Will COVID change you/your company to flexible working?


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Hey Rob, will @WarriorPrincess and @First Lady et al now be thriving in their newly found working from home arrangements? :stir:

On a serious note, how many who now work from home see this as a more permanent thing to their work lives? I've been working from home for a while now anyway so this current situation is nothing different to me at all. My team are in Brisbane, Adelaide, London, Joburg, KL so it really doesn't matter where anyone works. 

Have your companies realised that they can save on office rent and costs by keeping people at home? Have you found doing things remotely now seems to work quite well? Quite poorly? 

Keen to see how other people are fairing in this environment that might be new to some of you.

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I am never going back....I like the whole "Charlies Angels" thing :D

 

It comes back to KPI's, both the company's and the individuals.  If performance/standard doesn't drop and you can scale the remote experience into both $ and lifestyle wins while maintaining the right culture.....no problem. 

What % of people have the discipline to do it? Not sure. 

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Lots of non-digitised confidential info is currently still a mitigating factor where I work. But even before this crisis, we have been working on a project to digitise most of it so I guess we're moving a step in the right direction. 

People management is also something that cannot be replicated remotely. Nothing beats talking to a person face to face. 

On another point, it isn't healthy for many of us in HK to work from home for long periods of time - our flats are simply too small! I'm living in a 450 sq ft flat with my partner and we're considered comfortable. It's common for families to have 3 generations in a similar sized flat. If I had a 20000 sq ft piece of land, big garden with a pond, nice smoking deck, I could probably do this work from home thing a little better! 

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Been working from home for years. Better than the 60 minute commutes by a long shot!

Most of my associates also work from home unless they're in higher density areas or HQ.

I recall when I was IBM they started a telecommuting policy, shutting offices left and right. I'm sure it helped the bottom line.

Interestingly enough, they changed the policy 3 years back instituting a move to the location your team is based or job hunt.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ibm-slashes-work-from-home-policy-2017-5

According to this report IBM closed 78M sf of office space and saved over $100M. It also states that in 2017 over 25% of white collar workers were remote with 805 of the remainder indicating they'd be glad to do so.

I believe going forward many companies will decide this makes good business sense and will result in lower sick days.

Unfortunate for those of us with money in REITs.

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Even in our office, I was essentially working remotely as we connect to a server in the US.  Whether I do that from home or the office makes little difference.

Moving forward, I won't be surprised if they make the decision not to renew our office lease this year.  Unfortunately my apartment is quite small, so the working from home conditions aren't exactly ideal, but I am enjoying the commute.

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I work for a Fortune 30 company. Before all of this there was a hard push to get people in the office, down to looking at the number and location of I’d card swipes. 
 

today the CEO said that we would be looking at the whole set up and would likely be moving to a more work remotely world. 
 

times they are a changin

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No working from for me unless I can fit a 100 tonne press in my house ? whilst other printers are doing it real tough at the min,

I-am in the food and beverage sector now and we are flat out . still wouldn’t be to bad working from home /decorating ?

this covid 19 thing is weird as far as jobs go it depends on what side of the fence your on or wether you have a chair when the music stops .

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My whole team works remote to begin with. We're the Business Continuity and Emergency Management group. Being able to work from anywhere is part of our regimen. At best we'd spend 2 days/week in the office; mostly for meetings. 

Switching to full time WFH was easy. Our Corporate VPN went from 4500 max concurrent connections to 18000 and the infrastructure barely breaks a sweat.  We've had some discussion on what work looks like post COVID-19. I suspect we'll be able to reduce our real estate footprint. Though I'm sure groups and managers want the old model to continue.  A big strength for us was to run our call centres 100% remote. Each agent can WFH with a work laptop, call into the ACD and be part of the system with their home phones.  I bet they will end up going back to cramped quarters once the dust settles.  There are public facing components that can't change however. We were a bit behind the curve on getting PPE's for that staff unfortunately. 

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A little different perspective...I employ about 140 people. I absolutely despise this remote/telecommute arrangement and I can’t wait for it to be over. I figure I’m getting about .30 on my dollar, as it stands now. I can see where this makes sense for a lot of businesses and it could be a real win for some. But in my case, it is a train wreck. 

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6 hours ago, Markspring1978 said:

A little different perspective...I employ about 140 people. I absolutely despise this remote/telecommute arrangement and I can’t wait for it to be over. I figure I’m getting about .30 on my dollar, as it stands now. I can see where this makes sense for a lot of businesses and it could be a real win for some. But in my case, it is a train wreck. 

It is a train wreck for me as well. O only employ 2 people but they do the work of a single unmotivated college intern from their homes.

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All physical schools in PA are closed for the rest of this school year. So we are attempting distance learning with our classes. Not really going too well- my students have behavior problems (for a lot of reasons) who do not work well without close supervision. It is very hard to closely supervise someone over Zoom. So I set up lots of appointments for my students, and very few actual interactions with them. The next two months will suck. While distance learning may work for some students, it certainly does not work for my population.

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6 hours ago, Smatthews607 said:

All physical schools in PA are closed for the rest of this school year. So we are attempting distance learning with our classes. Not really going too well- my students have behavior problems (for a lot of reasons) who do not work well without close supervision. It is very hard to closely supervise someone over Zoom. So I set up lots of appointments for my students, and very few actual interactions with them. The next two months will suck. While distance learning may work for some students, it certainly does not work for my population.

That’s an interesting point. I’ve always been an “away” person now that I think about it. I did at one point do distance education because I used to live in remote part of Australia. Went away and studied several university units remotely. My job was all about flying to sites, now it’s all about working remotely from wherever. We have an office of 5 people here in Melbourne of which 2 would show up on any given day. If you’re lucky. I wonder if my “normalcy” of remote stuff influences my ability to accept the current situation. 

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Hi Mus, I was working a couple of mornings at home as a normal thing before and so it was like a training run for nowadays. The main problem is flip flopping - lacking motivation at times and at other times I feel anxious I am not achieving enough. Settling into it now after a couple of weeks.

I reckon I realize being in the office in the past meant I felt like I was working even when I was just googling random stuff or talking to colleagues, - cos I was in the office right.

Now I can't fool myself I am working when I do that stuff. I think the outcome will be better output from me and less pretending to work. It might work if I do say a 3 hour honest effort, take a couple hours off and do another solid 3 hours or so

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We have a mix of people who can be trusted to work from home and some who we can see do as little as possible. Our office in central London is hugely expensive, we may consider downsizing when the lease is up and allow some staff to work from home.

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I am a retail pharmacist, so I am and will still be going to work. The store hours have been reduced by 10 hours a week. I adjusted my hours around the change and was able to keep my same days off. I am hoping the reduced hours stay after this is all over. More time with my wife is a good thing!

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  • 5 weeks later...

<picking up this interesting thread, after about a month>

I work for a Fortune 30 company in Silicon Valley.  Observation: the fact that so many people are saving 2-4 hours of daily commute is simultaneously boosting productivity and improving morale, offsetting some of the COVID-19 impact (e.g. having to take time to care for kids, etc.). 

We are seeing tech companies competing on how they're extending benefits to employees, and I can see that competition remaining for several years to come at least.

In the long term, companies might be incentivized to keep some flex time approaches in place, especially if they can oversubscribe expensive office space, reducing overheads.  Demographically, this could lead toward a gradual spreading of the workforce outside of the traditional tech hubs of the world.  I was only half-joking to my wife that we should sell our house, pocket the profit, and move to Hawaii.  A couple quarterly "work from the office" stints would be a small price to pay.  :)

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I also work for a Fortune 30 company is a different sector. We moved 45k odd People to WFH in a matter of a week or so. The vast majority who weren’t already WFH won’t be going back to the office until thanksgiving at the earliest. But even then it will be a question of whether you need to be in an office to be productive. 
 

WFH will be the new normal. Buy yourself a comfy chair. Upgrade your WiFi so you can work effortlessly outside on the porch or by your pool w a cigar. The problem of course is that the work day never really ends. 
 

really glad I’m not in commercial real estate. Good luck renting office space. 
 

now that beachfront condo. That’ll be a hot item. Assuming I am still gainfully employed once the dust settles I may be looking for some rural beachfront spot w fast internet. Who cares if it’s 30 min drive to the grocery if you are in functional isolation at home anyway. 

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My thoughts echo @El Presidente here, it will be KPIs that drive any changes, at least for my company. I work semi-remote as it is and have for some years but there are portions of our team (Customer Support, Marketing, Technical) in which it was deemed out of the question to have remote up until now. I think at the very least my company will be more flexible with having some of these folks remote in the future if life circumstances dictate they need to be. I have a feeling the data will show that some of those folks weren't nearly as productive outside the office, and that would make any change a case-by-case basis. 

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