52 thoughts on “June 8, 2021: WFH

  1. It was announced they want everyone back full time starting June 21st, which they announced May 24th and I didn't see until June 2nd. So yeah, right at the end of the school year with no time to find child care. The person who made the decision is one of those old school you-have-to-be-in-the-office-despite-plenty-of-evidence-to-the-contrary types (aka an asshole) who sounds like he'll be inflexible about it. I might have to risk getting fired. I'm not happy about it, if you hadn't noticed.

  2. Have been going into my office and working with the door closed for a couple weeks (classes are over so there arent many students dropping in). Fewer chores get done at home, and the snack quality suffers a bit.

    Productivity is about the same...

  3. I've been in a hybrid since last April with WFH about 2-3 times a week. Lately, that's dropped to 1 day a week. The official plan is to bring more and more people in over the summer and full opening in September (which seems common in the government/non profit world in Minnesota). There is talk of making Fridays an official WFH day in general, but we will see where that goes.

  4. My team and I been full time on site since July of last year. We were doing things in the offices by late may 2020, and we were one of the only teams on site save for security and facilities management. It was really stressful in the beginning. How can you socially distance yourself when you have to stand 3 feet away, face to face with your team mate to safely lift and move a painting? The protocols worked though. We had zero case transmissions at work despite some people bringing the virus into the shop (one dude was hanging at bars in Mississippi and got sick, brought it to the shop, and didn’t notify until 2 days after he was hospitalized ... he still has a job with us....). I still hold the record for most work place exposures and never tested positive. Yeah, I was around that guy the whole day he was on site and infected.

    In the last reopening committee meeting there was a discussion about retaining work place flexibility as child care isn’t back to normal and some folks just don’t need to be in the office all the time. This has caused lots of friction with lower level staff who feel like they should be paid more because they have to be on site to perform their jobs. As a manager I’ve found no good way to diffuse this line of thinking. Seems people will never be satisfied. (We hired and promoted people during the pandemic, everyone got a 3% pay raise, and our health care is the best in the city....) hard for me to hear complaints for anything but, we’ll, complaints.

    There are things I want to keep including teams / zoom meetings for groups over 5.

    1. Seems people will never be satisfied.

      If I might build on this theme... not quite the same context, but it's been chafing at me:

      Aquinas' 5th grade teacher this past year was a well-seasoned vet, who definitely found adjusting to Covid changes difficult. But she's also very professional and a rule-follower, so she made it work. At the end of the year she came up with a field trip for the class, which was a pretty big deal, since field trips have been, obviously, eviscertated since Covid. It went amazingly. So the 4th grade and 3rd grade classes copied it (so Aristotle's class - 3rd grade - got to go too), and took their students on field trips too.

      Personally, that seemed like a no-brainer. But apparently it brought about a lot of hard feelings. My 5th grader was yelling at my 3rd grader because she went on a copy cat trip, etc. Talking with him, it became obvious that this jealousy was top-down: his teacher had openly complained about it to his class. We later learned from the 4th grade teacher (who is a friend), that there were very hard feelings by the 5th grade teacher. This shocked us - she is, as mentioned, very professional, so this was totally out of character.

      Anyway, I bring it up here because your "friction with staff who have to be on site..." point reminds me so much of this. It seems like there is an explosion of jealousy lately (or maybe I'm just more aware of it), where someone else getting something good is seen as a bad thing. I kept reminding Aquinas that Aristotle's field trip in no way diminished the joy he experienced on his own trip. Intellectually he understood, but emotionally he was being pulled in a different direction.

      That's enough musing for now, but I wanted to put it out there - it just feels like there is so much wrath and jealousy being directed at others getting good things, and I am generally baffled by that notion.

      1. it just feels like there is so much wrath and jealousy being directed at others getting good things

        There's a sermon topic! Theologically, I would suggest it goes back to Cain and Abel.

              1. But also, a new hire shouldn't start out making more than someone who's been there 4 years is making still.

                Example not from a family member's work place or anything.

  5. I have obviously been at work through this whole crazy time. I am super happy that the days of spending hours contact tracing are gone. I managed to make it through the entire pandemic without participating in a zoom meeting. I had many requests to meet as committees via zoom, but I typically dodged those meetings until we could meet in person. The patio project hit a milestone, with the concrete (stamped and colored) floor beginning to be poured today. All concrete work will be done by the end of the week. All stone work should be done early next week. Installing the outdoor bar next week as well. I booked a St. Cloud musician named Michael Shynes to perform at an event on June 23rd and it sounds like we will be 99% done by then. That night will be sort of an unofficial launch of the patio. Nibbish can probably attest that the endless questions about the patio have become a bit cumbersome. I played in a Chamber of Commerce golf tournament yesterday. 144 players. Probably 100 of them stopped and asked me "when is the patio going to be done?" The one sad curveball I received yesterday, was a beautiful maple tree that sits between our fire pits and sidewalk did not make it through construction. We cut up some roots when prepping the new sidewalk. So now we need to remove the dying tree and try to plant something that will work in that space.

    1. And this... Half my patio furniture arrived a few weeks ago and are in a storage container on our lot. The other half I ordered on March 3rd and was available to be delivered in early May. I asked for them to hold shipment until this week. They just called and said they were out of stock on the table tops. This is the day after they set up shipping and delivery date. So frustrating. Now, I have 4 round tables in a spot where I wanted 4 squares (easier to pull together). When I played baseball, I never really hit the curveball at all. Every day at work, I am facing curveball after curveball. Not fun.

  6. Work switched to allowing people to be full-time WFH. There were already remote workers (me among them) so it wasn't a stretch to allow others to join that group. There's an in-between group where you will WFH some days of the week that I suspect most people will be rather than fully in the office or at home.

    1. I really hoping my company will at least employ some sort of hybrid model, but we have a whole board of those "old school you-have-to-be-in-the-office" types. Full time WFH seems laughable for them to even consider. I'm hoping for the best.

        1. This is what I am anticipating here. We have a "return-to-work" schedule, but I fully intend on taking liberties where needed for work/family harmony optimization. As a "field" leader, I have a fair bit of leeway as it was.

  7. We are back full-time in July, and this was announced like mid-April to give everyone a lot of time to adjust. Line staff can already work from home in between client meetings, and just have to go to the office to do things like mail, copy, fax, though we're working on technology to fax things through the EMR rather than use a machine. Manager will be allowed to work from home one day a week, but we have new staff who do need in-person training and we have clients who drop by the office for help and we need bodies there.

    We have had staff complain that they feel like guinea pigs and how dare we ever make them leave their houses ever again, but most people have gotten over it and pretty much everyone is pulling their weight. Some were just anxious but now that they're seeing humans again are kind of into it. And the company learned that some parts of the job don't need to be in-person anymore, so there will be a lot more flexibility on things. Like if there's 10 inches of snow, people can just work from home for one day instead of risking their lives. And some meetings will just be on Teams so nobody has to drive for what amounts to a 10 minute discussion.

    1. If they had given reasonable notice I'd be less mad because at least it's have time to arrange something. Such a stupid decision to drop it on everyone so close to the end of thy school year. They also announced the shut down of our plant in Southern Wisconsin like a week before that, so people were already pissed. I'm probably going to see how far I can bend this going back thing since they really can't fire me at this point.

  8. We are planning to go back to in-person classes campus-wide in the Fall, with the intent that we will have about 80% of our classes on campus, and 20% online. So, I'll be teaching some online sections and some in-person. I know there are many, many students who really need this, as our success rates for online classes right now are abysmal. And for the most part I look forward to being back in the classroom again. I also enjoy teaching online, but it's not the same as being in-person and seeing the students directly.

    But, any other administrative meetings have been so much faster and easier to get to through Zoom, so I'm not looking forward to having to stay around campus or drive in (at least 30 minutes each way...) just to meet face-to-face. Our union has negotiated an agreement for Fall that all faculty will have the opportunity to attend meetings and trainings online, which I'm hoping means most of my committee meetings can keep going they way they've been going, but we'll see how it actually plays out.

    I'm also a little hesitant about what it will actually be like when we are back on campus. I think Fall is going to be a weird transition semester. Cal OSHA's latest proposals likely mean we'll still all be required to be masked unless the school can assure that everyone in the room is vaccinated, which they certainly can't, since they aren't requiring students to be vaccinated. I talk plenty loud in class, so I'm not worried about students hearing me, but them hearing each other and me hearing them, are completely different stories. My students spend huge amounts of their in-class time doing group work, so I'm a bit concerned about how that will work as well.

    And, there's still a chance it will all blow up, and we'll be 100% online in Fall once again. Under the current LA county rules, we would only be allowed to have our classes half full. If that doesn't change, we won't be returning to campus at all, because the college can't afford to pay faculty to teach half-full classes. Registration starts in early July, so I hope we'll know for sure in a month, but that uncertainty makes it difficult to start planning anything definite for Fall.

    1. they aren't requiring students to be vaccinated.

      I've emailed my kids' schools about this. I think it should be a requirement for colleges. Teachers, staff, and students.

      1. I agree, but unfortunately I don't get to make that decision. College president said they don't want to put up any more barriers for students, many of whom are really do have a great need to get back to in-person classes. No mention of what barriers this puts in front of students who get sick in the middle of the semester, entire classrooms of students that have an exposure and need to suddenly shift online, or the (admittedly very small number of) students, faculty, or staff who are medically unable to get a vaccine.

        All employees are required, but students are not at all. We've done vaccination clinics for students (and anyone else, really) to come in and get it done, but no mandates.

        1. Were there barriers for polio and smallpox vaccines, or now for MMR vaccines to be in school? Or is the only barrier that people don't trust science like they did 50 years ago?

          1. The president who made this decision was previously a chemist, and very pro-vaccine. But, I'd assume a fear of students' possible vaccine hesitancy, especially for the racially minoritized groups my college mostly serves, was part of the decision to not require it.

            Vaccine access was a legitimate concern when the decision was made a couple of months ago, but I'd say that's much less true now. All the University of California and Cal State schools are requiring it for all students for Fall, and I'm pretty disappointed that we are not.

            1. I just know that if we have to tighten up this next fall again, I won't be too happy with those that chose not to get vaccinated. I don't think I'll be the only one.

              1. We also have a large number of students who are undocumented, or who have family members who are, which gives yet another reason they could be concerned.

    2. Opposite of dr. Chop’s school. All students mandatory vax to be on campus next semester. Faculty and staff? No requirement due to state employment law.

  9. We don't have an official date when people have to be back; I am planning to be mostly back in the office starting in September, though I'll probably work from home sometimes as well. It sounds like there will be a fairly flexible policy regarding splitting time between the office and WFH. I definitely plan to WFH in the winter when we're expecting a bunch of snow; avoiding the rush hour bus delays during winter storms will be wonderful.

    That said, a new employee started reporting to me during the pandemic, and a couple weeks ago we met outdoors in person, and it was GREAT. So much better than a one-on-one Teams meeting. Conveniently, she lives just a few blocks from where I go for chemo, so she and I both just walked over to a designated meeting spot once my infusion was done. We're planning to meet that way again tomorrow.

  10. I was in a 100% remote role when the pandemic started. I started a new job at the end of March. I just got an email that they have space assigned to me in the office in ~2 weeks, but I'm not planning on going back to the office until September. I'm planning on doing about two days a week in the office and the rest from home. That's about the most I can manage from a mental standpoint. I'm super, super lucky and thankful that I have flexibility.

  11. Our CEO decided she liked WFH and is going to do that full time, this led to other departments/positions having the option to WFH. So, I am officially a full-time work from home employee now. (They have since leased out my old office space to outside tenants.) The Mrs. on the other hand is expected to have to go back to the office sometime around September, and she is not too thrilled about that.

    1. Simmons' fielding percentage this year is the same as Greg Gagne's career fielding percentage, and Gagne was worth about a half-win per season with his glove alone.

      1. DRS likes his fielding but UZR doesn't. UZR puts him below zero in errors. Neither are that far from 0. The sample size is too small to make any decisions.

        Inside Edge fielding seems to rate him favorably. He's made 31% of "remote" plays (1-10% chance of making the play) and 71% of unlikely plays (10-40% chance). The rest of the categories match with the expected rate.

  12. I have worked on location for the entirety of the pandemic (a cashier and at a golf course). Being a cashier has really soured me on some member of my community who talk big about being together and we all help each other out because we are a small town, yet never wore a mask for the 90 seconds they stopped in and out of my store.

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