Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Work Boy Work - but from where?

This certainly wasn't expected.

In mid-March, I was getting ready for my exchange student daughter's spring break. We hadn't booked anything yet, but we were planning to show her the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Instead, we spent her spring break at home, with the exception of a drive to LAX to return her to her home country after the cancellation of her foreign exchange program (and many other foreign exchange programs).

Although we were obviously sad to see her go, there was one advantage - I could now use her room for a home office.

Because a few days before her return home, a vice president at my company sent a message to her reports, telling them that they had to work from home. Although I don't report to this particular vice president, I aligned with this decision and started working from home myself. I'd go into the reasons, but then this post wouldn't be succinct. Which is why I didn't even go into THIS level of detail in my most recent podcast episode...

...Oh, I guess I should announce that I've started my own podcast now.

More on that later.

Anyway, here's the most recent episode, entitled "Work Boy Work."

As I noted in the episode, I've been working from home for over a month now, as have a lot of people. Even at Yahoo, which famously reversed its remote working policies back in 2013. Yahoo was somewhat of a special case - after floundering for years, new CEO Marissa Mayer was trying to get all of Yahoo working together, and she thought that physical presence was the way to do it. Well, that wasn't enough to save Yahoo, which technically no longer exists, so Yahoo employees aren't working from home or from the office. Many employees of Yahoo successor Verizon Media, like the rest of Verizon, are working from home.

Seven years later, a whole bunch of companies were suddenly forced to recreate the benefits of working together even when people weren't physically working together. My company does not use Zoom, but it has heavily used another teleconferencing service for regular meetings AND less formal discussions. And of course there's the steady stream of emails, text messages, and the really retro voice phone calls. (No Morse code. Yet.)

So what happens as the country opens up again, and people can return to work? Will they? Rani Molla of Recode speculates that "[s]ome who are still employed will now permanently work from home, and some employers will choose to downsize their leases or look for flexible office space rather than long-term leases."


"As the coronavirus takes a steep toll on the economy and the workforce, many won’t have jobs to go back to."

And a concluding plug for the Empoprises podcast. The podcast is hosted by Anchor and is also available on Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and Spotify.