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(Ars Technica)   Begun the Remote Work War has   (arstechnica.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Google, full-time remote work, large tech companies, gospel of a remote-work future, work cultures, The Work, remote work, tech leaders  
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2005 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 Aug 2021 at 1:14 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-08-01 10:55:58 AM  
My company is pushing everyone to come back into the office full time and it sucks. I don't deal with anyone in my actual office and all of my work is done via phone/email/zoom/skype.

There is pretty much zero difference between what I can do at home versus what I can do in the office. Except in the office I have to wear pants.

My home computer setup has way bigger monitors than what is in the office too.
 
2021-08-01 11:00:20 AM  

Officer Barrelroll: My company is pushing everyone to come back into the office full time and it sucks. I don't deal with anyone in my actual office and all of my work is done via phone/email/zoom/skype.

There is pretty much zero difference between what I can do at home versus what I can do in the office. Except in the office I have to wear pants.

My home computer setup has way bigger monitors than what is in the office too.


I say this as someone who prefers to work in an office but I'm betting the people pushing for people to return are going to be the people you see in the office the least. Managers who maybe sweep in, check on the plebs, and sweep out before noon for day drinking executive time
 
2021-08-01 11:19:14 AM  

Aar1012: Officer Barrelroll: My company is pushing everyone to come back into the office full time and it sucks. I don't deal with anyone in my actual office and all of my work is done via phone/email/zoom/skype.

There is pretty much zero difference between what I can do at home versus what I can do in the office. Except in the office I have to wear pants.

My home computer setup has way bigger monitors than what is in the office too.

I say this as someone who prefers to work in an office but I'm betting the people pushing for people to return are going to be the people you see in the office the least. Managers who maybe sweep in, check on the plebs, and sweep out before noon for day drinking executive time


Our office is pretty good with managers and higher level people not doing that. I know I haven't spoken with a single person that is happy about coming back into the office. A lot of people were hoping for a hybrid work environment, but as of now it really looks like the company wants people back in at pre-covid levels which basically equates to full time in the office.

The company has always been good about approving ad hoc work from home as needed (worker at the house, child at home, or some other appointment).

Oh well, maybe the arrangement will be changed at some point. It will be interesting to see what the results of the next office survey they put out shows.
 
2021-08-01 11:30:56 AM  

Officer Barrelroll: My company is pushing everyone to come back into the office full time and it sucks. I don't deal with anyone in my actual office and all of my work is done via phone/email/zoom/skype.

There is pretty much zero difference between what I can do at home versus what I can do in the office. Except in the office I have to wear pants.

My home computer setup has way bigger monitors than what is in the office too.


Got to have those butts in those seats
 
2021-08-01 11:43:29 AM  

Aar1012: Officer Barrelroll: My company is pushing everyone to come back into the office full time and it sucks. I don't deal with anyone in my actual office and all of my work is done via phone/email/zoom/skype.

There is pretty much zero difference between what I can do at home versus what I can do in the office. Except in the office I have to wear pants.

My home computer setup has way bigger monitors than what is in the office too.

I say this as someone who prefers to work in an office but I'm betting the people pushing for people to return are going to be the people you see in the office the least. Managers who maybe sweep in, check on the plebs, and sweep out before noon for day drinking executive time


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-08-01 11:47:29 AM  
The solution is some version of corporate wework local officettes where people can "go to the office" locally for a day here and there.
For many, the home office is simply less productive than going to a designated workplace away from domestic obligations.
Being in L.A., I agree that the commutes are killing us.  Five minutes a mile, at least.  12 miles away is like working on the moon.
 
2021-08-01 12:13:48 PM  
People who worked from home over the last 15 months have earned the right to continue. We have the same push and i keep telling the bosses and workers that worker recognition has to happen - or watch the talent leave.

There is a huge mental component to this and workers are struggling.
 
2021-08-01 12:23:07 PM  
If you can work effectively from home during a pandemic then it seems to me that you can work effectively from home when their isn't one.
 
2021-08-01 12:24:44 PM  
Get back in your soul-draining little box you faceless drone, where apathy and depression will prevent you from ever contemplating that you could deserve more. Be thankful for what you're allowed. At least you're not homeless... yet!

This message of good cheer has been approved for you by your company legal department.

Now get back to work.
 
2021-08-01 12:31:02 PM  
Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.
 
2021-08-01 12:40:15 PM  
I wonder how many companies that make and sell remote work tools are forcing their employees to come back to the office.
 
2021-08-01 1:03:21 PM  
It never changes.  Managers think they're doing their jobs by taking attendance.  If you don't know which of your employees has been getting their job done for the last 15 months, you should be replaced.
 
2021-08-01 1:23:26 PM  

Kornchex: It never changes.  Managers think they're doing their jobs by taking attendance.  If you don't know which of your employees has been getting their job done for the last 15 months, you should be replaced.


I think if I was forced to go into an office, I'd be sure to do as little as possible while I was there.
 
2021-08-01 1:30:58 PM  
It's harder to pad out expenses when you don't have so many employees working, or to justify the rent. Oh Dame Tax Fraud, thou art a cruel Mistress.
 
2021-08-01 1:37:00 PM  
My wife's workplace had people WFH two days a week after their probationary period.  They went to 100% WFH a month after we moved to be closer to her workplace.  She has to go in for one day, every six weeks now.  Even the weekly staff meetings will stay on zoom.
 
2021-08-01 1:46:14 PM  
Our leadership team is trying to push people back into the HQ after labor day. A leadership team that mostly lives out of state from said HQ.

The hypocrisy is pretty insulting, especially when they try to spin it as doing us a favor because weve apparently been missing out on office culture, whatever that means. It's totally not a flimsy attempt to justify paying rent on office space that is no longer needed or wanted by most of our employees.
 
2021-08-01 1:48:17 PM  
It is 40/60 with me, two days in office, three days at home.
 
2021-08-01 1:49:32 PM  
After being 100% WFH since March 2020. We are forced to go back in 3 days a week now. When I go in I enter my office, close the door - and am on Zoom/Webex or doing my work via RDP all shift.

It's so f*cking stupid

They haven't even opened the building cafeteria yet because it's not profitable for the company that runs it anymore because people are not there 5 days a week. So bring your own lunch or go find a food truck or drive to a takeout place. Within a half hour lunch break... sigh.
 
2021-08-01 1:49:52 PM  
It's a lot harder to be micro managed when you are at home and your middle manager is still in the office.
 
2021-08-01 1:50:30 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.


Apple Employee, and that is an outright lie.

Apple employees a third party company to do work accommodations and there is a form your doctor fills out and it is reviewed by the third party and they are yay or nay it.   The doctor only lists specific details of your condition that are pertinent to why you are requesting the accommodation, not your entire medical history.

And it literally takes 3 business days to approve it.

Apple has a huge remote work force, I know because I have been on it for 7 years.  But has been around for over a decade.

What happened is when all of our stores were closed we brought those guys into what is called AHA, At Home Advisors and trained them so they could remain employed.   Now that stores have opened up no one wanted to back, but they can always apply for a transfer to AHA.  I could rotate to a store if I wanted to or a facility, minimal paperwork and fuss.  But I would have to wait til a slot opens.  Just as the guys going back to the stores would have to wait for an AHA slot to open.

So instead of laying off store workers, Apple let them work, and now they are saying "Wow, this work from home at gig is nice, I wanna stay here, so hire someone else to do my job instead of me having to do it the way everyone else in the company does."

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world and Apple is by far the least invasive about personal information.  And if you get sick and have to call out, they tell ya to feel better, and no one will ask what was wrong with you, and they will stop you if you volunteer it.
 
2021-08-01 1:51:21 PM  

Karma Chameleon: Our leadership team is trying to push people back into the HQ after labor day. A leadership team that mostly lives out of state from said HQ.

The hypocrisy is pretty insulting, especially when they try to spin it as doing us a favor because weve apparently been missing out on office culture, whatever that means. It's totally not a flimsy attempt to justify paying rent on office space that is no longer needed or wanted by most of our employees.


I would forget which days I was supposed to be there.  I'm just terrible at remembering stuff like that.  It's my disability.
 
2021-08-01 1:52:37 PM  

theflatline: Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.

Apple Employee, and that is an outright lie.

Apple employees a third party company to do work accommodations and there is a form your doctor fills out and it is reviewed by the third party and they are yay or nay it.   The doctor only lists specific details of your condition that are pertinent to why you are requesting the accommodation, not your entire medical history.

And it literally takes 3 business days to approve it.

Apple has a huge remote work force, I know because I have been on it for 7 years.  But has been around for over a decade.

What happened is when all of our stores were closed we brought those guys into what is called AHA, At Home Advisors and trained them so they could remain employed.   Now that stores have opened up no one wanted to back, but they can always apply for a transfer to AHA.  I could rotate to a store if I wanted to or a facility, minimal paperwork and fuss.  But I would have to wait til a slot opens.  Just as the guys going back to the stores would have to wait for an AHA slot to open.

So instead of laying off store workers, Apple let them work, and now they are saying "Wow, this work from home at gig is nice, I wanna stay here, so hire someone else to do my job instead of me having to do it the way everyone else in the company does."

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world and Apple is by far the least invasive about personal information.  And if you get sick and have to call out, they tell ya to feel better, and no one will ask what was wrong with you, and they will stop you if you volunteer it.


Sounds dreadful.
 
2021-08-01 1:53:39 PM  

Karma Chameleon: Our leadership team is trying to push people back into the HQ after labor day. A leadership team that mostly lives out of state from said HQ.

The hypocrisy is pretty insulting, especially when they try to spin it as doing us a favor because weve apparently been missing out on office culture, whatever that means. It's totally not a flimsy attempt to justify paying rent on office space that is no longer needed or wanted by most of our employees.


Yeah, 7 years at home now and I do not miss the commute, the water cooler talk, and people biatching about their personal problems.

My remote team at Apple and I all get famously and travel on our time off to hang out and meet each other.

When I worked at ATT the big bosses would frown at you if you did not go the local cocktail hours together.  One got pissed at me when I said I had a social life outside the office and I could do better than the happy hour at farking Applebees.
 
2021-08-01 1:59:19 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.


If you're willing to accept sweatshop slave labor as a condition of your company's existence then "a bit off" doesn't really cover it
 
2021-08-01 2:01:22 PM  
They were going to try and bring people back in on Sept. 7th at HAL. That's not looking likely now, and my office that I share with another person isn't big enough for their own safety mandates. 95% of my job is done in Unix/Linux CLI, sometimes I have to move equipment and cable stuff in my test lab. I am going to push as hard as possible to stay remote, it's not worth the commute from south Austin to north, and traffic here gets worse every day. Guess we'll see what happens..
 
2021-08-01 2:02:12 PM  
Ars (headline at least): CEOs want workers back.
Me.  Sure it isn't the middle managers?  What other purpose do they have other than micromanaging the labor force?  Sure, the CEOs certainly love their fancy buildings and especially their fancy offices there.

So the question for Wall Street should be, as inflated as CEO's salaries are, could they possibly justify the cost of a CEO's ego to pay for all the employees to be on site?  And then they could decide on the middle managers.  Perhaps the COO is desperately trying to keep the worker's on site to avoid having to directly manage even more?
 
2021-08-01 2:04:32 PM  
HR sent out their annual workplace survey last month, but neglected to add in a question regarding remote work.

/100% back in the office since May
 
2021-08-01 2:10:24 PM  

blender61: If you can work effectively from home during a pandemic then it seems to me that you can work effectively from home when their isn't one.


So much this. I retired at the end of June, but while I worked in the office until the end (no choice unless I wanted to lease a copier and bring 5 filing cabinets home), all my co-workers, none of whom work with paper documents (unlike moi), all worked 100% efficiently from home. I missed seeing them on a regular basis, but was happy for them. Now, they are being told to return for fall semester (I worked at a private university). It's stupid to expect staff to return when faculty are not expected to do the same. In fact, from March of 2020 until I left, I only saw a small number of faculty, and even at that, they might come in once a month. Some of them I didn't see once from March 2020 until I left June 30th. If staff can do their jobs, and do them well from home, what is the actual point in making them return?
 
2021-08-01 2:10:42 PM  

theflatline: Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.

Apple Employee, and that is an outright lie.

Apple employees a third party company to do work accommodations and there is a form your doctor fills out and it is reviewed by the third party and they are yay or nay it.   The doctor only lists specific details of your condition that are pertinent to why you are requesting the accommodation, not your entire medical history.

And it literally takes 3 business days to approve it.

Apple has a huge remote work force, I know because I have been on it for 7 years.  But has been around for over a decade.

What happened is when all of our stores were closed we brought those guys into what is called AHA, At Home Advisors and trained them so they could remain employed.   Now that stores have opened up no one wanted to back, but they can always apply for a transfer to AHA.  I could rotate to a store if I wanted to or a facility, minimal paperwork and fuss.  But I would have to wait til a slot opens.  Just as the guys going back to the stores would have to wait for an AHA slot to open.

So instead of laying off store workers, Apple let them work, and now they are saying "Wow, this work from home at gig is nice, I wanna stay here, so hire someone else to do my job instead of me having to do it the way everyone else in the company does."

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world and Apple is by far the least invasive about personal information.  And if you get sick and have to call out, they tell ya to feel better, and no one will ask what was wrong with you, and they will stop you if you volunteer it.


So if you're WFH at Apple, do you have to set up a shrine to Jobs in your home office, since you can't worship at the one at the office?  Do they reimburse you for the cost of the solid gold effigy of the Founder?
 
2021-08-01 2:20:22 PM  
Start converting all of the office space into affordable housing or shelters for the homeless.  Office real estate is a huge waste of land space.
 
2021-08-01 2:21:16 PM  
Mr SJF's official work office is on base at Moffett Field. He doesn't work for NASA,but works for a company that contracts to NASA. He's told me of how NASA is very risk-averse, as shown by how very quickly everyone there got the work-from-home mandate. He's been working from home since mid-March 2020 and hasn't been back to the office since then. Pretty sure he's met up with a tech guy to hand off equipment, but that was in the parking lot just outside of the base. Oh, and we've had one of the IT guys come to the house, twice, I think.

I haven't heard anything about any return to office...

Also, this is true:

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-08-01 2:26:04 PM  
Kind of a rare/weird time where workers have woken up, but aren't fully utilizing the leverage they have.

If you're being offered a job, negotiate for more remote work days if it's partial remote. If management wants your subordinate ass back in the office 100%, work with other subordinate colleagues and refuse.

Show some farking spine - don't let this opportunity go to waste.

/easier said than done, I know...
 
2021-08-01 2:28:33 PM  
The big game developers struggled, but in the west mainly because dev kits for Xbox series x and ps5 are super expensive and require static ips, so studios didn't really want people taking them home. Japanese game dev was hit hard though, there's a heavy micro managing culture around how they operate and it just falls down if they're not all in the same space.

I do fairly small scale mobile dev, and to be honest we've been far more productive all working from home than we ever were commuting into an office. To the extent that we're probably just going to stick with it and bin the office we have off altogether. It's nothing more than a place to store stuff at the moment.
 
2021-08-01 2:31:16 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Kornchex: It never changes.  Managers think they're doing their jobs by taking attendance.  If you don't know which of your employees has been getting their job done for the last 15 months, you should be replaced.

I think if I was forced to go into an office, I'd be sure to do as little as possible while I was there.


I am forced to do that.  I have to be in the office 8:30-5:30 with hour commute on both ends.  My laptop is so underpowered I cannot do much other than emails and push documents around, let alone create graphical content.  Compared to my home machine where I can move with speed.

I can toil for over an hour with the work laptop or spend 10 mins on same task with my machine.

otherwise I plan on spending every minute in my office skilling up and applying for new remote jobs.
 
2021-08-01 2:47:22 PM  

Cyrene Valantion: there's a heavy micro managing culture around how they operate and it just falls down if they're not all in the same space.

I do fairly small scale mobile dev, and to be honest we've been far more productive all working from home than we ever were commuting into an office.


Game dev is such a crappy industry. Definitely the worst working conditions for people with that skillset.

it is somewhere between tragic and hilarious that companies are willing to lower their productivity for the sake of micromanagement.
 
2021-08-01 2:52:16 PM  

theflatline: Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.

Apple Employee, and that is an outright lie.

Apple employees a third party company to do work accommodations and there is a form your doctor fills out and it is reviewed by the third party and they are yay or nay it.   The doctor only lists specific details of your condition that are pertinent to why you are requesting the accommodation, not your entire medical history.

And it literally takes 3 business days to approve it.

Apple has a huge remote work force, I know because I have been on it for 7 years.  But has been around for over a decade.

What happened is when all of our stores were closed we brought those guys into what is called AHA, At Home Advisors and trained them so they could remain employed.   Now that stores have opened up no one wanted to back, but they can always apply for a transfer to AHA.  I could rotate to a store if I wanted to or a facility, minimal paperwork and fuss.  But I would have to wait til a slot opens.  Just as the guys going back to the stores would have to wait for an AHA slot to open.

So instead of laying off store workers, Apple let them work, and now they are saying "Wow, this work from home at gig is nice, I wanna stay here, so hire someone else to do my job instead of me having to do it the way everyone else in the company does."

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world and Apple is by far the least invasive about personal information.  And if you get sick and have to call out, they tell ya to feel better, and no one will ask what was wrong with you, and they will stop you if you volunteer it.


Fart sniffer
 
2021-08-01 2:55:12 PM  

tyyreaunn: theflatline: Marcus Aurelius: Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company

That place sounds creepy AF.  They've always seemed a bit off to me.

Apple Employee, and that is an outright lie.

Apple employees a third party company to do work accommodations and there is a form your doctor fills out and it is reviewed by the third party and they are yay or nay it.   The doctor only lists specific details of your condition that are pertinent to why you are requesting the accommodation, not your entire medical history.

And it literally takes 3 business days to approve it.

Apple has a huge remote work force, I know because I have been on it for 7 years.  But has been around for over a decade.

What happened is when all of our stores were closed we brought those guys into what is called AHA, At Home Advisors and trained them so they could remain employed.   Now that stores have opened up no one wanted to back, but they can always apply for a transfer to AHA.  I could rotate to a store if I wanted to or a facility, minimal paperwork and fuss.  But I would have to wait til a slot opens.  Just as the guys going back to the stores would have to wait for an AHA slot to open.

So instead of laying off store workers, Apple let them work, and now they are saying "Wow, this work from home at gig is nice, I wanna stay here, so hire someone else to do my job instead of me having to do it the way everyone else in the company does."

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world and Apple is by far the least invasive about personal information.  And if you get sick and have to call out, they tell ya to feel better, and no one will ask what was wrong with you, and they will stop you if you volunteer it.

So if you're WFH at Apple, do you have to set up a shrine to ...


I have set foot in an Apple facility nor even an Apple store. I was hired remotely to work remotely.

And my coworkers and myself all use products from Apple, Google, Amazon, etc.

Despite what is thought we do not have to sing a company song every morning or take a pledge.
 
2021-08-01 3:03:47 PM  
I suspect the article is referring to the Apple workers who work in the Cupertino office on the software and hardware rather than the people that work the retail or customer support end.
 
2021-08-01 3:09:28 PM  

HempHead: HR sent out their annual workplace survey last month, but neglected to add in a question regarding remote work.

/100% back in the office since May


Make sure you add it as an addendum. Get all your coworkers to do the same.

This only changes if you organize.
 
2021-08-01 3:10:27 PM  
Organize. Stage walkouts

You're stronger together. Unionize if you have to. This is a problem that can be solved.
 
2021-08-01 3:18:24 PM  
Tech companies? They should be able to handle this better than anyone.

/void where management
 
2021-08-01 3:23:19 PM  

austerity101: Organize. Stage walkouts

You're stronger together. Unionize if you have to. This is a problem that can be solved.


LOL
 
2021-08-01 3:23:41 PM  
Maybe management should invest in longer bullwhips. Would be a boon for the bullwhip industry, which has been hurt just like every other during the pandemic.
 
2021-08-01 3:27:04 PM  

HempHead: austerity101: Organize. Stage walkouts

You're stronger together. Unionize if you have to. This is a problem that can be solved.

LOL


You like weekends? Thank a union.

If you aren't willing to organize or protest, then have fun suffering.
 
2021-08-01 3:29:33 PM  

austerity101: HempHead: austerity101: Organize. Stage walkouts

You're stronger together. Unionize if you have to. This is a problem that can be solved.

LOL

You like weekends? Thank a union.

If you aren't willing to organize or protest, then have fun suffering.


I was a member of the CWA for close to 20 years. All they did was take dues and kiss AT&T Ass.
 
2021-08-01 3:36:56 PM  
Are there any benefits to having people physically present? Jobs that can be done remotely should absolutely be done remotely.
 
2021-08-01 3:44:58 PM  
Stick the managers and C-levels in a regular cubicle in the center of their cubicle farm (or "open office" setup) and see how long they stick it out with people all around them all of the time.  Hell, make it so they have to follow the same schedule exactly as the average worker around them, using the same equipment.

/not just 'cause of Covid/work-from-home but in general
 
2021-08-01 3:53:34 PM  

austerity101: HempHead: HR sent out their annual workplace survey last month, but neglected to add in a question regarding remote work.

/100% back in the office since May

Make sure you add it as an addendum. Get all your coworkers to do the same.

This only changes if you organize.


Yeah, I figured they then took that survey and said "See?  The percentage of people who said they wanted to stay remote was very low, so by large they all are fine with coming back to the office."
 
2021-08-01 4:04:27 PM  
It's much nicer to just have Fark up on a full monitor on a second PC than to Fark from a cell phone in my cube.
 
2021-08-01 4:08:15 PM  

red5ish: Are there any benefits to having people physically present? Jobs that can be done remotely should absolutely be done remotely.


If you're like 4 out of 5 employers in 2021 and not willing to consider hiring someone who's genuinely entry-level... like maybe an Associates' or Cert or bootcamp... but with absolutely no relevant working experience?  Agreed.  With a team of skilled people, all remote is great.

Broader picture, though, if you are actually hiring true tabla-rasa novices (in my case, because you're a public agency whose wages haven't budged since 2007 and is wage-compressed to plaid), a remote first year experience, especially when you don't have enough staff as it is to devote a good 0.5 FTE of a productive employee to mentoring for 6-9 months, is a disaster.  Or, at least that's what I've found over the last two years.

That 'first job hurdle' was bad enough in 2019.  All-remote does make it worse.  And none of the "we've been all-remote since before the pandemic" companies I know ever hire truly green staff.  The maybe take in a handful of interns, who are third/fourth-year CS students at better colleges, and maybe hire a few of them.
 
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