Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 161 total)
  • Working from home – a societal change?
  • Premier Icon molgrips
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    Outside of IT consultants I’d hazard a guess that only 5% of the country’s workforce could work from home.

    I reckon more lke 20-30%. See all those big office buildings? Those.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    There are so many factors to consider that blindly saying we all need to do it is frankly utter crap.

    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Yet no one said that. </span>

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Subscriber

    I have to admit I’ve changed my mind.

    For nearly 10 years I’ve been consulting on distance working with clients as the ‘future’.

    The benefits are many, take millions of cars off the road during rush hour. Reduce the need for business to maintain expensive buildings, allow people to live wherever they like, not within commuting distance of work. Which could fix out housing problems. Not losing 30, 60, 90 minutes a day commuting etc.

    The technology has been around for years and years, but it now better than ever and secure enough for sensitive data.

    We’ve been working from home for 3 weeks now full-time, all our data is cloud based. We don’t need an expensive cloud solution SharePoint / Teams has everything we need, I think 90%+ of businesses could do the same.

    We schedule 2 video calls a day, there’s only 4 of us as the moment, 3 of us enjoy it, but the boss hates chit-chat so it’s all business and boring.

    The thing I have to admit it I HATE it.

    Some of it is because I wasn’t prepared to suddenly WFH full-time even though I used to do it quite a bit. I can’t work from a laptop full-time so I’ve got my desktop and dual monitors on my dining room table, it’s comfortable but there’s no escape, it’s always there staring at me ‘work’ is just there, looking at me. If this became permanent I guess we could move away from the city to somewhere cheaper to buy and get an extra bedroom to make an office. Also trying to work and keep a 5 year old happy is hard work.

    Really though, I miss just being in the office, it’s a ‘selfish’ time for me, in work I have time to think and concentrate but we have a laugh sometimes, being home on my own is boring when I’m on my own or stressful when the kids are home, I’ve got great kids but my 5 year old doesn’t want to know Daddy is on a conference call, she wants a drink or to play etc.

    As so many others have said to me when I’ve been waxing lyrical about remote working, it’s perfectly possible technically, but mentally I’m finding it really hard.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    No room or internet in the bedroom unfortunately. Nowhere to put a table either. House just isn’t big enough to accommodate unfortunately. Will be okay short term and I’ve taken my chair from the office already.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
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    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 ways to make everything as secure as it would be behind closed doors.

    There’s a cost, but it’s nothing like the cost of bricks and mortar.

    munrobiker
    Member

    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.

    Horseshit. Of course you can trust people by speaking to them on the phone. I haven’t met a client of mine that I’m currently dealing with- why would I? They pay me money, I do the work. I’ve not met anyone at Chain Reaction and I trust them to send me stuff.

    As I say, this is a myth perpetuated by middle aged men who want to meet someone, see if they’re cut from the same cloth as them and let their gut feelings sway their opinions about their competence rather than listening to what people have to say and judging them by their work, not their personality.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    ^^spot on Munrobiker. It’s a myth that needs killing off. Old fashioned horse shit. I have colleagues who I don’t like as people, but are bloody good at their jobs. Same applies to some customers and suppliers too. If I picked suppliers and customers based on whether or not I’d looked in their eyes I don’t think it would make bugger all difference. If I picked some because I personally liked them I’d probably be our of a job.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    @P-Jay – it depends on the sector. Take insurance or banking, the fines, reputational risk etc could affect the credit rating which will affect their ability to get credit, which has an impact on their ability to conduct business.

    It’s very different for Mrs Miggins pie shop.

    Nothing is ever as simple or straight forward as we’d like it to be. The point I’ve tried and possibly failed to make, is that it is very dependent on what you do,your home situation, your company’s approach, your peers, your staff, your boss etc

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Really though, I miss just being in the office, it’s a ‘selfish’ time for me, in work I have time to think and concentrate but we have a laugh sometimes, being home on my own is boring when I’m on my own or stressful when the kids are home, I’ve got great kids but my 5 year old doesn’t want to know Daddy is on a conference call, she wants a drink or to play etc.

    But don’t forget that under normal circumstances they’d be in school.

    I get your point and I do sympathise, but this comes down to adjusting your approach. You can train kids to respect your ‘office’ wherever it may be. Mine have always been drilled on this.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Subscriber

    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.

    Of the dozen or so suppliers I use on a near daily basis I’ve met exactly one of them in person who came to us and another puts on an annual ‘conference’ that’s a bit of a big party thing with a wedge of brainwashing thrown in (they do give away great socks for riding thigh so big-up Sophos for that). The rep for one of my biggest suppliers works from home in Miami.

    I only go to clients if I need to discuss complex options and that’s only because, at least until now, few were willing to invest in video conferencing. Too many bad memories of spending £5k on a glorified webcam and needing a room set aside for it.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Subscriber

    @P-Jay – it depends on the sector. Take insurance or banking, the fines, reputational risk etc could affect the credit rating which will affect their ability to get credit, which has an impact on their ability to conduct business.

    It’s very different for Mrs Miggins pie shop.

    I know these are strange times but with little or no notice we’ve set up secure remote working systems for Solicitors, Finance Companies and Accountants. Even the courts are working via Skype for Business.

    I was working from home in 2005 when I worked for RBS. My friend who works for HSBC is working from home right now.

    The idea that data is safe because you can lock the door of the building the server is in at night is very out of date now.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Subscriber

    But don’t forget that under normal circumstances they’d be in school.

    I get your point and I do sympathise, but this comes down to adjusting your approach. You can train kids to respect your ‘office’ wherever it may be. Mine have always been drilled on this.

    Yeah, more than anything the stress of the whole Covid thing isn’t helping either.

    I know we both live in some of the more expensive bits of Cardiff – were you ever tempted to move further out of the city to get more space for your money?

    donks
    Member

    I’m sure this will phase in for many public sector organisations where they’ve been forced to run big expensive offices that they can’t afford (local authorities etc) and we,re already seeing it, problem is for the smaller private firms that have gone out and bought their own office, then tarted it up right fancy like my employer (electrical contractors) they just want to see bums on seats to justify the layout and be dammed with the cost of running the place. I reckon most of the office could WFH at least 2 to 3 days a week but they’ll not have it and maintain that we need to be office based to handle the ridiculous quantity of drawings we print (which could be marked up using a decent PDF marker instead of hand marked) plus the good old “collaboration”.

    My last employer let me (under duress) WFH 2 days a week for nearly 4 years which was great but then one day when we got bigger and I wasn’t the only engineer any more they pulled the rug, stating they couldn’t have a lone maverick out of the office when everyone else was in…more like they buckled under the pressure of the other lads claiming I was just tossing it of at home.

    The other thing to factor is if you have apprentices or office juniors that need mentoring, this means that remote working just won’t be an option whilst their training is required.

    I’ve been WFH for a few years now.

    Pros?
    Work/life balance is massively improved. I can take my kids to school. I don’t have to take time off for deliveries/plumbers etc
    Reduced costs – commuting, office space, eating out, etc
    Improved focus – I do more work without someone just popping past my desk
    Flexibility – I have a global role. If I was I an office/commuting, I’d resent the 0500/0600 calls with Australia, or the 1900 calls with California. As it is, it works. I just fit my day around them. Late call? Lie in. Early call? Finish early, go ride.
    Travel – When I’m away for a week or two, I don’t resent it, I know I can catch up on home time when I want to.

    Cons?
    Human contact – It can be lonely sometimes. All of a sudden, those five words with the postie are vital!
    Knowing when to stop – If work is just there, you need the self control to stop.

    The pros outweigh the cons by a lot.

    Now, I know not every job can WFH, but the vast majority of every office building in every major city could, or at least could for four days a week or something. Do you really need a 400 seat office in the City at £1,000,000s a year? Reduced commuting impact, better employee performance and engagement. What’s not to like?

    Premier Icon mick_r
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    I don’t have a 1.1MW servo hydraulic ring main or the associated structural test lab in the garage, but even I’m hoping I can finally get a few days at home to catch up on reports whilst the technicians do the day to day rig running.

    A lot of the design engineers at my customers have been successfully wfh for the last month or so.

    And do people really need to video call everything? Just finishing a chunky 6 month project that had 1 meeting at the customer and then everything else by teleconf (voice only) and uploading data / photos / video of work as we did it. There was always a plan for them to visit our site to witness some tests, but the need never really materialised.

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    Before Covid 19, I was having some beers with some mates who have reasonably different jobs.
    Those of us like myself, who can’t work from home (trades or services) couldn’t understand why the chap who did coding stuff was moaning about an hour’s commute to sit at a computer all day when we all have a computer at home. Apparently the boss liked to see the staff.
    Another chap, high up IT consultant of some sort, apparently the day rate charged is so high that customers demanded a physical visit.

    Finally a Manager in telecoms who stated, he needs to be in his office as do his team or they just aren’t productive.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    The other thing to factor is if you have apprentices or office juniors that need mentoring, this means that remote working just won’t be an option whilst their training is required.

    From March 2019 I’ve been mentoring a sales graduate.  In that time we’ve been in the same building 4 times she’s doing quite well.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
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    I worked full time from home for 10 year – towards the end of that I had some issues with it. I’ve been back in an office for the past 5 years and much prefer it. But the past 3 weeks have been ok despite kids being at home and sharing an office with Mrs OTS. As an agile coach (amongst other things) co-location and face to face communication are hygiene factors, but the latest tools are almost negating those. When this is over I’m going to stick with 2 days WFH.

    Edit And WFH is saving me around £180 per week (train ticket + lunch + coffees).

    i don’t think it’s one size fits all, at all. and it would be a damn shame to ‘force’ people to change how work is done.

    I’ve had the option to WFH for years – many of my colleagues WFH 4 days a week. in all honestly, it’s a pain in the ass, if you’re trying to organise things. you can warble on for ever about how easy it is to talk over the internet etc, but IME much more ‘sorting out’ gets done when people are actually there, working stuff out. Sure, some jobs get done more productively, by some people, at home, and I’d hate to work in a place where it wasn’t allowed, but I disagree that’s its a perfect solution all the time.

    From a more practical point of view, access to the servers, or sending print-quality digital assets around, half of the company i work for would need our employer to stump up to somehow significantly improve our individual homes’ internet connection. It’s very difficult for a lot of my colleagues to do their job properly at the moment.

    Personally, I’m less productive at home (more distractions), I have my work space in my living space (which I don’t think is healthy), there’s no commute to switch into and out of work mode, and living alone/being single, means I basically don’t see anyone at the moment. It’s shit.

    Maybe I’m lucky that I count virtually all my colleagues as friends, and some of them as some of my best friends. I get that. But if my office closed for good, for me it would mark a massive decline in my standard of living.

    TLDR not everyone is the same, not everyone’s situation is the same, nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution. If WFH works for you, have a medal. It doesn’t work for everyone.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    I was working from home as soon as laptop computers and dial-up access became a thing. I was in IT so it was a pretty natural fit. Over the years, one day a week became two, then three, then it was a case of only turning up in person when really necessary – maybe a meeting every couple of weeks or so. We worked in teams that first covered the UK and then had international folk too. I always had a spare room, so domestic arrangements were easy. I was much more productive when WFH. In particular, I regarded my previous commute time as work hours and as I could schedule most of my work to fit in with lunchtime rides or short-term childcare, I could choose quieter times to work too.

    One additional side-effect is that we cut down on paper massively. With no office printer and no way to quickly get printed material out, everything became electronic really quickly.

    It has since always amazed me that more folk didn’t do it but most of the reluctance seems to come from Managers who don’t trust their staff.

     this is a myth perpetuated by middle aged men

    Shoot me down, but I always found the managers most reluctant to enable WFH to be women.

    sweaman2
    Member

    I work in oil and gas.  When hurricane Harvey hit Houston it wiped out the majority of our HQ and so all of a sudden everyone was working from home over there for almost 9 months. What they found was it was great to begin with but over time productivity fell.  I’ve been working from home for 2 years and have had quite a few chats with people and HR as well on this topic….

    I think the pros are obvious but here are some cons….  In the end a lot of it is behaviours and just because you’re at a desk (home or office) doesn’t mean you are working…..

    It’s much harder to install corporate culture on someone remotely (you can debate if this is good or not but it’s a recognized issue).

    It’s much harder to discipline someone remotely. Strong performers do well but mixed performers might not get early intervention.

    Getting a new team to “jell” is harder.

    It’s harder to “walk the deck” and pick-up on issues before they blow out of proportion.

    So I think a mix is best. Home working some of the time but recognize a need to bring the team together in person on occasion.

    I’ve been working from home (IT) for the last two years. Small organisation who were mostly in an office in London. I was the only IT person, so I didn’t really have a team as such.

    I had to decided to move on. Because I lived by myself and have a long distance relationship I was just getting too isolated. I was talking to a pal yesterday and realised I haven’t made a single friend at work in that two years. I did save a lot of money and get a lot of work done though.

    So I think one of the issues of WFH longer term would be building camaraderie in a team, especially if some folk worked in an office together before WFH – new starts would find it difficult to integrate.

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    Outside of IT consultants I’d hazard a guess that only 5% of the country’s workforce could work from home.

    I reckon that’s A pretty low estimate, lots of paper pushers 🙂

    A benefit of WFH is that it would really spread the work out across the country instead of concentrating it at the usual suspects.

    So actually working local to where you live would become more of a thing than 1-2 hours commuting.

    I think you’d get some more business along the lines of WeWork so you may pop into an office To work if you wish but not necessarily with everyone from the same firm.

    The current situation will possibly be a catalyst some companies will find it works to their advantage and will roll On with it after this is er overish others will just go back to the good old days.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
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    which could be marked up using a decent PDF marker instead of hand marked

    What you want is DesignReview check it out.

    Premier Icon willard
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    In my last job I worked from home every Monday and found it no less productive than being in the office. Maybe a little more productive given the lack of distraction. Since the move to full WFH, I’m still functioning well (all my work can be done remotely) but, despite the lack of distraction, I’m really suffering from the lack of contact with actual people.

    Yes, they can be annoying. Yes, they can be distracting. But… it is often far easier and more effective to go and Physically see someone and talk over stuff if you need changes made or input.

    I’m due to start a new job soon and it looks like I will be WFH immediately. I’m going to lose a lot of time that I could be using to build relationships with key teams, simply because I can’t take a jug of coffee and a plate of fika round to them to say hi and discuss stuff.

    Premier Icon willard
    Subscriber

    But yes, I can see this being a big change across the board. If people can be trusted to work from home, and the workers actually hold that trust, then why not? It’s only the need for people/managers to have a physical presence in a physical office that is stopping this. I think it will certainly show up but poor managers and people that cannot be trusted.

    Maybe have just the one day a week in for team stuff, or Cut down the size of offices to local clusters of co-working instead of large offices. It’s certainly going to make Zoom/Teams/whatever seem more essential to a company

    TheBrick
    Member

    As other have said WFH for most people doesn’t mean WFH all the time, it can vary from 1/2 days per week to all the time to 1 week at home 1 in office, to several months at home then a Mon the in office to complete parts of a project that need physical presence. Plenty of scope for variety.

    TheBrick
    Member

    I think it will certainly show up but poor managers and people that cannot be trusted

    In my job hunting I am using this as a big test as to how the company regards its staff.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    So I think a mix is best. Home working some of the time but recognize a need to bring the team together in person on occasion.

    like someone said up there, it’s not the same for every one.  But I suspect with the current scenario proving it can be done and the much wider use of video meetings people like me would re-consider a Teams meeting before getting out of bed at 5:00am in London to be in Birmingham by 10.   The thing that prevented me was not at my end – but my customers staff who worked in one building at desks are now suddenly capable of working with laptops and Teams from home.

    TDLR: there’s much greater option to work from home now and I think it’ll be more prevelant

    Premier Icon flange
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    I live on my own and have wfh for the past two years. I can hand on heart say that it’s been far from great for my mental health. You need some form of interaction and without careful monitoring you can end up losing the plot a bit.

    The ideal is 2-3 days a week from home. Might be different for those with families but for me it didn’t do me much good at all.

    Flange, +1 – me too

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    I’ve been working 2 day from home for the last couple of years. despite that, going to five days a week has been a struggle and particularly the end of last week.

    When everything goes back to some semblance of normality, I think I will probably move to 3 days a week at home. big change I’ve made is to work 6.30-3pm, means I get an hour or so in before everyone else gets up, stop for breakfast and then done by a decent time.

    Premier Icon kilo
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    Mrs Kilo works from home at present, half the lounge is her office at present (relatively small Victorian terrace house) I find it extremely irritating, it’s our home not an annex for her employers. I find the sound of typing strangely annoying, piles of documents scattered around on the floor and bloody conference calls bug me. Sooner she gets back to her office the better.
    Apparently a lot of the younger staff are finding it tougher, their social life revolves around their workplace relationships a lot more than the settled middle age types.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    What Flange said here too. Living on your own is great, until this forced working from home arose. Here’s an example of how (quite literally) mental I’ve been going…

    Sky TV’s adverts have been gnawing away at my mind!
    I had a bike ride yesterday and feel ok now, but seriously, that’s how this was effecting my by Friday last week! It ain’t good.
    And it’s not just the lack of contact, miss riding to work too. Doing a pointless loop out of the house at lunchtime just isn’t the same.

    TheBrick
    Member

    It’s definitely a courses for horses situation.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Somebody already mentioned if but I’m not sure why the need for so much video conferencing when voice works so well most of the time.

    munrobiker
    Member

    Those people struggling with the lack of interaction – can you not see friends in the evening? I try to keep my work and personal life very seperate and don’t socialise with colleagues except for the Christmas do. I’d rather socialise with people I choose, rather than people I’m thrown together with.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
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    I agree with Flange too.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    You can still choose which ones to socialise with.

    How did you meet your existing circle of friends? In many cases you’ll have been “thrown together with” them at school, college or uni. or through some club that you joined.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Those people struggling with the lack of interaction – can you not see friends in the evening?

    You sure about that question?

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