Going back to the office

So much of that is related to childcare issues as I pointed out upthread.

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Childcare, elder care, caring for chronically ill—so much caring is “women’s” responsibility. I see this in my family with caring for our parents.

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One thing that can weigh in and make figuring out medicare and insurance options more complicated is if you have a spouse and/or loved one also on your insurance. You want the best coverage for all of you at a cost you can afford.

Another factor I and my CPA silently weigh are the chances that for some reason in the future we may need Medicare B—would hate to pay % penalty forever for not enrolling when we were eligible younger.

Anyway, for now, we have opted to have both our FEHB family plan & Medicare B for H. I’m eligible for Medicare B in a little more than a year—guess I’d better start figuring out if we keep get Medicare B for both of us on top of our excellent FEHB plan which we will keep because it covers us and disabled dependent D. We can afford it.

Amazon just announced that employees can return to the office three days a week as of September 7 (coincidentally Rosh HaShona). They will be able to work from home two days a week and also four weeks a year. My son will be happy to be back in the office.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-says-workers-wont-need-to-spend-all-week-in-the-office/

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Excellent news. Keeps the downtowns alive and also gives the employees some reprieve from commute and makes room for traveling. I’m sure your son would be happy to set up an office at his parents’ place during the Seattle winter gloom. :slight_smile:

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How has the work-from-home during Covid impacted commute times in congested areas? It seems like even with partial return to work there would still be more streamlined travel(?)

We’ve been at pre covid traffic levels in the Chicagoland area for at least the last month or two.

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Traffic here is at pre-Covid levels. I sort of miss the no traffic…but then again, at that point, there was almost no place to go.

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SF Bay Area traffic still seems extremely light, but that’s probably because most tech companies are staying remote until after the summer.

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Traffic in Seattle is back to being a cluster…

Traffic in Honolulu is worsening again, after greatly improving when more were working from home. It’s not fun on our roadways again. :frowning:

DC area traffic is heavier than six months ago, but not back at pre-covid levels. Fed Govt is supposed to return to the office after Labor Day, so September should be back to the usual mess.

H’s agency has 10% in the office now, and if you need to go in, you must book in advance. Sounds like there will be more flexibility. He never liked wfh before the pandemic, but has gotten used to it. Thinks he’ll go in 2-3 days a week. I’m guessing that by early 2022, he’ll be there 4-5 days a week.

Will be curious to see what happens with the international travel. He’s been running the 6 am Asia-US-Europe conference calls for years, but some things still require FTF.

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Traffic where I live in suburban MD has been much heavier than even pre-Covid, especially on the local roads versus the highways. I attribute that to people who are working from home but not on fixed hours being able to go out and run errands at any time. The main artery on the peninsula where I live is unpredictable in terms of congestion, whereas before, it was mainly congested during typical rush hour periods and at school dismissal. Pre-Covid, I could go anywhere during work hours and never worry about road congestion. Now, it is all day long - not bumper to bumper traffic, but a very high volume of cars that makes it much slower getting through all the traffic lights.

Same goes on the highway. Used to hit predictable traffic driving my D to school 30 mins away during rush hour. Since Covid, rush hour volume is minimal, no traffic jams at the normal pinch points, even with some people having returned to the office. However, I sometimes take that highway during the day now, and at random non-rush hour times there can be heavy congestion. Weird!

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Traffic in Boston Metro area is at pre-covid level but I think that has a lot to do with people avoiding public transit. Commuter rail schedules were reduced so it makes it tricky to time. Also, people are still reluctant to be in a confined space with others. My employer will pay for parking when people do go in until Labor Day which I have heard is common.

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The MBTA in Boston has been very slow to get back to pre-Covid service levels. Waits between trains are long. With many companies returning to the office in the next few months and people having to commute, traffic is going to be horrible until the MBTA gets service back.

The T had been crowded because of the reduced schedule. If they increased service, trains would be less crowded, and it would make people more comfortable to be in them!

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I think there is so much pent-up demand for Maine vacations that our traffic this summer is going to be worse than even pre-COVID. It’s already bad. :frowning:

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I think that will be true for a lot of destinations. We have been looking at vacations and some are booked up already through 2022. Pent up demand.

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@MaineLonghorn I hope not - we want to do our annual trek to Bar Harbor this summer, which we missed doing last year.

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Is anyone scaling back hours for part-time employees? We have an office manager who’s been remote since March 2020. We are a very small nonprofit, and with everything going electronic, we are wondering if we need to scale back on hours for this 3/4 time position. The pandemic has shown us how much work (or how little) is actually being done. And it’s a small office where there is almost no foot traffic pre-pandemic. Anyone else have this issue?

Be sure to plan for the possibility that the employee may no longer find the reduced hours (or benefits if 3/4 time is a threshold for some benefits) suitable and leave for a different job, so that you will have to recruit a new employee to do the reduced hours job.

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