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Working from Home since March 12, 2020.
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MacNNFamous
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May 4, 2021, 10:59 AM
 
Anyone else? It's so bizarre. My employer is pretty old school and WFH was not even remotely a consideration; the management/average age is higher, and when I was hired they didn't even allow jeans (lol). I was sent home on March 12th, 2020, and by and large did not go back to the office until last fall, one time, outside, and then maybe 7 days total this spring just for testing we could not do digitally/remotely.

Couple things:

1. I never drive anymore. I have a beater hybrid for commuting but it's sort of pointless now, since it's whole purpose was to save gas money. In terms of annual mileage, I am pretty sure I put more miles on snowmobiles than cars in the past year, and I don't think I'm even exaggerating. I think about selling it but it's worth less than 3k, and honestly I like the car a lot... but idk. I have a lot of cars, and I'm still passionate about them but the back of my brain is wondering if this is even worth it, if I'm never driving around.

2. Wake up in underwear, walk 30' to work, and since I don't feel like running the AC all the time, that's how it went. I live in a wooded area so sometimes I'd even go outside like this, since nobody can see my house/yard once the forest fills in. I am pretty sure 2020 was the least amount of clothing I have worn since I was under 5. Even then, maybe less. Close to naked most of the year.

3. Breakfast at home is awesome. I hate getting up really early, rushing to work, and then scarfing something down. IN contrast while I'm checking email I'm usually frying up some eggs, veggie sausage, hash browns, and topping w peppers and onions and cheese every day. Lot of protein early in the morning makes me feel a lot healthier, and it's been so cheap compared to eating at the cafeteria/out.

4. I spend a lot more time outside, and I feel a lot more connected to nature. Sketch outside, take some meetings outside, I've learned to know which birds make which noises, and I've befriended chipmunks and can now hand feed them and pet them if I chill near the bird feeders. It's weird to notice now, this year, the order in which plants do what.

5. Running/biking/discing over lunch is awesome. Getting exercise midway through the day is fantastic; I can't imagine going back to a cube for 8 hours again.

Will be interesting to see what long term effects this will have. I've been killing it, and part of that is the ability to work really late at night sometimes, if I feel like it. We don't have laptops, so this wasn't possible before.
     
ghporter
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May 4, 2021, 11:16 AM
 
There is no way for me to do my job remotely. While many folks were complaining about not being able to interact with their coworkers because they couldn’t actually go in to work, I was working my tail off treating people who were directly impacted by COVID. This experience makes me want to - at least metaphorically - punch the snot out of COVID deniers, and otherwise “get the attention of” people who doubted that COVID was something they, themselves needed to worry about.

On the other hand, my wife’s job was already “work from home.” The isolation from coworkers and that level of support they could provide with work day challenges was something she’d already worked through when the rest of the world discovered WFH.

She maintained a daily schedule that included dressing for work. Her work dress code was “relaxed” to say the least, but she was always dressed nicely - if comfortably. We both believe in the idea that “costuming” helps one focus on the job.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
OAW
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May 4, 2021, 12:50 PM
 
I’ve been WFH full time since March 2020 as well. It hasn’t been an issue for me in my line of work since if I have my laptop and a speedy internet connection I can be productive from just about anywhere. I’m not sure if or when we’ll return to the office. At this point it doesn’t look like it will be until Q3 2021 at the earliest and highly influenced by vaccine rollouts in the area.

OAW
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 4, 2021, 02:02 PM
 
Working as a keyboard coach has kept me afloat for the past year, since live gigs have all but dried up, except for a handful of livestreams and two or three actual live appearances under Covid conditions.

I would never have entered the realm of online classes if I hadn't been forced to, and I have to say, I'm rather surprised at how effective they can be. I supplant classes with YouTube tutorials I create or with a quick reference video sent via Whatsapp or iMessage for things that are hard to explain but easier to show.

I *really* dig walking ten metres to work, and being able to use short breaks to whip up some food, or use a no-show lesson to make coffee or take a walk.
     
subego
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May 4, 2021, 02:39 PM
 
Anything computer related was already WFH for me, so I already did a fair amount. What changed is my partner used to use my home studio all the time, and that had to stop. We’ll probably keep it that way. There were reasons we were avoiding it, but it turned out better than expected.
     
OreoCookie
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May 5, 2021, 01:30 AM
 
I’ve been working from home since middle of February 2020, my wife started staying home March 2020. Just in time my new 12.9 iPad Pro was delivered and this thing allowed me to go paperless. My wife and I are perfectly happy working from home, and it is something I’d like to continue doing in the future, at least some days of the week. It is nice to have lunches together and I am overjoyed to see how much my wife loves her colleagues. It is nice to be able to do some chores when I am in a lull or my wife has some time off, because she is waiting for some of her colleagues to do something to their SAP database.

The only thing missing is the human element. In STEM you are mostly dealing with a bunch of introverts, but even we do need some in-person interaction to balance our souls. It really sucks not being able to travel to meet friends and colleagues. And I find I am really out of the loop when it comes to important office gossip.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
ghporter
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May 5, 2021, 12:22 PM
 
My wife and I discussed this at length yesterday. A lot of what we might miss from interaction at the workplace feels positive, but at the same time, if the majority of our adult interaction is at work, what does that say about our lives?

Both my wife’s parents and mine had full lives, balanced between work and non-work. My dad was big in the local bowling league, and both of my parents were leaders in a little theater group. My wife’s parents were equally active, with a broad social life, both shared and individual.

Today, we’re pushed to be more productive and more efficient at work. That is always at the cost of our non-work lives. My dad would come home, eat dinner, change clothes and then go work at getting another 300 game with the league. When I come home, I’m quite tired, both physically and intellectually. Why? Because we’re doing more work with fewer workers. While that tends to “improve shareholder value,” it has diminishing returns. It might look good on a balance sheet - for a while - but it often results in productivity increases that don’t actually track staffing and work hours.

I think the trend for job changing is more about burnout than about “it’s not as good a fit as it used to be.” This kind of burnout is insidious; it doesn’t even feel like burnout. But we get to a point where the intrinsic rewards of the job are far less fulfilling than the financial rewards. And who’s gotten anything like a “decent” longevity raise lately? So turnover is higher and higher with more and more pressure to be more productive. And turnover is a cost - often a large one. Those balance sheets don’t show the lack of balance in corporate demands compared to employee needs.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
andi*pandi
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May 5, 2021, 02:32 PM
 
We won't go back until fall, if then. While the dog is happy, I don't miss traffic and am saving a bunch of money not buying cafeteria lunch, there was something about sitting down at my desk that was ON and going home was OFF. There is no on/off. I feel like I'm constantly working. I also feel pressure to constantly work since they laid people off in January. My boss wants to prove we can do the work inside instead of spending $$$ with vendors, we have been griping for years about it, but now there's too much work and we can't say no.

I'm very tired.
     
Doc HM
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May 6, 2021, 03:20 AM
 
It's great that some people like Rob have gained greatly from WFH. It sounds like he has a reasonable amount of autonomy in his situation. Others experiences may differ.
I was WFH for large chunks of the past year (I lecture part time at a local college), and it was a dismal experience both for the students who have lost out enormously in deliverable lessons and us lecturers who thrive on direct contact with students. A lot of my students are lower ability and have EHCPs (Educational Healthcare Plans) so need support in lessons. They have lost access to this. As a result attainmant is waaaay down and vital life opportunities have been lost. It's a shame but also there wasn't really an alternative although some decent funding for students IT needs would have been nice (ie essential).

For "middle management" and those in autonomous, self directed jobs with colleagues who trust them to work, WFH seems to work well, but a lot of the workforce is going to become trapped in always on, always available, relentlessly monitored environments with companies shirking their health and safety responsibilities, saving costs and making more profit while their staff working conditions deteriorate.

I hope this is a transition period where eventually an accord is reached between workers and companies about the healthiest and most supportive way to WFH but so far it seems to be viewed as a massive cost saving exercise by most companies.
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OreoCookie
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May 6, 2021, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
I was WFH for large chunks of the past year (I lecture part time at a local college), and it was a dismal experience both for the students who have lost out enormously in deliverable lessons and us lecturers who thrive on direct contact with students. A lot of my students are lower ability and have EHCPs (Educational Healthcare Plans) so need support in lessons. They have lost access to this. As a result attainmant is waaaay down and vital life opportunities have been lost.
That has been my experience as well. Lecturing has mostly become me talking into a screen, and the interaction between me and the students was close to zero. That is so bad for so many reasons: students can't ask follow-up questions and I cannot assess with a glance whether my students's eyes have glazed over because I have been too quick or whether they are following along. Plus, depression amongst students has risen. My PhD students lives in a <20 m^2 apartment, and when you spend most of your time in such a crammed space, you are bound to get depressed.
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
For "middle management" and those in autonomous, self directed jobs with colleagues who trust them to work, WFH seems to work well, but a lot of the workforce is going to become trapped in always on, always available, relentlessly monitored environments with companies shirking their health and safety responsibilities, saving costs and making more profit while their staff working conditions deteriorate.
In my experience, this is a two-edged sword. The added flexibility allows you to do things like get your kid vaccinated in the middle of the day. But on the other hand, like you wrote, the border between work and private life becomes fuzzy. Furthermore, many apartments are not ideal for working from home.
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
I hope this is a transition period where eventually an accord is reached between workers and companies about the healthiest and most supportive way to WFH but so far it seems to be viewed as a massive cost saving exercise by most companies.
It seems the optimum for many jobs is a hybrid model where you only come into work selectively. It also depends on how it is done. Here in Japan I have read that many companies will implement measures to check whether employees are actually at their computers. Very bad idea. The important thing is that work gets done, not when people sit at their desks at home.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
ghporter
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May 7, 2021, 10:18 AM
 
I can’t fathom actually lecturing to a camera (stand alone or on a laptop).

All of my teaching experience was very much in person, and a key point to that mode of instruction was the direct interaction with students. I paced my presentation based on how each student reacted and interacted.

I could tell when a particular student just didn’t “get” something; I could quickly circle round to reiterate or restate the point (without singling out that one student), or ask another student to paraphrase, or use some other technique to get everyone up to the same level. Because if one student was clearly not getting it, others were still fuzzy.

Part of this was because I could not stand behind the lectern and speak. I was constantly moving. Not only did this keep students awake (“where’s he going now??!!??”) but it allowed me to pick up all the subtle, nonverbal cues they presented. This guy felt like I was just dragging the lecture out - but he never volunteered to answer questions - but this one’s note taking was so copious that she might not have been prepared for today’s class…

I simply cannot imagine how I could do any of that with a screen full of a bunch of vignettes of my students shrunk to fit on a screen. I guess I’m old fashioned.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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May 7, 2021, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I simply cannot imagine how I could do any of that with a screen full of a bunch of vignettes of my students shrunk to fit on a screen.
Perhaps it is time to get a bigger TV / monitor. 4K or 8K. Or build a monitor array. Anything, so the individual students approach full resolution. There is plenty of display stock on hand, unlike graphics cards.
     
ghporter
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May 7, 2021, 05:18 PM
 
Fortunately (?) that’s not something I need to be concerned about at the moment.

However, if it works out that I will be in that position, I am certain I’ll have plenty of help getting ready for it. It’s obviously at least as big a big difference for the students as for the lecturer, so the whole milieu would be new for me.

“Not in person” teaching takes different techniques, and often different structure from teaching the state material in person. I’m fully aware of that, just not “up to speed” on it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Paco500
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May 12, 2021, 10:24 AM
 
I was largely home-based prior to COVID, so in some ways, is hasn't changed much. But there has been a healthy amount of suck.

1. Like Andi, there is no on/off anymore. My desk is five feet from my bed. I find myself chained to it far, far too much.
2. I manage a pan-european team, most of whom I've not spent time with physically in over a year. One was hired post locked-down and I've never met face-to-face. Zoom happy hour is not the same as going out for a drink after work and really talking. I miss that.
3. I used to travel quite a bit. Mostly around EMEA, but trips to India and US occasionally. I really miss that. I love my family, but damn, I really miss the down time of travel. I don't imagine a good bit of that will ever come back. Good for the planet. Bad for selfish little me.
     
Thorzdad
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May 14, 2021, 10:58 AM
 
As a freelancer, I've been WFH (and househusband, stay-at-home dad, etc.) for years. My wife, otoh, has always had an office job. When she became WFH last year, it took a lot of getting used to. We're on the downsizing side of life, and the only place roomy enough for her to work is the kitchen table downstairs. My office/studio is upstairs. The upshot of this arrangement is I've ended up spending most of my days up in my studio so I don't interrupt her many phonecalls, zoom meetings, etc.

So, essentially, I've been a prisoner in my own home for over a year now. I come out mostly when my chores require me to be downstairs (i.e. cooking, baking, laundry, cleaning, mowing, yadayada). I can't say being in the same house together 24/7/365 has exactly been a good thing for us, either.
     
OreoCookie
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May 14, 2021, 07:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
As a freelancer, I've been WFH (and househusband, stay-at-home dad, etc.) for years. My wife, otoh, has always had an office job. When she became WFH last year, it took a lot of getting used to. We're on the downsizing side of life, […] I can't say being in the same house together 24/7/365 has exactly been a good thing for us, either.
Sorry to hear that. That’s the downside of the transition to more WFH: our living spaces aren’t up for it. If I had known, I would have opted for a bigger apartment, too. Especially if two people have Zoom/equivalent conferences going at the same time, it gets, hmmm, crowded.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Brien
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May 15, 2021, 01:24 AM
 
We were (un)fortunate to be in the process of house shopping when the world went to hell, so we planned for an extra room that could serve as an office. I've been WFH since March as well, and sounds like that's my new normal forever - company is trying to sell/sublease the building. I don't blame them - why pay for something they aren't using. It's going reasonably well, although I do miss socializing with people other than my immediate family.
     
ghporter
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May 15, 2021, 10:25 AM
 
One thing my wife and I didn’t run into was getting tired of being “together” all the time.

First off, I was still working in a hospital through most of the pandemic, while my wife stayed home with her VPN-connected job. Then, this past March when I hurt my leg, I was not able to work, so we’ve been together ever since.

Honestly, we’ve been wanting to spend more of our time together for years. Unfortunately for me, once I had to stop working. that meant being sort of hobbled for a while, then having surgery, then getting over that. I’m at the point now where I can do household things pretty easily, and we’re settling into a “together” routine.

I guess we’re lucky; my wife is my favorite person in the world, and (clearly she’s insane, but) she says I’m hers.

What’s been the challenge though, throughout the pandemic, is not being able to “DO” things. We like movies, dining out, and other “with other people around” stuff, and that’s been nixed for the past year. We were never completely comfortable with how most people behaved in such situations; being oblivious to one’s surroundings is not a strong survival trait, and it’s irritating as hell. But we tolerated most of them to be able to see films on big screens, discover new dining experiences, look at art exhibits, and so on.

Until I got hurt, we would hike our local greenway system (paved and smooth, but not necessarily at all “flat”) just to get out and experience the world. It was great during those hikes, but they were infrequent at best because of my work schedule. I hope to be able to start walking more than household distances soon, and maybe we’ll be able to get back into those wonderful outdoor experiences. But we’re doing just peachy being together as much as we are.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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