I’ve been hearing at my work - did I cover this already? - that although we’ve already been told no one will be going back to the office until at least the first of the year, there are rumors circulating that we will never be going back to an in-office work force. Normally I would be skeptical about rumors, but these come from people who should know what the current plans are.
It’s kind of funny, 2 years ago some teams got 1 work from home day a week, some got none - it was up to the manager. But we have gone from fighting against the old management ideas like “if I can’t see them they must not be working” to now maybe not even having an office at all next year.
What changed their minds? As soon as you can tie dollars to it, minds change pretty quickly. In our case, the productivity measures are actually way up now that people are at home. I have read that studies show people work more when they are remote, because they don’t need to spend a lot of time commuting, going to lunch, getting distracted by other office workers, dealing with the social overhead of being in person, office politics are lessened, etc. There’s just more time to work. It’s all business. We are finding that more work is getting done these days, projects are closing faster, so the managers are like “So why are we renting space in this big office building then?”
Obviously because of what the lockdowns have done to the health care system, we are under a lot of financial strain. I hear whispers about this… how many critical treatments were delayed or never done. Important treatments postponed, various screenings for serious illnesses not one, heart patients who didn’t have any appointments for months, ALL the mental health issues that went untreated. The toll that isolation takes on people’s mental AND physical health, especially seniors. You can’t do most care remotely and it’s all coming back on us now, because no one did the routine maintenance this year and sick people are now sicker. Locking down the hospitals and emptying them out for these surges of patients that - let’s be honest, never happened outside of a few isolated places - was really the wrong thing to do.
Maybe that’s a controversial opinion. I’m not a covid denier or a downplayer or conspiracy theorist. I just think the politicians who forced the health care system to shut down panicked and pressed every button there was without thinking, and it may have done more harm than good. They all said we were going to be NY, but we never even exceeded the existing capacity, and for the places that did it was only for a week or two. No one was ever denied the care they needed, except by the lockdown. They spent millions on these makeshift hospitals that never took more than a handful of people. It was all based on these projections from people who seemed to just be pulling numbers out of the air. The whole thing has been crazy to watch from the inside.
Of course, thank God there haven’t been millions of deaths like some people were saying, which is obviously the main thing.
Another thing I notice is how different it is here in the suburbs. Everyone is wearing masks everywhere you go and carrying their sanitizer with them, but there is really no panic. At places downtown they have these arrows on the floor telling you where to walk, and you aren’t allowed to go in the mail room if anybody else is in there, they propped lots of doors open so people aren’t touching them, and people get angry if you’re standing halfway near a doorway they want to use, even though these are indoors but big open spaces, and it’s all pretty low risk stuff. I think the appropriate level of caution exists out here where I live now. Do the common sense precautions and don’t go to bars and parties, and your risk will be fairly low.
Things really are SO much better since the move. My life is like 200% better. Seriously. We need to look at the good things this year, right?
Yeah, the world is in a state of chaos and it would really be better if we didn’t have an election in 2 months for people to claw each other’s eyes out over, but maybe we’re on the back side of this thing and we’ll turn a corner soon. We can hope.