Your office can be place where you still have the option to work uninterrupted but also get the benefits of face-to-face interaction, casual exposure to work ideas, better meetings, having all the equipment you need, separating work and personal life. Or it can be a hell where you hate every second and can't get anything done. Your commute can be a 15-minute walk or it can be a couple of hours of driving - vastly different experiences.
Your home office can mean working on a laptop at a tiny desk in a small bedroom in shared accommodation with loud housemates; or it can be a great setup in a separate room in your own flat/house. Again, those are completely different experiences.
I suspect that a lot of people talk about how much they like remote because they happened to be on the bad end of the office-quality scale and the good end of the home-quality scale. And when your work circle is made up people who also worked in the same bad office environment, it's easy to say something like "no one I know wants to go back to the office".
Personally, I've had a great office with a short commute in the past, and my home office situation is quite poor right now. So I'm looking forward to working from an office in the future.
- At home I have the most comfortable chair I could find on the market that fits me perfectly. At work there are very basic adjustable chairs and they use some slippery fabric.
- At home I have an ergonomic mechanical keyboard vs. a cheap rubber dome keyboard that kept running out of batteries at work.
- An ergonomic mouse, vs. a tiny mouse that doesn't even have a back button.
- Two 27" 4k monitors, vs. a single 24" monitor.
- Always a nice room temperature, vs. often being too hot or too cold.
- Bathroom always available, vs. sometimes having to wait to use the bathroom.
- No interruptions, vs. occasional interruptions.
- Working in silence, vs. having to use noise cancelling headphone and listening to music when I don't want to.
To me the only drawbacks are that Zoom meetings are worse than in-person and not being able to have hallway discussions, but the many gains in quality of life easily make up for that. But the situation could easily reverse for someone who only has a tiny laptop and no room for a home office.
Since working from home, we’ve had many more meetings than we used to, which is a drain, mentally. Still, I am almost as productive as I was before, but no thanks to the environment at home.
That's counter to our team, where we basically have the "policy" of less disruptions is better. Any discussion item is pushed into an e-mail or chat unless absolutely necessary. If there are items that are deemed to need a voice meeting that are remotely similar then we'll move them up or push them back to combine them to reduce the need to be on a call. 99% of our communication is done via e-mail or a group chat room, and the expectation is that an e-mail can go without a response for 24 hours, and a chat room message can go without a response for at least 1 hour. Anything urgent goes through a direct message, and the expectation is that you check the receivers status to make sure they're aren't in a "do-not-disturb" status before hand. Only time that is ignored is if something mission critical is occurring, like a systems outage. When you can limit 99% of your distractions to something you can check real quick once every hour or so, your productivity goes way up.
I can also say from experience that having your own space, and good equipment, is severely overlooked by people. I used to work entirely in my office, but we rescued a Belgian Malinois a few months before the lockdowns started so I had been working from a chair in my living room since the office is where our cats hang out for most of the day, and I wanted to give them time to adjust to the puppy as well. Even outside of the new puppy distraction, it's really easy to just sink into your "comfort" area and get distracted or stop working. Once she was housebroken, I started working out of our dining room instead so I could keep an eye on her but still not invade the office until she was better trained, and I noticed a significant productivity boost. GCP Grey has a great video on this ("Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You"), and the idea is that even though the dining room isn't a dedicated office, it's still a place that you don't subconsciously associate with relaxing, so you still treat it like an office.
I don't have kids or a work from home spouse, so I don't have any advice there.
That's why people commonly bring their personal headphones, keyboard and mouse. And sometimes their own larger screen even.
I don't doubt that there are some shitty companies out there that can't get an office chair and a display from this decade, but it's far from the norm.
In the engineering department those who don't do 3d CAD get a single 20" screen, and a laptop with 8Gb RAM. Those who use CAD get a single 24" screen and bigger laptop with a 3d card. Everyone gets the $5 keyboard and mouse that comes with the corporate HP laptops. Basically all offices (except for managers) are the noisy open-office type.
I've been to quite a few suppliers, all industrial/engineering companies of different sizes, and it's a pretty standard setup. It's not some shitty companies, it's just that all companies (at least not specialized in software) just take the basic material that they rent from their corporate suppliers. You can't show a positive ROI/business case for buying a $50 Logitech mouse to 50k office employees, so they all get the free included HP mouse. Same for the rest.
I'm not even getting into the locked-down version of Windows that everyone gets to use. Even launching portable executables is technically against the rules, not that it stops anyone. Until a few years ago most websites were blocked, so it's getting better at least.
In general I think it's pretty ok, it's not really a big issue. That's how the industry is. But very few companies give a very good environment and good computer devices to their knowledge workers. You just need to adapt. Bringing your own devices help. You can choose not to, many do, and accept to spend 8 hours/day using what they give you.
But of course there's more space in the countryside!
Having a fast NVMe disk, 16/32 GB of ram and a current generation (or previous generation) CPU should be the standard for a developer.
Apart from that there is the crappy office keyboard, mouse and all too small mousepad. Fortunately those things can be replaced without much issue.
All my life I've always just bought the stuff I need and took it to work.
No matter where I've worked it was 1/100th the hassle to do that rather than figure out how to go through channels.
I've also tried stuff and ditched it a few weeks later and tried something else.
this applies to lots of things at work -- who cares if the office pens are free - they suck.
If you want to employ me, please provide me with the tools to do the job properly. An ergonomic keyboard, mouse, chair and desk are a given. A nice display is a bonus.
Especially when it comes to ergonomics I don’t understand employers, an engineer going on leave for a week because of RSI / back pains, is way more expensive.
Aren't most construction workers expected to provide their own basic tools? The contractor usually provides specialty tools and power tools, but when I did demolition, I certainly brought my own hammer.
I'm also in the camp of preferring to work from home with my triple high-res monitor setup, good chair, height adjustable table, ergonomic keyboard/mouse, and so on.
I dread the day I'll have to go back to the office.
Now that you say this, I wonder what the threshold is for size/revenue of a company that does prioritize computing equipment and accessories. Every public company I have worked for have cared about ergonomics. Below $50M in revenue/100 employees I’ve found it difficult to request certain equipment (sit-stand desk for example)
I would much more prefer a big screen (30 inch?) instead of two 24 inch. But unfortunately my Corp doesn't have such options.
I would much more prefer
Unless you have a real vote in the decision, then the the best move, is to accept either result. Otherwise you saddle yourself with the mental and emotional baggage and clutter.
I suppose this is easier said than done, but worth the effort in converting the dread to acceptance.
This is just some random opinion on the internet of course.
While figuring out the latter would take some first-hand experience of reading the accounts of others, the former is easier to filter companies by, for example:
Of course, those are just the links that a quick Google search turned over, some job ad sites also have filters for remote/on-site positions etc.
There is no reason to settle for something you deem to be sub par, unless you feel more comfortable that way (since people have valid complaints about the hiring practices in ICT nowadays), which is also okay.
One company, several employers back, I brought my own equipment in and nobody said anything. I had my own desktop PC, monitors, mouse, keyboard, and chair in the office and other than the unplugged PC asset tag assigned to me sitting in the corner, I returned everything else to the supply closet. I eventually (after 3 years of using my own) was forced to use company issued equipment. Here was the contrast, the box I brought in to use was a quad-core proc with hyperthreading and had 32GB of RAM, and four SSDs in RAID10 w/ a decentish GPU driving 4 24" 1920x1200 IPS displays. The box I was assigned (3 years later) was a dual-core proc w/ HT, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB 5200rpm HDD, with onboard video that only supported two displays. The two displays provided were 19" TN panels.
I invest in quality equipment at home, but many, if not most, employers do not. They may think they do, but they don't. It's 2020, I consider 64GB of RAM in a engineer's system a good target, 32GB a minimum. Most developer systems I see are lucky to have 16GB of RAM these days (often the maximum offered in laptops issued). Meanwhile, at home I have a max spec desktop PC less than 3 years old, multiple 4K displays, Herman Miller chair, an electric drive sit/stand desk, split ergonomic mechanical keyboard, an ergonomic mouse, a mini-split AC/heater in a separate room in a house with a door I can close, and in my closet a small rack of servers I can use w/ distcc to accelerate builds.
The great irony is that box I used at the office many years ago (8 or 9 years old), is still superior to what's issued as normal engineer equipment at most companies in the US, and I've since moved on to better systems at home, again. The poster you're replying to is largely correct. I love working from home partly because of no commute, but also because I can equip myself to my standards, which are much higher than the standards of a corporate IT department with accounting looking over their shoulder.
I'm genuinely curious how common that is these days. I certainly work on personal computers and a lot of people I know seem to do so as well.
Software is another big thing overlooked by a lot of companies, in my experience. I've bought a Jetbrains account to use for my development because the effective $12.50/month I spend on it is nothing in comparison to the productivity benefit I get from it.
(I have a couple of colleagues who brought their own keyboards. We'd buy a decent keyboard for anyone who wants one, but they already had them from previous jobs with people who wouldn't do this.)
I, for example, absolutely hate mechanical keyboards with those tall keys, as I get hand/wrist/elbow pain from using them. And the mouse has to be as weightless as possible.
Considering companies usually have to decide on only 1 or 2 options to negotiate buying in bulk, it's hard to offer multiple options. Unless they give you like $100 when you start to buy whatever you want.
> - An ergonomic mouse, vs. a tiny mouse that doesn't even have a back button.
This might be surprising, but you can bring your own keyboard and mouse to the office. Perhaps even get your employer to pay for them.
I've done this with every office I ever worked at. Dear employer I love you but my hands are my bread-and-butter and they trump your office standards. My hands, my peripherals. You're welcome to pitch in. If you have a problem with me using custom gear, bye.
I know this because one of my coworkers went from a shitty pc104 keyboard to a dedicated keyboard tray an expensive kinesis keyboard and a trackball mouse.
I suspect there must have been RSI problems they had to pay out on.
Snacks, fruits, beverages, espresso machine at work vs buy and prepare what I want at home (which has a cost, and demands time)
Ironically also, office was quieter. I can always hear (and feel) the upstairs neighbour walking around, even with noise cancelling headphones. The little noise at the office was way easier to ignore.
And using the bathroom at home, means I have to clean the bathroom more often.
Nice if you have a detached house in a quiet neighbourhood. Try an apartment in a busy area, you'll be wearing noise cancelling headphones too!
The people who chose proximity are still paying high rent, but have lost the benefits, and are now trying to make do with laptops on their couches. The people who chose space have big desks, two monitors, comfortable chairs, and now don't have a soul crushing commute anymore.
The change in circumstances hits very differently based on what (perfectly valid) choices you made earlier.
I'm 'of that age' where I have a large-ish house, and hence a large, well equipped study. I don't much like my work office. It's on the top end of 'good': spacious, well equipped, light, modern, free snacks, etc. But... and it's a big but, it's open plan. And noisy. With people eating at their desks, talking, interrupting you and so on.
But I still miss it. The last nine months has taught me that whilst I work fine from home, I thought I'd be completely happy like that, but I'm not. And I'm surprised by that. I want to go back to the office, but not for 9-5, 5 days a week. Once a week will be fine.
A good office would allow you to work in peace when you need to. For a programmer, this would be maybe 50-80% of the time. This is where the monitors and keyboards and chairs are. Personal tools and personal space.
But, there should be enough opportunity to socialize when you feel like it; ranging from sofas and coffee machines and team lunches to pool tables and movie clubs and parties and gardens and tennis courts and dinners and skiing trips or whatever.
Universities tend to be pretty good in this sort of thing, actually. You get a room. With total isolation. You also get a vibrant community of smart people with varying interests and a huge range of activities to pick from.
Most of us aren't hermits, after all. Many programmers living in cubicle hell may think they hate people, but maybe they just hate the interruptions and loosing control of their concentration.
Who wants to be seen as the one always in the social area not working while on the clock? Plus, who would consciously choose to get their socialization from work instead of their personal friends? I think office socialization has to be coincidental or it just won't happen at all.
I think that model works better in university settings because the students have such disjoint schedules, they need those amenities to keep students occupied between classes.
That "appearing as not working while on the clock" is, to me, a foreign fear, and not something I've ever really experienced at the places I've worked in. I know that I (and the teams I've been part of) have been plenty productive without pressure to put in the hours. I think that a culture of putting in the hours would have been counterproductive, in fact. My work has not been flipping burgers, but designing and creating complex systems. It doesn't work out that well under time pressure.
Absolutely. Just being able to chat with colleagues when grabbing a coffee exposes so much more of 'what's going on' than you can ever find out looking at git logs, slack channels and wikis.
Previously (at Google, Sunnyvale) I was paying $1,700 for my share of a 2x2 apartment with a one-way commute of 20 minutes during odd hours to over an hour during peak hours. This gave me a desk in an open floor plan with nominally disruptive neighbors while still fielding messages on chat and meetings I would have to walk to that could be in other buildings (or, albeit rarely, campuses). Free food and drink, a gym I was too weary to use, a pool that was often too cold to use, and the view of construction that was going up faster than my code thanks to constant changes from different levels of management.
Now, at a remote company, I'm paying $1,700 for a 2x2 to myself, a dedicated room for work, dedicated setup, no commute, the only distraction is occasionally my upstairs neighbor, a heated pool, a gym I'm able to use after one of my very few meetings, and non-free food but a full kitchen to work with during work hours.
I do miss my coworkers and some of the fun face-to-face interactions, don't get me wrong, but not enough to give up the relative paradise I've gotten in exchange. While it can get lonely at times I do also get to spend many (many, many) hours online with friends playing games; if not for covid I'd be going out or having friends over often as well.
All this to say that despite all this, I still respect that others don't share a similar set of options and/or circumstances. Those who have geographic ties, others living with them, space constraints, amenities that are hard to replicate, or just straight miss their peers, and many other variables I haven't considered. My personal paradise may be their hell and I respect that, and hopefully they can return to their normal while I can also keep what I have.
Even in the quietest office noises would get to me. I would always have to fight to focus on work. At the end of the day I was spent.
Working from home full time, even with my family here 24/7 has been incredibly relaxing. I really, really don't want to ever go back.
In my case, I had a small apartment within walking distance of $WORK. The office at $WORK was ... ok. Not as bland as the finance office I used to work at in Chicago, but a bit cramped and poorly provisioned on things like coffee. On the immediate benefits front, working from the office would be an obvious choice for me, even if it’s not the best office I’ve ever worked from. But we decided that we loved WFH so much that we left the city and bought a good sized house in a less populated area. We each now have our own office that we can customize to our hearts desire. Oh, and our COL dropped, a lot.
The other bit that you didn’t mention, and that is intimately connect to my story is the factor of cities. As of last year (who knows how this will change) most software jobs were in large cities. If you happen to enjoy living in cities, this is really good news for you, but for everyone else this creates a tough series of trade offs between preferred living arrangements and career needs. In retrospect it’s fairly clear that we lived in Cities purely for the career advancement reasons; we didn’t enjoy the noise nor did we take advantage of the culture opportunities (food, drink, etc.) that cities offered. All we got in exchange was higher wages, smaller and more expensive housing, and longer commutes to the activities we preferred to do. This new arrangement suits us much better in retrospect, even if we didn’t come to that conclusion in say 2019.
I'm not true that is necessarily true. Most software jobs were in large metros. But, in the Boston area for example, I suspect most software jobs are still outside the city. (They were essentially 100% outside the city 20 years ago.) The same is almost certainly true of the Bay Area; most of the software jobs are not in SF proper.
That being said, this doesn’t change my argument much for two reasons. First, “you have to live within commuting distance of downtown” isn’t that much different from “you have to live within commuting distance of this suburb”. The nearby suburbs of some of these metro areas are still pretty darned expensive and congested compared to the rest of America. Second, the zone of reasonable commutes is much smaller still if you have a spouse who works in another area, or if you’re liable to change jobs in the next few years. And of course the housing centers with reasonable commutes to all possible job centers tend to be expensive.
It's much better, don't get me wrong, but I'm surprised at how much I still miss the office. It's all about the people for me. I had no idea how much energy I got from the team and being together in the same space, even as a fairly introverted technologist. Remote communication technology is nowhere close to being able to replicate that. It's one of those things you don't realize is missing until it's gone.
I'm hoping to be able to continue with some hybrid of WFH and in-office post pandemic. However, if I had to pick one, I'd choose in-office no doubt -- even with my fancy home office.
My+other new hires onboarding has been very difficult.
Outside of scheduling specific times to do deep dives on certain pieces of the stack it's very difficult to pickup new things because everyone is relatively bubbled. (This is compounded by the fact that everything is a microservice lol)
If you're a senior engineer and you already have a solid workstream I can definitely see the productivity increase from WFH, but for people just starting out it's a nightmare sometimes.
My drive for socialization has been pushed to friends and family. No more work talk off the clock.
To say my qualify of life has increased by a order of magnitude is an understatement
Full disclosure: I have
misophonia and also detest office smells.
For me we built an office in our garden around 5 years ago. Good size, ethernet connected from the house. Kids came along around 3 years ago and I was hardly using it (wife wouldn't let me escape so easy!) now it's been a lifesaver since March, by far one of the best investments I have made.
Having said all this I do miss the office, I just don't need to be there 5 days a week.
That office was hella nice, but I'm still far happier at home. I don't think my home office is all that nice, but I simply value the freedom given to me from WFH far more than the "benefits" of the office.
As companies make remote work a bigger possibility we'll optimize differently and a lot of people will be better off after adjusting. This situation has also disproportionately benefited those that already leaned towards that way and left the others hanging. But that's a shorter term issue.
It's really very jarring and I've resulted to some newer/crazier things to get it back. For instance I work in VR often now and that blocking out the distractions/tricking my brain in to "being in" a work place is really great. I also have a different seat for when I'm working on the day job versus my startup vs relaxing. Finally I stopped listening to music recently as I've read it actually can hurt focus and that's been working too.
The thing is at least with my current job the office space was really comfortable, I'd move around often between couches and private spaces as needed people wouldn't interrupt too often and I would go out for lunch to give myself a mental break. Still figuring out the mental break part again.
I have been trying to do this with my Oculus Quest 1 but the resolution just seems to low / rendering quality too poor. I can see the potential for the future though and am very curious if a Quest 2 gets over a significant hump in terms of these problems.
We were already half remote where we go in a couple of days a week and I liked that mix
It /can/ be, if your company isn't in the "Because Google Did It", cost savings masquerading and spun as "collaborative" open office plan cult.
I like being at an office for face to face things, but as a developer I need uninterrupted time and the "new fad" offices don't provide it.
But your point is well taken; I'm fortunate enough that my job can afford me a house that's too big for me to live in, (mind, I have also decided to live not "in the city", where things are actually affordable) so I have a complete room as a home-office, with a restroom, and whatever supplies I need.
But that's also by choice; I CHOSE to give up being near a lot of restaurants and offices and short commutes, so that I could have this.
When people say "I enjoy working from home", most attribute to the being able to focus in your comfortable area, lack of noise, no need to commute during rush hour, and many other widely common cons that is associated with working at an office.
The consensus of wfh vs office should take place with the following question:
given ideal situation for both scenario which one would you choose?
Because, having a loud roommate in your house does not represent the general public and is actually what I would consider an "outlier" in this particular consensus.
Even then, pre-pandemic, I preferred to work from home most of the time, even though I didn't have a desk at home. Turns out I just like being home during the day, and like being able to take little short breaks here and there, without feeling weird about it at an office. And even though our office wasn't too bad with random interruptions, I liked having essentially zero interruptions at home.
Fortunately we (coincidentally) moved into a larger space a few days before SF's shelter-in-place order back in March, and now have a dedicated office room with an adjustable desk and monitor (a big thanks to my employer for providing reimbursement for some home-office expenses this year). Pre-pandemic, my partner did go into the office most of the time, and I don't think the two of us would have been comfortable in the old place (a loft with no doors and walls), working and taking Zoom meetings every workday. (But I easily recognize that if we had kids, neither space would have been great for permanent working from home.)
Sometimes it's hard to recognize that everyone's situation really is different (as you point out), and that even people with similar situations can just have different preferences and attitudes that can make them productive and happy with some setups, and unfocused and uneasy with others.
I think we also need to remember that this is not a standard shift to working from home. We're doing this as part of a global pandemic that has nerves frayed and has put a lot of other restrictions on our day-to-day lives. I expect that many people who are having issues working from home due to social/collaboration reasons would have fewer complaints if there was no pandemic and they could get their social interaction from hanging out with friends at their houses or in public places. And many who previously worked at an office 5 days a week, every week, and miss the office, might be happy in normal times working from home anywhere from 1-4 days a week, getting their "office fix" on the other day(s).
I have a chair which is suits me perfectly, a big standing desk which is not wobbling at all, and 3 monitors with premium stands which are tuned just for me. It's much easier for a remote worker to setup everything that suits you, and it's much harder to adjust workplaces to make everybody happy.
Those face to face interactions or the hallway discussions are the thing that prevents the first.
This article is an opinion piece, and judging by how many people are upvoting it, it seems like it resonate with a lot of people. The same way a remote post blog will also attract tons of upvote.
There are no best setup for everyone, there is a different best setup for each one of us.
That used to be the case many, many years ago, before the "open floor plan" debacle.
It's not the case anymore.
- Some people prefer working in an office environment. There are valid reasons for this, and it's totally fine.
- Other people prefer working at home, and this is also completely fine and understandable.
- People other than yourself who experience challenges with either one of these arrangements are not idiots and the things they talk about are genuine issues that they experience, which are unlikely to be effectively solved by suggestions like "you are doing it wrong" or "get a new job".
- Not everybody out there is in the same situation as you with regards to living arrangements, family commitments and so on. Solutions that seem obvious and easy to you are unattainable for others.
My hope at least is that the experiences we've all had over the past year will help to make work more flexible and inclusive, so that we can take all of the above into account. In particular, is seems inevitable that companies should stop adopting an inflexible "no remote work" policy and instead make it easier for people to work from anywhere.
I'd love to see some new and creative approaches – like companies using their newfound remote-friendliness to make it feasible to spin up small branch offices in co-working spaces, so that workers' commutes can be reduced but they still get an office environment if it's helpful for them.
Living in the UK, I think that would also help restore the feeling of community, as a gathering point for people within a local area.
Personally I prefer working from home and have done so for 20 years, almost all my working life- but I understand why people have reasons for preferring an alternative.
An office district allows people to get to the office expediently from homes all over town, or even in the next town over, because all the trains and buses are routes to take people there.
(Other cities in the UK may vary, but how many of them are tech hubs?)
You've clearly not commuted in and out of London at rush-hour/peak-time then. I REALLY don't miss that. Most days an advertised 30 minute train journey would take 50 minutes and unless you got on the train at it's starting point, that's 50 minutes of standing with your face in someones armpit.
Not only have I done that, I've put up with the Southern strikes. Still far better to go into the center of town than to go to some random spot on a different edge of town.
It's easier to switch your job than find a suitable apartment with an "expedient" commute.
It is unfortunate that people think that it has to be either one or the other.
The thing many people like about the office is that other people are there. This is not just for socializing reasons - for example, junior employees might like more senior ones around to have casual conversations and learn from. So the ones among us that like the office do not just want to be there - they want others to be also there.
I mean... too bad? Speaking as someone who prefers to work from home, I hope those people realize that their desire to co-locate with their peers doesn't supersede our desire to work solo. As they say, "it takes two to tango."
I for one am glad that many companies that would normally never consider remote work are now doing so. While I don't have data to back this up, I'd wager that the average company implements co-location more out of reflex or habit than due to a careful comparison of all possible work arrangements.
So the directors are looking to maximize work flexibility, by experimenting with just going to the office once or twice a week or something after the vaccine.
Like my dentist told me a few days ago, universal 9-5PM at an office is long gone (and this is a dentist saying that!)
There's also the effect of the industry. While flexible working is great (I could already role out of bed and decide to WFH whenever before covid) there's a chance companies might cut back on offices or force bullshit like hot desking.
In the long run I think this'll turn out for the best and the OP is right to be optimistic. But in the short run there may be a lot of turmoil.
That is really their problem. You can't force people to come to the office because you want it "hustling and bustling".
But in this case it is an either or. If the advantage of the office comes from being around your team and colleagues then it very much is an either or between home working or everyone being in the office.
As I've said before, as this shakes out over the next year or two, I suspect a fair number of people who can do so will end up choosing jobs based on remote policies and how companies operate in practice.
That seems inevitable at any company where a lot of people aren't using their space most of the time. A company isn't going to indefinitely maintain dedicated space at 25% utilization. Not to say they can't maintain some dedicated space for people who do want to come in 80% of the time. But I expect post-COVID, many offices will look very different although I don't expect many companies to go fully remote.
That's an optimistic take. I can totally see this or that manager having a horrible time at home, and as soon as he's back to the office, instituting a "next time we'll rather die here" policy where they stock up on masks and canned food and build a bunker-like environment that he'll never have to leave again.
In the end, execs already worked from wherever they liked. They set up certain policies because they thought they were more productive for the hoi polloi. I don't think the pandemic changed much in that regard, sadly.
I know this won't work for everything. Factories obviously need to be staffed (so far). But for 'knowledge work' we should be able to work anywhere, including, if the need arises, to rent private digs and all get together in person.
Another idea i had about this was we could also consider RE investment. If we had the cash and the investment made sense, we'd actually buy the floor or whatever, and once our project no longer needed it, we'd rent. I like the idea that overtime the business converts some of its cash into RE, that can act as a buffer for the rest of our income.
> I miss occasional after-work drinks at the sky bar with the $18 well drinks that we always convinced management to pay for.
It just took me a dozen emails, 6 phone calls, and 2 tedious in face conversations to get accounting to buy me a single AAAA battery - not AA, not AAA, but AAAA, yes I'm sure, AAAA, yes I only need one. So yeah I don't miss my office.
It's either this or the neverending "How do I become more creative", "How do I become more productive", "Tricks to stop using your smartphone", etc...
- Normally, I'd try to mix up my day and get some socialization in by going to a co-working space 1-2 times a week.
- I had a lot of freedom to catch up with friends after work, or over lunch, and while that's not impossible in 2020, it's very different (it's a much smaller group, always outside, and never over food or drinks - mostly just a walk or something like that).
- I had much more freedom to travel (YMMV depending on your work, but I would work remotely from a cottage, or a nearby city sometimes if I was meeting up with someone - even a couple of times from more exotic locales).
- For gigs where an office was close by, I still had the option to pop in once in a while, and for really remote jobs, I still tended to have some form of face to face interaction by doing a bigger visit every few months.
If you're not liking remote work during 2020, I don't entirely blame you. I still don't think it's for everyone, but I would recommend trying it outside the context of a global pandemic.
People keep glossing over the structural differences of being in a crazy, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime, situation and comparing to the good’ol days of when office was amazing. I’d love to hear from those that have to go in and deal with no amenities and all the safety stuff that’s now so imperative.
The other thing to consider - a lot of posters talk about sub-par home setups. Much of that is driven by cost and living close to the office and preventing the city lifestyle. If you stop forcing people to the office, your costs will likely go down as now you won’t compete for space with families with kids or those who really want the space but hate commute. Seems like a win-win.
This is really different from the regular WFH that I am used to.
I've done wfh for years and really miss going to my local coffee shop, and other various activities I used to do throughout the day because of the freedom offered with wfh.
1. Cubes, cube pods, and "open offices" are inhumane.
2. I don't have to wear headphones to "hear myself think" anymore.
3. Meetings no longer produce the positive feelings that result from the presence of another human, so there's incentive for everyone to eliminate the pointless meetings.
3a. I can multitask during the truly pointless meetings that haven't yet been eliminated. I can't tell you how much work I've gotten done during "town halls" during the last eight months.
4. No commute.
5. My house is way nicer than my office. I know this isn't the case for everyone. But if you're working as a software engineer, you can afford it. You have to ask yourself why it wasn't a priority before.
I can do laundry during the day, I can go exercise during the day. I can take a nap if I'm tired.
Meetings start on time more often because you don't have to wait for a meeting rooms to clear out.
I could go on and on. I will say this though, I hope everyone gets to work the way it works for them. I'm not going to tell people that want to work in an office that they shouldn't be able to. I hope we get the same respect and not have in-office advocates push their ideal environment on remote workers.
At my previous job, I worked from home 2-3 days a week and commuted (~50 minutes each way) the rest of the time, then I took a new job less than ten minutes from home. We got sent home due to COVID a few months after that. Management talks a lot about how they know remote isn't ideal and want to get us back in the office as soon as possible, despite most of the software teams finding they've been equally or more productive as before.
For me, this has been the first time I've been WFH on an equal footing with the whole team, I _love_ it, and I never want to go back to the office. I actually prefer meeting via Teams since I can't hear well and the built in captioning makes it easier, I have better monitors at home than I do at the office, there's never a wait for the bathroom, can pull some lunch out of the fridge or pantry and heat it up at my convenience.
I know some people lament the whole "not having hallway conversations leading to innovation" thing but I'm honestly curious how real that is. I've been in the industry for over 20 years now, the bulk of that in software-focused companies or teams, and while I do have casual conversations with coworkers I can't recall any of them ever segueing into "so here's the challenging thing I'm working on right now..." -- I'm not saying it never happens, just that I can't recall it's ever happened to me.
Some of my coworkers do miss whiteboarding, though I don't have strong feelings about that one way or the other. I'm more of a textual than a visual thinker personally so I've never found diagramming things out to be particularly helpful.
At any rate, while I really like my boss and my team, the day management sends out the "mandatory full-time return to the office in (x) months, including the development teams" email is almost certainly going to be the day I update my resume.
* Having someone clean my works space. My house gets dirtier now and I’m forever cleaning it, doing dishes.
* The distinction between the beginning and end of my work day.
* Having free space in my house.
* Off the cuff dinner and drinks with colleagues.
* No lag meetings and whiteboard sessions.
* Having intervals apart from my family actually felt healthy, although we have adapted to being around each other 24/7 I guess.
* When someone of greater rank than me in an inconvenient time zone wants to have a meeting with me involved, I have to attend. I’ve practically lost all my mornings from 6am - 9am, 3-4 days a week.
Things I like about fully distributed:
* Everyone is remote now so it’s forced us to treat everyone more equally, not just favouring those in the office.
* Less interaction with middle management, this might make it harder to get bonuses etc.
Disclaimer: I just lived in a city 5 minute bike ride from my office so I had a convenient setup, could go home and make lunch etc.
When I had an office I had slack, I had work from home, cafes, sometimes.
Just log off at 5pm or 4pm or whenever you have done your contracted working hours.
I rarely end up in a meeting which goes over my usual working hours. But otherwise I just log off. I don't understand how someone can work longer hours unwillingly when it's entirely in your control.
I guess it depends on how your remote working is implemented. For me I remote in. For others it's a VPN. But either way, cut off all communication avenues until the next morning.
>When someone of greater rank than me in an inconvenient time zone wants to have a meeting with me involved, I have to attend. I’ve practically lost all my mornings from 6am - 9am, 3-4 days a week.
The mistake was attending this even once. Now you've shown a weakness in that you'll attend a terribly scheduled meeting. You need to bring this up, it's not fair to be in work at 6am if that was not the norm before COVID. If your days started at 9am in the office, your days start at 9am at home.
I have that situation, but without the 'unwilling' part. In the office, I have often the situation "Gosh, I'd love to finish this, but if I don't catch the next train I have to wait another half hour for the next one", which automatically makes me stop work at fixed times.
Sure, I could also just stop at the same time at home, but ultimately I always end up working longer hours. Same in the morning; having to catch a train is really something that forces me to hit certain timings; when working from home, staying in bed just a little longer doesn't make me miss any trains.
It's a silly problem and could easily be overcome with enough willpower, but it requires the willpower where otherwise there are already external factors in place that soft-force me to start/stop work.
What you need, as I learned, is discipline, which is really hard to train. you basically have Work hard on small things one at a time until you build the habits you want.
On that topic, this is pretty interesting:
What if the trains started running every 5 minutes? Or what if you moved a little closer and you could walk?
If you don’t want to use willpower to stop working you could add some structured activity (after COVID) like a workout class after work. Or you could generally just make more deliberate plans for you after work time.
Or my personal favorite. Start a hobby you like more than work.
Or the office could move, you could move, your office could change the time of the last meeting of the day etc...
Relying on the granularity of the train schedule to enforce work life balance is brittle at best, and it’s a terrible argument against WFH.
Then it shuts down.
Or write one that sends a message to your partner, friends or flatmates that you'll be done in a few and to put on a kettle.
Plan to have tea or what have you with your SO or flatmate at 5pm sharp. Set an alarm to take your dog out. I'm sure you can come up with other things.
Add things to your schedule that force you to leave, just like your train. Even if you're in a meeting drop a "Sorry folks, we'll have to pick this up tomorrow, I have personal obligations waiting on me" and you're out.
The main reason is that I save easily 90 minutes of commute per day, so it's not bothersome to be available some of that time extra. And the second reason is that I take personal breaks randomly during the day, I'm not always 100% focused on my work, so I don't feel like being available a bit later is a stretch. Flexibility goes both ways.
I meant I miss the routine I used to have, go to the gym, come back home, make breakfast, shower, put on my "work clothes" then psychically go to my office, have coffee with colleagues and then sit at my desk, open my day planner and get started.
That was the queue to begin focusing. Of course I can try do this in my living room, but it just doesn't have the same effect for me personally.
I have meetings at awkward hours which kind of makes me feel like I'm kind of permanently attached to my work. Before hand, there was work time, and home time, work stayed at work, often including my work laptop.
Also this statement kind of bugged me: "I don't understand how someone can work longer hours unwillingly when it's entirely in your control.", if you have a job that allows you to 100% dictate your hours, never having to deal with unexpected problems, outages, personnel issues, then congratulations. It's not a reality for everyone.
I don’t understand this situation. If this happens I reject the meeting invite, and later see it rescheduled (if my attendance was mandatory).
Is there a different way this happens?
Also I just feel that it's becoming culturally more acceptable to attend/schedule meetings at weird times because everyone else accepts it.
If you're the nail that sticks out (by rejecting meetings), you get hammered.
To be fair, this particular meeting I'm supposed to be at is once a fortnight, so I feel that I can't complain too much. Some people I know still commute an hour a day.
It does really inconvenience me in a way that I can't describe, I basically lose an hour of sleep on that day and it really screws me over for the rest of the day, compounding my stress.
This scenario is actually much easier in COVID-WFH because I can just roll out of the bed at 5:45am, run a comb through my hair and fire up the videoconference. When I worked from office it meant waking up at 3:30am, leaving my house at 4am, and getting into the office by 5:30am.
Eh? My schedule for the month rules out anything before 9am.
I guess we’re not going to have that meeting then unless Mr exec thinks it’s more important than something else on his schedule (which is healthy anyway, he shouldn’t have to wake up at 6 any more than you do.)
You also might not be working for a properly distributed global team. Execs I work for are on the other side of the world.
I've said this before by the exec's at my company tell me they have to attend meetings at weird times, so I should have to as well.
Not everyone at the moment has the luxury to just put their job on the line by telling their manager to go stick it. I for example am not in my native country an I rely on my job to support my visa. If I lose my job right now, my visa is potentially lost at a time where finding another job might not be very straight forwards and where my home country isn't allowing citizens to return home yet.
It isn't all bad, I think distributed work culture is evolving and adapting, it's just right now there are certainly inconveniences for those pioneering it.
There is no way I wouldn't hate my job anyway if it was forcing me into ridiculous schedules like that...
>> * When someone of greater rank than me in an inconvenient time zone wants to have a meeting with me involved, I have to attend. I’ve practically lost all my mornings from 6am - 9am, 3-4 days a week.
You know your situation best obviously but to a random outsider this sounds like the (reeeeeeally) common issue of not being well practiced at saying no.
I really miss whiteboard sessions. I've gotten used to zoom meetings, I'm not overloaded with them, and with a proper structured agenda I've found they can be tolerable.
But nothing beats scribbling on a whiteboard with colleagues. We've tried Miro and other tools, but nothing quite has the same feel as those scribbled boxes and arrows on a whiteboard.
When you were in an office and someone scheduled a 6am meeting what would you do?
For me in the office I have a cup that I put in the dishwasher at the end of the day. At home I have a better cup that I put in the office at the end of the day.
If you’re only 5 minutes from your colleagues why can’t you go for spontaneous pub etc (assuming it’s open in your locality) Or pop out for lunch?
As to popping out to the pub with colleagues, again it's tough with the kids home. If I go out anywhere between 4-8 I'm basically sticking my wife with the toughest time of day. Also patio season is done here and you wouldn't catch me drinking indoors during the pandemic.
On the other hand, research schedules are all over the place and people invariably end up scheduling syncups at 6 or 6:30. Pre-pandemic, I would be at a local pub with coworkers at that time!
They could have at any time decided to do the same thing in the office, and many offices do work that way.
If you wouldn’t stay at your company if they required you to be in office 12 hours a day, why would you stay around if they require 12 hour WFH?
I don't understand the productivity unless you just have bad employees playing games or browsing reddit.
My productivity has never been higher. I get more done and have more free time to work on unplanned projects/spikes exploring new tech or rethinking old problems that could be solved better.
> I miss having my employer pay for electricity and heat and fast symmetric multi-gigabit Internet access instead of shifting those costs to me.
If your employer doesn't pay for these things (I'm assuming no one has gotten elec/heat, but I do get my internet bill paid for) you can deduct these on your taxes as a portion of your home if you have a side business like a saas or app or some consulting and reduce your taxible profits. Take a the wasted commute time and put it towards a LLC for yourself :)
> Hell, I miss BART in all its loud and smelly glory.
Who misses the single most time sink in our lives?? If yuo need "alone time" why not go for a walk, jog, or bike ride? Mental and physical health all in one go vs a sedentary ride to a sedentary job
The rest of the stuff is either personal preference or where you chose to live
Some people have issues separating work and home, especially when the lines blur too much due to working from home. an Office makes you know you're at work, and thus it's easier to focus. For many, working from home means more distractions and thus a harder time focusing.
> Personal preference
Everything here is a personal preference, which is not a bad thing. The title starts with "I miss..." so it's not like the author claimed it's a thesis on working from home. It's the author's personal experience which resonated with quite a lot of people, of whom you aren't.
Maybe they also enjoyed the human companionship, which isn't the same over video. Maybe they don't live in a place where they can easily switch to a bigger house for a spacious work space.
You can (and I have), but there are some caveats:
(1) It needs to be "regular and exclusive use" (see https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employe...). Put your desk and computer in a separate room, and it's pretty clear that qualifies. If you live in a small apartment and have your desk in your bedroom, then I'm not sure.
(2) It's only a deduction. Having someone else pay all the costs is much better than paying them yourself but getting back your marginal tax rate times the cost.
(3) As you mentioned, it's only for self-employed people.
For my case, I claimed 1 room of my house as a home office for 10 years, and then when we sold the house my accountant told me we had to pay a huge sum of money in tax because there is a capital gains tax exemption for your primary residence but 25% of the house now did not qualify for that. I paid something like 5 times as much in capital gains tax as I saved from those minor tax writeoffs over the years.
Also - make sure to check insurance. Costs could be higher or you might even not be covered at all.
I do miss the long walks to and from work.
Of course, it's not because of WFH that I'm not doing them, it's because exercising with a mask sucks, so I prefer to do something inside. The OP may be misattributing his feelings.
Right? I'm having a hard time believing someone loves being forced to waste time twice a day, by increasing the likelihood of being in automotive accidents. Go hop on a bus or ride the train if you miss it that badly.
So far I haven't found this to be the case. Somewhat the opposite in fact, although here I'd credit our move from scrum/scrumban to Shape Up as much as working from home.
It's not perfect though. We see evidence of low-lying morale and mental health issues. Nobody's losing their minds, exactly, but plenty of people aren't really happy. Of course, there are many wider reasons why that might be the case. E.g., lockdown in particular seems to turn every day into a sort of mundane Groundhog Day, especially for people who live alone.
The balance point will be different for different people but, certainly, for me, 100% WFH is not the perfect balance (but then neither is 100% office). At least I know I can adapt to 100% WFH well enough when I have to though (unlike 100% office).
There seems to be a lot of newfound concern for the wellbeing of the employees. Interesting how this wasn't an issue before Covid hit, and nobody was asked "would you prefer to work from home rather than having to deal with constant distractions in the office? Would you like to not waste your life away on a useless commute? Are you happy?". Nah, it's only an issue now.
I'm talking about my entire team, including me. These are people I know and work with on a daily basis. Part of knowing people is that you can tell when they're not quite themselves.
I've also polled my team on a semi-regular basis throughout the last 8 months on their preferences going forward, which is how I know I have a range of preferences across the spectrum of WFH versus working from the office. We've always had a flexible approach in this area because of team has always been distributed, but one of the silver linings of the COVID cloud will, I hope, be a more general acceptance of increased flexibility in working conditions for jobs where that's feasible.
Don't you dare put words into my mouth. Take it elsewhere.
Your mileage may vary, of course. Your perception on the team might be true, or it might be that people are afraid of saying how they feel for fear of being singled out. We're just sharing anecdotes.
Companies are a mixed bag. Some of them behave in ways that are deeply cynical. Plenty also don't, or at least most of the time try to avoid doing so.
I will say one of the reasons for more concern over employee welfare is that more employees, at all grades, are displaying signs that all is not well. It's simply a very unusual situation so, in some sense, the greater noise around welfare is to be expected.
With that being said, and despite my general disdain for cynicism (I live in Cambridge: there's a lot of people who want to play the "world weary cynic" role and it gets old), it does have to be acknowledged that despite the best intentions of employees and leaders at all levels, when push comes to shove a lot of "core values" and "culture" go out the window.
Especially when the choice is that or the company goes under, or that and a shareholder revolt, or you can see the writing on the wall and it's this terrible course of action now or a much worse course of action later. People will also of course choose to use wider market conditions as cover for action they've been planning or perhaps should have taken anyway.
All in all it's grim and, as such, it's one of the reasons that if I ever run a company we will have as few "values" as we can get away with, and we certainly won't be trumpeting our "culture" with any self-serving presentations.
It's similar to how the people who would say, "suck it up, buttercup" to people with mental illnesses, are now hand-wringing about mental illnesses exacerbated by measures against COVID. They don't really care, they just found an excuse that sounds good enough to them to rail against something they don't like.
Of course everyone has a different perspective but the majority of my circles enjoys the new arrangement.
If this involuntary experiment has taught us anything, it's that people are very different in their preference. Hopefully people will be allowed a choice when the situation is over.
It's worth noting that a lot of people don't miss the office as much as they miss the social interaction with their co-workers. If a part of the people will return to the office and others prefer to stay home, the social interaction won't be there as it used to and there is a risk of splitting into two camps.
My company has said that WFH will be available to everyone once offices open again. I am very grateful for that.
I miss my coworkers too, but mostly the lunches and after work beers and coffee breaks. What I do not miss is the daily commute and actually trying to get work done in a distracting office environment.
I love rolling out of bed and immediately starting to work. I love not having to waste time getting dressed and driving to work, but using that time to work. I love not being interrupted constantly by coworkers. I love using my own bathroom. I love having immediate access to my own kitchen. I love being able to see my family more frequently. I love getting more work done.
Unfortunately, my work has made it very plain that we will be going back to working in the office at some point (probably has something to do with them completing an additional 5 million square feet of new office space this year).
I have worked for companies big and small, so, I sometimes don't get most of the perks the author talks about.
I absolutely value my privacy and don't want to feel like a criminal for browsing social media during office hours for brief periods of time while people stare into my screen.
I absolutely fucking hate sitting across a transparent windowed room from where my boss can see how long I'm out for lunch and not and bring it up casually during chit chat.
I absolutely hate that wall hanging TV (55") connected to Spotify at all times, playing stupid music I don't like.
I absolutely hate namesake team lunches which again force me to give up my already short lunch break to discuss about work which stresses me out.
I absolutely hate people in open desks sitting across me, talking so loudly that I simply cannot get through my day without an expensive noise cancellation headphone. (Recommendation: Sony 1000XM3 or XM4 works wonders).
I hate forced "team outings" from office for "team bonding" activities which I cannot opt out of.
I hate being dragged into whiteboard "brainstorming sessions" I cannot opt out of, while I could be working on something else important.
I'm at home, doing my own thing, with 100% privacy to do whatever I like whenever I like.
Nobody can walk upto me and yell "Hey, got 2 mins?" and expect me to attend to them or take offense if I don't.
Nobody can drag me anywhere.
People need to now send me calendar invitations which I can accept or reject along with a reason/description in the invite itself.
I have full control over my time and I how I want to spend it.
Team meetings are now shorter, more efficient.
I can finally have some family time, save much more on transit costs and don't need to be tired by the time I reach home.
Perhaps, the most important thing about NOT being in the office is that I'm not judged by the number of hours I'm glued to my desk, but rather the tasks that I complete on time and the quality of output I produce...which is how work should be judged.
THIS is the value of remote work for me. I simply cannot see myself going back to office.
I value my productivity and so should every company hiring me.
> Nobody can walk upto me and yell "Hey, got 2 mins?" and expect me to attend to them or take offense if I don't.
Learn to say "No" to this one. You have to do it politely, of course, but it works. Wedge in an apology, an explanation, and a counter-offer. Make the other person feel bad for assuming they were entitled to interrupt you and then steal your time. Something like, "No, sorry, I really don't right now. I am SLAMMED and have to finish XYZ before noon. Could you come back at 1:30?" If they push, just repeat it.
Trade an anecdote for an anecdote.
We have found our dev team to be exactly as productive if not more since moving to work from home. A single instance of productive remote work invalidates this statement that it is literally impossible for remote work to be productive.
You seem to be interpreting the OP as having said that each and every team is always better in-person. Your read is plausible, but HN guidelines say we should interpret charitably.
1 - Unless you are talking about how to tell those teams apart and discover what environment each one fits better. That would be valuable.
How many companies have a set up where people hotdesk nowhere near their team (sometimes in different buildings) and encourage all meetings online because there is not enough meeting space? I don’t know, but I know it’s not zero.
- air conditioning
- coffee corner chats
- lunch with colleagues
- strong separation between work time and free time
All amenities and none of the negatives.
I miss the separation between having a work desk with a work computer and a hobby desk with a hobby computer and being physically unable to interact with one while at the other due to them literally being several miles apart.
I miss the clear demarcation between Working and Not Working that the daily commute signified.
From my current perspective, I think my favorite model would be something like 2 days per week in the office and 3 days working from home. That way one could balance and appreciate the different advantages.
I have read anti-office posts claiming the opposite of what he says: they feel more productive because they can focus on their job without people bothering them.
Age seems to be a factor too. Married couples don't need so much socialisation (although the post seems to be an exception) and remote work helps to take care of children.
I miss missing her and making our time together that much more special.
While that is true if it's just some singular instance, when living with people (parents, spouses, kids, roommates) it is better to explain it once or twice and after that, just be impolite. Even for the simple reason that they are actually the impolite ones for not respecting your process.
Everyone has a different level of conflict tolerance, of course. But letting someone know that they are being rude and disrespectful should be on the table.
The people that want to go back to the office are also the same people that were wasting everyone's time in the office. Middle managers, office365 consultants, project managers etc. Etc. Generally the people that had the bullshit jobs in the office, and had little contributions except the "social contribution".
I don't not want to go back to the office mainly because of those same people...
And my counter-anecdote is that I'm not seeing that at all. The people I see going back to the office are those who just didn't have good WFH situations (lack of space, family distractions, etc.)
I don't begrudge their attitude but hopefully there is just a split in companies between remote companies and on prem companies.
But there's also a sizable contingent who wants to go back to pre-COVID office life.
And then you look around, what is all this work achieving?
What were we achieving when we worked in the office? Were we doing anything real at all?
Yes, we're good at logical thinking, implementing systems, reasoning about problems etc
This just makes us useful in the end or good at a certain way of thinking.
"Men of science may be simple tools of others, with no more idea what they are about than a hammer has of a house"
I believe this is true of software developers too - if we were truly smart we wouldn't be on the hamster wheel in a cage belonging to someone else
No commute actually gives you under normal conditions the time to build out a real social life instead of a substitute work social life.
I love having a few displays playing ambient information or live 24/7 video streams (eg of the Starships they’re building down in Boca Chica) in my lab.
Having a dedicated (large) room in your house to work is critical, IMO. I set mine up pre-pandemic because I always work from the places I am living, unless I’m directly (and temporarily) onsite with a client.
Simple things like a small question regarding the codebase turns into a video call with a colleague where you first ping them on chat and ask them if they are free and then schedule the call. Even if the whole thing takes 10 minutes, it's too much compared to just turning sideways, asking them something if I was in office.
OTOH, I was much more comfortable working remotely in my previous job where I was already familiar with the code and the job on the whole.
Once someone has fewer unknown unknowns, though, the act of asking a question by text can often be enough of a rubber duck that they don't need to hit "send" at all.
Is that something you can do - just sit on a call with your assigned mentor for most of the day?
If I was a regular developer, working on a single part of a larger application, I would have zero problems working from home. Once you're in a position where you have to coordinate work with several other people, things are very different.
I can imaging that people who manages large teams have a lot of problems dealing with that remotely.
There are tradeoffs, but just the fact that nearly every single one of our conversations are documented and searchable is worth it alone.
You can’t just walk over to talk to someone anytime the notion strikes you, but you shouldn’t have been doing that anyway. I love to talk, and I love to think out loud. But every time I do that, I’m asking someone else to divert there attention to me.
Being remote allows people to turn off the majority of the interruptions and get work done when they need to.
And it forces me to spend more time thinking about my communications. Instead of just constantly walking over to people the moment an idea pops into my head.
Video calls really grind productivity down to a halt. It's a strange phenomenon - when I have a call scheduled, it's really hard to get work done in a half hour neighborhood of the call.
I started going to the store and cooking lunch during work hours.
Then I also get complaints about not doing the dishes while I'm working.
It was nice when the work and home were separated and I just did all my household chores on my non-work time. Now I'm constantly interrupted.
“Hey, I’m busy earning money. Because I’m sitting and thinking doesn’t mean I’m slacking off, and I’m also quite surprised to hear that from my significant other. You don’t know what I’m doing right now and you’re not my manager, so stop controlling and managing my work time. You’re distracting me from my work so please leave me alone. If you can’t look at me thinking and doing my work then please look the other way or go to the other room. Thanks, bye.”
I’m dramatizing, but set boundaries. There’s personal time and work time. When it’s work, it’s work.
That's a long road.
I think it's fair to ask you to pull your weight with the housework but maybe try setting some standard boundaries e.g. between 8-5 or something, so there's no need for an interaction ('are you done working?'). If you're conveniently 'working' every time she asks that's not going to help.
Or you could ask her to do your work while you do the dishes/cook/etc.
My suggestion would be that no matter what you decide, propose the idea proactively. Don't wait until there's an ask on the table.
Ehm... how should I put it... I think your issue is not the separation of work and home per se, rather the separation of you and your SO.
Also no one can tap me on the shoulder :)
> I miss productivity! Our engineering productivity has fallen through the floor since COVID despite everyone working longer and harder; I fundamentally do not think remote teams can ever be as productive as in-person teams.
You miss productivity? Your paycheck-writer should but you have a world of personal opportunity by not being forced to spend half your waking hours on company property.
Working from home made me realize that I could drive my hours of effort way lower than an office allows. All for the same salary (effective hourly rate skyrockets.)
I can now spend my money on my home office and build it as i like it for me and as long as i can work remote, im getting those benefits directly and i'm no longer bound by a company because of those benefits.
I got myself a standing desk at home with a nice real wood top, which is awesome.
I haave to have a work space at home anyway for taxes, learning/writing, playing games, doing something with pictures etc. Now i have a great home office and a great private 'home office'?
And yes holy shit finally a clean nice bathroom i like going to.
My one and only must-repeat tip: spend money on a proper office space. If you can, have a dedicated room. And prepare to spent a few thousand on a proper desk and chair.
Okay I lied, two pieces of advice: the point of a dedicated space is that you can walk away from it and not go back in until the next day or Monday. That's absolutely critical to success.
- Too many distractions, between the noise, other
conversations and shoulder taps
- Waste time commuting.
- No place to close your eyes without being "looked at funny".
- Can't really go home and eat with my family, no time.
- Eating is a struggle, since all the options to eat around
my office are expensive and not too healthy.
- I can't listen to my music without headphones.
- mindless hallway chit chats (they're not for me).
So I guess I'm not an office person in general.
Managers think people are working because are in the office, people think they're working because they're in the office.
But tasks proceed at abysmal pace between impromptu meetings and coffee breaks.
Being alone at home and being judged just for the work you're completing, actually force people to do something, which is why they end up working more at home: having something to show for the next meeting takes time.
There are tons of cons to remote working for the workers:
- Likely worse workspace
- Costs are shifted to the workers
- Lack of social life
- Lower loyalty to employers and teammates who are just a window on your laptop
- Managers will have less of a relationship with you, making you more expendable and more easily replaced with someone in a cheaper country
- Stop with the ridiculous open office plans
- If you have free snacks or a machine with Monster energy drinks, don't get rid of those things a year after instating them
- Give my team a budget for tools, like if we need Parallels or Sketch, and make that budget transparent
- Compensate me for transportation expenses that I wouldn't incur if I had a remote position
- Don't get weird when I leave the office for a few hours to do whatever I want when there are no meetings or high priority tasks
- Don't force me to change desks every 6 months because you failed the to properly organize the workspace the first time
- Give me actual raises and not the poppycock you call a "merit increase" which only keeps up with inflation
- Make it easy to use meeting space to host tech meetups (it's amazing how many businesses don't see the tremendous value in this)
- Get rid of Agile. It doesn't work. All you need is sprints with planning and retrospective, a ticketing system, and a daily status sync through Slack.
I work for a fortune 500 tech company whose stock is up 600% in the past 3 years, and they got rid of the merit increase unless you get promoted or were nearly promo'ed.
Even before that it was generally 1-2%, well below even the meager increases social security provides year over year.
What do you think "agile" is?
They are the worst.
> Get rid of Agile. It doesn't work. All you need is sprints with planning and retrospective, a ticketing system, and a daily status sync through Slack.
Watch some Dave Thomas videos on YouTube. Real Agile software development is nothing like the ridiculous faux-Agile frameworks sold into today's corporate prisons.
I, personally, hope to never return to the office. I was working mostly from home even before the pandemic, but now it’s official.
I am also eyeing the same TV but I am worried about the issues popping up.
I've worked from home for the last 14 years. I've only used Slack for the last 12 months and it sucks (well, how it is used sucks).
While I love the benefits of working from home, I do miss the things that working from an office gives you in the social aspect.
I find Slack is better than Skype For IM. I find zoom the best for face to face meetings and screen sharing (slack doesn’t seem to have a “share this window” option), but slack for starting a quick call and for asynchronous comms, and things like changes and alerts. Email for comms outside the company.
Use whatever tool makes you work well.
I do miss the interactions with coworkers and the water cooler conversations but there are always trade offs.
I'd have to move MUCH farther away from the city (think 1 hour of driving), to get a space where this would work, I've been looking into it for the last 3 months, but so is everyone else, meaning the price where there is broadband available is skyrocketing in my area.
In general the pandemic has decimated the quality of life I used to enjoy in my downtown office, and to get that back I have to rebuild my life from scratch, 2020 and the move to WFH has been terrible in that regard for our family.
I am a Czech; property prices around Prague are hopping mad, but top German cities like Munich are just beyond belief. Buying a house in an expensive region means debt slavery till the end of your days.
Waiting to 2022 does not sound as bad in comparison. You can probably have a big, even though unkempt villa somewhere in Sachsen-Anhalt for the price of a garage in Munich.
But rent slavery is not much better, having my entire extended family living in this High CoL environment makes moving hard on the kids aswell... Atm I have a hard time being happy with any of the combinations of tradeoffs we could make.
We're a small company with healthy finances, but the salary increase necessary to offset the higher rent requirements in this housing market, due to the heavy tax burden would amount to an increase in absolute numbers nearly a third of what we pay for in rent for the whole business, and that's just for me.
Seeing it from both sides is mind-boggling to say the least.
- the commute
- paying for parking
- paying for lunch
- wearing "business appropriate" clothes
- inability to multi-task while sitting through meetings I'm forced to attend
- inability to listen to music via a speaker instead of headphones
My employer, a Fortune 200 company, allowed us to take our machines, monitors, chairs and whatnot home. I have a great setup. My team is more productive than we've ever been and in a way we've been closer as well. This is preferable to sitting on top of each other while wearing headphones so we can maintain some personal space.
A rebuttal to those who dislike the office. I would argue that the many of the downsides of the office tend to be blessings in disguise. You aren't meant to be totally comfortable at work. Going to the office is like a performance. You aren't meant to be totally comfortable while performing a duty. It's like doing a presentation. You shouldn't go up on stage and let it all hang loose. The office space tends to cultivate the right things for working which are not the right things for relaxed living.
Calling it "casual collaboration" is not honest, as that's not collaboration. The other person is not collaborating, just being interrupted to help you with something. the only thing I agree is that you lost the casual talks in the coffee break or kitchen, but that is not always about being more productive.
We solve this by having a special office, placed in a "remote" corner of the building. It's equipped with proper desks, monitors, chair and so on. You can go there if you need a few hours, or days, of dedicated time. If you're working on a specific project, we'll often move the team working on that project to a dedicate office. For your daily job, you just just stay at your normal desk in a semi-open office space, with plenty of meeting room and smaller rooms for calls or online meetings.
The mentorship programs don't really work in my experience without actually being able to talk to them.
1. Main problem is lack of social interaction. I now realize most of my work projects started in casual coffee conversations with people from other groups. Now there's nothing like that, and planned meetings never work that way.
2. Also, I really miss my commute. I had 15km of bike lanes in the forest every day, that were essential to reset my mind and start thinking about the new day. In the evening, the way back home was a useful disconnect.
My biggest problem was because I work a lot with people in Europe which meant that I ended up working very late every night, since there was no natural way to stop in the evening.
Now that we're back in the office 50% of the time, I realise just how much nicer that is. You really get isolated when working from home, and one doesn't really notice it until you actually come back.
Why would you as a company want to pay for an expensive building?
I am more productive with separation of my professional and personal lives.
If productivity is truly down then it just sounds like some work is different and has different needs. As for having a lower quality of life because you now live in a city for no reason, you have to adapt. Things have changed. Deal with it.
And never forget the grass is always greener on the other side.
Those 4 years truly showed what I was missing and in 2019 I decided I was going start my own office and 5 of us started working out of it.
Since we were fully remote already we were already buying everyone nice desks, monitors, keyboards, chairs, etc. at their home but not every home was great for home work even though we did our best.
I have a dedicated office space with 4 monitors, a standing desk, nice chair, ergonomic keyboard, etc. but I still miss working out of the physical office.
- Morning chatter and basic social stuff is nice in a neutral area. We do socialize over video calls too but its in your home where your dogs might be barking, your kids might be crying, your neighbor might be mowing his lawn, etc. The mute button has become an extremely important part of work and that ruins the experience
- Separation of work and home. Doesn't matter if its the holidays and in-laws are in town or your friend from high school is visiting for the week. Or you're watching your friends dog for a week. You still have a nice work environment to go to.
I think everyone of our team misses the office even though we only had one for 1 year of the 4 for we've been in operation.
On one end you have the, I want to be back in an office full time and I don't care about working from home. On the other end you have, working from home is the future and everyone should do it full time.
Where, at least from what I've seen data wise, the majority is something flexible. Where WFH is an option, or something you can do when you feel like it.
What's interesting, and this is purely qualitative, is that to me it seems that folks on the WFH full-time end of the spectrum seem to have zeal for this idea. Whereas those on the other side seem more indifferent.
I personally believe that a hybrid solution is the best. I miss seeing the people I work with. I miss having company culture. I miss having a clear separation of work and home. However, I respect that others may have different goals and methods of working that WFH suits better. We should allow both.
Funny, the way I see it the majority is indeed flexible. Where office work is an option, or something you can do when you feel like it.
I was a manager at a fairly "stolid," classic corporation.
Since leaving that job (pre-covid), I started to "retool" myself back into engineering, and have been working at home, writing software.
My personal productivity is absolutely jaw-dropping. I never thought I would ever be this productive.
Don't believe me? see for yourself: https://github.com/ChrisMarshallNY#github-stuff
But it's an unfair comparison. Apples to oranges. There's drastic differences between what I did in the office, and what I do at home.
I also have a fairly massive monitor (an LG Ultrawide 49"). It makes a really big difference in productivity. I used to do all my programming on my laptop, during downtime from work (nights, weekends, travel, and vacation).
I think the opposite - online collaboration is always more productive, we can share documents easily, there is more focus, i can ignore parts of it, multitask etc. And the fact that you can have international people at will makes them superior.
The only thing that has worked for me in the past is to go to coffee shops and despite the noise and general discomfort, my brain instantly goes into work mode and I can focus. But this isn't really viable w/ lockdowns.
I mean something to prime your brain to "it's work" mode.
I've never had problems with working from home, but reading your post made me think of things which I'm perhaps doing differently. A morning ritual is something I've always done, not intentionally though, it developed organically.
So, I always start work in the same way: make coffee, connect VPN, hook up the tmuxes, start the web browser and start the mail program. (Those processes get purposefully killed every night)
It's just some silly busy work which takes very little time. It is also something I would not do outside of workdays. However, it mimics the things I'd do (and did) at the office.
Also, maybe your dedicated room is too quiet? If you were a cubicle/open landscape worker prior to the pandemic, you surely now lack all kinds of uninteresting and annoying ambient noises, so could it be this silence makes things feel "wrong"? Perhaps a radio on an uninteresting channel might work?
I changed the light in my office from a normal (for home), "warm" bulb to a 1500lm 6300K "daylight" one, which helps. It no longer feels like I ought to be relaxing at 15:45.
I'm also going to make more effort to just cycle or walk around outside over lunchtime. Both things were easier when working at the office -- it felt like a "work" place with bright lights and big windows, and I couldn't avoid the outside-time to get there.
The fact is, I had a 45 minutes commute (so 1h30 every day!) before the pandemic. That quickly adds up to almost 8 hours per week in the bus/metro.
Why not move closer to the city? Well for one I don't like living in high density urban areas. The noise level, construction work and high price makes it uninteresting to me.
So I would love the hybrid 2 days in the office, 3 days remote to have real meetings without having to go back wasting ~10% of my waking time in public transports, but I absolutely understand that some (especially with children!) might want a clean separation between home and work.
I miss the commute time ( never more than an hour and a half on the busiest of commutes ) and the transition from home to work and work to home again.
I don't think I cared for doing either full time; office or working from home. So I liked being able to mix it up. The variation of it was refreshing.
I liked experiencing the increased likelihood of encountering unexpected events and people. The greater randomness of experience.
Do miss: Face-to-face meetings, bumping into people you know from other teams randomly, dropping by someone's desk to ask a question.
Don't miss: High density open office environment (honestly don't mind open office that much as long as density is reasonable), commute (40 mins each way), free food / snacks (easier to eat healthy at home).
After weighing up the pros and cons though, I think I would probably choose to go back to the office after the pandemic is over, although I might optimize for a job where I get my own office or a low density open office.
I recently wrote about that at some length, in fact: https://taoofmac.com/space/blog/2020/10/29/2200
I've been remote for years now and this has been an "eternal September" (or, rather, March) kind of thing where all of a sudden hundreds of people in my immediate professional circle were forced to have new work habits while the couple of dozen of us who were used to "regular" remote work watched a variety of small scale train wrecks as people realized they had to do meetings differently, be more flexible about scheduling, etc.
* It's more inclusive, for sure. Everyone has to use Slack/Teams/whatever to interact, so you don't feel like everyone in the room is ignoring the remote guy inside the little box on the table.
* If you have a home office, it is _way_ more comfortable than anything else you might usually have at a "regular" office. For instance, you get a door you can close instead of open space insanity.
* If your kids are still in school (and not sent home because of COVID) you get to pick them up (that's my daily outdoor exercise).
* You are no longer taking hours (sometimes days) travelling to the office, customers and whatnot.
* More, shorter meetings that completely destroy focus time. I've taken to block out 2h a day at least where I will simply not take calls or even reply to chats in order to get stuff done.
* Longer working hours (which I also completely blame on the pandemic--it's become much worse this year).
* Your life feels more "crammed in". Part of it is due to the insane work schedules, but confinement means shopping and chores (like doing the dishes, cooking or laundry) have to be done _somewhen_, often into the night time.
* You may be physically around your kids, but most often so busy or exhausted that it takes extra effort to devote the required level of focus and attention you absolutely _have_ to give them in these trying times.
On the whole, though, I still don't want to go back to an office.
Yes, it's harder to create new relationships, to learn a new org, etc. But even when things get back to "normal" (if ever), I don't think I'd be able to deal with going to an office more than once a week, because the benefits will then far outweigh the downsides (at least for me).
With the pandemic bringing lockdowns, a lot of my colleagues thought work from home is great as they could stay in pyjamas all day long.
Finally, as we see ourselves away from office in the near future, people are realising WFH isn't as fancy as it seemed. After a while it takes a toll on anyone and feels like living in a cage/prison.
I've got a decent home studio but getting the heck away from home regularly is really important for staying sane.
I don't want to be forced to be there, not even one day a year.
But I want to have the option to be with my co-workers for a couple of days every few months.
But now I have kids at home all day and working from home is hell.
It’s all about context.
And you are correct: A lot of people don’t have good setups to work from home. And then on the other end, some offices are amazing and some are terrible. People who want people to come into an office should really try to make a better experience. Forcing people to come into a crappy office is insane.
Staying home is obviously the right thing, but I miss choice.
Sure, I need to work from either the living room or the office space downstairs.
But, I really miss my coworkers and all of the ways that collaborating is easier in person. It’s nice to be able to work from home some of the time, but all of the time sucks.
Obviously, with quarantines in place that almost impossible, so hang in there, it will become better.
- People to clean your workspace;
- People to replace equipment when necessary;
- People to design your workstation;
- Free electricity;
- Free phone;
- Free security;
And the list goes on... all these costs have been shifted to workers.
If the valley weren't so awful this WFH would really be getting to me. But that's not the case and I'm really enjoying my time.
Remote teams are much more productive as "in-person teams". What maybe is missing for you is that remote teams are polishing their process, documentations and tools and searching people that "fit" in this working style for years while the "in-person teams" are trying to learn it just now.
- You have too much company at home, or you have none.
- You cant prioritize well
- You hate your job and you get distracted
- You need supervision
TL/DR: you think half a year of WFH is hard? It's nothing compared to decades working from the office.
I think that's the big difference here. Someone single like me absolutely loves WFH. I make a very good salary, don't have to worry about even showering if I don't want to. I have my own dual monitor setup.
I can order whatever food I'd like. I wouldn't mind doing this forever , and the vaccine rolling out so we can all do concerts and stuff.
If someone is lonely working remotely and they miss humans, it is a sign the only humans they interacted with were colleagues. It's also a sign of what the person could try and improve.
This situation exposed a lot of crutches.
I genuinely feel the opposite. Relying on your few off hours to satisfy your innate human need for socialization places an unhealthy demand on your off hours, not to mention an unfair demand on your friends and family.
I am now forced to spend 8 hours a day in my home office not speaking to anyone other than Slack and the occasional Zoom and the loneliness is somehow my fault for not having an active enough social life to counteract this? What about rest and reflection?
This is an infuriating argument. Humans were never intended to spend so much time alone, we’re social animals.
The bonds I form outside of work are simply because we enjoy eachother's company. Or a shared hobby. Something that doesn't require me to be at the top of my performance. As long as I don't do something ridiculously inappropriate, they will still be my friends.
> Why should where I spend the majority of my waking hours, the majority of my life in practical terms, not also be my primary source of socialization?
I think because the primary goal is to work. Socialization is a plus, but it will never be your main focus, as mentioned above you will not build meaningful relationships (I mean, not entire impossible, just not as likely).
> Relying on your few off hours to satisfy your innate human need for socialization places an unhealthy demand on your off hours, not to mention an unfair demand on your friends and family.
I don't think it's an unfair demand to want to spend time with friends and family (that is the point of them). Anyone that is thinking that is probably not someone you want to be spending time with...
> Humans were never intended to spend so much time alone, we’re social animals.
I think this is what wife/kids are for. I can't speak for others, but it works for me! 99.9% of my time out of work is with them, and have never felt lonely. Not everyone is in that position I suppose, but then friends would have to fill that gap.
I am not a social animal, I think you'll find the 'non social humans' to be a larger group than you imagine. Just because we have 'do' doesn't mean we all are.
No x is an island.
Because you'll change employer, maybe frequently, and most of your relationships with colleagues will fall away when you do, where relationships with friends are lifelong.
WFH allows me to see more of my partner and my real friends in my local area, removing wasted commuting time into the bargain.
That’s such a weird accusation. No I’m not. I get paid to work, and I do good work, but I am not there to work. My goal in life is not “to work”.
That sounds absolutely miserable.
But fundamentally, your employer - the other party in your most basic work relationship (between you and the company that employs you) - does see you as being "there to work".
And the moment you switch jobs, or get moved into another business unit, or get laid off, those social relationships with your (now-former) coworkers aren't automatically there during the work day. If you want to preserve them, guess what? You're looking at using those off hours.
I understand your argument a bit better if you're treating socialization like caffeine or something - a purely functional hit of dopamine that gets you through the day. But I think that's maybe a fundamental disagreement on the premise of social life.
Which leads to the other side of this. I want my time in the office to be about work. I don't mind socializing some, and I like my coworkers well enough, but we hired them because they were good at their jobs and didn't seem like bad people to be around. Not because I thought they'd be good friends, or have similar hobbies to me. Because of that, given the choice, I'd rather spend social time with the group of friends I have cultivated myself, instead of having my coworkers try to force a connection just because we sit near each other at the office.
I don't go to work to support someone's else's lack of a social life outside of work, and just because I was required by my job to be in the same room as you doesn't mean you can/should expect me to like you as more than someone I work with. There's plenty of coworkers I like and some I'm actually friends with, but also plenty of people who try to use the conditions of our mutual employment to fill in for friendships they didn't develop outside of work.
That seems an uncharitable way to put it. People only make friends in general by putting themselves out there and making an effort. Is the difference between those two groups merely that the 'actual friends' are the ones who you ended up liking rather than having to pretend to like?
I'm not sure how to respond to this.
Of course it's not, and neither mine. My goal in life is also not "to be in an office" either. But when I am in one, I'm there for work. The office is a workspace, that's literally the point of it...
If not, you are probably there to work.
If you were paid and work there, but every time you did something that looked like socialising someone would come over and tell you to stop, reminding you that you are there to solely to work, would you stay there?
If you'd leave, you are probably not there solely to work.
But I think it's probably not healthy if it's all you have, or even relied upon as "primary" when it can change out from under you in a matter of hours.
Work socialization is fine, but I'd cautious making it your primary source. What happens when you change jobs? It can also make it hard to remain professional at work.
Maybe, but I and many others seem perfectly fine with less and/or different social interaction. Personally, I'm more of a few, but deeper friendship person than many shallow relationships person. I'm perfectly happy being home with my wife and dogs.
Besides I don't necessary trust people at work, so I don't see a much need to be socializing.
Humans were also never intended to be forced to somehow "produce money" with other humans.
"Being a social animal" for millennia meant finding your role in a relatively small group of people who shared your basic values about survival and mores, and that you could observe and befriend (or fight) over a literal lifetime, while carrying out tasks that were directly linked to your survival. That differs significantly from industrialized societies. People you work with don't necessary share anything with you. Socialization has become rote and fake. Your tasks are often meaningless to you.
This creates a feeling of alienation and powerlessness in a lot of people. For them, staying at home meant reconnecting with tasks that carry actual meaning (improving their home, looking after their loved ones, etc). Their socialization might have actually increased.
Obviously, if you found the pre-covid arrangement meaningful and life-fulfilling, now you're unhappy that it was taken away from you.
Finding your role in a relatively small group of people describes most of my experience working in offices. You share the time and experiences doing some thing you have to do, not something you want to do. Locating sustenance or making copies, it’s same same. It’s an activity you do because you have to, not because you chose to.
Additionally, you have things in common by socializing, not the reverse.
> Locating sustenance or making copies, it’s same same
Your belly going hungry is a direct incentive in ways that "maybe in three months I'll get a salary increase if I do this well" simply is not, imho.
> you have things in common by socializing, not the reverse.
See, that's the difference between tribe life and modern life: now you don't even know if you have anything in common unless you actively socialize. In a tribe, commonality was immediate and from birth, socialization was a given, and you had to take active steps to be alone. Now it's effectively the opposite: you are alone unless you take steps not to be. Which has its pros and cons.
I assure you a fair number of office workers have come close enough to "your belly going hungry", and its modern extension "struggling to pay the rent and bills", that they are quite motivated to keep the job they have.
Probably not HN tech workers so much. But even some of those will have struggled for basics at some time or other.
Humans were never "intended" to catch deadly respiratory viruses either, but here we are. For that matter, neither were humans "intended" to work on computers. The situation is what it is and it seems naive to expect no changes to our lifestyle when the external circumstances have changed so drastically.
I’m arguing it’s ok to lament the loss of socialization while working, how you spend most of your time.
There’s a pandemic, and I am lonely. I think the comment I was replying to blaming that on me not having good enough friends and family is both pointed and hurtful.
I have a wonderful support system, and I am still lonely, particularly during the work day.
> Humans were never "intended" to catch deadly respiratory viruses
Strictly semantically speaking, I think billions of years of history disagree. I understand the point you’re trying to make, but respiratory diseases were here long before us, they’re a fact of the environment we were born into. There is no intent in that one way or the other.
Sometimes when people use language like that, I can't tell if they really mean intent, or just use it as shorthand for evolutionary fit.
Important point on the wording: Humans were never intended to spread deadly viruses to the vulnerable population. Almost all of the people complaining about measures to prevent the spread are in low-risk groups and do not have anyone close to them in a high-risk group/relying on having a working medical system.
Now it's all be taken away.
Maybe in the OP’s case it’s the kind of thing where you take a group bus to a trail, and that’s the problem.
In my country Corona related deaths are about 1% of all deaths, but it’s treated as if it is extremely deadly.
Thirty years later I still have friends from school who I swear have no other friends other than those from school days or their current job. Some don't even know their neighbors!
The difficult part is they look just like the rest of us and the cues are different for determining who is who though usually avoidance of after work get together and even lunch are clear sign. The key is to know when to back off as some are very comfortable in their personal world
My point was on this particular shortcut in many articles including large publications:
A: I work at the office
B: I'm not lonely
Not A => Not B (I don't work at the office therefore I'm lonely), and then coming up with a solution that it's time to get back to the office, failing to respect the contraposition, and implying that there's equivalence with a hidden B ==> A implication that is not necessary true.
Your point does not contradict my comment, actually, because all these are outside of "work/office". Again, my point was about the equivalence between remote work and loneliness not being automatic. One way to go through that is having a social life outside of the office. Granted, many things have closed, but that's why I said it was a sign of what the person could try and improve (finding things that haven't closed, finding joy somewhere else). Not saying it's easy.
That makes absolutely no sense, these interactions are completely different from those you would have with your co-workers, and it’s perfectly normal even for people with an otherwise active social life to miss those. My friends and family are almost universally incomparable to my coworkers in almost every way.
There are people for whom being stuck in their WFH area for 8 hours a day 5 days a week with no social interactions is very unpleasant, even if after work they have a robust social / family life. Some of them were reporting this doing WFH prior to Covid.
The most amazing social life outside work won't compensate for that daily gap which occupies about half of their waking hours.
Some people need more regular personal interactions throughout the day than that.
On top of that, some people's work creativity or mental stimulation thrives on social interactions with colleagues in the same or related work domain. A social life with friends and family does not substitute for "work-oriented social interactions" with people who are grinding on the same kinds of problems, for example drinking buddies with whom you can discuss code. It doesn't really matter if these people are long term friends, as it's a different kind of stimulation.
I wonder if the US long-hours culture contributes to this.
Maybe you are just lucky that the office is the only place where you lost regular social interactions.
In addition, as many have noted, part of the loneliness problem that many are facing is only partly about offices. It's the fact that many other activities are foreclosed right now as well.
I normally cowork with friends around once-twice a week (I did the same before the pandemic!) but I'm lucky to live in a big city with lots of friends. Or maybe that is exactly your point? That now that people are freed from the office they can meet and work with friends?
And even then I still miss specifically office socialising. I like knowing my colleagues and having a feeling of we're in this together. I like the random break chats throughout the day and meeting folk from other teams organically. I hate that the majority of my day now is just sitting at a desk alone talking to no one. It's perfectly valid to want socialisation from work, it's not necessarily caused by a poor social life outside of work.
This is a symptom of being in a pandemic, where in many places you are forbidden or heavily discouraged to socialize.
I've been working from home since March. This is not what normal working from home looks like, this is what working from home _during a pandemic_ looks like.
Maybe it depends on the project or who you're working with but I'm not seeing it anymore with from home.
In fact it's gotten pretty boring. I'm almost over it.
I worked because it was fun. Now the fun has basically gone away it's not as appealing.
Thinking of taking a year off and just doing my own thing.