The Covid-19 thread.

JP

Junior Member
When we lived in NYC I’d see people sitting on the curb, a hydrant, stairs, or those planter box fences. Insane.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Yeah, it's still a feature, though the zoom version of it carries a different weight somehow. And I don't think it's limited to advertising. We all used to chit chat while waiting for our video meetings to start. Now we all just stare at/through our screens with a blank empty gaze not saying a word. Its... odd.
I've been thinking recently about the atrophy of my basic person-to-person social skills over the past 14 months. It isn't that I live alone and never talk to another human being for days at a time, but those i do speak with are the same few people whose means and rhythm of communication is familiar and the sync is easy. I've been doing all of the grocery shopping etc, in an effort to not only get out of the house, but also to keep myself socially functional in some basic way. As a child I often found myself completing other peoples' thoughts in my head and struggling to be patient with them putting it together themselves and taught myself patience to accept the natural cadence of conversation. I'm finding myself struggling a bit with impatience in that sense. I communicate with a lot of people online, but that is yet another rhythm... Not having the interaction with colleagues in rehearsal, teachers in the hall between students, people at church etc. is starting to tell and I only hope I've not lost my skill set forever.

Anyone else feeling a bit socially challenged these days?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I ran into a coworker, in person, that I’d seen dozens of times on Teams video and in person I didn’t recognize her. This stuff works but this idea that a company can go completely remote and be collaborative is, I think, fiction. Humans act differently in person.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I ran into a coworker, in person, that I’d seen dozens of times on Teams video and in person I didn’t recognize her. This stuff works but this idea that a company can go completely remote and be collaborative is, I think, fiction. Humans act differently in person.
The timing of your arrival in your present position might have had something to do with that...
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The timing of your arrival in your present position might have had something to do with that...
We both started remotely. It’s just that I’ve talked to her on video many many times. It’s a fake existence. I don’t think it’s this thing that can last, yet some companies want to do it indefinitely.
 
We both started remotely. It’s just that I’ve talked to her on video many many times. It’s a fake existence. I don’t think it’s this thing that can last, yet some companies want to do it indefinitely.

My design lead, supervisor, and senior manager are all in Brazil. Coworkers in my group that I talk with during the week include folks in Italy, Brazil, India, and Mexico. Video conference calls are the norm and will continue to expand after our merger with PSA. My fake existence will continue long after the pandemic is over. When our building opens back up, I'll go in probably once a week, just to have some social interaction. There really is no need for me to be in the building.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
My design lead, supervisor, and senior manager are all in Brazil. Coworkers in my group that I talk with during the week include folks in Italy, Brazil, India, and Mexico. Video conference calls are the norm and will continue to expand after our merger with PSA. My fake existence will continue long after the pandemic is over. When our building opens back up, I'll go in probably once a week, just to have a some social interaction. There really is no need for me to be in the building.
I think it depends on your line of work of course. I’m the head writer at a big agency, and my field requires one on one sitting and thinking with multiple people at once. The zoom life has really taken something out of it. There’s no ... serendipity? Everything being scheduled has just worn on people.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
We both started remotely. It’s just that I’ve talked to her on video many many times. It’s a fake existence. I don’t think it’s this thing that can last, yet some companies want to do it indefinitely.

I'll be very curious to see how this whole thing pans out with work from home, but I think many companies are already seeing the luster having completely worn off, and even though it was an essential aspect of staying afloat during lock down, it is far from optimal or desirable in a number of circumstances.

I also can't help but remember back to my earliest memories of technology even being up to snuff in allowing for work from home. My old company that I left in 2009 did allow it for certain individuals as early as the late 1990s, with dial up service as the connection. Kind of hard to believe now they thought that was a solution, and still harder to believe they actually allowed employees to file various monthly expenses associated with working from home, anything from printer ink/toner, or a phone bill, all the way up to a rent stipend, essentially the company was paying a small rent for that home office, though that was kept very much secret and not offered to anyone who wasn't a top exec, or a hot shit favorite crony of management.

Still other work from home scenarios back then were rejected due to the state that employee planned to live in and work from home, our CFO said some states where we didn't already have an established business presence with any other existing satellite offices were too cumbersome and expensive to arrange just for one employee, and/or opened us up to additional state tax implications and employment law compliance, which makes sense.

I never knew though if that were completely true, or based on some partial truth, or more likely an excuse to softly tell a particular manager or employee who had cooked up some half-baked work from home scenario simply "no we won't be doing that".

There were other employees who were not considered terribly valuable or irreplaceable, or they were judged to be in need of close management and not really the "self starter" types who were told exactly "no we won't be doing that", their request to work from home summarily dismissed. One such woman who wanted to move from New York to Florida fought back and filed a lawsuit claiming she was being treated unfairly, and cited the various other work from home scenarios already in place for other employees with similar job functions as hers. While the corporate counsel said she had no leg to stand on and could be terminated immediately for any reason other than discrimination because NY is an "at will" employment state, they also recommended doing so with a cash settlement offer, one which that woman accepted.

For big companies salivating at the prospect of discarding huge office rents this transformation is going to happen now, or as soon as they can possibly get out of their lease, for better or worse. For many other companies, they will be trying to get back to "normal" as soon as possible, but will likely be much more flexible on this topic than they had ever been in the past.
 
It will be interesting to see what happens with our facility. We have 5.4 million square feet of test and office space (supposedly second in total square footage under on roof in the U.S. to the Pentagon). Having been told that we will be on a 70% home, 30% office schedule when we return, I think there will be opportunities to lease space to suppliers.
 
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kirk57

Junior Member
I was thinking this morning while walking my dog, "I wonder if non-dog people really understand that everything in the world that's less than a foot off the ground as been pee'd on like a thousand times"
I should post a picture of my lawn, which I have yet to mow this year (Chicago Botanic Garden recommends letting it grow out first).

There are spots where the grass is MUCH longer than other places. These places are all along the sidewalk, under a tree, and at the intersection of driveway and sidewalk.

See a pattern here?
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I should post a picture of my lawn, which I have yet to mow this year (Chicago Botanic Garden recommends letting it grow out first).

There are spots where the grass is MUCH longer than other places. These places are all along the sidewalk, under a tree, and at the intersection of driveway and sidewalk.

See a pattern here?
I was saving everything for the bees as well, but on Saturday last reached the point where it was either get the mower running or go scythe shopping. I opted for the former, much as I suffer from Tool Acquisition Syndrome and it might have made a nice prop on October 31st.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
This probably isn’t that exciting to anybody here but it’s exciting to me. For the first time in over a year I took the L, and I took it to work. A big step in city-life getting back to normal. By the looks of it not many are ready to go back to it- pleasantly empty cars.

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Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
Heading to Colorado Springs for the next waypoint on our journey. Not really to do any visiting but just to sleep. However, If anyone has anything interesting to suggest we see - chime in please.
 
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