To steal and modify a line from Spock:
"Humans have gut instincts"
"...Have you considered having them removed?"
We're all dumbasses walking around in adult clothes, but you'd hope that the managers in charge of ensuring the company does well and functions properly are relying on something a bit stronger than gut instinct, when we all know how variable that can be. But a recent survey [PDF] has many such executives admitting exactly that …
The real estate lobby has pushed hard to spin a narrative for the C level that says doom awaits companies that don't drag their staff kicking and screaming back to the office, despite all the problems that created, and despite the fact that not a single company appears to have collapsed due to THEIR employees not coming back. But many of them want your manager to bring you back in so they can renew their lucrative contract to supply prison grade single ply toilet paper.
We should start subdividing these spaces into additional housing, right sized for work from home, and for smaller corporate offices build around the customer facing operations and team spaces. That will leave space for startups and room in budgets for a living wage.
Lucky! You get single ply! I swear it's some kind of tissue paper everywhere I've worked. I'm always reminded of a bit from the show American Dad where he's buying toilet paper and his wife tells him he has the wrong kind, he wants the one with the angry lumberjack, and the picture on the front is a guy who's middle finger is sticking out of some toilet paper.
Use rolls, not the horrible 'here's a single square' kind of dispensers... especially when it's soft and weak tissue paper that rips in half as you're trying to ease it from the dispenser. Utterly utterly frustrating. I just want to wipe my backside without... well... you know.
I'm not surprised. Taco Bell may not have expanded beyond US shores back then. Even now, I'm surprised to find they actually have 132
restaurants outlets in the UK, one of which is only 7 miles away from me, the next nearest being about 40 miles away. I'm only familiar with the name due to so many US TV shows and films being broadcast here.
"Random fun fact. I happened to be in France when that was airing on some TV network, and they changed Taco Bell to Pizza Hut."
I think Pizza Hut is the brand on the DVD I have although the etched glass in the background is still the Taco Bell logo and name. Whoever did the contract for the product tie-ins must have really screwed up.
>"We should start subdividing these spaces into additional housing, right sized for work from home"
>Don't start on the 15 minute cities, work/home pods and owning nothing!!! No thank you.
Its always good when people start on the antisemitic dog whistles.
And what exactly is wrong with having everything you need within a 15 minute walk. Isn't that what the past was like?
How far in the past do you want to go? Just far enough where the mill was the only place to work and was 15 minutes away (as was the mill owners shop)?
Or maybe far eniough back that you had to walk a day to get to the local Town, so were forced to use the village shop?
I live in a subutrban area of a smallish city and the main thing within 15 minutes walk from me is charity shops, hairdressers and a dog shampoo parlour, unless you want to but a fireplace.
I'm pretty sure that both of those contrived examples are further back than anyone sensible is suggesting.
I'm actually lucky enough to live within 15 minutes walk of both my nominal* place of employment, and also a lot of very good shops. Granted, living in a city also has its own problems, such as high rent, traffic congestion, and pissed up arseholes shouting in the streets at night, but those are other problems.
*I say nominal, as I've worked in there exactly once since early 2020, ad despite not having a commute to speak of, working from home is still more convenient in terms of time, effort, and reduced distractions from being in an open-plan space.
"How far in the past do you want to go? Just far enough where the mill was the only place to work and was 15 minutes away (as was the mill owners shop)?"
I'm old enough to remember when the local mills were the main sources of employment and they were within walking distance with a good bus service to take others to work. There's a stretch of about 300 metres of road near here where there were once an independent butcher's shop, a Co-op butcher's shop, two independent grocers' shops a sweet shop, a newsagent/tobacconist a hair-dresser, a pub, a chippy, a joiner's workshop and a garage/filling station. The Co-op grocery was just off that road. Briefly there was also a green-grocer. No mill-owners' shop. It was sustainable.
Currently most of the shops, including both Co-op premises are turned into housing. The garage premises has been built over with several houses. The pub survives and there are two hair-dressers, one being run out of what was (and possibly still is) a house. Most of the local mills are also replaced by housing.
If you look at that road now you will see it lined with parked cars down each side - rather less than full lined during the working day but tightly packed evenings and weekends. The bus service is vestigial but obviously the choices there are work from home, commute by car or retire.
That isn't sustainable: roll on no more ICE private cars to commute and we're either back to work from home, retirement or hope that somebody quickly has a flash of inspiration and converts the remaining unoccupied mill building back into a place of employment.
For me, doctor, dentist, shops (supermarket and clothing, shoe shops, electornics, book store etc.) are within 15 minutes walk, railway as well. When I worked in the city, I'd walk to the station every morning and catch the train to work.
I now work in the town where I live and commute on my bike - 15 minutes. I hardly need to use the car at all these days. When I was in home office, I'd walk to the local supermarket at lunch time and buy ingredients to cook a fresh meal.
@Santa from Exeter, that's what the concept is meant to change... change back to having smaller shops (like Tesco Express and Sainsbury's Local, or a Budgens or a Co-Op Food) nearer the neighbourhoods where people live, rather than the massive out-of-town retail parks that everyone has to spend 30 minutes to drive to and drive around in just to get parking...
Take Oxford. Not a huge city, but it has a variety of suburbs (Botley, Summertown, Jericho, Headington, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys, St Clements, Donnington, to name the most well-known ones). Each and every one of these will have a 'local' high street. Inevitably they will, just like your neighbourhood, have the cheap charity shops, hair dressers, but many of them also have at least a doctor's surgery nearby (maybe not on the high street, but close), they'll have a supermarket of some sort or description, maybe a few takeaway joints. But, those are the essentials that you shouldn't need to drive anywhere for. But, at the same time, Oxford is also littered with several retail parks that are a pain in the arse, but nonetheless rammed on the weekends with people doing their weekly shops.
Where I live, I have a Tesco Extra 20 minutes down the road (if I power walk, or 5 minutes by car). Do I use it? No, because I have a Co-Op literally 200 yards from my doorstep. There's a Tesco Express 10 minutes' walk away. I can get what I need in my neighbourhood. But I also appreciate the fact that I chose well when I moved here, because I don't own a car, and I knew I'd need things in walking distance. Other people don't have that privilege of being able to pick and choose, which is why things like a council decreeing that things will be a certain way from now on also rankles me (because I know not everyone is that lucky).
There's a couple of small grocers in my town, so I'm covered if I find the milk's gone off and I don't need much of anything else. I'm doing about half of my time in the field so I can whip through the warehouse food store when I'm in that neighborhood and stock up on staples. I like to buy in bulk anything that is shelf stable or I can repackage from large containers into smaller ones. What I'd like to sort out is a Nitrogen purge system so I can vacuum pack some items that should last for years if there isn't any Oxygen in the container.
"I live in a subutrban area of a smallish city and the main thing within 15 minutes walk from me is charity shops, hairdressers and a dog shampoo parlour, unless you want to but a fireplace."
And that's the problem. The facilities you need or want are NOT within easy reach. That's the entire point of the idea. Or you you one of those people of the mind that this is Big Governments "plan" to keep people locked away in their own little areas and banning travel to other areas? Because if so, I shall point at you and laugh, with a little sadness.
I've always lived in towns, where everything was within walking distance, apart from work. I spent a long time working on contract all over the country.
But where I now live, doctor, dentist, shops, railways station are all within 15 minutes walk and work is a 15 minute bike ride (12 minutes by car). I wouldn't want to live somewhere, where I couldn't just pop to the shops at lunch time and buy fresh produce for lunch. Even at work, I can walk around the corner to the supermarket & buy fresh stuff and cook it in the office kitchen.
"I'm so sorry you're so weak of mind that you've been brainwashed by a social media echo chamber into the idea that getting into your car and commuting an hour each way twice a day is useful way to spend your time and energy."
It's more like people aren't taught in school how to "run the numbers". They have a good job in a larger city, but can only afford a house that is 50 miles away. The problem is they've never figured out if the 2-hour commute each way every day (since everybody is doing the same thing) is costing them more and really painful when the price of petrol jumps 25% in less than a week. It might be better to take a lower paying job closer to home or purchase a more expensive home (if possible) nearer to the job. This is the sort of personal financial exercise I mainly had to learn on my own (very expensive). My dad did teach me a couple of things, but he was of a generation that would never discuss money with the kids and he passed away just before my high school graduation so lessons he may have felt would be good to pass on as left home never were given.
FGS, you're not buying into the 'Oh, 15-minute cities bad and dystopian! 15-minute cities are there to imprison us all!' trope, are you?
1. 15-minute cities (or rather, 15-minute neighbourhoods) are not a bad thing. Why do you need to drive everywhere? In smaller towns, you can *walk* 5-15 minutes to the nearest shop, or the pharmacy. Same in the cities where your "local neighbourhood", let's take Tribeca in NYC or Islington in London, is the exact example of a 15 minute neighbourhood. Can you find a bodega or an offie within 15 minutes? Yep. Can you find a Tesco Express or a local shop run by the friendly Puerto Rican within 15 minutes? Yep. Do you frequent them? I bet you do!
2. 15-minute cities are not there to 'imprison' you (like some idiot conspiracy theorist nutcases want you to believe). Specifically, all this comes from Oxford's desire to encourage people not to drive somewhere or use neighbourhoods as rat runs by turning things into low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs). I will say (given I live near Oxford, I know WTF is going on there) that the local council has not covered itself in glory in the way it has implemented things. Trying to implement LTNs (or discouraging people from driving across town by using bus gates) without taking into account that Oxford's road network is hub-and-spoke-shaped and addressing that, is madness and will only upset people (and surprise surprise, IT HAS! Hence the nut cases coming out of the woodwork). Implementing bus routes that mimic the likely traffic flows across town without going *into* town would probably encourage people into buses more than fining people. Right now, pretty much the majority of bus routes in Oxford end up in the city centre.
3. Owning nothing doesn't really have anything to do with the above, but it has *everything* to do with the fact that the billionaires got richer during the pandemic while everyone else got poorer. And people moving out of the cities, taking their city-sized salaries with them to buy in the countryside has also had the effect that real estate prices are pricing the locals out of the market - Cornwall being a prime example, and ditto the Cotswolds (which happen to be within an hour's or 90 minutes' drive from London). Surrey's already been priced to yazoo (ditto Kent, Essex and Sussex), so spreading into the Cotswolds is just natural progression (much to our dismay).
"Right now, pretty much the majority of bus routes in Oxford end up in the city centre."
That pretty much describes every town and city in the UK and probably around the world. Public transport is geared up for large influxes and exfluxes[*] of people to the high density city centre offices. It's not geared up for people living in on one edge of town needing to get to a different edge of town. Travel in, then back out because nothing travels around the edges. And I can see why too, in these days or privately owned public transport. It's only busy at "rush hour" and the rst of the time the buses are almost if not completely empty so they need to make hay on the most profitable routes. While the services are in private, commercial operators hands, maybe we ought to stop calling it "public transport"?
[*] Is exfluxes a word? My spillchucker says not. It should be :-)
"Public transport is geared up for large influxes and exfluxes[*] of people to the high density city centre offices."
I see that same sort of thing where I like to have a few choices that make it more of a wheel and spoke arrangement. Having to take a bus through the city center to get to the other side can often take more time than going the long way around.
The other problem with Oxford (not picking on Oxford - other cities are the same - but my experience is with Oxford) is that the city is not (and should not be) there just for the residents of Oxford. It is a major regional hub, serving many times the number of people who live or work in the city. Unless you want to depopulate the countryside completely you have to provide resources for the rural population as well.
Banning cars from a city and then not providing efficient public transport from the hinterland (including when venues close) just makes it impossible for people in the surrounding area to use the city. And then the city-dwellers wonder what happened to their theatres, concert halls and restaurants and why their kids can't find performance venues to start their careers.
"It is a major regional hub, serving many times the number of people who live or work in the city. Unless you want to depopulate the countryside completely you have to provide resources for the rural population as well."
And many of those smaller towns and village may well come under the jurisdiction of Cambridge too. I know the "Welcome to York" and "Welcome to Scarborough" signs are a LONG way from what one wold normally think of the edges of the City of York and the town of Scarborough and both include many surrounding settlements in the local Council remits.
"1. 15-minute cities (or rather, 15-minute neighbourhoods) are not a bad thing."
Listen here you young whipper-snapper....
When you get to my age and are plagued by an abused back and a menu of aches and pains, walking and riding a bike aren't as easy. They are even less so when carrying a bag of groceries. I don't see home delivery as a great option as it's just as bad as somebody making lots of short trips in their own car to do their own shopping.
I'd love to sit down and debate Adam Something and his ranting about moving everybody into mid-rise flats organized around 15 min neighborhoods. I get along with my neighbors and they don't mind me as there is enough of an air-gap between us that I don't notice that they are early to bed early to rise and they aren't driven mad by me playing drums. I can do a fry up with lots of garlic and onions, and nobody around me is put out and they can have as stinky a curry as they like and it won't bother me.
First year Psych classes cover conflict issues with high density populations. Rats will kill each other or turn into serious bullies, but with people, the police will get called. I've lived in apartments and there is always at least one person or household that couldn't give a rodent's backside about anybody else and will make noise, smells and use up resources that everybody pays a portion of each month.
Its not the real estate lobby -its leadership and managers. What remote work has shown is leadership and managers are parasites who contribute basically nothing for a lot of money.
A basic truth is 9 out of 10 managers could be fired and not even the cockeroaches would notice.
No we wouldn't
Some manglers are a blessing to their employers and to humanity in general (looks at the medical companies we supply) however most manglers and especially the 'b' ark middle manglers should be put on a plane , flown to the Amazon, and made to apolgise to the trees for wasting the oxygen they make.
And then flown 1/2 way back..........
Companies like Google have been championing products that allow remote collaboration for well over a decade, but they don't want their staff to make use of their tools? Am I reading that right?
Sundar Pichai said the company had to optimize its use of what expensive real estate remained,
IFTFY: We invested too heavily in real estate and it would look bad to investors if it stood empty most of the time, so we need you to come back to cover our poor decisions.
The real idiocracy is thinking that chasing off your top performing employees and demotivating what remains is being a good steward of company resources. The employees have told them in no uncertain terms that they do not want to return. Good managers will listen to their employees. The winners will either sell, lease or figure out how to utilize the real estate profitably. As an example, the company I work for has converted empty cubicle farms into manufacturing capacity. They have insourced all of their manufacturing and do manufacturing for other companies. What used to be a cost center is a profit center. That is good stewardship of company resources. Not this quixotic quest to drag employees in.
"We should start subdividing these spaces into additional housing, right sized for work from home, and for smaller corporate offices build around the customer facing operations and team spaces."
Commercial buildings are very difficult to divide up into residential units. The core fabric of the building wasn't designed to provide all of the plumbing, electrical and HVAC for lots of apartments. If they were to remake a building as one flat per floor, that wouldn't be too hard.
I am in total agreement with spaces being set up for customer interaction, training/meetings and workspaces designed with teams (not Teams) in mind. Downtown buildings in large cities are still good for those purposes as there is usually easy to access transportation servicing those places as well as utility deployment.
"Mark Zuckerberg has said that "engineers perform better in person,"
What definition of engineer is that this week?
A guy on a steam train?
A guy designing a steam train?
A lady installing false lashes?
A guy or lady driving around in van with new toner cartridges to deliver?
maybe somebody making software? (not 'better in person' i'd have thought )
> And if they're only utilized 30 percent of the time, we have to be careful in how we think about it
> Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had to optimize its use of what expensive real estate remained, and that coming into the office once or twice a week was not efficient.
In other words, you are less important than the real estate. You are worth more to Google as a seat warmer than you are - well, anything else, really.
More like "If we force our employees back into the office, we can actually justify the real estate expenses to our shareholders, who no doubt are watching and wondering why we're wasting money instead of giving it to them in divvies".
There are probably some leases that are either horrifically expensive to get out of (which them makes it justifiable to maintain them) but it's easier to blame the employees for their existence in the organisation...
As I understood the context of those quotes, they were referring to the choice to change from assigned desks to hot desks in some of Google Cloud's offices, not requiring people to come in. Of course, by making that change so they could have fewer offices, they also made the office worse. This is the general problem that I have with people advocating the office. There are some advantages to working there, but if they try to skimp on the office so much that they destroy those advantages, then they might as well just have everyone work from home and save the spending accordingly. Requiring that everyone comes into an office that they all hate isn't going to provide any of the benefits of working from the office or from home, but making a decision either to have an office that works for the employees or not having one at all are more likely to work.
It is also deeply depressing how slowly object lessons seem to be absorbed by management.
Consider, if you will, the open-plan office. Put everyone into one big room so that aerosol-transmitted viruses can spread really well, and so that normal chatter can annoy lots and lots of people, and so that there's lots of distractions from actually working. Every argument in favour of open-plan offices has a counter which usually outweighs it.
Combine this with long commutes because our cities are such miserable places that nobody wants to live in them and you have a recipe for endless misery.
Years ago when I did go to an open plan office (fighting with a 9600 BAUD modem was the home worker alternative) I had a number of people ask me how I was able to get all my work done in the 9-5 office hours. I noticed that they would ask me this, and other questions, and then flit to another cubicle to ask another bunch of questions to someone else, and then .... Their own cubicle presence must have been about %30 of the day, and they wondered why they needed extra time to get their work done.
To be fair, being able to ask questions this way and getting the info you require quickly by zipping round the office is helpful and often more effective.
But, if they just stand around asking for the sake of asking or dwelling or not wanting to go back to their cubicle, yes, that's annoying (and I've been guilty of that).
> and often more effective
This only works if you have one main office and all employees work there. In my case I need to wait for the folks to wake up in the States and call them. No walking in the office will help. This applies to any subsequently large or distributed company globally. The proper documentation, recordings, online meetings, collaboration on docs is the answer.
There's a balance to be struck here, because, unlike myself, not everyone is happy to work from home full time, or indeed for any time at all. One of my colleagues has a 2 y-o and a 4 y-o at home, and thus works from the office as it's the only place he can actually get space and quiet to concentrate.
Advocating full time home-working for everyone is just as wrong as advocating full-time office working, or indeed any inflexible n-days-a-week-in-the-office policy. Everyone's personal circumstances are different, and if an employer wants to treat their employees as identical work-producing units, then I have some news for them: People are non-fungible, and managing them as if they are is a fool's errand.
"and if an employer wants to treat their employees as identical work-producing units,"
But that is what is ingrained in corporate culture already. That's why the "Personnel Department" became "Human Resources" and why project managers talk about assigning "resources" to tasks when they mean "people". As one of those "resources", I take great umbrage whenever I see an email chain referring to me and my collogues that way.
"they were referring to the choice to change from assigned desks to hot desks"
My last permie job I had a desk with a lot of shelf space occupied by a lot of manuals within arm's reach. It needed to be an assigned desk, a hot desk and a mobile set of drawers wouldn't have cut it.
Of course the idiocracy can still mess up even the assigned desk. Some big-boss visited and said how the low screens in the call centre room made it easier for everyone to collaborate (why, let alone how a group of people in headsets whould be collaborating was never explained). This was taken as a hint by local ruling idiots and over a weekend our high screens were replaced, nothing to support the bookshelf and I found my manuals relocated sell away on a window sill.
It's true. I worked at Google for around a year, and I swear one of the biggest problems that company has is too many managers. This isn't a school where the lower the ratio of students to teachers is a good thing, we're talking about grown adults. We shouldn't really need a whole lot of guidance on how to do our job. The manager is there basically to help move things along if they get stuck and a little extra political force is needed.
The other problem Google has is they love to play musical chairs with departments and whatnot. I guess every time they promote someone else to a management position they do a reshuffle to give the new manager a couple of direct reports and some kind of project to be in charge of.
Managers actually have relatively few tasks to perform:
- Assign work, when it cannot be done automatically (actually happens relatively infrequently in most businesses, because correct processes assign work, if you're doing things such as DevOps properly)
- Manage sickness and absence (which basically comes down to rudimentary checks that employee's aren't trying to game the system)
- Being available to offer advice and guidance or offer a second opinion on something if it's not obvious (this requires technical knowledge that many middle managers don;t seem to actually possess)
- Performance reviews (again, largely pointless, as it should be covered by the previous two points; "personal goal setting" is one of my bugbears in a job where the incoming work dictates your activity, setting goals is at best meaningless, and at worst, actively a waste of time and source of stress)
- Pay reviews (often set as a fixed n% by C-levels anyway)
I've heard it said that a manager should ideally be managing around 8 people directly; many more and they have too much work to do; many fewer, and they are not working effectively themselves.
On the face of it, many are superfluous, especially the ones who thing that management is a one-way stream of "I tell you what to do and you obey", rather than a bidirectional process where they make an employee's work life more efficient by helping them as well as instructing them on their next task. The management culture, especially in the US and UK is one that tends towards either micromanagement where the worker has no room for any initiative, or one that is so hands-off that they are unavailable for help when it is needed. Both of these can lead to "busy-work" from management, which reduces the efficiency of the organisation overall.
I'm willing to bet that in places like Google, there are not anywhere near as many as eight people actually working per middle-manager, and I'm willing to bet that there are superfluous levels of management between the immediate middle-managers and C-level execs; don't even get me started on the necessity of those in most organisations.
When I worked at IBM there was a recognition that the 8 layers of management between a lowly worker and a C exec was probably too much. Next up, hire a bunch of consultants to write a report on how to change this. Note, I didn't say "fix this". The result was just a bunch of reshuffling ending up with fewer layers, but the same number of managers. Genius.
TUPE'd staff contributed a lot of bad managers to IBM (in my country/geography/business unit), they'd come in from relatively small organisations with big pay grades or seniority and had to get a matching grade in IBM and couldn't be fired. I'm not saying IBM enterprise culture was ideal but bringing in people with a command and control view of the world, flexible attitudes to honesty and feeling entitled to the respect of being a big fish from their small pool days was what killed my enthusiasm for my job there.
>On the face of it, many are superfluous, especially the ones who thing that management is a one-way stream of "I tell you what to do and you obey", rather than a bidirectional process where they make an employee's work life more efficient by helping them as well as instructing them on their next task.
It's funny, because literally just about 2 hours ago I was dealing with exactly that. I was literally told, "I'm not asking, I'm telling you" which to me is basically the same as a slap in the face and a "Fuck you" to go with it. It's one thing if a manager says, "I don't think this is a good solution because <reason 1>, <reason 2>,. <reason 3>" and it's a discussion. When they just say it's my way or the highway, I start thinking maybe it's time for a career change.
"I was literally told, "I'm not asking, I'm telling you" which to me is basically the same as a slap in the face and a "Fuck you" to go with it."
I've been guilty of that. I had to develop the voice in the back of my head reminding me to not be a dick and make sure I gave reasons. A big part of that was that I did want to get suggestions for improvements from the staff and didn't want to slap people down so I'd never get any.
If it's a trend from a manager, walk or take a complaint up the ladder. If they aren't usually like that, maybe they just got back from their own slap down from their boss(es) and have been told to stop sparing the lash and make everybody row faster to make the poor business plan work in the real world.
I disagree somewhat. In most of our industry, staff are generally competent (although I accept that an important part of managers' jobs is to maintain that). The biggest job of managers are to make decisions. Often very hard decisions (which of the 5 "top priority" things not to do because there isn't enough time/money/equipment/people, which of the 3 different ways the company could collapse based on this decision to treat as the most important, etc).
They need to listen to input. Judge for themselves which of the (contradictory) input is the best. Make the bloody decision, communicate it, don't change it except in exceptional cases, and let people get on with implementing it - providing the escalation route for all the people trying to interfere by telling staff to do something else.
You're confusing the "leadership" (usually the C-levels, or one bloke lording it over everyone) with "management". In many organisations, decision-making is so remote from the people implementing it, that the middle managers have no input whatsoever. this is coupled with decision-making that is completely removed from any feedback or measurement that half the decisions are invariably counterproductive.
> Assign work, when it cannot be done automatically (actually happens relatively infrequently in most businesses, because correct processes assign work, if you're doing things such as DevOps properly)
Managers might be allocating work, but without any engineering or technical knowledge is there any skill in how they allocate such tasks that a monkey throwing darts could do for half the money ?
> Manage sickness and absence (which basically comes down to rudimentary checks that employee's aren't trying to game the system)
Managers are often paid MORE than the few staff they manage...
The manager tax on the team is far more than saving a few random fake sick days from every one on the team.
> - Being available to offer advice and guidance or offer a second opinion on something if it's not obvious (this requires technical knowledge that many middle managers don;t seem to actually possess)
SO you admit most of the time their opinion is worthless because they havent a clue about the problem they are involved in and managing ?
"- Being available to offer advice and guidance or offer a second opinion on something if it's not obvious"
Another one is acting as a filter between the people doing the work and manglement's ever changing priorities and edicts.
At one point I had a very good engineering manager that I learned a ton by working with. One of the things he would do is act as somebody the more mundane tasks can be offloaded to so I would be able to concentrate on the things only I could do. He was also keeping track of the project calendar and making sure it was kept updated. He also had tasks of his own and partnered up with different people in the group to get them done. Together we wrote a flight operations and emergency procedures manual that the US Air Force wanted to have before we would be allowed to do launches from Cape Canaveral. (not spacex). I was the safety officer for operations at our test range so I knew our internal procedures back to front and he had worked at NASA , so he could speak governmentese. Between the two of us, it wasn't hard to get done.
When your office probably has more square footage than most people's flats, not to mention your own private executive toilet, and an assistant to handle most everything else for you, a driver to take you to/from work, and a private entrance, of course working from the office seems like a great thing.
What I want to see is Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitler, or any other Fortune 500 CEO claiming that working from the office is so much better, to try living like one of their employees for a month. You have to drive yourself to work, sit in a cubicle or desk the same as any other new entry-level hire, use the same shared facilities, no assistant to juggle your schedule, and you have to schlep from one conference room to another like the rest of the migrating herds. Oh, and they also have to live on the income of their lowest paid employee, including finding housing that they can afford. I bet by the end of the first week they'll have a radically different opinion of what working in the office is like. Maybe even sooner, like the first time they have to wait for a urinal to free up, or someone in the office microwaves fish, or they get their first experience with single-ply toilet paper that somehow manages to have the consistency of sandpaper and the tensile strength of soup. Maybe the first time they walk in to use the toilet and the smell from one of the past occupants is like a physical force that slaps you in the face the moment you open the door. Never mind all the fun surprises people sometimes leave behind for you to find in the stalls. Having the listen to other people in meetings talking loudly right next to you, having to make a mad dash because you have back to back meetings on opposite ends of the campus... All the many joys of working in the office.
"Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had to optimize its use of what expensive real estate remained, and that coming into the office once or twice a week was not efficient."
Ok, they have a portfolio of overpriced real estate. If they can't get out of a lease or sell it off, why is it important to make it even more expensive by loading it up with employees and having to offset all of the heat they produce with HVAC, supply cleaners, bog rolls, coffee, lighting, etc? Sundar (what's with all of the Indian C-Level execs in the US?) sounds like he's committed to maintaining the status quo when it comes to how people work while sitting at the top of a business that is 100% virtual.
Maybe there is something to having some teams working together in an office environment. Why do those offices have to be located in the largest, most expensive downtown locations? Why can't they have smaller facilities in much better to live areas where the cost of living is such that employees have the possibility of buying a home and their kids don't need a security detail to get them to and from school? I can't see that sticking an art department on the 8th floor of a soul crushing high rise is going to lead to great work. Why not put that department in a small building located in a better setting where a brisk walk around the block could hold something that inspires? A lady I know that was the art department at a small sports wear company was sent to different picturesque locations every year on scouting trips. She also worked mainly from home and had an awesome studio that her husband carved out of the house to bring in the best light with big windows and a gorgeous garden to look out on. Not the sort of space you'd get with cubicle parts.
Overall, only 9 percent of those surveyed have moved away and not subsequently returned, it said.
Given how long moving typically takes, and the fact that many people won’t have really believed that they would never have to come back to the office, isn’t 9% a fairly high number to have actually moved three years on?
Then it was pretty clear that you didn't need to come in, if you were remote beforehand.
Execs were pushed hard into remote. Many have not adapted to not being able to bustle into a peon's office to disrupt their work, so they feel useless.
I moved into my place just before they sent us home. I haven't moved away for a number of reasons, but the place I'm in is about the right size already, and I've set up my WFH office now, so why move?
If I'm to go back, can I tear down my WFH office, or am I going to have to set it up again the next time the PM sneezes?
Completely wrong analysis...
Managers of all kinds dont want change for a simple reason. They are damn lucky to the given their positions because they certainly havent earned it on merit, so the question to address is the obvious, why would they wnat change ?
Why would someone who contributes basically nothing and pays themsselves more than the skilled and hard working staff want this too change ?
Obvious answer is they dont want anything to change, because any change of any kind can only mean they will lose...
Now you know why kings never want change, because while the masses may win - they personally never win, thts why the establishment is always conversative and doesnt want change. Now you know why the Saudis and other gulf emirs keep ther religious states...
Also, when the pandemic hit and everbody worked from home, real estate prices soared. Even before, houses and flats were becoming more expensive at a rate higher than inflation probably because of the years of zero interest rate. Cheap money needs somewhere to go to, right?
With everybody locked up at home with plenty of time on their hands, searching a larger home was a natural thing to do for those with the necessary funds.
I guess, the remaining 91 percent were simply priced out of the market.
I've seen a rough estimate that around 25% of all UK jobs can be done well remotely - jobs like driver, receptionist, cleaner, warehouse, production line, retail etc have to be "on site" for fairly obvious reasons.
So if that's 9% of all workers, it's actually almost 1/3 of the theoretically eligible workers.
So, 9% of whom?
I sold up in the pandemic, and the house had a very large upstairs space that was previously sold to us as an opportunity to create more bedrooms. We didn't bother, and made an office space that could have easily accommodated 4 people working from home, or a small business. Took less than a week before we had a lot of interest, siting the office space as key.
"Overall, only 9 percent of those surveyed have moved away and not subsequently returned, it said."
yeah, well, Covid. People weren't given much opportunity to search for a new home and estate agents weren't able to hire photographers to make images of the few homes there were for sale.
I've seen a lot of people looking for homes with home office possibilities. Properties that have space suited for that are moving quickly now as plenty have had a taste of not being required to commute and liked it. I just photographed a home for an agent (one of the things I do) that had an extension set up as an office. It was off of the kitchen with the laundry in between with two doors to close off the office from rampaging kids/pets and spouses. The utility room had a loo and sink so there was no need to traverse the house and get snagged into 'home' things if one needed a quick session in the contemplation chamber. The home was on the market for 4 days. I have to say that the owners did an excellent job of getting it ready for photos so it looked great on the MLS.
always lived within commuting distance of their office (the highest being 81 percent in the US and the lowest being 54 percent in France)
Is the criterion the same in all countries? In my experience the French (outside Paris) consider a commute of more than 20 minutes to be excessive, they thought I was crazy to have 45 minutes. My US colleagues didn't find 2 hours to be unusual.
I'm in the US, and people who live near me think 20 minutes is about as far as they want to drive each way to work. My last job where I had to go in every day (pre-COVID) was 15 minutes.
Of course I'm not in one of the big dysfunctional cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston... Those completely warp your psyche and sense of reasonableness. The 2 hour each way commuter is someone who gets a job in, say, Los Angeles, but can't afford to have a family home in Los Angeles, so they go live in one of the outer ring areas. And of course we have no decent rail systems so then they have 'no choice' but to drive into the complete hellhole that is Los Angeles traffic every day, and then drive out at night, ditto. I don't think (opinion time!) anyone in their right mind would consider 2 hours each way a reasonable commute daily, especially if it's driving so they can't be reading, gaming, etc while doing it like people on a train can. I've known some people who 'had' to do it for a while, but at least they understood it was a terrible thing, hated it, and eventually escaped it.
If you're talking about two hours total (one each way), then I would still consider it quite excessive, but it's what typical people driving in those big dysfunctional cities are doing every day and they've just accepted their fate. So yeah, not 'unusual' for them. And even in the medium sized cities (Honolulu, San Diego, Charleston, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Knoxville), where you can reasonably get a home near your job (or vice versa) you have some people who just decide to live way the heck out in the middle of nowhere because they can build a house cheaper there, but that's their choice, not necessary. Most of us do not want to drive that much. Driving cross country on holiday is fun, commuting is zero fun.
For a while I had a commute that could be as bad as 1.5 hours each way due to my employer moving location. After the first week I started looking for a new job. Now I have a fully remote job with a commute down the stairs each morning, and even before that I had rough limits on how far I was prepared to commute based on known typical traffic conditions.
Cross-country driving with almost zero traffic is fun. Going through busy areas is a lot less so.
I would not mind 1-2h on a non-crowded well functioning train as much as I would mind the same time spent on a bus or driving myself.
My dream commute is 30-60 min on a bicycle, on well maintained bicycle paths. A 1 hour walk would be fine too, as long as it was not on city streets. Time to think, some daily exercise...
That should not be a problem, otherwise your office sucks. I did this both in the Silicon Valley (15 minute bike ride) and in Geneva (20 minutes). Have a change of clothes in the office, go to the gym to shower and change. Before that I used to bike to the office in a suit on occasion, since it was all downhill to the office, and I have a shower at home that works out too.
At my current employer it was 22 minutes walk, which was also quite relaxed, and yes we did not have a shower in the Regus provided office. Now it's just a 10 second dash across the flat and once a month a flight or train ride if I have to show up at a real office.
"I would not mind 1-2h on a non-crowded well functioning train as much as I would mind the same time spent on a bus or driving myself."
The reality is more likely to be:
1. Walk to station and wait for erratic train
2. Travel by train
3.1.1 Walk from station to Underground station on same line as a station nearish to destination
3.1.2 Ride Underground
3.1.3 Walk to work
3.2.1 Go to closest Underground station
3.2.2 Ride to station which is also on a line which goes to a station nearest to work
3.2.3 Change trains
3.2.4 Ride second Underground train to station nearest to work
3.2.4 Walk to work
At end of day reverse except preface "erratic" with "even more" and the strategic decision as to whether to try for the more distant mainline station with a single faster train knowing that if you miss that train you'll have to make your way back to the other station.
Mainline train ride 35 to 55 minutes depending on which mainline station and which service. Total journey time 1 hour 30 minutes on a good day.
Time to think - nil. And you'll probably be standing on all trains.
"Time to think - nil. And you'll probably be standing on all trains."
That's due to so many people coming from one area to another all at the same time. I expect in your example that the trains going in the opposite direction are nearly empty. I had a job where I was going the opposite direction on the freeway to the regular rush hour traffic so it wasn't a big deal to have "normal" hours.
The US is massive and even in the UK there is all sorts of possibilities to where companies can locate their facilities. With communications today and ease of shipping, having premises in London or any major city isn't a huge advantage. I'd think that the cost of living would be much less expensive outside of major cities so a company wouldn't have to offer the same level of pay if they moved to a much less dense location. Being in close proximity to the trains is an advantage, certainly. It would mean that if people need to get to someplace like London or Los Angeles, it's not very hard or expensive. Just time consuming.
Most I've ever had was an hour each way, but that at least was with public transport and I could get some stuff done on the way. Most of my working life I've been 15-30 minutes drive/cycle/ride to the office, which just about works. But since 2020 I wouldn't consider going daily, or even weekly to an office. And once I drop in once a month or so, then being an hour away isn't so much of an issue.
Like most things American, American freedoms are all fake.
Fake American dream perpetuated by Hollywood and the media, the reality is Americans are enslaved to their jobs and their masters and they continue to show everyday by wassting hours commuting for no pay. Heres a few more examples of American freedom, freedom from holiday pay, freedom from free medicare care, free to be shot at a massacre, yes true american freedsoms.
"always lived within commuting distance of their office"
I noticed that line too. My take on it is a little different though. Of COURSE people live within commuting distance" of the office. If they didn't, they'd not be able to get there. But of course, as you say, what IS "commuting distance" and and how far in distance and time are people prepared to accept? That's a personal, social and societal issue with many and varied answers for all of the reasons given by you and those who replied and probably many more too.
Management never knows what it's doing. It always goes by its FEELINGs.
And their FEELINGs were telling them that their FEELINGs were hurt by not having enough employees to jabber at senselessly all day in the office and ruin their productivity.
So back to the office you go so executives can feel like they're actually doing something useful again (they're not).
Management knows what they are doing. They are getting paid far more for their basically worthless contribution.
Take Balmer, he had no fucking clue. its a pathetic joke he got billions when he should have been cleaning toilets because thats all the skills he had.
The joke is he was in charge.
Their workday consists of talking crap in meetings which is probably very annoying through Teams with the delays, mic mutes and connection dropouts. If they all want to go in and see each other face to face it's fine by me. Rents post-covid are astronomically higher for businesses and energy isn't any better for sure.
Downsize the offices and leave people alone.
Posting anonymously because, well, I don't want to get anyone I work with annoyed.
I like working from home. A lot. For several reasons, the COVID work from home days were very convenient for me. Pet problems? WFH. GF ill? Work from her basement. Parent broke leg? Work from their basement. But none of that benefitted my employer directly. I liked it. But it didn't make my job go better.
HOWEVER, having recently started a job, going into the office and oriented to the new environment with my boss (who has chosen to work from the office the whole "shutdown" period) has been a huge benefit. Also, it turned out my boss and I get along well, and I think I may have made a bit bigger of an impact and influenced more decisions because I'm in the same place he is much more than any of my coworkers. Plus, I think I get points because if he says, "I need you in the office", I'm there in 40 minutes, my coworkers would require 40 minutes of persuasion before they would jump in the shower for the first time in several days.
If you have a dull job of resetting passwords or other things that require little collaboration, yeah, WFH can be equivalent to Work From Office. But otherwise, no. "Electronic collaboration" isn't the same as bumping into someone in the hall and discussing a topic neither of you planned on discussing five minutes earlier. Or overhearing coworkers discussing a problem that they don't realize involves you...but you realize it does relate to an issue you are working with is a great value. Or overhearing people discussing a problem you can help out with, but they may not have known I could. All this stuff has happened to me. Just last week, I ended up on a call with an applications team with a problem, while in the next desk over, the network team discussing an "unrelated" problem, when I overheard that an "unimportant change" someone did to the firewall corresponded almost exactly to when the application problem began. Connections made, causes found, because someone heard things on a call they weren't on.
In my last job, my immediate team worked away from the main office where 90% of the employees were. Now, the rest of my team had previously worked in the same office with the rest of the company, so everyone knew everyone. Me, I spent my first five or so years working out of the satellite office, and few people knew who I was. And in fact, a lot of newer employees of the company had no idea what our team even did. I'll admit it, I didn't get it at the time. When high management wanted my team back at the main office, we all went kicking and screaming, me most of all, but getting a chance to actually meet and work with people that had just been names before was of great value.
Some jobs are great for WFH. Some people are great for WFH. Some aren't. Last job, we had two pre-COVID work from home coworkers. One was an absolute jerk about it...air of superiority because he was so important, he was allowed to work from home, even though he was about half an hour away form the office. All hands meeting? he'd call in. All hands meeting he was presenting in? he'd call in. Total jerk, and seen that way by most of his peers, but he had a job that should have been good for WFH. The other WFHer was just about perfect. He had many years with the company, he was very valuable. He wanted to move elsewhere, it was approved. He was always available for problem. If he was in the area for any reason, he stopped into the office to meet with his teammates and other coworkers. Yes, he was away from the rest of the team, but he bent over backwards to make it work for everyone.
And then there is training of less skilled people. I've done remote training of relative novices, I think I am pretty good at it, but I don't think most people are.
So yeah. I'm hoping to be doing more WFH in the future, but I fully understand why my employer might want us in the office.
bumping into someone in the hall and discussing a topic neither of you planned on discussing five minutes earlier. Or overhearing coworkers discussing a problem that they don't realize involves you...but you realize it does
I'd call that a 1% thing. The other 99% is noise and distractions which are detrimental to doing your job. We can put a little more effort into getting those 1% communications happening, in exchange for eliminating most of the 99% of garbage.
An unpopular opinion that I share - especially the collaboration and overhearing aspect.
I also like the fact that for the salary, my *employer* pays for the heating, boiling the kettle, coffee machine and so-on. My electricity bills for the heat pump in anything other than mild transitional months are very dramatically higher on weekends vs weekdays.
Someone else argues that the whole "in person benefit" is 1% and the rest is 99% distraction - I disagree strongly with that number. Everyone's different. Perhaps if you're very introverted, or hate you co-workers and/or think you've never anything to learn from them; or perhaps aren't much of a domain expert so rarely have anything to contribute to an overheard discussion - sure. Lots of other reasons I guess. But not my experience at all.
The distractions argument is kinda fair, but that's what headphones are for. And at home WFH, you'd most likely be wearing those anyway...
This, again and again. All the WFH advocates forget that in a good many cases, those new in to a job or with less experience, gain so much more by being physically in the same place as those with more experience. You learn so much via osmosis. Being entirely remote stifles this and funnily enough, it is always those which have previously benefited from such 'in person' learning, who now want to hide away at home. I've seen recent examples of new people in our team, who really struggle to pick up the nuances of the job. It's indeed 'horses for courses' and if your job is insular and self-contained, WFH versus WFO makes no difference. Have at it. But, being in the room / space with others when brain storming or working on a problem, will almost always be more fruitful. It's simple human nature. Technology is a wonderful thing and recent advances mean that even thinking about WFH, was not something many had a clue about even 10 years ago. I'm lucky. When I started with my employer 15+ years ago, they gave me a laptop & phone, then sent me away. I could work where I wanted to. Office time was whatever worked best for my role and the situation. I learnt a huge amount really quickly, simply because I was in person with a team most days.
It is selfish of the older / experienced people to demand WFH, when they could be passing on their skills to the ones who will ultimately replace them when they retire. It's a natural career progression methodology which served the world well, until Covid and the great WFH expectation. Those in IT (hence why we are here) have many more roles which suit WFH, but if you have for example, a Helldesk environment (Level 1, 2 & 3s), how exactly do the Level 1 folks learn enough to move up to L2 then L3? Sure, give them training courses, but we all know that experience is everything. Put them all WFH and what happens? Nothing. Put them physically in a common area and lo, experience is shared, war stories told, knowledge gained, lessons learnt. The narcissistic and me-me-me attitude enabled by social media is directly contributing to the career aspirations and progression of the young, which in turn leaves them on lower pay grades, which lowers their life style. Time to think of others for a change?
They are all expensive. Sitting in a noisy office is expensive, writing documentation is expensive, muddling through is expensive. Which one is cheapest depends on the situation. The reason muddling through often wins over documentation is because it defers the effort until it's needed - how very agile(!)
Muddling through is technical debt like many other bodge jobs. With a tight knit clued up team that's been present since project inception documentation can be initially omitted, but it's not a good idea.
It's still technical debt, the only time no documentation is a valid option is when the project has a defined (short) lifespan, you 'know' the same team will be present for all of it, and people's memories won't start to fade. Funny how projects always last longer than you think, though, isn't it?
If you leave it until you 'have' to produce documentation, it's too late. That's not 'deferring the effort', it's leaving it until you have no other option.
At the leaving it to the last minute stage, it's very probable that knowledgeable members of the team have left and are uncontactable, memories have faded, and the level of support and funding that was available early in the project's lifespan is now less than it was.
It is ultimately a business decision - larger upfront cost, smaller expense later, or smaller upfront cost, much larger cost later. At the late stage it's likely to cost you in customer goodwill, too.
Wow. That assumes your job role even has documentation. What about blacksmiths & carpenters? Applies to many other trades and jobs really. No amount of documentation or training courses ever makes anyone a skilled worker. Even something as mundane as leaning to drive a car requires lessons with someone else who has more skills and experience. The theory is only part of doing something. Humans from their early years, usually learn how to do things from more knowledge people - their parents and educators. This doesn't go away just because you become an adult and get a job. Businesses often wrap this is up in apprenticeships which is (shock horror) spending your time around someone who has more experience and skills. They teach you their skills so you can then do the job. Many times it won't officially be called an apprenticeship, but it will look and smell like one. Same point remains, being around more experienced people enables the transfer of knowledge. "Remote" apprenticeships are not much of a thing as surprise surprise, they usually don't work.
One of the common WFH roles in IT seems to be programming, arguing that it is a solitary role, easily done from home. Sounds good on paper, but a lot of programming is plagiarism, which I have willingly dabbled in myself. Stackoverflow has a lot going for it. But, I have also been in teams were the programmers were in the same office and you know what, the projects end up better versus ones where they are all WFH/remote. Why? Because they talked to each other, threw ideas about, overheard something very relevant, etc, etc. WFH is very convenient for the introverted and those that socially struggle, but being around people helps more than hinders. We seem to have lost that. Looking someone in the eye whilst discussing something is vastly superior that getting a message/email and then trying to work out what the sender implied rather than said. Misunderstandings abound and everyone suffers.
"But, I have also been in teams were the programmers were in the same office and you know what, the projects end up better versus ones where they are all WFH/remote. Why? Because they talked to each other, threw ideas about, overheard something very relevant, etc, etc."
Quite right. Nobody would ever dream of producing something like an operating system any other way.
Your post is, with all the respect due to it, burbling nonsense.
My first jobs in the mid-late 90s all regarded training and documentation for staff as an essential part of the job and we all had the same base knowledge. There were technical authors who wrote internal and external documentation, kept it all up to date, and ran training courses. As we all had the base knowledge, we could actually send e-mails where we knew confidently about the subject we were talking about or we could talk to colleagues either in person or remotely (yes, phones were a thing then). There were also domain experts of course, but the gap between their knowledge and everyone else's was smaller precisely due to documentation, training, and shared knowledge.
Nowadays I find that documentation is just built to be compliant for ISO-9001 and as ISO-9001 made some documentation mandatory and the rest of it optional, only mandatory documentation gets written as optional documentation is considered a cost. Employees lack shared base knowledge and people have to waste time asking around to find someone who knows how something works and more importantly someone with the time to teach them everything from scratch which rarely happens. Training by osmosis is expected to pick up the slack when it so obviously doesn't.
Also your grasping at straws regarding Stack Overflow is neither here nor there if you're talking about in-house products, information on Stack Overflow about propriety software will of course be non-existent. And as for the aside about blacksmiths and carpenters, why not mention coal mining as well on an IT site? It's just as relevant to your point.
WFH has highlighted deficiencies in documentation and training, but that is not a problem with WFH, it is a problem with present-day working culture.
What about blacksmiths & carpenters?
Not much of a work-from-home debate for people in those professions.
trying to work out what the sender implied rather than said. Misunderstandings abound
How many people in your office should be punished because a few have poor written communication skills? Why shouldn't those poor communicators just be required to improve their skills?
Besides, WFH doesn't require all communications to be written. When I find someone is poorly communicating in e-mail or chat, I just start an ad-hoc video conference with them, as long as needed.
Always nice to have people for whom WFH doesn't work, yelling at everyone else that it must not work for them, either, so they should go into an office every day.
>> What about blacksmiths & carpenters?
> Straw man much?
Now, now, be fair: he didn't actually mention manufacturers of sacrificial equipment (who can, fwiw, work from home the majority of the time, just so long as they build in sections that will fit onto the Summerisle ferry for on-site installation).
Although your classic blacksmith lives above the smithy (efficient use of heating and all that) so has been doing WFH for centuries now, so we ought to ding him for that one.
Utter rubbish, based on a poor structure.
'Just ask someone in person' method of osmosis relies on a team that isn't distributed, and is continually in the office. It also leads to duplicated effort, a lack of documentation, and a loss of knowledge over time.
What do you do?
You have regular meetings, online chats, and those with knowledge document systems and create procedures to help those without knowledge. Knowledge gaps are identified and escalated.
It also means things are documented *properly* if you're doing your job, rather than keeping it in your head and parts of knowledge eventually failing.
The one thing I would highlight is unrealistic expectations of what it requires to do this. If this is implemented properly it means two things
1) closure rates in a tiered support structure will go down the higher the tier, because successful knowledge transfer means easier cases are now closed rapidly in a lower tier
2) the time it takes to create documentation and a proper procedure is non trivial. I repeatedly see the attitude of 'just throw it together in 45 minutes'. A load of easily broken shonky SQL does not compare to a stored procedure that performs error checks, logs data before and after, who changed the data, which case it related to, a reason etc
There is a large difference between something that works for someone with extensive system experience, where they can adjust things on the fly, and a turnkey procedure that handles edge cases and warns about errors.
Or perhaps your team is globally distributed and 'overheard conversations' occur during twice daily standups and online chat, or scheduled meetings, because you've decided to ensure everyone is in the loop instead of leave it to the whim of 'overheard conversations'
Naturally WFH does increase utility bills, however even with extra electricity, gas, wear and tear on equipment, and if you're responsible : backup Internet and possibly UPS it is *still* considerably cheaper than commuting by a long, long way (I'd estimate the monthly cost at up to a week's commute cost).
I'm not a fan of wearing headphones just to shut out noisy colleagues, and WFH it's nice and quiet. If I want music speakers are used, why bother with headphones? For phone calls there are headphones, but that's the same for home and office, because work moved off VoIP in favour of Skype/Teams a long time ago.
We look after an unwell relative (they live with us) so at home (depending on time of year obviously) heating, lighting etc. on anyway, so WFH costs are a very minimal extra*
..But, in comparison, the commuting savings are large (and all the time not wasted on travel (employer benefits - usually do more than my contracted hours when WFH (fix an issue on teh day instead of leaving it to next morning) as still net time gain compared to long commute and working strict hours on commute day))
*a bit of extra electricity for coffee making, some extra (metered) water, buying extra coffee, more descale chemical purchases (espresso machine needs descaling more often as more use, though bulk buy citric acid for general descaling anyway as live in a hard water area so that cost v. minor)
I don't understand the downvotes. Me, I'm all for WFH, but if WFO works well for Mr. AC, then who is anyone to tell them otherwise. The whole point of flexibility is for everyone to have the choice of working in the way they feel is best for them. Mandating WFH surely isn't going to work for everyone, just as much as mandating WFO would.
I'm currently in a fully-WFH job, having come from a fully WFO job. Personally, I find WFH extremely isolating. A phone / video call just isn't the same as talking with people in person, and calls like that only tend to occur for specific reasons. You do lose out on those more general conversations.
In my previous company, I could name about 60% of the employees who worked in the company. I knew who was who, who to speak with to get a particular job done, what my colleague's interests were... I couldn't tell you much of that about the people I currently work with.
I think this is a personal taste thing. Different styles of work fit some people better than others. My ideal is hybrid, I think, maybe 2 days a week in the office.
I believe you may have missed the point.
The point wasn't "I'm lonely and benefit from the meagre social interaction I get from work".
The point was it's hard to feel motivated about a job if you don't feel like you're part of a team. Knowing your team members is part of it. Knowing what goes on around you in a company also helps you get a sense of where you fit in - it gives you a sense of the big picture.
This is what I meant when I said WFH can be isolating. If you're not the kind of person to actively seek out communication (and I'm not), you can end up with no real sense of your purpose or value in your job. That can be crippling.
This would be my experience too. Aside from the isolation, I miss being in the same room as the same people trying to solve a problem together; I get more excited when I can read reactions immediately, or have ad-hoc whiteboard discussions. Or going out for lunch/drinks to discuss it further.
Not to mention I find having the work environment in my home environment to be quiet intrusive; when my work desk was in my bedroom, I found myself thinking of work even before bed. Not ideal. I miss having that feeling that I'm through the door, the home and the time is now mine. Mentally it is blurred with the workplace in the home.
Unfortunately, it seems the software field is entirely on the side of WFH now, so I am actually considering leaving the industry. We have an office and it is used once per week by one person who isn't in my team. I don't even have a key...
I get more excited when I can read reactions immediately, or have ad-hoc whiteboard discussions.
Video conferencing has been a thing for decades.
when my work desk was in my bedroom, I found myself thinking of work
So put together an office in a separate room... even if it's just a small converted closet. Else, take your laptop into a coffee shop, or rent a small office space.
In my previous WFO job, I worked with a junior developer. Occasionally, I would notice that he was frowning at his screen a lot, or I would pick up on some other frustrated behaviour. I'd ask what was up, he'd tell me, and either I could suggest something to fix the problem then and there or we'd spend some time working through the issue together. These situations often arise organically. There was no way in hell he'd have kicked off a video call with me - he'd have felt like he'd failed to deal with the problem (I wouldn't have thought that about him, but at the same time I feel the same with the roles reversed in my current job). Video conferencing is a powerful tool, but it doesn't completely make up for all such interactions.
Re your second point, not everyone has the space available to do what you suggest. I had an office before my WFH job that I mostly used for gaming and occasionally for personal software development projects. A big issue I have while WFH is trying to stay focussed on work (to the point where I often turn my personal PC off), mostly because this space isn't a "work" space in my mind. But I don't have any other space to hand that I can use, nor can I justify getting a second desk, chair and similar equipment if I did have the space. I live out in rural NI, so no coffee shops or small office spaces available - and if I'm travelling to go do work in a coffee shop with people being noisy around me, I might as well be in an office.
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I'll just fork out another £200 the rent to get +1 rooms
I would gladly do so, to avoid the hour commuting to/from the office daily, and transit costs (be it fuel or ticket prices).
Being able to expense my cell phone, home internet, and more that I'd be paying for anyhow, eats away at some of that £200 figure as well, even if your time is worthless and transit is free.
"A phone / video call just isn't the same as talking with people in person, and calls like that only tend to occur for specific reasons. You do lose out on those more general conversations."
I have some colleagues who don't extend remote working techniques beyond the functional aspects of their job, and fill their calendar with back to back topic or purpose-led meetings. I can understand they find WFH a challenge. But I don't find that - I often set up meetings with colleagues simply to catch up on chit chat, have a moan-a-thon, or even introduce myself to somebody I've not met, get to know them a bit. Often I'll schedule a bit longer slot so that I can clear a work topic and then have twenty minutes unfocused discussion. Teams lends itself to that if you choose to use it flexibly, but that's down to the users. Teams lets you know when somebody's available and you can check if they can take a quick video call for a one off small discussion, or you can schedule 15-30-45 minutes as relevant.
There ARE still differences between remote and office working, and times when we do want to be in the same physical space, but in my experience insufficiently often to justify blanket approaches. let people do what works for them, if they don't perform then deal with that. Presenteeism and arbitrary rules simply harm morale. Let Elmo stand over his drones that have to be in the office for 120% of their contracted hours - that works for some of them, the others need to find a more enlightened employer.
I was particularly amused by the article saying that Google decided to compel employees to come back into the office "to make better use of the contracted office space". What morons they have for managers if that's their logic.
Yep, it's a very good habit to get into. I'm just not very good at it :). I found it easier to go for a wander around the office.
I agree, different solutions work for different people and blanket policy is not the way to deal with something like this.
There’s some good points here. The graduate intake we had suffered a bit because a lot of what they would normally learn is incidental … the discussion of colleagues t and over a problem, for example.
However, some of the WFH/WFO can be mitigated by an adjustment to patterns. For example, time set aside specifically to discuss things with the graduate, more structured training.
Our team arranged to all be in the office for one day and that day was spent talking, not coding. We made it a social day.
Of course, this requires organisation and a good manager can help here.
Indeed. However good managers are few and far between. When I found one I stuck with that company for over 20 years until I retired. I still drop in on the company office If I'm going that way, and recently visited the old boss (also retired) when I was on holiday to where he had moved.
"Our team arranged to all be in the office for one day and that day was spent talking, not coding. We made it a social day."
That doesn't need to be in an office. I worked for a body shop where staff were spread very thinly over the clients' premises. There was a monthly meet-up in a pub with company money behind the bar.
When most of the 'benefits' of WFO are essentially down to serendipitous meetings or overhearing a conversation you aren't directly involved in, that seems to be quite a terrible way to have a business function smoothly. Yes, those things can be an occasional surprise benefit but it seems far outweighed by the massive distraction having to filter all of that, normally irrelevant, information by-product has on the task you are actually trying to complete.
Replacing the need for the accidental problem solving with better general communication and change control processes seems like it would be a better solution, but that doesn't help the facilities owner / management or insecure line managers feel like they are serving a useful purpose.
I'm in an awkward situation.
I live further out from my work than 'the sticks'. About 3 hours each way (crazy, but I am a contractor with no job security, and I don't always know where I'm going to be working after each contract ends.) But currently, the company I have a contract with seems happy with me, and appears to have significant problems recruiting someone with my skills and knowledge, even though they've tried.
Pre-Covid, I paid for a room in a shit-hole of a shared flat just down the road from work. I could make my room comfortable, but the shared facilities just weren't very good (and certainly quite unpleasantly dirty a lot of the time as I seemed to be the only person who bothered to do any cleaning). I arranged a 9 day fortnight, travelled up at the beginning of the week, and back at the end (the cost of the flat was a drain, but much cheaper than hotels!) It worked, but had it's downsides.
Since Covid, I have acquired a medical problem (well, the Covid vaccine left me with an immunological problem where I need to stay away from different people as much as I can.) Working from home most of the time is required, and as such keeping the rented room on was not economical. I do the return journey as and when I need to, and prefer to not stay overnight if I can avoid it (man, those days are long!)
As it stands, we have come to some sort of arrangement. If they were to change, and require me to come in for 2-3 days every week, it is not economical, and definitely not desirable to stay even in cheap hotels, and better hotels or a more suitable rented room are completely out of the question, as they would chew up so much of my taxed income (2 year expenses rule) I would have to leave the contract. This is something that I don't want, and my workplace cannot really afford, as even though I tell them they need to, they seem unable or unwilling to replace me (I am the last member of a team looking after a legacy part of their infrastructure that used to have 6 or more people in it.)
I don't like being in this position, but the condition I have is not regarded as serious enough for the Welfare State to help me, but is serious enough that most jobs appear a risk to my health, so I have to keep doing some form of paid work.
Oh well, retirement looms not that far in the future.
I have acquired a medical problem (well, the Covid vaccine left me with an immunological problem where I need to stay away from different people as much as I can
What is the name of this condition and how might i go about contracting it?
Even without the joke icon, I can tell that you're not really serious, but in case you are, it's called Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura (shortened to ITP) and in my case, it is most likely that the AZ Covid vaccine caused it according to the doctors. While many people may have detrimental reactions to that vaccine, ITP remains quite rare compared to other side effects, so I couldn't promise you would get it, and I don't recommend it due to the way it changes your life.
The down sides include severe fatigue at the end of the day, periodic bouts of joint pain throughout my body lasting several days (and some pain in the hands almost all the time, with a consequential loss of gripping power and dexterity), and a constant awareness of people around me who have viral infections that may trigger an episode (especially chickenpox, which has a history of killing ITP sufferers). When I have an episode, I have bruising and nose bleeds, and if my platelet level drops too far, the risk of haemorrhages in important places like the brain!
If I want to stay safe, there are no visits to the pub, avoiding crowded places, avoiding certain foods and alcohol in general, and avoiding injuries. All in all, a quite limited life.
The doctors tell me I am in remission, but probably not clear of the condition, which could be triggered by picking up a virus, so I still take precautions. They say I should open up a bit, but what is sensible and what is paranoia if it could kill you!
While some people, particularly children and pregnant women may be diagnosed with ITP can fully recover, for people contracting it later in life, it is regarded as a rest-of-like condition.
I was in a similar situation. My wife told she hates the place and needs to move back, 3h away from the office. I decided to commute and just rent a spot like you. With time I spent less and less time in the office because it would become evident this was just a waste of my time (we used to speak little and chat to each other to keep the history and to share with externals). The watercooler moments were non existent. Eventually I ended up 100% from home. The boss also did that and subsequently got rid of the office.
Then Covid, change of jobs and I am still remote. We (at home) had some challenges though as it was not clear where to buy the property but we remained far from the capital in the end. The biggest issue for me now is that I could not even afford to do what I did before. But maybe I’ll never need that because the work shifted and. currently team consists of people who are distributed among multiple time zones. Going back to the office would be a joke as I would be alone amongst strangers.
I started a new job earlier this year, fully WFH, and it was a lot harder to get up to speed than if I was in the office.
It takes longer to find out if someone is free or not, and if they are really busy or just avoiding getting back to you about things.
We have daily dept and team meetings (takes 1-1.5h in total), which is useful, but not particularly efficient.
We only go in 1 day a month usually, for a big dept meeting, which is fine, but not enough.
During the last one someone in our group from the helpdesk said he would prefer it if we were in the office more often, which I agreed with and had to say it in front of everyone.
I was looking around the room to see if anyone was giving me evils, but there wasn't much reaction one way or the other.
I'm kinda making a rod for my own back as it takes me over an hour to get there, and I would have to pay for travel myself, but it feels so inefficient at the moment.
I'm sure it's fine for people that started before covid and knew most of their dept before lockdown etc, but I was doing a lot of thumb-twiddling during the first couple of months....
> It takes longer to find out if someone is free or not, and if they are really busy or just avoiding getting back to you about things.
No it doesnt...
How hard is to message ssomeone ? Sounds like your team are arseholes who avoid helping others especially since they should hae known you were the new guy.
《Unfortunately being a full-time remote worker (as hired, thousands of miles from HQ) has not saved me from a recent string of daily hour-long status meetings.
I need to find a more polite way to say, “I’d be meeting my milestones if it wasn’t for all of these damn meetings.”》
Perhaps this is an opportunity to usefully employ ChatGPT style AI to attend to these horrors on your behalf. A Max Headroom animated avatar skinned with your visage driven by the AI might even get you elevated to upper management :)
Later this combo could apply for a better appointments. Actually I can think of former PM and a former president who would be such poor facsimile of a Max Headroom implementation to have been credible.
They'd probably need a meeting to consider it.
Seriously, it's something to raise with your line management. In plain English - "My status is 'permanently in meetings'. We* would make much better progress if something could be done about it." With "We need to do something about this." ready as a follow up. It then becomes his problem to get the meetings off your back. If it's your manager who calls the meetings then if he's any good he'll realise that it's a problem of his own making. If it's your manager calling the meetings and he isn't any good then it's difficult when you can't get him near a loose window or defective lift.
* Definitely "we" - this is his problem at least as much as yours.
many would sleep better at night knowing it's a rational act rather than execs reacting to reading about Elon Musk doing the same.
Our office boss is quoting Musk at every opportunity, which says everything anyone needs to know about him. Of course he's absolutely nobody in the great corporate hierarchy and the instruction to get people to come back to open plan hell and love it came down from above, but he's doing his very best. Which is quoting Musk like a fucking parrot.
..."he's doing his very best. Which is quoting Musk like a fucking parrot."
A fornicating Norwegian Blue I take it.
Have to wonder if the active party (parrot) is actually dead whether it is still necrophilia? Zombiephilia? Or am I confusing this with coprophagia which is forgivable in the this context?
Although I suspect a living parrot would have more respect for its own intelligence to quote that fruit loop.
The two big things that killed working in the office for me was 1) open floor plans(slowly drove me insane, first exposed to them in 2006) and 2) cost of living(at the time it was bay area). I've read several stories that open floor plans have gotten even worse (to "hot desking"). I haven't regularly reported to an office since about maybe early 2014, and moved ~90 miles away from the last office I reported to in 2016. At the time my logic was, the team I supported was ~800 miles away, the data center infrastructure I supported was ~2400 miles away, my manager was ~3000 miles away, and a third of my team was in other countries, so not a big reason to keep going to that office (even though I lived about 1 mile away).
Currently live about 1600 miles from my current employer's nearest office (new gig last year, I haven't moved). My housing costs in 2023 are still less than they were in 2011 when I moved to the bay area (from Seattle area). So I'm pretty happy about that.
I have seen a lot of comments regarding managers wanting their employees in the office. I wonder how they feel when their employees are in the office, just not the same office as them? My first paying real "system admin" job was in 2000, and my manager was ~800 miles away in another office and my other co-worker was ~2500 miles away in another office still. Worked fine for 2 years, rarely saw each other in person, usually phone calls, lots of emails, sometimes online chat(ICQ I think), certainly no video anything back then. I had other people in the office with me, just not directly on my team.
But solve open floor plans and cost of living and I'd be more open to returning to an office on occasion. Currently all of the people on my team and in the leadership above me are WFH including CIO(though he travels a lot).
So for me it's more important to be working "remote" (lower cost of living) rather than simply working "from home".
I can only speak for my company and the team I'm in.
During CovId, the company introduced a WFH policy and once the epidemic had abated somewhat, 1 day in the office was mandated. We have picked Thursday for ourselves although we aren't strict about it. We have our weekly meeting then.
I'd say that about 40%-70% are in the office, excluding the poor women in help desk who don't really get a choice in the matter.
The company also introduced hot-desking at the same time and it is a pain in the arse.
Three quarters of the employees sit in the same place all of the time and so any benefits that might come from it are lost.
I prefer the office to home on account of there being fewer distractions but the other two people in the team far prefer to work from home.
One lives more than an hour away and she has a dog. Life is so much easier for her when she can work from home.
The other colleague has made an impressive setup at home with his own chair, one of those massively wide screens, his own computer and so on.
He lives within a 20 minute commute and could come in, but why bother when the setup at home is so much agreeable than that at work.
And he is disturbed less often. Fewer people just drop by for a chat. He likes to be able to work as uninterrupted as possible.
Unlike the anonymous office space that has to be set up and tidied away at the ends of the day, he has customised his workspace and he feels for comfortable and relaxed there too.
And he has his cats with him to lie on his keyboard.
"It's so nice to see how concerned tech companies are about becoming "carbon neutral" by 3035, I mean 2035."
Might change as employee commuting becomes required as part of Scope 3 Indirect emissions reporting. Of course, this will mean that PHBs everywhere exhort the peasants to use (often crappy) public transport, or pushbikes, whilst the bosses continue to choose and use the largest engined German cars that the company scheme permits them.
A vaguely related tale of corporate green commitment: I used to work for a large German energy company. The annual senior leaders conference was in Milan one year. All of the large German contingent flew from Dusseldorf, which was reasonable. But were then met by their individual chauffeurs at Milan airport, each one having driven their Merc S class the 900km from Dusseldorf to Milan.
>> And then there's pressure from the state to keep cafes open,
> By going to an office?
Have you been doing WFH so much that you've forgotten the way that all office spaces are built one floor up from a Parisienne style cafe, where the Agile Standup attendees mix with the boulevardiers on the wide patio overlooking the calm river?
Hang on, I've confused myself here. I meant to say, the cafe in the Sainsburys a mile away at the other end of the industrial estate, the one just by the motorway flyover.
I doubt the demand for return has much to do with the company's direct profit. It feels like a coordinated response. Maybe Blackrock, Vanguard and friends are trying to protect other investments? However, I "think" (gut feel again) that a partial office / home has advantages for many roles. Face to face communication is always better, builds relationships and works better for intense collaboration and workshops. But there are times when working alone at home is more productive. And ... mixing this would allow a big reduction in real estate costs. So, managed well, more productive, happier people and lower costs - what's not to like?
"Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had to optimize its use of what expensive real estate remained..."
It's right there out in the open. Half the world was in lockdown for months and things just kept ticking along. None of Google, Facebook etc etc went into meltdown because of WFH, in fact this was the period when large tech companies actually vastly increased both their headcounts and their profits. It was areas like manufacturing, logistics and retail, which *require* physical presence, that suffered.
" and that coming into the office once or twice a week was not efficient"
No it isn't, because if you don't know who's coming when, you still need as much office space as you have headcount. But the solution is keeping WFH and cancelling leases or selling buildings. Or be a bit creative, take half of your office building, convert it to apartments, and then offer your employees the chance to rent the apartments at decent rates. That way you still get ROI from your building, you're increasing the chance of people going into the office, and even people who are WFH are close by if needed, and you create a university-like campus that could be very attractive to young graduate employees, and you might increase employee loyalty rather than shitting on them from up high.
I don't know about the US but in the UK, converting office buildings to apartments is not simple or cheap. The plumbing is laid out all wrong and there are completely different H&S regulations for example. Usually it's cheaper to just knock the building down and start again.
Birmingham UK: there are a few office to flat conversions in the very centre of the city. As SundogUK's post suggests these are high rent 'luxury' flats and they did take a bit of time over the conversion. One was a 1960s building (a good quality one) and the other two are 1930s vintage with solid brick type construction with stone facing. All that I know of are medium-ish rise.
There is an incentive to knock down and rebuild (in some cases locally with exactly the same floor plan for heavens sake). VAT and such. Also issues like accessibility and data. Tricky stuff.
"One was a 1960s building (a good quality one)"
I hope you're not referring to the Rotunda? Other than a circular plan, a miserable example of 1960s concrete that should have been flattened. It might even have been demolished if the twerps at English Heritage hadn't stepped in to halt progress. Despite its refurb it is currently surrounded by a scaffolding platform to catch falling windows, there's quality for you.
Had the right thing been done, it would have come down, the planners could have started to sort out the horribly constrained New Street station, and thus avoided the fiasco of having a fourth city centre station for HS2. If Brummies really wanted a circular building, then they could have built one properly nearby after the original had been demolished - the original design didn't have the top storeys added because the building was starting to shift towards the adjacent railway lines.
What is it with the people of Britain, clinging to every aspect of the past as though being old makes something good? And don't get me started on the eyesore that is New Street signal box, which is grade 2 listed.
"in the UK, converting office buildings to apartments is not simple or cheap. The plumbing is laid out all wrong and there are completely different H&S regulations for example. Usually it's cheaper to just knock the building down and start again."
So the owners have three alternatives:
- spend money converting to residential and get some income,
- spend money knocking down and rebuilding and get some income,
- spend less money maintaining an empty building and get no income.
It should be possible to reduce these to two alternatives with a bit of intelligent thought.
You mean to tell us that all the middle managers who had no one to in-person micromanage dragged everyone back to the offices just to justify their own jobs?
I've just finished a UK public sector contract, 90 minutes each way on a bad day but thankfully my department only wanted us in one day a week.
"they just went with their gut"
Anatomically correct I guess but more like the fire exit end.
Experienced test pilots might fly by the seat of their pants and occasionally survive the ordeal but here the managers are more like high school dropouts, with as much knowledge of aviation as an earthworm, being told to take control their joystick... the aircraft crashes and burns while they have their terminal jollies.
The headline "80% of execs regret calling employees back to the office" doesn't match the article wording. The article actually says (quoting the report) "80% of executives say they would have approached their company’s return-to-office strategy differently if they had access to workplace data to inform their decision-making."
No mention of regret, or the wrong decision being made, just that they had to make decisions in the absence of data. And using a different strategy does not necessarily mean coming to a different decision. Note that the company who produced the report specialises in workplace management, including managing workplace data, so naturally they will be pushing the "must have data" angle - that's their business.
But isn't that what executives are meant to do, make decisions when faced with uncertainty and incomplete data? Isn't that why they earn the exec pay?
Anyone who says the team working or osmosis method of passing on knowledge is definitely the best method needs to have a long hard look at themselves.
Yes, I'm sure there's a small minority of situations that work better in person, but we're IT workers, discussing topics on an IT site. We're supposed to make this work!
I've been in both situations, and for the 'grabbing someone for osmosis' method
Has minor advantages that you can 'see' if someone is busy (but that's fairly equivalent to an online status, and in both cases they may tell you go away)
If they're next to you, they may proactively notice you need help
There can be some advantages purely in being in the same room as someone for human interaction
The 'water cooler' situation. Personally I've found this to be extremely rare, and just as prevalent or better online, your mileage may vary.
I'm struggling to find more than that. Disadvantages are legion :
Explanation is usually oral, you need to implement and remember, or document immediately.
Just because osmosis *can* happen, does not mean it does
If a knowledge holder leaves, their knowledge leaves with them. Been there, done that, had to learn from scratch myself on numerous occasions.
Once *you* leave, knowledge leaves with you, you need to replicate the osmosis training to others whilst you're working. Each new person doing the same training..
For properly organised training (which is not specifically WFH related, but greatly helps for it)
There is some existing documentation
Knowledge gaps are determined based on support cases, customer demand, and new features
Time should be allocated for writing documentation. This is an integral part of working, not something thrown together in five minutes.
This *will* impact on other work tasks
There are both documents, and procedures. Procedures should ideally include logging and saving of data
It's also iterative - so if the documentation or procedure is created and is unclear, it is clarified or training is provided, until it can be handled.
This ideally only needs to be done once (reality is different, but that's the ideal).
Management needs to accept that as mentioned creating this takes time, but also some situations are simply not applicable for a standard procedure, they require background experience.
It's also true, that regardless of the knowledge transfer process. Some people are simply better at working out issues from the information available. Whether in person, or online, some people will progress a request based on a minimal amount of information. Others will fail to progress, despite a series of clear unambiguous steps. The trick is to maximise what can be achieved starting from a lower level of experience.
Note also, that whatever your level of experience, you *will* forget things after a while unless you're using them every day. Self written documentation helps you too when you forget, and having to codify knowledge into a procedure can involve learning new technologies (viz recently-ish I created a procedure I would personally have used awk to resolve in PowerShell instead, having to learn how to achieve the same result. Mostly, Powershell was an advantage (although the absence of NF in Powershell needed to be worked around), and it looks much less like line noise)
What they did was worry about the state of their business and tried to make themselves feel more in control by forcing their employees back into the office. "I can't control the sales but by Tutatis I can force my employees to be sat at their desks by 9am!"
For some managers it might even just be a pathetic attempt to create value for their position. They have realised that with no-one in the office and everyone working happily from home they had no purpose any longer.
I retired rather than go back into the office. The company lost one of their best and most experienced software developers. Good strategy, guys.
This has always puzzled me. I've heard the term over the years and I've learned to associate it with "well/over paid individual that's a good target for marketing' but I don't think I've ever actually met one in the flesh.
Because when push comes to shove we are all employees unless we're part of a tiny group that has an equity stake in the company and/or attends board meetings.
then not making the office so horrible might have been a start. Vast open-plan spaces, hot-desking - no way for a team to sit and collaborate together without annoying the hell out of everyone else or booking a meeting room (good luck with that). Surrounded by people on different calls or having their own at-desk discussions about unrelated topics. I go into the office when I know I'm going to be able to buttonhole people I need a chat with (without booking a meeting) and that's useful. As a space for getting work done, it's horrible
It never fails to annoy me that people will insist on justifying why VP and above positions exist in any business. It's almost a certainty that if a bad decision is made, these are the people that make them.
Do they have the knowledge and experience to make such decisions? The normal reaction to this question is to fall off your chair laughing.
What executives bring to the table is their connections with other executives. The good ol' boys club. The club that guarantees large contracts pass from one table to the other. They were mostly born into their money, they were sent to the right schools and universities, and they have networks of similarly placed individuals.
All of this is great. They are the upper class answer to secondhand car salesmen.
But for god's sake don't let them make day-to-day decisions about running the company. They have no real world knowledge. Seriously, it's time to stop letting some idiot wearing a bowtie make decisions that cost money, simply because they're bored because there was no one around to bully into wasting their time with useless tasks.
> Meta chief and human being [...]
Thanks for clarifying that. But do you have any evidence?
> [...] Mark Zuckerberg has said that "engineers perform better in person,"
Evidence please Mr Z? Have you even met any engineers? I don't mean their bosses - I mean actual engineers.