What is happening at work?

once_upon

Enough
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My husband who worked as a contract IT employee refused to even consider a contract unless he could work from home at least 80% of the time.

This was pre Covid.
 

Miezekatze

Well-Known Member
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16,532
It would definitely be a deal breaker for me too.

At the beginning of the pandemic, i actually did a job interview with another company here more or less "for fun" and got an offer , but I didn't take it back then, because they didn't have a clear strategy for the amount of work from home after the pandemic yet. Since my company was already more clear about it, I decided to stay because of that. I'm happy with that choice, the only little annoying thing being that it will take 2 years until we finally have the newly designed co-working areas for meeting up once a week. Right now, if you go to the office, you'll just find lots of empty desks without any monitors, cause everybody has gotten theirs at home and too little empty small meeting rooms. for a good office day, we'll need many many meetings room and some good desktop sharing places with monitors. Of course we hired an expensive consulting company to make a concept, a project which is going to run until 2024.

Oddly enough my company invested in new coffee machines though that make really good coffee already :lol:

Due to the traffic and office space problems in the Stuttgart area, all the big companies here are very open about home office (that already started pre-Covid), so there's plenty of choices, plus of course there's always the option of applying to a global 100% wfh company like Github.
 

Louis

Private citizen
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18,287
Working from home is here to stay whether you like it or not. I am a case in point where I am actively seeking other work to leave a very comfortable job because my current employer is so inflexible on working from home even though I have successfully done it for two years. The genie isn’t going back in the lamp.

We’ll see about that. All of the other supposedly permanent changes from the pandemic have been reversing, and this one will, too. Not right now because there’s a labor shortage, but it will when the economy kicks into recession. Remote workers will be the last to advance, the first to be let go, and you can bet companies are already looking at ways to outsource remote roles to cheaper locations. There will always be exceptions, e.g., highly technical roles in shortage occupations, but I’m confident we’ll see a reversion to the mean overall. Maybe with a tad more flexibility.

I’m curious how easy it will be for you to find a fully remote role. I get contacted about a lot of roles (at least 10 per month), and not a single one has been fully remote for the past few months - a very sharp reversal from last year. The “best” I’ve seen is three days per week in the office and two at home.
 

flyingsit

Well-Known Member
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12,543
I’ve been working remotely for 9 years at this point. When I was job hunting recently, I was contacted by a LOT of recruiters even though my LinkedIn profile specified that I was only interested in fully remote roles.

It may be industry-specific; in the 5 or so years before the pandemic, mine was moving toward remote work rapidly. Frankly, it’s a lot easier to find the right people when you are not limited geographicall.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
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51,376
It may be industry-specific; in the 5 or so years before the pandemic, mine was moving toward remote work rapidly. Frankly, it’s a lot easier to find the right people when you are not limited geographicall.
Mine too. We have people living all over the world and many of them were working for us before the pandemic.

This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic but I think it's inevitable for any industry and many jobs in other industries where what is produced is not a good but a service. I think, if higher-ups didn't want this, maybe they shouldn't have worshiped at the altar of the open floor plan. Though traffic congestion is also an accelerator.
 

Louis

Private citizen
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I'm hearing more and more reports of large multinational companies telling workers that they need to come in at least three days per week, and saying those who can't do that need to look for another job. Vaxx mandates being dropped, too. Those too afraid to come in, etc. will need to have their claims formally investigated by an independent third-party, similar to disability: better hope you're not going to a restaurant or on holiday. :lol: :EVILLE:

I predicted awhile back that the full-time WFH fad would end as soon as the economy and labor market started to cool down a bit. I suspect that those who want to WFH full-time permanently will be the first victims of stealth layoffs, where companies try to thin the herd naturally by triggering voluntary resignations.
 

once_upon

Enough
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23,959
I think it is impossible to determine what the future of employment is. Not everything is based on what you call fear. This is gifted.

Gen Z Knows What It Wants From Employers. And Employers Want Them. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/31/...D6rMfcAk0CVzOT3p34GxU-8rwcj5YBZ6060Wy9U3hR4IL

But then this seems to back your premise that employers will demand/expect/mandate to return to a building. Also gifted


Where the Fight Over a Return to the Office Is Over and the Office Won https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/01/...I-4cdfPL4UOqX_LR0jfqnukA73Lsbm9YO8iY7jwMZw4rw

I think it will come down to suppy/demand, type of work /and who wins the battle.

As I said before March 2020 my spouse was work from home for the last 20 years or so. Occasional contract was work in Office, but he would negotiate wfh even in those situations. IT contracts - one or two with big names - HP, BC/BS. Two of my son's are strictly WFH (no physical building with space other than executives), one of my Dil transfered departments to a job that is strictly WFH (no designated office space for the entire department).

So...it depends and the reasons are not covid fear based. Mostly it's life balance.
 

Hedwig

WoolSilk Fanatic
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20,775
Mostly it is life balance and hopefully also environmental concerns.

Most of what is done in my company has to be done at our ware-house but the two people who work with computers work part-time from home. For them it is easier to work around child care and get in the necessary time and I like that they have less to drive. We have a public transport is paid for you option but they are driving by car and so I am happy that they don't do it every day.
 

alexikeguchi

Well-Known Member
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1,070
And saving money. :) [The employers don't have to lease as much space.]
I think this is the case with my younger son's employer. He is a visual effects artist for a game studio based in Vancouver BC, and they converted to 100% remote pretty much the same day he started. I'm sure commercial rent in Vancouver is ridiculous, and it would seem like my son's work is exactly the type that doesn't need to be done in person. However, he already feels that there are so many inefficiencies from not being able just to walk down the hall to talk to the programmers and animators in person. He doesn't have young children or any other major responsibilities that require him to be at home, so all the benefit is in cost savings for his employer.
 

Miezekatze

Well-Known Member
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16,532
Here in Germany it's now the plan to increase the wfh again to safe energy also cause of the gas crisis, especially in the public sector too.

We've never returned to the office though anyway, the co-working spaces won't be ready in years and 78% of the company chose their main workplace at home.

Plus our team has completely shifted. Pre-Covid we were about 6 people, 5 from Stuttgart and our scrum master from Ulm, so everybody from within 100 kilometers.

Now we are a team with 3 people from Stuttgart, 2 from Berlin, 1 who is alternating between living in southern and northern Germany, 1 from Ulm, so it doesn't really make sense to try to meetup regularily anymore, since there's hundreds of kilometers between people.
 

Louis

Private citizen
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18,287
In the U.K., the looming recession and almost certain layoffs that come with projected 19% inflation, 20%+ consumer price index jumps, 550% increase in energy prices, and 7+% interest rates has people rushing back to the office. Fear of getting sacked is doing what no perqs could do.

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out in the US. The big tech companies have slowed hiring and engaged in stealth layoffs (not replacing those who resign, exiting 10% of low performers, offering buyouts to much of the 10% highest paid). If Apple or another firm decides to show the door to those refusing to come back to the office, the whole house of cards could crumble.
 

antmanb

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12,475
Where are you seeing this @Louis ? In my company we have lost nearly 30 people who have all switched to better WFH roles and we have only been able to replace a third of those who have left because our fixed - two days in the office a week - isn't flexible enough for the applicants.

Most of the people i know who are office based are doing some form of hybrid working, no one is being asked to be 100% back in the office so i'm curious if it's a personal observation or something you've read?
 

Frau Muller

From Puerto Rico…With Love!
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18,476
My main consulting client (USAID contractor firm in Virginia) just extended the work-from-home policy through September 2023; not even a hybrid option!

Since my full retirement $$$ begins in six months, I can safely say that I’ll no longer be working on-site in the US during my life. Our permanent move to Puerto Rico coming sooon!!! Counting the days, to be honest! Dear Russian Husband becoming expert in Spanish…transferring to the San Juan branch of his employer in March 2023…Si, Se Puede!
 

Louis

Private citizen
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18,287
Where are you seeing this @Louis ? […]

Most of the people i know who are office based are doing some form of hybrid working, no one is being asked to be 100% back in the office so i'm curious if it's a personal observation or something you've read?

Both. I am talking about hybrid, but with a minimum number of days in the office per week. To this point, many companies have not enforced this, and a good deal of workers have not gone to the office at all or have gone only rarely. Now it’s not just Tesla telling people to come to the office three days a week or prepare to be fired. Some companies are doing this directly (actually telling people that they’ll be tracked, put on a performance improvement plan, and ultimately fired if they don’t meet a minimum number of days in the office), while others are being more coy yet clearly signaling the intent.

There’s a good article in the Telegraph (paywall, but some articles will be free): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/busines...-office-cuts-holidays-short-recession-clouds/. I know some don’t like the source, but it aligns with what I’m seeing in the finance, consulting, and tech sectors.

Big Tech has slowed hiring DRAMATICALLY. The effects will take a couple of months to show up, but workers are going to have a lot less power. I suspect highly paid people in high COL locations will have to show their faces three days a week, or else they’ll be replaced by remote workers in low COL or offshore locations. I think the days of highly paid total WFH workers in expensive locations are mostly over for now. Supply will be higher, demand will be lower, and companies won’t be as willing to pay as much as they have with no strings attached.

With inflation the way it is, mass layoffs are coming, and history tells us that WFH and highly paid people are usually both the first to go. A lot of the people I call the “WFH elite” should be running scared right now. The smarter ones are running back to the office at least three days per week.
 

antmanb

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12,475
Both. I am talking about hybrid, but with a minimum number of days in the office per week. To this point, many companies have not enforced this, and a good deal of workers have not gone to the office at all or have gone only rarely. Now it’s not just Tesla telling people to come to the office three days a week or prepare to be fired. Some companies are doing this directly (actually telling people that they’ll be tracked, put on a performance improvement plan, and ultimately fired if they don’t meet a minimum number of days in the office), while others are being more coy yet clearly signaling the intent.
Tesla in the UK or in the US? I've seen all the reports about Tesla in the US but not seen much about the UK plants. Rees-Mog did his complaint about getting civil servants back 100% in the office, but in general i've not see much else. Most companies have moved to a hybrid policy being anything from coming in as and when needed to fixed days up to 3 or 4 in the office. Also most people are complying with their new work policies or finding new jobs with the conditions they want.

There’s a good article in the Telegraph (paywall, but some articles will be free): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/busines...-office-cuts-holidays-short-recession-clouds/. I know some don’t like the source, but it aligns with what I’m seeing in the finance, consulting, and tech sectors.
I can't see the article but our own IT department are 100% WFH unless there is a need to come in to collaborate, and that was justified to the rest of the business on the basis that it is standard practice in the tech industry and if you want the best people you have to match the conditions.

Also my impression is that tech was much more WFH than any other industry before Covid so I don't see why that would revert to something that wasn't in place before the pandemic.

Big Tech has slowed hiring DRAMATICALLY. The effects will take a couple of months to show up, but workers are going to have a lot less power. I suspect highly paid people in high COL locations will have to show their faces three days a week, or else they’ll be replaced by remote workers in low COL or offshore locations. I think the days of highly paid total WFH workers in expensive locations are mostly over for now. Supply will be higher, demand will be lower, and companies won’t be as willing to pay as much as they have with no strings attached.
I've not see any sign of big tech hiring slowing down. We struggle to keep IT people in our business because there are better offers and better pay available outside of the Northwest and people can get London wages while continuing to live in the Northwest. We're still losing people and not having that many apply to the positions that open up which is causing big crisis meetings between IT and HR at my place.

With inflation the way it is, mass layoffs are coming, and history tells us that WFH and highly paid people are usually both the first to go. A lot of the people I call the “WFH elite” should be running scared right now. The smarter ones are running back to the office at least three days per week.
Does history tell us this? I think you're trying to make "fetch" happen because you personally want people back in the office.

In 2008 when we went into recession, admittedly, I was working in a private practice law firm so no-one worked from home and the most highly paid protected themselves, kept the cheaper junior lawyers to do the work and the mass lay offs occurred at associate level.

I started working for this company in 2010 (again no one worked from home so it wasn't a factor in redundancies) and the top paid people all kept their jobs it was middle managers that were laid off.

Most companies now seem to have formally adopted hybrid work from home policies, if redundancies are coming, using how many days people work from home as a criterion of the redundancy would be at best bizarre and at worst illegal given the policies in place.

I would guess redundancies will go as they usually do - C suite are safe, the cheapest lower workers will be kept/whipped harder with a small percentage made redundant and the middle managers will bear the brunt of it. I would say admin positions will be consolidated, but that happened in 2008 and continued to happen for the next ten years so I doubt there are many admin positions left in companies to consolidate.
 

Hedwig

WoolSilk Fanatic
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Here wfh is even encouraged as energy saving procedure.
Which- imo- is one of the biggest benefit of wfh. Less travel pollution and less office space building pollution and everything that goes with it. And of course heating which will be a huge factor here in the next couple of years.
 

Louis

Private citizen
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18,287
I view tech as different than IT, and needing a lot more collaboration as teams work together to develop products. Fully remote is not ideal. I have some people for whom it’s tolerable, but in general, I’m not going to hire a remote worker if I can hire one in an office. And I like my odds right now.

Plenty of hiring experts agree with my statement that (rightly or wrongly) remote workers are often the first to be let go:

There are two quick articles of many on the topic. You may ask me what country I’m talking about, and I’m talking about large multinational corporations.

I’m not gleeful about any of this. I sit outside of the HQ myself and see a degree of personal risk that I’m willing to accept. I genuinely think it’s better to be prepared, and my advice right now to anyone who is worried about their job (which others are free to ignore) is to get into the office as much as possible. And don’t bet that you can find a remote work job if you lose your current one.

Time will tell if I’m right or wrong (and I’ll freely admit if I’m wrong), but I suspect we’ll see remote workers culled at higher rates than hybrid or in-person workers within the next 18 months.
 

Dobre

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I know very little about what's going on with tech companies here (whereas there are lots of people on this site who do), but I do know that Intel & at least one other tech company have been advocating for U.S. immigration restrictions to ease and there seems to be no indication that the company wants my friend's husband to return to regular work in the office.
 

flyingsit

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12,543
The company I worked for pre-pandemic had been moving to remote work for YEARS for several reasons. The main ones were 1) to compete for talent and 2) to save on real estate costs.

And if everyone had to be in the office 100% of the time, I guess there wouldn't be the opportunity for executives to work from remote locations as they choose... so no working from sunnier climates in the winter, I guess.
 

once_upon

Enough
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23,959
Not sure what differentiates tech jobs and IT jobs, but an excellent way to decrease costs is through WFH jobs.

Office space is expensive. Dual computer set up are extremely expensive or even a set up - I've read enough about employees using their own equipment.

Phone systems within buildings is archaic- people use their own cell phones and data plans - even our pastors who receive a compensation for cell phone, use it far more for business calls than gets compensation every 3 month.

Utilities, internet services, cafeteria (if there is one), cleaning services etc are generally (in almost every situation I know of) are on top of office space rental. WFH, not so much. Companies might have to do some compensation if written into a contract, but mostly they let the WFH employee figure out tax implications

Regardless of what some people think, all my WFH relatives and friends work way more hours at home than in offices. Log on earlier, work through lunch and breaks, log off later.

Regardless of people's thought process that WFH only came about because of Covid, IT, tech companies, help desks have had jobs that were full time WFH for over a decade or longer.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
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51,376
Many, many moons ago, if you were a remote worker who lived in a different state from the majority of your department or if you had any type of unusual arrangement such as being PT in a salaried job or doing job sharing, you were likely to be on the chopping block if there were company-wide layoffs. But that was years ago. Decades.

These days, too many people are living all over and are hybrid or full wfh that it makes no sense to lay them all off and just keep the handful who go into the office because they go into the office. Getting rid of one person who makes scheduling meetings harder because they are in a different time zone and who you don't feel connected to because you rarely see them makes sense. Getting rid of tons of people who WFH but are doing good work does not.

And multinational corporations, which have offices all over the globe, have already been dealing with people on the same project being in multiple time zones or having someone manage offices in other parts of the world from where they live for years. They also aren't going to suddenly fire everyone who doesn't live where the boss lives.

I am sure some industries are more stodgy than others and are just determined to go back to their pre-pandemic ways. But not all industries are like that. Tech, in particular, has been moving to more and more remote work pre-pandemic. The pandemic didn't cause them to change. It just accelerated a change they were already in the middle of.

Yes, I read those articles. I am not convinced of their conclusions. The first one, written by that bastion of journalism, The NY Post, quoted a lot of people who were talking about how it has been in the past without giving any evidence that it is that way now. Plus there were a lot of sweeping generalizations. Managers assume remote workers aren't as productive, for example. According to whom? And what good does running back to the office do if your boss works remotely?

The second article is predicting an economic downturn as the economy is reviving and job creation is high. 🤔 But some businesses that haven't been doing well, some of which don't really have a viable business model (I'm looking at you, Uber) are laying people off!! Obviously, a downturn is coming. ;)
 

skategal

Bunny mama
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10,318
My manager is full time work from home and has been since well before the pandemic.

I have to go back in the office one day per week for reasons such as collaboration.

The decision was taken out of my manager’s hands. I’m sure he doesn’t care if I ever go in the office.

But I’m supposed to go in to collaborate.

Did I mention that there is only the two of us working on our program so the only one I collaborate with is my manager (full time WFH) or clients (also not in the office.)

Make it make sense. :lol: :wall:

I’m taking it as an opportunity to go out for coffee, go to lunch, go for a walk, do errands at lunchtime etc.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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33,769
I'd like to see discussions of WFH acknowledge the psychological implications of home-based workers not being able to physically distance themselves from work. One benefit of working in an office is that there's a clear physical separation between "work" and "home". That's not always true for WFH, especially if the worker lives in a small space where they can't set aside a separate area just for work.

I also don't see a lot of companies offering to compensate workers for all of the costs the worker incurs in WFH, e.g. office equipment, WiFi, supplies, power. WFH shouldn't be an excuse for companies to download the costs of running in-person work onto the worker.
 

once_upon

Enough
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23,959
I'd like to see discussions of WFH acknowledge the psychological implications of home-based workers not being able to physically distance themselves from work. One benefit of working in an office is that there's a clear physical separation between "work" and "home". That's not always true for WFH, especially if the worker lives in a small space where they can't set aside a separate area just for work.

I also don't see a lot of companies offering to compensate workers for all of the costs the worker incurs in WFH, e.g. office equipment, WiFi, supplies, power. WFH shouldn't be an excuse for companies to download the costs of running in-person work onto the worker.
I agree with all your statements. But businesses are not in the business to address those - but they do have whole finance departments looking at bottom line.

If the profit margin is greater because they aren't expending dollars for office space, utilities, etc - that's what they will do.
 

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