Going back to the office

I have to say…if I have had an asymptomatic breakthrough Covid case, I really would not know I had it! I haven’t been tested since before I has surgery a year ago.

Raise your hand if you find yourself questioning everyone in the office who complains of a sniffle, headache, being tired…

We had a small staff meeting yesterday - just 4 of us. In a small conference room at a table with about 8 chairs “normal” distance apart (not social distanced apart!). We all wore masks. The staff member leading the meeting started by saying he had a horrible headache and was leaving as soon as our meeting was done. I think we were all glad to get out of that room!

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LOL, why yes. Everyone seems to be sniffling and complaining of “allergies” this week. I take allergy meds every day, so mine aren’t really much different than usual. To be fair, the ragweed IS very high and fall grasses are coming out. So the two co-workers whose allergies are on par with mine, I give them a decent pass. The others? Not so much. Especially since our daily case rate is in the 70s/100K and a percent positivity of 20%. And nobody wears masks, and social distancing is just a word to be thrown around to make people feel better. I have my air purifier in my cubbie (we are all in one big open room though) and I wear a mask in the bathrooms, hallways, and in meetings.

But it’s still better than July when everyone was coughing non-stop! If that wasn’t covid, I’m guessing RSV.

I continue working from home, but my husband has been going to his office since last September. His team is small, young, and got vaccinated before his turn came up (let’s say they were creative with vaccine access). Amen, every time someone sneezes, they all jump! Group members had a couple of colds… negative Covid tests. I’m glad his team is so careful and get tested every time they have a sniffle. :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers: The management said masks are not required because everyone is vaccinated and the group is tiny, but the youngsters decided they would continue masking. :+1:

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@BunsenBurner the people in your H’s group sound great. They are at no harm being extra cautious.

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I’m very glad they are a cautious bunch!

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Yes, whenever someone on my team has a “cold,” the first thing out of my mouth is, “you should get tested.”

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DHs office did a hybrid back to work model with everyone excepted to be in the office two days each week. Flex time is allowed so folks can come in very early or leave late. Determination of who might need to be in the office at the same time each week is made by department heads, and depends on the projects being done.

Masks are required in the building at all times for anyone working in the office.

People are leaving (or contemplating leaving) my office b/c of the return to on-site policy. Some of them are high performers/key contributors who work for me :sob: :sob: :sob:

My daughter’s (engineering) office is back to ‘in office’ all the time. They have to wear masks when they aren’t at their desk. She said no one ever wants to meet so they just call each other from their desks now. Before covid, she really couldn’t work at home at all because of the type of computers they had, but at least now they still have their home monitors and can bring their computers home and use a docking station. She’s done that a few times when she’s felt sick or had a doctor’s appointment.

Her boyfriend’s (construction) company has put off the return to the office until Nov. 1. They moved in June 2020 because he got this new job and the company wanted him in the office; he has yet to set foot in the office.

There are two parts of any given policy. Stated policy itself. And how its enforced. You can have an “everyone needs to be in the office every day” or x days per week or y days per month policy. But what do you do if people don’t actually comply with that? If you have no issues with retention, you may be able to enforce the policy. But if you do (or at least have people who have other options that may provide more flexibility), you run a risk if you seek to enforce your policy.

Our revenue producers are overworked right now and get calls weekly from other firms who need more revenue producers as well. So strictly enforcing a back to the office policy would be a bad business decision (though certain people in management want to do it). And in the end, a rule/law without a penalty is just advice.

We are using the same setup (docking stations/laptops) and since our research study has been allowed to start up again, we can have patient visits, so most of us are back in office 4 days a week. Days have been long so hourly employees are usually done with their 40 hours after 4 days, so the WFH balance has become a non-issue anyway. I had not anticipated that since we must mask if in a group, we would all be on the same meetings via video even though our offices are adjacent, just so we don’t have to mask! Kind of unexpected.

Or it may be selectively enforced for reasons other than the stated intent of the rule/law.

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My S’s organization’s office also moved during pandemic (planned ahead of time). Maybe he toured it once pre-everything, not sure. And I think they might be rethinking what they need now, since WFH and eventual hybrid have/will work well.

My sister works for a very large National company. They will not be returning to their offices at all at least until the middle of 2022. WFH for all.

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Always a possibility as long as people are involved setting and enforcing any given policy.

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DH’s company is requiring proof of vaccination to come to the office. Apparently the CEO’s brother got very sick from Covid. They took away the individual workspaces and are requiring them to use “hotel workstations” which IMO is silly, since now multiple people weill be using the same spaces (after cleaning) but they have to drag in their personal items, laptops, etc. Seems like it would be less risky to let them each keep their own workspaces and out up more dividers, but … oh well.

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Presumably, not everyone will be in the office space at the same time though?. On a given day some will work from home. If so communal desks would be the most optimal use the resources.

My husband decided to work full time in the office so he could keep his work space and not have to reserve a space in a hybrid situation.

His work set up is not exactly portable with multiple large screens, files, laptops and stuff. His company expressed that they would like all employees to be in the office 2 days a week. According to my husband, almost none are ever in the office but are working from home exclusively. I suspect some of it is hauling all this stuff back and forth.

It’s not like bringing your laptop and plugging it in.

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My daughter has started working in the office two days a week. They are designating a specific workspace for each person but then only allowing 50% occupancy at any given time. So she has a desk in a room with 4 desks but where only 2 people are supposed to be in at a time.

I like this for a few reasons. One it makes it possible to easily move to a higher occupancy when they decide it is safe to do so. (So they have allotted space for everybody should they decide everybody should be in every day).

It gives my daughter a home when she is in the office. Unlike with a hoteling space, she can set up her office how she likes. She does have some specific ergonomic needs regarding desk, chair, computer set-up, which will be in place in that designated desk. In addition, she will be able to have some of her stuff there when she wants it - both business (files, supplies, etc.) and personal (sweater if it is cold in the office, snacks or drinks, etc.)

Of course, if you do hoteling you save money by not having to lease or own as much office space as if you allowed for a desk for everybody. I think after working from home for a long period of time, people have gotten used to having extra work stuff in their homes, whether that is equipment, supplies, or files. I know somebody who works for a company where he is doing programming for a very specialized piece of medical equipment and he now has one in his apartment. That would have been unheard of in the past.

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