back to article Food for thought on the return to the office

How is your Great Resignation coming along? Still toying with that CV/résumé? Me too! If you were one of those who switched to a new employer over the last few months, you are possibly in the leisure and hospitality sector, where quit rates are said to double the cross-industry average. Waiters everywhere have been changing …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's your reason?

    > What's your reason? I bet it's that call to return to the office.

    Pay. They can run a multi-country, multi-thousand employee company but somehow can't seem to plan a pay budget that matches the inflation rate.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: What's your reason?

      Oh, they can. They don't.

      By doing nothing, they effectively save the rate of inflation each year on wages

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's your reason?

        "By doing nothing, they effectively save the rate of inflation each year on wages"

        ...on the workers who do not job hunt. Job hopping should get you above inflation level pay raises.

        Sucks for the "loyal" employees who stick around, and probably costs the company more than if they'd just increase in line with inflation. Hiring is expensive after all.

        1. gotes

          Re: What's your reason?

          It's a shame many employees have to do that to get a pay rise. I suppose it's the same with car insurance, phone contracts etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's your reason?

      This is a regional matter, please raise any questions you have about inflation with your local HR representative.

      What they don't go on to say is that your local HR representative will have to ask the Death Star for an increase in the budget to cover wages and they ain't getting it.

      See also: Central government funding for town councils in the UK.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: What's your reason?

      You are misconstruing things : they are specifically planning for the budget to not match the inflation rate.

      1. PC Paul

        Re: What's your reason?

        Correct. How else are they going to keep making short term profits to appease the shareholders if they invest in things that will be good for the company in the long term?

  2. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
    Pint

    Must-Attend Meetings

    On a long project, site meetings with the customer and their consultants were held mid-morning to mid-afternoon; either side of lunchtime. We alternated between who arranged and paid for the lunch. The consultants didn't contribute on the grounds that might be considered an expression of competency.

    The customer used their 'in-house' caterers for the usual sandwiches and crisps.

    We used a small local business who came up with a variety of imaginative dishes to suit all tastes.

    The meetings involving our caterers were always better attended, especially by the consultants. One guy in particular, as far as I recall, never contributed a word to the project discussions.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Must-Attend Meetings

      > One guy in particular [...] never contributed a word to the project discussions

      Typical consultant. He's there to consult, not to contribute.

    2. CuChulainn Silver badge

      Re: Must-Attend Meetings

      Back in the 90s, my then company embraced 'Teamworking'.

      The company had always been tight (you had to get permission to order a pair of scissors, and it would often be refused because of 'the department budget'). Having said that, meetings over a certain length (and those involving outside clients) had refreshments, and they came from an outside catering company. A range of sandwiches and sides with dips.

      Teamworking increased the number of meetings by an order of magnitude. And since it involved shop floor staff, they were bringing in doggie bags to take home and feed the family.

      The budget was smashed, and over the next two years it got to the stage where if you ordered a lunch for a client - who had often travelled the length of the country to be there - it amounted to a standard pack of sandwiches you'd buy at a convenience store (no ability to specify the content, and I stress this would be a UK convenience store, so you'd be lucky if the single slice of processed ham was surrounded by butter) and a packet of crisps (chips), with maybe a tiny sub-200ml carton of 'juice' with a straw. It was embarrassing.

      It was even worse when I was entertaining clients from the USA or elsewhere. It just made us look bad.

      I remember one time I had secured the contract to process and fill the first 10mls of a novel protein produced by an American biotech intended to be used in oncology. It was a £50,000 single job (though the protein itself had a research value closer to $100,000). I took them out in my own car for their overnight stay, gave them a tour of my city, fed them, and took them back to their hotel.

      It was an absolute nightmare claiming any of it back on expenses, and I was only able to claim for the meal - and that was after arguing.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Must-Attend Meetings

        I never had it quite that bad, but always used to say if you don't pay these unexpected expenses, I'll make up for it by nicking three paper clips a day for the next six years.

  3. b0llchit Silver badge
    Pint

    Blow nose - supersized

    Blow nose to restore connection is probably not going to work for the real geek. The blockage is certainly at a deeper level and needs special pressurized attention. Supersizing the blow will result in a better clearance and the blockage should also dissipate for the crowd around you when both nose and head are blown. Blow nose with a supersized pressure compensated back-funneling will solve all connection problems as no connection is required any more when nose and head have made room.

    One tip; Your immediate surroundings may want to cover their free drinks while you build pressure and explode. Tissues are supplied with an extra smiley and umbrella emoticon.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      It's always DNS

      De Nasal Spray

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: It's always DNS

        As long as it's not cheesecake & beer!

        https://forums.theregister.com/post/search/?q=strawberry+cheesecake

  4. Mark #255
    FAIL

    Fresh milk!

    At my office, the most notable bugbear surrounding the Big Return has been the absence of fresh milk for tea/coffee.

    It turns out that this is rather more vexing than might be considered reasonable.

    Grrrrr.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Fresh milk!

      The tea/coffee situation should be high on any company's risk register. I worked at a place which had Nespresso's in all the "kitchen"* areas. The company supplied one or two kinds of the cheapest coffee capsules and the supplier would chuck in a few boxes of complimentary specials in each delivery. It was almost impossible to book meetings on the morning when the Nespresso delivery came and there was a feeding frenzy for the specials as soon as the poor courier had put them down in reception. I'm sure that some people only worked late so they could scout other kitchens for exotic coffee pods; the Supply Chain department were suspiciously well-stocked.

      *We weren't allowed to call them "kitchens".

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fresh milk!

      What a peculiar problem. Tea should not be polluted with milk.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Fresh milk!

        Nor should coffee.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Fresh milk!

          I agree with both of you! Milk belongs in babies; Tea and coffee (I drink both) should be good enough on their own to not need their flavor masked or "improved".

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Fresh milk!

          I'll take your word for that. I don't touch the stuff.

    3. Nuff Said

      Re: Fresh milk!

      You think that's bad? On my first trip back to the office there was - NO TEA!!!

      This country has gone to the dogs.

      1. Death Boffin
        Alert

        Re: Fresh milk!

        Living in a Leftpondian environment, I always made sure I bought tea with me. Most offices did not stock it. Or, they thought some tisane called Mellifluous Melonhead was adequate.

        I could usually find hot water, although sometimes it tasted of coffee.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Fresh milk!

          That would be the coffee then

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Fresh milk!

            On some hot drink machines even the soup tastes of coffee. With those I always choose hot chocolate - it's the only thing that successfully covers the influence of coffee.

            1. Gerhard den Hollander

              Re: chocolate

              Being the IT guy I was once upon a time asked to assist in cleaning the hot beverage machine as the person who usually did it was on vacation.

              I'll spare you the details, but I'll never ever drink hot chocolate from such a machine again.

              And the person who normally did this was very thorough. What I saw was just the accumulation I'd a week and a bit.

              If the machine is not properly cleaned, what's in there can probably be trained to do telemarketing .

              Coffee has a separate circuit.

  5. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    Mouchoirs

    At your age, and living in France, MrDabbs, would these not be more appropriate?

    https://www.cadeau-rigolo.com/cadeau-humoristique-pour-ami/13677-mouchoirs-papier-retraite-3660273026519.html

  6. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    The Great DeResignation

    You've hit on the solution, mate! Employees will flock back from WFH to WFW via canny employers' introduction of the dinner drinks bell!

    5:30 every day, workplaces will resound to: "brbrbrrrRING!!", and the thunder of gladsome hordes belting down corridors to the free drinks laid on in Meeting Room 0.

    "Finally, a Daily Stand-Up that's useful."

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The Great DeResignation

      belting down corridors to the free drinks laid on in Meeting Room 0

      Really? I thought the garden was the expected place for that, with drinks delivered by suitcase?

      1. Outski Silver badge

        Re: The Great DeResignation

        Working in a City law firm, Friday 4pm is drinkies time, once a month the firm even pays for it. Only thing I miss about WFH

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Great DeResignation

        Comedian Zoe Lyons observed that she only now understands why the contents of suitcases is expressed in litres.

        Quality :)

      3. Snowy Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The Great DeResignation

        Do not forget the the ambush cake :)

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: The Great DeResignation

          Ambush cake presumably looks something like this.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The Great DeResignation

      Back in the '80s I worked for a body shop that had most of its employees out on customer sites (I ended up on site after about 2 days in the office & apart from reviews was never in HQ for the rest of my 2 years.

      Once a month they arranged a get-together in a pub in central London. The hazard of that was dozing off on the train home & overshooting the station. Not great getting off the train at Princes Risborough & then discovering after it left that that was the last train of the day in either direction.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Great DeResignation

        A colleague once attended an Oracle training course, in Richmond. She fell asleep on the last tube back to her hotel and woke up in Heathrow. Next tube back was 5am. She said you meet the strangest cross-section of society when waiting all night in Heathrow central...

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: The Great DeResignation

          A mate of mine was on the way home from central Sydney to somewhere central west (about 20-30 minutes away) after a big night out clubbing.

          He jumped on the train, and basically immediately fell asleep. He woke up to find himself still sitting at Central Station except now it was sunny. It turns out he had slept all the way from central Sydney out to Campbelltown and back (about a 3-4 hour round trip). He then had to force himself to stay awake that little bit longer to get off at his stop on this journey...

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The Great DeResignation

          I had a lad in my team who ended up spending the night in a telephone box on some station out in Essex.

          Not so much Heathrow as the central London terminal* that used to be near Gloucester Rd Underground station. Some of us had been to a British Ecological Society conference in London and rolled up there to find bad weather had stopped all the flights to Belfast until morning. The cross section of society we met there was most of the rest of the QUB Botany department who'd been at some other conference.

          *This was before Central Line had been extended out to Heathrow. You checked in there & were taken out West by bus.

        3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: The Great DeResignation

          I once had a highly bibulous afternoon+evening in Cambridge and hopped a late-ish train back to London. Fast and no thought required: bit over 1hr, and I couldn't miss my stop since it terminated about 2mins walk from my front door. My big comfy bed ETA around midnight.

          Woke up in a shunting yard or something about 4am. Rather bemused cleaner informing me I couldn't sleep there. (he was clearly wrong -- I was doing a splendid job of it)

          He pointed me the way out, to find myself rather surreally in the Goon Show: East Finchley. (Waited for Bluebottle -- not a sausage.)

          "Taxi!"

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The Great DeResignation

      "Finally, a Daily Stand-Up that's useful."

      Just so long as it doesn't turn into a "can't stand up" for the especially eager attendees :-)

    4. DiViDeD

      Re: The Great DeResignation

      I worked for Coca Cola Amatil (Australian distributor for Coca Cola) for a while. There were fridges full of free soft drinks everywhere, but, as one of the few Coca Cola franchises that also sold alcohol (TCCC were and still are, as far as I know, run by a teetotal family), each floor also had the special fridges, filled with Peroni, James Boag, Jack Daniels and such goodies, which were unlocked at 4:00 pm on a Friday.

      We always worked late on a Friday - often well into Saturday to be honest.

      That's how keen we were to make sure there was no unfinished work waiting for us on Monday morning!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4x10 working - Fridays off

    The best part for me was the shift to working 10hrs/day for 4 days, with every Friday off. The way I need to work, I need a large block of time to get stuff done, and I was working 10 hours a day anyway. It's amazing what you can get done on weekends with an extra day. I'm much, much happier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 4x10 working - Fridays off

      We do something similar at our place of work - 10hrs/day for 4 days, and then 10hrs/day for another day.

    2. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

      Re: 4x10 working - Fridays off

      I work 4 10s, but work both weekend days. I wouldn't have it any other way. I can gwt stuff done because everyone is at work, including the people I need to see for my personal projects. When the unwashed masses are trying to get their crap done on the weekends I'm sitting in my home office making my living.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: 4x10 working - Fridays off

        But you're not doing it now*, are you?

        *Sunday morning, UK.

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Unhappy about going back into the office

    At least your online shopping turns up at reception rather than in a bin half way down the street. Perhaps that's why people have been cutting down.

  9. Franco Silver badge

    Douglas Adams

    I wonder how he'd have felt about a pack of tissues requiring instructions?

    Started a new contract myself this week so had to go in to the office to collect a laptop etc and meet a few people. The only surprise thus far is that it's Friday and so far no one has said the immortal phrase "sorry, I was on mute".

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Douglas Adams

      ...a pack of tissues requiring instructions?

      Beats a pressurized can of deodorant?

    2. Littlefirby

      Re: Douglas Adams

      haha... I was in a meeting the other day... in a meeting room... and someone actualy said something they shouldnt have and then did a great cover up by saying that they thought they were on mute!

    3. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Douglas Adams

      Reminds me of the halogen bulb for the darkroom equipment that came with a black plastic protector saying “remove before use”.

    4. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Douglas Adams

      Going in to the office for just a bloody laptop? OK, if you're starting a new job, but that doesn't really apply to me. But still.

      Three months back an email landed in my inbox, declaring that my laptop's time was up and that I should come into the office[0] and swap it for a new one. Which, according to that missive, would take fifteen minutes[1].

      "So, for a matter that would take 15 minutes you requite me to expose myself for at least three hours to a seriously elevated risk of COVID contagion?. Colleagues have gotten their replacement laptops sent out; I expect my laptop's replacement to be treated no different."

      This went unanswered for three months, then, without any explanation for the delay, I got asked for my address[2] to send the laptop to. Also, what cable would I need for an external monitor? "Two. DV]" "No Displayport or HDMI?" "No, it uses one of four inputs to a dual-screen DVI KVM switch and I'm not going to replace that plus the cards in the other three systems out of MY pocket (although you're free to supply me one, plus the three cards and the required cables). And it all runs fine at QHD, so I see no reason to start replacing anything, ". "Oh, Um. OK, I'll send an USB-C to DVI and a HDMI-DVI along"

      Laptop arrives, with two pages of instructions that start with "Connect the laptop to your wireless". Looking the thing over it indeed has no Ethernet socket. Call the fellow who sent me those mails and query the absence of a hardware network connection. Get a load of waffle about wireless security and encryption and whatnot, where the actual matter is that wireless at my desk at home would be outperformed by a 56k modem due to the desk's position vis-a-vis the access point, and the materials separating them. Which, so far, hadn't mattered as everything in that room uses wired Ethernet. Grudgingly I get sent an USB-C Ethernet dongle.

      Just waiting for a day with no urgent matters on the roster that would require me to be online to the office, to get this new one going.

      [0] Hadn't been there since one and a half year at least. Also, not my office anyway, but close by.

      [1] Harhar. That would be just the swapping and the basic setup getting Outlook, Teams and OneDrive going. Average total time in our department getting all the tools set up somewhat satisfactorily: a full working day.

      [2] Apparently some external party, as otherwise my address would just plop out of a HR query.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Douglas Adams

        Back when I had to use Windows, being faced with having to set up a new computer with all the development software, useful tools and customised settings, it was easier to just change jobs -as at least the pay increase covered the hassle. Now I use Linux the list of packages and the configuration from git can be transferred in seconds.

  10. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Union?

    I host monthly remote membership and committee meetings for my union branch

    Is there really a National Union of Freelance Technology Tarts?

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Union?

      If there isn't, there ought to be. People who work should unionise. Unless, of course, they enjoy maintaining their own earnings as meagre as possible in order to subsidise the off-shore billions of their bosses.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Union?

        In my one and only experience of a union (I don't count the PCG as I regarded it as an industry business association I discovered that it was to maintain the earnings of members of unions for other parts of the Civil Service, not the scientists, and possibly the permanent union officials. Despite sending someone along to face the flack they faced with resignation of most of their members there. Someone challenged that they publish his letter of resignation in their newsletter (a newsletter I never recall even seeing) which they ducked on the grounds that they didn't publish letters from non-members.

        No. Never came across a union that had any intentions of doing me anything worth-while.

        1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          Re: Union?

          The point of a union is to unite. If you just sat on your arse waiting for them to fall over themselves to pander to your whims, you missed the point.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Union?

            We, the employees, united in giving the union the push; employers are not the only ones who can be self-serving.

            Looking after my own interests vis-a-vis the complacent employers was solved by giving them the push. It came as a surprise to them that someone they'd assumed would be safely trapped in a specialised corner of science had alternative skills that were marketable elsewhere. It was amazing how a much over-due promotion was offered immediately, outside the annual review cycle without the formality of a board. I was tempted to try to negotiate it back-dated a couple of years without actually committing to stay but instead took pleasure in explaining exactly why I was turning them down. I still have their replay protesting that it wasn't like that at all. Liars. I suspect that if I'd accepted and turned down the external offer there'd have been a board after all and all sorts of other complications.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: Union?

              "Money promised is much more effective than money given"

              Reacher Gilt, CEO The Clacks

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Union?

                "Money promised is much more effective than money given"

                Oh no it isn't. Not if you come from Yorkshire.

          2. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

            Re: Union?

            Yay, Alistair! Couldn't agree more.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Union?

          Unions are very variable in their performance. I've been a member of Unison (through one of its predecessors), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), and the University and Colleges Union (UCU). Of those, only Unison was sufficiently responsive to both local and national issues (this back in the 1980s). I can't remember why I left them to join the RCN, but they were hopeless at both local and national level, as are the UCU. The last branch of UCU I was involved with were, and still are, actively avoiding getting involved in supporting members in a culture of harassment and unlawful discrimination on multiple counts. Once I thought about it, I realised that the union subs would buy a really good legal expenses insurance package (essentially all I need from the union), and cancelled my union membership.

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: Union?

            Can anyone remember which UK union it was that was exposed as having a £25m country estate with manor house, for the private and exclusive use of the union's senior executives?

            ISTR it was about 10yrs ago, maybe earlier.

  11. JassMan Silver badge
    Linux

    Sure, they hated it at first and complained bitterly at the vast personal expense of keeping their laptop battery charged.

    I solved that one by telling the ACPI to only charge to 50%. According to the interwebs this also means the batteries have a much longer service life.

    Obviously you don't need to use xed [I'll probably get loads of downvotes for not using Vi], and if you want to use something other than 50% you need to change the ExecStart line. I think this is the first time I have found systemd to be useful.

    $ sudo xed /etc/systemd/system/battery-charge-threshold.service

    ==================Start of content: system/battery-charge-threshold.service==================

    [Unit]

    Description=Set the battery charge threshold

    After=multi-user.target

    StartLimitBurst=0

    [Service]

    Type=oneshot

    Restart=on-failure

    ExecStart=/bin/bash -c 'echo 50 > /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/charge_control_end_threshold'

    [Install]

    WantedBy=multi-user.target

    =================End Content=============================

    $ sudo systemctl enable battery-charge-threshold.service

    $ sudo systemctl start battery-charge-threshold.service

    1. Simian Surprise

      I downvoted you for not using vim and for systemd, but it turned into an upvote for clever idea.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I did the same to you for using vim instead of vi.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      You can find a lot on the interwebs. I assume this works because you get used to having a battery that only works at 50% of its capacity.

      The alternative version is that you fully charge it but let it fully discharge before recharging to avoide memory effects.

  12. Evil Scot

    Not Just Zoom

    Sorry Mr B, but IRL too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR8EIwomkUc

  13. chivo243 Silver badge
    Go

    Pizza Delivery!

    I quite liked that job... In a college town, in the states, in the 80's and 90s. It paid the bills, kept me in free food, and hooked me up with the occasional party invite as well!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Pizza Delivery!

      Yes, we have all seen that sort of pizza-delivery film!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working from home is great...

    To a degree, and depending on circumstances.

    I'm definitely not advocating that everyone should return to the office, but the ability to both comfortably and effectively work from home is something of a privilege which many people don't have.

    And longer term, there's potential psychological impacts, both from a personal and professional perspective.

    Are such things balanced out by the generally lower time/money cost of working from home? Maybe. But then again, maybe not!

    (Mild rant ahead, hence anon)

    There's plenty of people who have had to work in kitchens or similar; one person I know had to move out of their house due to domestic abuse, and has since been working in the living room of their friend's house where they're staying.

    For me: last year, I was working in a nice big house, and had a decent enough office. But then the neighbours decided to get some small-dog puppy, possibly in an effort to defuse the blazing rows we occasionally heard through the thin terrace walls.

    And once the novelty wore off, said puppy was left in the kitchen overnight, and during most of the day, where it would whine and scratch at the door for hours. Which was very audible through said terrace walls. For hours at a time.

    The RSPCA won't touch this sort of thing, and the local council will only intervene if you basically get the entire street to sign a statement. Having a polite chat with them only briefly helped; after that, I took to playing loud music during the day, and loudly slamming first floor doors when the whining started at 7am, since - unlike the dog whining - that seemed to wake the neighbours up.

    (I don't blame the dog - it was alone and scared. The fault lies entirely with the owners for failing to take responsibility for training and/or properly caring for it! But equally, hearing a distressed animal whining for several hours a day distinctly wears on the nerves)

    Currently, I'm in a flat. Which hasn't been too bad, but the family above has some kids who have a tendency to run around like a herd of elephants. And it turns out that the couple which just moved in next door had a baby at Christmas. So there's now newborn-mewling coming through the wall at random points of the day, especially in the mornings!

    (Which again, is just the baby being a baby, and at least the parents are fairly quick to respond! But I have been wondering if I should swap my bedroom and office rooms around. Since as with the dog, I don't particularly need a 7am wakeup call...)

    Then there's the social side of things. I live by myself, and work stuff is mostly done via text-chat. So there's very little social interaction - certainly far less than if we were physically co-located in an office.

    Equally, since most people are working from home, the opportunities to socialise after work have markedly dwindled; even at weekends and after all restrictions have been lifted, there's far fewer familiar faces out and about.

    And that can have a psychological effect: we're all turning into hermits.

    And while I can't say for certain whether it's having an effect on productivity, there's certainly far less banter and camaraderie on the messaging system than when we mingled in the office. And there's definitely more of an "us vs them" attitude when it comes to other departments.

    (To be fair, the company has been trying hard to keep some sort of team spirit going, especially now that we can physically socialise again. But on a day to day basis, talking to people via text messages or even the occasional video conference/chat is no substitute for face to face interactions)

    Overall, if you're settled in life, and have a comfortable home in which you can set up an office and live the dream with your partner/family/pets, then great.

    But there's definitely a lot of privilege involved in being able to do that, and I'd still be concerned about the long term implications.

    And not just for workers. Anecdotally, I've heard a few people discussing concerns about their younger children, and how they're struggling to socialise, after two years of mostly being at home and away from other children...

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Working from home is great...

      My neighbours to one side are banging all day with a hammer for months on end ---ordinary house that looks regular and not being refurbished; I think they have Gnome blood --- not that loud or disturbing, but I could imagine some other neighbours being interrupting.

      1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

        Re: Working from home is great...

        A neighbour on our street with whom we are friends is having lots of noisy outdoor building work done. It doesn't bother us in the slightest because we are friends and they are improving their home, which improves the street, etc.

        Some bloke on the street behind our garden is also getting noisy outdoor building work done. We don't know him. Therefore he is an arse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Working from home is great...

          Everything is relative ;)

          At least building work tends to be for a finite period, unless you're working on York Cathedral or somesuch.

          I must confess that after a year of listening to a piteous dog whine, a manly tear of relief did run down the side of my face, the first time I lay on the bed in my flat and heard nothing. Sweet, sweet nothing.

          I do occasionally hope that karma was paid back doublefold to the people who owned said dog, in the shape of a family with 3 kids, several dogs and a newborn baby moving in as their new neighbours.

          Maybe then, they'd realise just how thin the walls were...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Working from home is great...

        (Same anon as before)

        The flat I'm living at is on the edge of an old industrial estate which is currently being flattened so that property speculators can build luxury student flats.

        Things got incredibly noisy last year when they were putting the finishing touches onto a nearby flat; worryingly, there's a new block being thrown up to next that which looks like it'll be taller, though so far the construction work on that has been relatively quiet. Hopefully I'll have moved from here, by the time they get to the noisy bits...

        Similarly, the flat I'm in is sandwiched in the middle of a 3x3 block. Which means it directly touches 4 flats, and indirectly touches 4 more on the diagonals.

        As such, you generally get some sort of DIY thumping noises at least once a week from one of these eight flats, in addition to the regular rampaging-elephant noises from upstairs and the baby mewlings from next door.

        Oh, and there's a floodlit basketball court nearby. Which, at the height of lockdown, had students playing basketball on it until 3am, some nights. Thud, thud, thud like a metronome...

        These days, it generally just gets used as a launching pad for fireworks, especially during Chinese New Year. Which is kinda fun - a free fireworks display less than 50m from your window - but at the same time, it's an amateur firework show less than 50m from your window all the way up to 3am or so, and I've got some mildly entertaining/terrifying footage of when rockets have gone in an unexpectedly horizontal direction!

        Mostly, I don't mind - it's part and parcel of living in a shared environment and it's generally a nice place to live.

        But there are definitely a lot of days when being in an office would be more productive and less stressful, if it wasn't for the fact that my company has downsized it's officespace and closed the room I used to work in...

      3. CuChulainn Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Working from home is great...

        My noise peeve is the sodding pigeons. They sit on the eaves outside my bedroom window and start cooing at first light.

        Our neighbour has a tree and two of them were nesting in that. When they weren't doing pigeon stuff in the nest, they'd sit cooing every bloody morning outside my window to wake me up, and then move to our fence to pebbledash it with white streaks until it was time to go back to the nest ready for the same routine the next day.

        Just before Christmas I came down one morning and was greeted by the sight of a large Sparrow Hawk chowing down on a pigeon literally less than ten feet away from the kitchen window. Later in the day, another one came down further up the garden and caught another pigeon, carrying it away this time.

        Nearly three months later and the pigeons have only just started coming back.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Working from home is great...

          Cooing? If that's all they're doing think yourself lucky. They're apt to arrive at first light and start stamping on our roof which isn't thin, blue Welsh slate but sandstone slates the best part of an inch thick. It's amazing how birds which are light enough to fly make a din suggestive of wearing hob-nail boots.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Working from home is great...

            At the previous house it was seagulls in diving boots, though the most disturbing was the crows using the roof tiles to break snail-shells - nothing like hearing knocking at 4am...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Working from home is great...

              I knew about thrushes but do crows do that as well?

            2. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Working from home is great...

              I solved the seagull problem by going nocturnal. Now when I hear them stop squawking at 5am I know it's time to go to bed.

          2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Working from home is great...

            at the previous house, it was seagulls in diving boots! Worse, though, we're the crows using the roof tiles to break snail shells - nothing like the sound of knocking at 4am...

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Working from home is great...

          Get soMe of those pigeon spike strips and put them on every horizontal surface where the pigeons sit.

          Won't help if they're on your neighbour's balcony though...

          1. CuChulainn Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Working from home is great...

            I was thinking more along the lines of getting some more Sparrow Hawks. They work, and make for good eye candy.

            The problem with those pigeon spikes - as a good a suggestion as it is - is that they look bloody awful in full view, and they get clogged up with leaves and other detritus. Plus, in a residential setting, there's the problem of fixing them tight enough they don't succumb to the weather. And on top of all that, when you have something like 80-100 square metres of pigeon real estate (i.e. roof) to protect, that's a hell of a lot of spikes.

            My house would look like a giant Sea Urchin.

            1. herman Silver badge

              Re: Working from home is great...

              As for pigeons, I string some fishing line between pillars. You don’t need a lot. The pigeons cannot see the line and sometimes fly into it, hurting themselves. That teaches them not to go there.

            2. Montreal Sean

              Re: Working from home is great...

              Won't someone think of the reindeer?

              All those spikes will make it painful to land on Dec 25!

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Working from home is great...

      It's one reason why I'm immensely glad that I moved to a semi-rural part of Northern Ireland. We have one neighbour, who is never there, and then fields around the house. The worst we have to deal with is the occasional sound of tractors.

      The worst I have to deal with is that my SO runs a dog daycare business. Somehow, it's harder to deal with someone else's whining dog when it's in your house and needs to be returned to the owner in roughly the same condition that it arrived in.

      1. CuChulainn Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Working from home is great...

        That made me smile.

        Moving to the middle of nowhere with peace and quiet - then taking in dogs.

        Has anyone left a Husky with you yet?

        1. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: Working from home is great...

          Yes, but they're not the worst.

          Beagles bark very loudly, often when they're just bored.

          Alsatians will bark very loudly at any possible threat. While annoying, it's useful at finding out when someone's arrived before they ever ring the doorbell.

          Oddly, the worst I find are the dogs that just whine and whinge incessantly. A large number of small dogs (and one Great Dane) do this, and it's akin to Chinese water torture.

    3. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Working from home is great...

      My wife and I rented out a number of holiday cottages and lived on site. What I missed most from my old job was the possibility of coming home from work and moan about the management.

    4. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

      Re: Working from home is great...

      Not to disagree with you, but there is the case for the loyal opposition.

      My former workplace was a good team of 12, but LOUD. Nearly everyone on phone conferences and not much distance between us all. Needing a quite moment to think things through was nigh on impossible.

      Left work nearly every day with a headache, only resolvable by generous application of medicinal quantities of Murphy's. It was the only time in my life I had hangovers before starting drinking. Come work from home ... bliss. Bloodpressure, waistline and amount of grey hair all shrank.

      WFH is officially ended here, even as a recommendation, but I am home right now and if they do a headcount in the office, I won't be there. If it gets to the end of it and they sack me, so be it. I make a point of being a bit active on the general chit-chat channel on teams. Resolve issues and talk to people on the phone or teams regularly - not just presentee-ism, but helping.

      Now, if I had a nice comfy office, I might consider the possibility of going in to the office a few times a week. Strangely, the ones trying to push a return to office based work all have a nice corner view office, and do not sit in an area that is noisier than an A380 about to launch.

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