Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 161 total)
  • Working from home – a societal change?
  • Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    So, before COVID-19 I worked from home quite regularly, but also travelled quite regularly.  This was main early morning catching trains London-Birmingham, or away in Dorchester type thing 2-3 days a week.

    But with isolation comes the more fixed hours no travel perspective.  Suddenly I’m less stressed, more in control and am seeing the kids / have more family time than ever.

    Its struck me using myself as an example that if this doesn’t stay pretty much the same, I/we could (maybe) end up considering looking new job that fits around that perspective.

    With this new perspective on being able to work from home quite successfully like this, perhaps business revenues down meaning we should limit travel expenses and cost of office space, and fear of COVID-19 wave 2,3 4 etc, do you think there’ll be a lot more home working in the future?   Its already purported a lot of people have found they CAN work from home whereby it wasn’t a consideration before, se will it be much more prevalent/sought after and dare I say it, even the new normal?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    BBC News – Coronavirus will transform UK work and travel, says AA
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52137968

    ElShalimo
    Member

    Humans need interaction, a regular place of work with the mundane conversations over a coffee etc is good for your mental health.

    Also face to face contact in business is essential as phonecalls , Skype etc don’t quite capture the tone, subtext etc that you can pick up on in a real meeting

    gobuchul
    Member

    I hope so.

    In my mind, it work make more sense for the majority of work to be done from home, avoiding travel time, pollution and use of resource. A bit like the previous norm of WFH 1 day a week, maybe go into an office 1 day a week or even less.

    Humans need interaction,

    I agree. Interact with your friends and family, use the commute time to do this.

    a regular place of work with the mundane conversations over a coffee etc is good for your mental health.

    Disagree.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Humans need interaction, a regular place of work with the mundane conversations over a coffee etc is good for your mental health.

    Our bike club has been having a Saturday coffee morning over Zoom, and I’m not the first to be orgnasing a “lads night in” with Zoom either.

    Also face to face contact in business is essential as phonecalls , Skype etc don’t quite capture the tone, subtext etc that you can pick up on in a real meeting

    As a travelling salesman where this kind of thing is deemed essential, I’m doing OK using Teams with Video.

    Besides, my OP isn’t referencing a total lack of f2f, just a changed toward more jobs and a greater desire to WFH.

    nickjb
    Member

    I used to do the usual 9-5 with a commute. Didn’t really have a problem with it but I eventually landed a job that allowed greater flexibility and a short commute. Total life changer. I’ve now moved to complete flexibility and WFH. So much better. I hope people will learn from this and seize the opportunity to make some changes. As for meetings, I agree they are better face to face, but now I actually look forward to them. Makes a nice change.

    beiciwr64
    Member

    WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS?

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Subscriber

    while i agree with el_shalimo to an extent…

    I’m loving it despite having to remote control my main computer i am WAY more productive without distractions (i’m really tied to my computer for the modelling I do). I find emails and skype was more direct and concise than face to facemeetings an I am able to manage my time better.

    In the past it was only really allowed on the odd occassion as it was considered that i needed to be sitting infron of my desk.

    I’ll be doing it more oe I will be looking for another employer.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    I work from home and it does provide some flexibility. The  thing to consider is that it doesn’t work for everyone, e.g. butcher, baker, candlestick maker etc.

    Another thing is the liability and duty of care aspect for the employer. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea, I am merely pointing out that for some it’s not an option and for others it may not work for the employer. At times we need to remember that STW is not representative of wider society.

    mooman
    Member

    ElShalimo
    Member
    Humans need interaction, a regular place of work with the mundane conversations over a coffee etc is good for your mental health

    Yes – I struggling to agree with this too. Often the conversations/interactions in the work place can be bad for your mental health .. the office cliques, bitching & back stabbing could be avoided completely.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    What I meant was just chatting to colleagues over a coffee, obviously the arseholes are to be avoided at all times if possible.

    Premier Icon piemonster
    Subscriber

    I don’t think the automatic consequence is you’d be socially isolated.

    There’s a good chance a large shift to home working would (alongside some big environmental benefits) change local communities in a very positive way.

    You’d still be able to socialise over a cup of coffee, but it’d be in the local cafe.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Subscriber

    Hopefully a lot of companies will see that they can trust a large majority of their employees to WFH if they wish to for the majority of the week. It’ll have environmental benefits due to less commuting, people will get more free time with their family and the costs associated with running large office blocks can be reduced. I would imagine a lot of offices could work with a single day per week set aside for face-to-face meetings, different days for different departments to spread the load and so on. You’ll always get a few people who need the structure of an office environment to actually get anything done but for the rest it would be great to keep the option of WFH if it suits them.

    What I do know is that it’s unlikely we’ll go straight back to how things were pre-lockdown in a hurry. Be interesting to see what new solutions come out of all of this.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    I already WFH two days a week. Although I’m generally flexible on if I take the second day or not based on commitments in the office.

    A lot of what I do is easier face to face (semi-agile working product owner), so I’d have to mix it up a bit.

    I actually enjoy the commute when I’m cycling – gives me a chance to get some exercise in that I just don’t seem to find time for when I’m at home.

    What this might do is change my mindset that I have to “earn” my wfh time by being more productive.

    CraigW
    Member

    Or you could use a local, shared office space.
    Means you can get out of the house, and sit in an office if you want. And chance for some social interaction etc.

    jk1980
    Member

    Personally I can’t stand it. I don’t mind doing it 1 day a week, but the lack of social interactions and not getting a change of scene each day is a problem. For certain work I’m also more effective face to face, so it’s not ideal. I hope it doesn’t become the norm.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Hoping my civil service employer will realise we don’t need to be in the office 5 days a week. Two days in the office, one or two days at home, the other day (or two) out on visits, would tick so many of the government’s own boxes 🤦

    Premier Icon fossy
    Subscriber

    I’d be happy to get every Friday WFH – I work at a Uni, in a Financial role, but none of the Academics are ever around on a Friday, so I’m not in meetings. It’s a good day to catch up with work, but I don’t need to be in with VPN. Might see if this is possible going forward.

    daveylad
    Member

    Love it. Way more productive, no kids or wife to bug me whilst home. I thrive on isolation, being in the office I find pretty unpleasant.

    munrobiker
    Member

    The idea that people need to do business face to face is one of the great fallacies of our time, perpetuated by middle aged men who think seeing the whites of your eyes rather than listening to what you’ve got to say means you have the measure of someone.

    Working from home has the potential to provide such a benefit for the environment with the reduced commuting, building and running of massive offices and pointless trips to see clients that I’m amazed Extinction Rebellion haven’t been on every news programme trying to convince companies to use this as a test to initiate big steps towards working from home being the default once the Covid crisis is over.

    Mackem
    Member

    I’m lovng it and hoping It’ll continue after lock-down. I can see going into an office once every two weeks for end/beginning of sprints being useful, but even that, with some practice could be done away with.

    I worked for a company from 2000 to 2015, the last two or three years wfh 4 days a week. Then I got made redundant. Worked at three other places since then, no wfh.
    Back in August I started with company A as a contractor, wfh occasionally then with Covid19 it ramped up to full time wfh. Contract ended on Tuesday last week, but tomorrow I start back with them as a permanent employee. Again , wfh full time. I love it. Especially the evening commute, no M1/M62/A650 nightmare

    Downside is that MrsD is also WFH at the moment and she has acquired my office, so I’m working from the kitchen table with two mental cats chasing each other for a good 4hours every day. That is somewhat distracting

    ElShalimo
    Member

    @munrobiker – it depends on your business. In my role technical conversations are much easier face to face. You can then draw on paper the proposed solution or formulae. Many people think visually so being able to interact directly is so much easier. I work with people from all over the world and there are cultural issues to think of too. Us westerners usually think in a more linear way whereas our friends from South Asia or the far East have a more circular way of.thinking, possibly more holistically. It’s amazing how quickly.you can solve problems being face to face.

    I do agree that for some roles you don’t need to be in the same room to work efficiently

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Subscriber

    I can’t do my job at home, it would be great if all you that can carry on WFH, it’s made the roads much quieter on my commute 😁

    TheBrick
    Member

    Its struck me using myself as an example that if this doesn’t stay pretty much the same, I/we could (maybe) end up considering looking new job that fits around that perspective

    I have been looking for a new job, or more accurately a new way of earning a living using my skills for month or so prior to all this. One of my no compromise points is WFH at least two days a week, preferably more. I am finding it is making a significant difference when I look for work unfortunately.

    My employer is a prime example. I am the only non contractor doing in my job. All the contractors get to WFH when possible. Me, never allowed.

    TheBrick
    Member

    @munrobiker – it depends on your business.

    And on the person…. For your above situation I have been doing screen sharing, also I have a movable web cam that I point at paper or objects. My partner has a stylus input to write thing on documents by hand live. While there are business that can’t be done from home many issues are more to do with the person.

    I don’t mean to single you out but as I may be reading between the lines here but here we go…

    I find many people who either like working in The office or work better working in the office can’t understand how and or why people can work from home effectively.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    I’m the opposite to what your suggesting. I work at home, I quite like it but I also understand the value of my trips to other offices to interact with people. They’re very productive and client meetings tend to be face to face too.

    I think there’s no one size fits all solution

    wwpaddler
    Member

    You do need to consider the environment at home and whether people have the space to WFH effectively. There are a heck of a lot of people in this country who work in offices who are quite low paid doing repetitive administrative stuff. Employers are now rubbing their hands thinking that they can give all these people a laptop and they can WFH. Unfortunately the standard issue laptop comes with a 13″ screen and is an ergonomic disaster. Do I want to spend 8 hours a day sitting on a dining chair using a piddling laptop when I’m used to a decent office chair with a height adjustable desk and 2 20″ monitors? Are wages going to increase enough that everyone can afford to buy a bigger house so they have space for a home office? There’s no way families of 3-4 living in a typical 2-3 bedroom house have the space to do this.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    This is part of the employer’s responsibility, they have a duty of care to ensure that you are working without risk, be that insurance, posture etc.

    Premier Icon bigdean
    Subscriber

    I work in education, teaching via internet is seen as great new hope by managers. These past two weeks have been mental. Students think we are on constant call messaging consistantly (close to harasment). Managment also, i knpw of one teacher who has to ring all students who dont enguage with the online learning.
    Students dont like the way of working. Trying to teach CAD and CNC remotley is not easy, dispite the perception that young people are tech savy quite a lot cant download and install some software (or so they say 😉).

    It’s lonley and managment can push through ideas and ways of working without discussion of fear of backlash because we are effectivly split up. An example is they want evrryone to work through August dispite having to work harder now re preparing lesson resources.

    The students dont like it, at least some of mine have said so. Enguagment is really bad for lower level groups.
    Not totally against it, it has some applications for some parts of units but not a lot in engineering.

    You have to think of students as well, for some we are the safe place away from bad homes, other we provide the only social interaction they have.

    There are lots of things that are not being considered at the moment.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s just not enough to say ‘remote working isn’t any good’. Make it good. The amount of human time and effort wasted along with the vast environmental damage is just too great to give up on this.

    **** commuting.

    We are trying to come up with ways to make our job better and more effective remotely. Everyone should do this.

    Re socialising, we have had several optional sessions where we log in and just chat about nothing in particular over coffee. It’s worked really well.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    I hope not. Small house, two kids and wife at home with nowhere out of the way I can work. It’s semi open plan downstairs too. Also quite noisy, making phone calls difficult.

    Cramped in to a small corner of the dining room using a crappy Argos dining table as a desk. Serious back, neck and wrist ache with random foot cramp thrown in. Not everyone lives in your typical STW middle class house.

    If I could afford a house with a dedicated office space/room then I’d love it. Unfortunately that’s not happening though and would also necessitate purchasing a better/more expensive internet connection.

    Premier Icon lister
    Subscriber

    Inviting groups of primary school kids back to my house to put wetsuits on before taking them canoeing in my back garden pond might raise a few issues…

    Premier Icon RichPenny
    Subscriber

    As long as you’ve written the risk assessment lister, it’s fine….

    I’d started to informally WFH 1 day a week in Jan. I find it’s pretty intense, I definitely take fewer breaks and I would say I’m more productive but busier. Of course, that’s tainted by the current situation. My commute is only 5 miles and I was able to off-road commute so thhat wasn’t an issue for me. Was about to move another 10 miles out though, at that distance I think it would be.

    I think we’ve tested Teams well and haven’t had any significant issues, other than a colleague with frankly awful network speeds. I miss the factory and my colleagues, plenty of whom are friends as well – nearly 20 years in a company will do that. For me, some WFH and some time in the building would be a good balance.

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Subscriber

    God hope not. In my job my customers are feeling the pinch more than us so it is not business as usual. When business as usual returns we’ll be back to normal and that god for that. We’re social beings and business is a fundamentally a social interaction. You aint going to do business with someone you don’t trust and you can’t build trust via email or conference call. At some point you need to see the whites of the eyes and build a non-business relationship with the person.

    I think more working from home will happen as businesses have invested in the infrastructure and once its there it will be used…and there are some benefits for individuals to suit their lives outside of work…for example those with kids, dogs, who live further afield from their workplace and have a big commute. But I can’t wait to get back to normality and working in the office interacting with people and not an email. You glean so much more from a five minute face to face corridor conversation with someone over a whole day’s worth of email tennis.

    Premier Icon Mary Hinge
    Member

    I’ve been home based for around 15 years. I wouldn’t go back to office based unless my office was no more than 5 minutes walk away.

    I often meet up with colleagues or direct reports in coffee shops “halfway”, and do (did) still travel to meetings but not every week. Sometimes only once a month.

    Does the social interaction enough for me and my team members.

    I hope this is a change to more home/flexible working for many, particularly for environmental and personal time reasons as much as anything.

    I travel to London a bit for work and it always seems crazy that thousands of people are going that way to work, while thousands of people are going in the opposite direction for work.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    Another thing to factor in is that every person working from home using the VPN is a potential info-security risk. Scams, phishing etc will increase and the company is at risk.

    There are so many factors to consider that blindly saying we all need to do it is frankly utter crap.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Subscriber

    Outside of IT consultants I’d hazard a guess that only 5% of the country’s workforce could work from home. Manufacturing, food growth-transportation-processing-transportation-storage-transportation-sale,etc. The service workers that man the shops, restaurants, cafes, the trades that service the factories, shops, restaurants, cafes, etc.

    You get the idea.

    I’ve only ever had one job where I could work from home. I say home, I lived in the pub-brewery.

    It might change the way business is done, no more intercontinental flights for paper clip salesmen, but it won’t change society.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    At some point you need to see the whites of the eyes

    Is this you?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Cramped in to a small corner of the dining room using a crappy Argos dining table as a desk. Serious back, neck and wrist ache with random foot cramp thrown in. Not everyone lives in your typical STW middle class house.

    It needn’t be expensive. I have an Ikea tabletop in the corner of my bedroom with a chair someone gave me. Comfy as. Work bought me a monitor, keyb and mouse as they were obliged to do. My wife has a tiny desk bought for £20 or so that goes in place of a bedside table, her clothes are now in baskets under the bed or in the wardrobe. Her computer was £70 off Amazon (refurb office PC) and the monitor was £50. Ok so our bedroom has room, and I appreciate some houses are smaller still than ours.

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