my daily commute, as that was kind of "me" time where I could yell at people, play my music very loudly, and basically just be silly without disturbing anyone.  I am far more focused and productive in an office environment (for suitably loose values of "focused" and "productive").  I have a bigger rig in the office, I don’t have to pay for sodas, and Zoom is a poor substitute for sitting at someone’s desk to work out a problem. 

I got vaccinated in late April and started going back to the office in June.  And then Texas, being Texas, decided to ban enforcement of the most basic measures to limit the spread and Delta’s exploded and I’m working from home again and I hate it. 

We had a fairly generous work from home policy before the plague hit, although it was expected you would be in the office most days.  Now, it feels like the reverse is going to be true going forward - our lease on our current (very nice) space is up next August, and we’re on the hunt for a new, smaller, "hipper" space, which I interpret to mean that they intend for most people to work from home full-time.  And for our business, it isn’t that big a deal.  But there are jobs which do require you to be on site, and you have two choices in that matter - show up or find a new job.

How can you play music very loudly and shout on everyone without bothering anyone ? :)

I'm in my car on the highway. 

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Yes I agree there are jobs requiring staying on site. For example, the nurse and other health staff. To me, I am enjoying my stay at home with family. It is a golden opportunity because people don't stay around forever.
Another thing I am enjoying is that there are no big weddings and engagements. Sunday is the first engagement I will attend for only 40 people since the start of COVID. In our culture, it is a big fuss. You need to get clothes before time, take an appointment with the hairdresser because she will be very busy, go to the wedding at day when the groom comes to get the bride, go back and eat at home, and wait for the night to come to attend the night wedding that will stay for a late time. During the waiting time until night you remove the dress very carefully to dress your pajama and be very careful not to spoil your hair, until you dress it or dress another one even for the night wedding.. I know your sensitivity by now on the word slavery, so I will call it extremely controlling and confining of freedom. This is not to speak about the huge expenses that the groom has to pay for the wedding day, the dress of the bride, the food for the people, etc.  I am glad that all this nonsense is gone.

I had to go to a funeral for a friend from high school last weekend.  Thanks to a major traffic stoppage on the interstate I missed the actual service, but was able to get there just after they let out and was able to talk to people in front of the church.  Everyone was vaccinated, everyone was masked, but we still kept our distance from each other, and in a situation like that you kinda need people to be close.  It's just rough

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I am also happy for the kids. I don't know what to call the education system that , like employees, gets children to sit all day on chairs. What to call a system that makes 4 years-old children get up in wintery days when it is still dark and  take them from the warmth of their mothers and take them crying to the school. I understand however that there have been many challenges for this system of online and for the teachers, but everything has pros and cons.

I don't have kids myself, but according to friends and family who do, most of their school-age kids are miserable staying home - they're missing out on time with friends and peers, which is vital during adolescence.  One of the tricks to staying a happy family is that everyone is able to get away from each other from time to time.  I love my wife, she loves me, but she'd rather I go into the office every day than stay home.  She needs her alone time too. 

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2021, 04:49:04 PM »
I also have to think that there are generational differences/effects that are influencing the ease, comfort, and efficiency of WFH. Just as younger people tend to prefer texting over speaking on the phone, I wonder if they prefer WFH for some of the same reasons - they actually like distance / don't like in-person interactions. Those of us who are older may see this distancing as abnormal and uncomfortable, while younger workers may see it as a natural extension of their preferred modes of communication.

I think that is something that I figure the majority of us don't really appreciate (making assumptions, here!). Younger people can work differently sometimes: perhaps not better, or worse, just differently.

Offline Northern Lurker

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2021, 09:37:46 AM »
E-learning has been terrible for my daughter. One year ago I started studying electrical engineering. I love e-learning and I dream of time when I can work from home as an electrical designer.

I think WFH will be more common in the future if management learns to look at metrics instead of just looking at people working. It is much cheaper to have an office with meeting rooms and enough work stations for the people who are in the office for meetings than having enough office and parking spaces for all employees.

The future of virtual meetings is cloudier. Teams calls are a lot cheaper than flights and hotels but sales and support usually work better face to face.

Lurky

edit grammar

Offline gillianren

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2021, 09:43:40 AM »
I don't have kids myself, but according to friends and family who do, most of their school-age kids are miserable staying home - they're missing out on time with friends and peers, which is vital during adolescence.  One of the tricks to staying a happy family is that everyone is able to get away from each other from time to time.  I love my wife, she loves me, but she'd rather I go into the office every day than stay home.  She needs her alone time too. 

Exactly how I've been explaining it to people.  Fortunately, we bought a house at the beginning of lockdown and are no longer in a two-bedroom apartment, but we've still pretty much all been on top of each other the whole time.  Graham goes out to work every day, but the kids have basically had me and each other.  And I haven't had time away from them, which is bad for my emotional health.  Zane starts school for in-person learning on Friday and is looking forward to it.  We're in a new district since we bought the house, and I told him last year he wasn't allowed to say he hated his new school yet.  He was only allowed to say he hated distance learning.  Which he did.  I could go on for quite some time about the problems he was having with it.
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Offline gillianren

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2021, 09:45:38 AM »
Oh, and as for "school should be outside," school outside in a lot of places in the summer is pretty miserable, too.  Why would you want to be outside when it's ninety degrees out or hotter?  No, it's a bad idea.
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Offline jfb

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2021, 01:04:24 PM »
Oh, and as for "school should be outside," school outside in a lot of places in the summer is pretty miserable, too.  Why would you want to be outside when it's ninety degrees out or hotter?  No, it's a bad idea.

Jeez, holding school outside in Central TX right now would constitute child abuse.  Been over a hundred degrees the last few days. 

Offline LionKing

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2021, 04:06:04 PM »
Many kids dislike education from home and I said it is not easy for teachers and for mothers, this is why I was saying about open air learning.
The verysmall kids, however, I am against them waking up in dim winter days and going to school. Let their schools , open air or closed, be in warm weather. Even for those a bit bigger, it is still cruel to go in cold weather and in the rainy season. The summer weather is very hot in some countries.fine. ACs should be available. We used to use the books to fan and tolerate the sun if we are placed near the window. It is not either a good choice, especially there were no electric fans. I think still summer and spring would be better for education if facilities are there for cooling. When it is dim and raining here I wake up in my warm bed and say: no way we were made to rise up in a day similar to this day. 
“When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
... When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!”
 Rumi

Offline gillianren

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Re: Work after COVID
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2021, 10:43:34 AM »
So how much education you get should depend on your climate.  Check.
"This sounds like a job for Bipolar Bear . . . but I just can't seem to get out of bed!"

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labour-saving device in the face of complexity."  --Henry Louis Gates