back to article Apple scraps 3-day return to office amid COVID-19 cases

Apple has postponed employees' scheduled return to the office for three days a week amid a jump in COVID-19 infections. Staff at the world's most valuable company were due to up their time in the office from next week, May 23, with Mondays, Tuesday, and Thursdays set as the fixed days each week. Yet due to the pandemic, Apple …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

    No kidding.

    The one good thing about COVID is that it has amply demonstrated that going to the office is not a requirement to being productive.

    Oh sure, for the insecure managers who like counting heads, yes, having all your minions on hand must be very satisfying indeed, but unfortunately, your minions have worked off-site for almost two years and productivity has not gone down.

    You're going to have to live with that fact now.

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

      Business' with large physical footprints, EG Apple's giant presence in California, means they've got copious amounts of actual seats going unused because their workforce is mostly WFH. You can almost hear their accountants gnashing & grinding their teeth at how much it's costing the company for all their vaunted infrastructure that's doing SFA as a result.

      It's not _that_ difficult to see why they're so eager to get butts back in the office to improve the headcount, it would mean they can start using their resources as intended rather than having said resources (the physical property) sitting there twiddling it's proverbial thumbs idle.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

        " why they're so eager to get butts back in the office to improve the headcount, it would mean they can start using their resources as intended rather than having said resources (the physical property) sitting there twiddling it's proverbial thumbs idle."

        That's a sunk cost fallacy, though. Whatever they've spent on the building has been spent. They're not spending less by filling it (in fact they will spend more on electricity etc). And they won't make any more income by filling it if everyone works as efficiently from home*. It's primarily an ego thing - look at the nice new building we have!!!

        *Assumption, by the way, based simply on my own experience plus a sample of Register comments. It's also possible that all individuals are individually more productive WFH than at the office, but the overall effect is worse for the company, if individuals are not coordinating their work with each other and general corporate strategy.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          "That's a sunk cost fallacy, though."

          The accountants should know that. There may be a bit of a problem explaining to shareholders that they've spend all this money on a white elephant office.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Doctor Syntax - Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            I would use the word 'waste' rather than 'spend'.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: @Doctor Syntax - "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              Sounds good to me.

        2. Steve Button Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          "if everyone works as efficiently from home"

          That's a really big IF. I don't think *everyone* does work as well from home, particularly junior team members or in projects where you need to collaborate together face-to-face. However *some* people do work better being almost entirely from home.

          We need a hybrid model where at project kickoff everyone should go in together for a few days, and then those that don't need to be in can choose to stay home if they want. During the project everyone should get together every month, or every couple of months to catch up and socialise.

          The only problem I can see with this is that junior members will struggle to get up to speed as quickly (possibly). So, perhaps mentors should spend at least one day a week on site with mentees. (is that a word?)

          1. nematoad Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            "...at least one day a week on site with mentees. (is that a word?)"

            Yes.

            Mentee

            a person who is counselled or trained by a mentor

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            "During the project everyone should get together every month, or every couple of months to catch up and socialise."

            It might also be weekly depending on the project and the group. A short Monday morning start of week conference might be all that's required for some. Everybody goes off the rest of the time and works on their bit. I know that can work pretty well for engineering groups. One company I was working for it was preferable to not be in the same room as one obnoxious engineer as long as was possible.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          "That's a sunk cost fallacy, though. Whatever they've spent on the building has been spent. They're not spending less by filling it"

          If the facility is owned rather than leased, maybe. When leasing, using all of the cubic all of the time is getting the most return. This is assuming that what's being done there is the sort of thing where having people in one place is important. Hardware vs. Software. There could also be security concerns where it's important to not have remote access to data. It's been a while, but there used to be many more stories where some government drone (mostly it's government) loaded a bunch of sensitive data on a laptop to work on at home and stopped off at church (it's almost always a church) and somebody broke into their car and stole the laptop. I expect that rouse was to add some plausible deniability to that information being leaked for political purposes, but it doesn't mean that data couldn't go missing that way.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            There are two separate numbers. The money spent on the property and the money coming in as a result of work done. If the space was not occupied and the money coming in continued to come in then it is not a return on the money being spent; the money spent is, therefore, wasted. Whether the money was spent on building, purchase or lease makes no difference.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              "Whether the money was spent on building, purchase or lease makes no difference."

              The big caveat is if there is a need to have company space. If you don't need it because the work can be done anywhere with a power outlet and internet service, having any sort of space is silly. If you need to secure information, processes, inventory, etc, even if very few people will be there, having it will be necessary. Empty space can be binned. While property can be a good investment, it can also be a huge liability with unused buildings generally being targets for vandalism and squatters.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            >When leasing, using all of the cubic all of the time is getting the most return.

            We paid for these toilets so we're getting the best financial return the more time our employees spend on them.

            So beer and dodgy kebabs are now compulsory at every morning meeting

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              I do my best as do other staff, saves on your own toilet paper

      2. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

        Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

        I can't imagine that Apple or Google would design those headquarters now. Sure, they need a shiny castle to impress big investors, government officials etc. The fact they built these very large and expensive buildings is a mistake in hindsight (but maybe not at the time).

        The problem they have is that they have these shiny castles, but they can't use them to show off if they look deserted (not to mention the ego problem of the C-levels needing to lord it over the troops).

        It's a shame they don't sub-let bits to other companies, I hear the infrastructure is very good.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          >The fact they built these very large and expensive buildings is a mistake in hindsight (but maybe not at the time).

          to be fair, when Apple and Google built their $Bn headquarters 10 years ago they had no idea that the invention of personal computers and the internet would let people work outside the office.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            The personal computer and the internet made that possible more than 10 years ago. What they didn't anticipate was that circumstances would force them to test the feasibility of such arrangements.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          "It's a shame they don't sub-let bits to other companies, I hear the infrastructure is very good."

          I can see it might be a good idea for a company such as Adobe whose software is the reason for many Mac sales could benefit from being on the same campus. As long as company secrets can be kept in both directions. Apple could have a lab that major software vendors can access where hardware and OS prototypes are available for advance testing while those vendors have their own offices in the same UFO. It would give early access and still allow Apple to not need to provide pre-production units. They could also lease project offices to companies that produce hardware add-ons that can be leased as needed.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

      The Office Is a Beautiful Place When Everyone Else Works from Home

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

      Sounds like a case of confirmation bias. I know several companies who are working hell for leather doing in-person stuff to catch up on the stuff that they couldn't do for the last two years.

      Remote working works better for some people and situations than others.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

        Your post sounds like a case of confirmation bias to me.

        I work for a company with 70k employees globally, in many places the offices are open but few are using them. My own team has said, from management down, that we will not be returning to the office. Not for 5 days a week, not even for 2 or 3 days a week. I have never even seen the office since I changed job during the pandemic.

        Some people want to be in an office - that's fine, you do you. But for some of us WFH is better for our work-life balance. Plus I never have to listen to inane conversations from the other people in the room while I'm trying to write code.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          We actually moved offices during the pandemic (which doubles my commute time) and instigated a hot-desk system throughout the new building with a fully flexible working arrangement - work from home, work from the office, work on the beach - it's up to you - as long as you work.

          Hot-desks for developers (who typically have several computers, many monitors, and other custom hardware) are about as useful as chocolate fireguards. Add to that the fact that the monitors available on each desk are of the small, useless variety, and it's been an easy decision for a lot of our team to just ignore the office.

          I am never going back to the office. Ever.

          1. Steve Button Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            not going back EVER?

            I've been in a couple of times, and it's been nice to see people's faces + to have a proper conversation in a meeting room, instead of using Teams or Slack Huddle. It's also been nice to catch up and get to know people for a beer after work... but I don't need to do that every week, or even every month.

            The monitors and keyboards in the office are way worse than mine at home + I have a sit/stand desk.

            Anyway, I've just moved contracts and I don't think the new lot even have an office available for us to visit, so I guess we won't be doing that. But if we do need to all get together I guess we'll just hire somewhere, which has got to be far cheaper than paying for permanent desks. So win/win.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              "I don't think the new lot even have an office available for us to visit"

              If you can get away with that, great, but it is nice to have someplace official to go if you need to meet with colleagues, vendors or customers from time to time. A real estate agency I work with closed their dedicated offices, remoted all of their remaining agents and has a small office in a shared workspace building. They can book conference room, use a common kitchen, the restrooms are maintained and other services are available on a contracted basis such as reception, phone answering, etc. Only the office manager comes in and not even regularly. The estate agents can meet people in the field but it's sort of awkward to have people coming to your home to sign contracts, etc. Security is also an issue. My published address is my PO Box. I don't advertise where I live as a self-employed person. I don't want to show up on Google Maps with a big pin that screams "a bunch of expensive stuff can be had here".

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              "It's also been nice to catch up and get to know people for a beer after work."

              For a couple of years I worked for a company which had most of its professional staff bodyshopped out all over London; only those working on the same site would be in daily contact. This particular issue was dealt with by putting money behind the bar of a central London once a month.

            3. jmch Silver badge

              Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

              "I've been in a couple of times..."

              My previous employer, which was just post-pandemic, I was in the office twice... on the first day to pick up a laptop and on the last day to return it. Current employer, been once to pick up a laptop and a couple of times for meetings.

              Unless there's a pressing need to meet in person, remote is definitely better. Everyone can have their own preferred office / desk setup, temperature control, coffee / lunch breaks, working hours etc with minimal dependency on everyone else. Commute time is turned into productive time and/or family / personal time, to the benefit of both.

              What's "a pressing need to meet in person"? - I would say for example start of a project have a day workshop with whole team, new employee onboarding, mentorship of junior team members would all benefit from in-preson time, but even then it's one-offs or 1/week / 1/month type of thing

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          I too changed jobs during the pandemic. After working from home for almost a year, I deliberately applied only to companies that had an established work from home culture.

          My previous employer dragged everyone kicking and screaming back to the office last summer. I had an hour commute (about 40 miles each way), and asked if I could continue to work from home, but even though I could do my job successfully from home, I was told that since other people had to be at the office, so did I. That is why they are my previous, and not current employer!

          The company I work for now was about 80% work from home before COVID, and they decided to make it 100% work from home permanently. We still have an "office", but they leased out the building, except for one room (so we still have a physical address somewhere).

          I am about 2K miles from the office, so going in a few days a week is not an option. The funny thing is that our VP of technology is only a hundred miles from me (next state over).

        3. Steve Button Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          "never have to listen to inane conversations"

          Not married then?

        4. John 104

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          @Iron

          Similar story. Not a 70K employee company, but our dev and IT (which I'm part of) are all permanent work from home. The only folks who have to come in are the help desk guys for those that are on site. When we need to touch a server or switch, we come on as needed, but we completely manage that ourselves because management trusts us to do our jobs.

          If you WANT to come in, you can.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

            "because management trusts us to do our jobs"

            That's the crux - or at least part of it. Another part is that trust should be two-way.

        5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

          Your post sounds like a case of confirmation bias to me.

          Not if you read the conclusion, it isn't. I was just providing and additional view on the situation.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

      Many/most of those insecure managers also have no idea how to measure productivity. If I'm sat at a desk banging away on the computer (and it's not updating an InstaPintaTwitFace account), that might be considered work. On the other hand, a poor manager might find it hard to believe I'm working if I've gone for a short walk or I appear to be lost in thought and "just" doodling on a piece of paper. I remember being chided for playing when I built a Jacob's Ladder one time. What I was doing was a stress test on an ignition spark system and it was a good way to inject a little fun rather than just running a spark between a couple of electrodes. I was working the same as I was working on the occasions where I went for a short walk to change my environment and escape from the usual distractions while having a think.

      The object for employers is to come up with ways to evaluate productivity in a meaningful way. It's dead easy to "look busy" and be accomplishing nothing. There is the massive time waster known as the commute and there can be a significant cost of accommodation to maintain an office for employees to work in. Tactics to foster people working together to solve issues needs to be put in place and a way for a group to keep track of where everybody is on a project are important things to have. As pointed out, some companies would like to have a layer of insulation between some departments to avoid certain bits of information from being passed along to clients, vendors or regulators. If they aren't in the same office, there is less of a chance that those people will interact. For some types of work such as hardware, maybe it's better to have a physical location that is separate so leaks about new products don't migrate through the halls. This can also mean the group can be located somewhere with lower facility/living costs and/or a better environment. An artist in a marketing department might be better off working from a small office in the country than from a cubicle on the 18th floor in a big downtown metropolis. The small groups in their own offices also means that in the case of a health issue such as the flu or more serious might be limited to only one small office. Modern communications have made it unnecessary for everybody to be in one building or campus and it's been that way for many years now. I think a quick analysis would show that most of the time people aren't communicating outside of their group face to face but through electronic messaging.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

        "If I'm sat at a desk banging away on the computer (and it's not updating an InstaPintaTwitFace account), that might be considered work."

        A poor manager might not be able to tell the difference anyway.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "not everyone is yet ready to return to the corporate altar"

        "The object for employers is to come up with ways to evaluate productivity in a meaningful way."

        It's a bit like evaluating a country's standard of living using GDP - it's not a particularly useful measure if you can't compare cost of living, free time, recreational space and possibilities, social bonding, educational, health, pensions, availability of food / clean water and air, and dozens of other things.... BUT it's relatively easy to calculate.

        Same with productivity, it's difficult to work out a real measure of productivity for a specific job, and practically impossible to compare productivity across people in different jobs (even similar ones, and even ones with the same job title where responsibilities are a bit different). But, hey, time spent at desk / in office / logged in is easy to calculate so let's go with that.

        It's exactly the same as looking for your lost keys under the streetlight because there's light there, even though you dropped them somewhere else.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What a difference a day makes

    I can see 24 hours less stopping Covid in its tracks.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    I hate the office

    Full of annoying people.

    In the anus of our county (we moved a few years ago).

    And it costs £15 a day to comute in.

    I do like WFH

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: I hate the office

      £15. Luxury!! My train ticket would now be £99 + fuel to the station + london food prices.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: I hate the office

      "And it costs £15 a day to comute in."

      Ok, let's say the company pays you £15 less per day so the amount is break even. It means you make less money per year for tax purposes and I'll bet that the reduced travel in your car (if you drive) means far less money spent in maintenance and the value of the car will depreciate much more slowly. You are also insulated from rising fuel costs or a sudden increase in train fares where your pay packet isn't going to increase at all to cover the increased cost.

      If companies made the deal with their remote workers that they'd need to take slightly less money to work from home, it would still be a big bonus to both sides.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I hate the office

        However, the company is probably paying a substantial amount for the space the worker occupies in the office. Under your scheme do they pay that amount to the worker to not occupy the space so that they could move to smaller premises?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I hate the office

          "However, the company is probably paying a substantial amount for the space the worker occupies in the office. Under your scheme do they pay that amount to the worker to not occupy the space so that they could move to smaller premises?"

          Both sides could get really greedy and insist that comprehensive studies are performed to make absolutely sure that the costs and savings are equally distributed to the last pence. It may not come down to things that can be assigned a monetary amount. Being home when your kids get home from school might be a benefit that's hard to put a price tag on. Having more time to spend with a spouse due to no commuting could be good for the relationship. If single, getting rid of a commute might mean being able to stop by the local "after work" and have a chance at meeting somebody local rather than a distance away. Depending on your needs and temperament, the intangibles you get from working at home could be worth much more than making a bit more or some savings.

          You negotiate the salary you think is fair based on the job and where you will do it. I wouldn't worry too much about if the differential in salary, if any, is "fair" or not.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I hate the office

        Wear and tear on car, time wasted in traffic, MUST leave dead on home time.

  4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

    And I'll show you someone who is a commercial landlord, shareholder in privatised "public" transport, or in a city-centre sandwich chain.

    Nobody is preventing people who want to work in an office from doing so, but there definitely seems to be a mindset of forcing those of us who do not, to do so, for no operational purpose.

    As always, cui bono?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

      Add to that list a manager who measures inputs rather than outputs.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

        Add to that list a manager who measures inputs rather than outputs.

        Well, the obvious one I missed off the list is the bully manager who needs to justify their existence, because giving their workers a degree of autonomy threatens their job role.

    2. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

      I like it if everybody is in the office, so I can go talk to them. You remember hating it when people show up at your desk and interrupt your work with their questions? That's me. Hell, I even like it when people come to my desk, because it's much easier and faster to answer in person than through chat/mail/VC.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

        "I like it if everybody is in the office, so I can go talk to them."

        Ok, but when you want/need a day off, do you badge out, ride the elevator a couple of floors, badge in and sit and wait in HR to fill out a form requesting the day or do you send an email/fill out a web form?

        Some groups may find it more advantageous to work in an office together and should see more productivity if that really works for them. If there is a good metric for seeing that increase, the people in the group should be seen as being more valuable and get paid more less the cost to maintain the office. But, that doesn't lead to stating the whole of the company needs to be housed in a downtown high rise office block in a big city with a high cost of living and low quality of life.

        I'm pretty lazy and I'll agree that it can be much easier to pester a coworker for the answer to something rather than working it out myself. I should be doing the work myself since that's what I'm being paid for and it also means I'm more likely to remember the answer and what informed that answer the next time I'm doing the same sort of thing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

        That’s all fine and good if the people you work with are all in the same physical location. I’ve been working from home for over 15 years with people all over the world who mostly doing the same. My boss isn’t even in the same country as me. We’ve managed to get things done just fine. It makes no sense to spend hours a day commuting to an office/Petri dish just to sit in front of a computer talking to people over Teams and Slack. Might as go back to donkeys delivering stone tablets.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

          I have colleagues that I work with on two separate other continents, some of whom have never visited this country, let alone the office I nominally work in. Yes, sometimes face-to-face is useful, but it's hardly necessary to my job role. It depends entirely on what your job is, though.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Show me someone who is dead-set on getting people back to the office

      "And I'll show you someone who is a commercial landlord, shareholder in privatised "public" transport, or in a city-centre sandwich chain."

      It's so easy to plan once and never have to make any changes. If you have a café that caters to the lunch crowd in a business area, perhaps it's past time to have closed up and moved on to another type of business or location. I've chided Louis Rossmann a few times to get the heck out of NY. His computer repair shop used to cater mostly to local business people but the walk-in trade has died out to almost nothing. The cost to lease his small shop is unbelievable. I have no idea how he can generate the income required to pay the rent. His dilemma is that he will lose some very well trained and talented technicians in a move and that would hurt. OTOH, dropping his rental expense by 75% might give him enough of a buffer to allow for training some new people someplace else. He's stated that most of his business now is shipped in and out.

  5. trevorde Silver badge

    Double Speak

    Apple told The Register it had no comment at this time.

    Does that mean Apple actually replied or just ignored you (as usual)?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Double Speak

      I think at this point it's a game.

      Hey Apple, "Simon says.....do you have a comment to make"

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. John 104

    At What Point...

    ...does the world stop with this nonsense and just realize that COVID 19 is here to stay? The continual yo-yo of in the office out of the office, mask up mask off, is a bit long in the tooth at this point. Masks have been proven to be largely ineffective. Social distancing has been proven to be completely ineffective. Vaccines have been exposed for what they are; a profalaxis, not a cure. So why all the continued theatre? Everyone alive is going to get COVID 19 eventually. No exceptions. I went 2 years before I finally got it. It sucked for a couple of weeks and I'm over it and moving on with my life. Some people may end up in the hospital, most won't. Those who feel they are at risk should take extra precaution. The rest of the population of the world just needs to get over it already and move on to the next crisis.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: At What Point...

      One thing that the last couple of years has shown is that many people do not need to go into offices to be productive. Perhaps presenteeism is one piece of theatre that needs to be ended.

      Large cities with long commutes are environmentally unsustainable. We have been given a chance to learn that we can do better. It's time to act on what has been learned.

    2. John 110
      Coat

      Re: At What Point...

      How did that kool-aid taste?

      --->labcoat with "I'm a microbiologist and I'm wearing a mask" on the back

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: At What Point...

      Yes, it's well known that a tin-foil hat provides much better protection against those CIA mind-rays, right?

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: At What Point...

      John 104,

      The last couple of years has definitely demonstrated that "knowledge-workers" don't necessarily need to congregate in offices to get things done. As many things have gone paperless, all sorts of office work that still isn't automated and needs doing by humans can often be done off-site. A receptionist that answers the phone can be anywhere in the world and it can be a benefit for a company to be able to ship a new hire a pre-programmed secretarial VOIP phone and have a live attendant 24/7 in multiple time zones. Those receptionists can also be people that would need special accommodations to be able to come into an office that they already have installed at home.

      The incredible advances in communications is begging to be used to change the way we do things and to be more efficient in how we do them. I'll date myself by saying my first computer that I owned was a Mac512KE upgraded to be functionally a MacPlus. My first hard drive that I saved and saved for was a whopping 30mb!. I've seen the world of computer communications go from private BBS's to services such as AOL and Earthlink to what it is today. That's a huge ramp up in a (redacted) number of decades. It's no longer necessary to have every employee of a company in one building to do business. A phone call two towns over is no longer a long distance call and small businesses are doing business worldwide just as if a customer had walked into their store and arranged for a purchase to be delivered.

      We also all now know how bad it can be to pack ourselves together in an office while an illness can travel from any point in the world to any other in less than a couple of days and much faster in many cases. When I graduated from uni (the first time) I had no fear that I'd be exposed to something like Ebola originating in Western Africa. These days, I'm not as confident as flights are resuming to just about everywhere. There was a time and space gap a virus would have to span that protected me. No more. We are back to a situation similar to rat-borne illnesses in days gone by that could travel the Atlantic from Europe to the US on a sailing ship since just one rat could be the culprit. Now, travel by air is accessible to many many more people than ever before. A disease would have to be very fast acting to knock down an infectious person fast enough before they are showing serious symptoms and have been prevented from interacting with hundreds or thousands of people.

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