Dread or Desire

Today is the first business day of the new year. We’ve made it, and we’ve left 2020 behind, though I suspect some of the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic will remain for some time. Vaccinations are occurring, but there are a lot of people that need them, and until the world finds many people protected, I don’t know how back to normal things will get.

One thing I wonder about is the business office. Those of us working in technology may not have been too disrupted with the shift to remote work, but we also didn’t have a choice. Recently I saw an article, Dreading or dreaming of a return to the office in 2021, that piqued my interest. I wonder for many of you, do you desire or dread the return to an office?

I suspect the majority of people want some sort of hybrid situation, a few days in the office and a few days at home. Among the friends I’ve asked, office time ranges from 4-5 days a week in the office to 1-2 days a month. I don’t know many people that never want to go to the office, and relatively few that want to be there full time.

Personally I’ve been in the hybrid situation for years. I work most days at home, usually spend about 40 days on the road in various other locations and then get to the Redgate office for about 12-15 days a year. That works out well for me, and it lets me keep in touch with people, build bonds and trust, and enjoy life at home. I hope that I’ll be able to get back to the UK in 2021, but who knows how life will change.

I do think many businesses will look to use their offices in some way. As they do, I know that there will be another period of disruption and adjustment for employees. From having others around to the commute time to the finding the things I need (either digital or physical items), I would suspect that it will take weeks for everyone to feel comfortable again. I also wonder if most of us will be happy with the way our situation works out.

Steve Jones

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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5 Responses to Dread or Desire

  1. Neverforget1776 says:

    The “majority’ really depends on the generation. Younger millennials at my job who seem to be scared of everything and believe anything government says, they want to work from home and never come to the office or even leave their cells/homes; their content to hide from the world. The rest of us older people have a different take opting to go on with life, we realize that magical ferries aren’t going to keep the world going, ensure supply chains are up and running, while everyone hides at home.

    Once it was obvious that “15 days to flatten the spread” was just a lie to get the public to agree to that initial lockdown it became clear to us that the lockdowns were intended to be a long term thing. It just wasn’t clear yet that they were being used as a wealth redistribution tool; to shutdown small and medium sized business while allowing the big box chains to achieve record sales. The hair place in our local Walmart was fine with being opening but any/all independent salons were expected to close. Same for the Subway in the Walmart but the local sandwich store had to close. Thankfully because our states leaders saw thru this non-sense the lockdowns here were short lived and so few businesses closed because of this.

    After 9 months of this we finally had a couple of employees get diagnosed with Covid, most of whom were the ones who were working from home. No employee has died from it nor anyone in the employees immediately family and last check none have had to be put on a ventilator or anything drastic. With the exception of a very old grandparent of a co-worker I don’t know directly or indirectly of anyone who’s died from covid and anyone I know how’s gotten sick with it say it was like a mild flu. I though it was just my luck but I spoke with a number of friends and families over the holidays because we DID travel during both Thanksgiving and Christmas and this is a fairly common thing. Most know 1 or maybe 2 who have died and its always someone who’s elderly and usually has 1 or more other health issues.

    When this thing started in 2020 I was very worried about my kids futures. I’m still worried today but not that they may fall victim to covid but that they will fall victim to what’s been done to fight it. I’m fully anticipating by the end of Q1 2021 to know more people who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine and or been killed by it than those killed by the virus itself and I know that this won’t stop the effort to pressure everyone into taking it anyway.

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    • way0utwest says:

      Disagree with most of your thoughts, but you are welcome to your opinion. I’ve had it, it’s not fatal, but I’ve also known multiple that have died, around my age (50s-60s). I’ve known a few that have had long term effects, which aren’t tracked well, and more than I expected in the hospital.

      It’s not nothing, and it’s not just the elderly dying. It’s also not going to kill a majority of people.

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  2. Barbara Cooper says:

    I thoroughly dread a return to the office. I am quite happy flopping out of bed and directly into my office chair! I like it because it is quiet at home, my dog is nearby, and I have my refrigerator and Bunn coffeemaker at my disposal plus no traffic! Since I am a dba in the IT department of a small healthcare company, I do not have other co-workers that do what I do so being physically present makes no difference to my job.

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  3. Mr West says:

    Greetings Steve I hope you are keeping well

    I’m not looking forward to return to the office, in fact when I see the words “return to normal life” in the news it fills me with dread. Our IT director doesn’t like people working from home (more than likely a trust/control issue), so they probably want to get us back as soon as possible when COVID is no longer a concern. However we’ve proved that we’re able to function as a department with 95% of staff working remotely, still able to deliver on project work, still able to maintain our existing platforms, still remaining contactable and partaking in Teams meetings etc. The greatest benefits of homeworking for me (from a very long list) are negation of the daily commute – essentially reclaiming 2 hours of my personal time every day – and removal from office politics, both of which are needless stressors for getting things done.

    I would love to work from home solidly but would fully understand if my employer wants me to periodically return to the mothership. I love my job and have a great team, but a permanent return to the office and instantly losing all the benefits I’ve enjoyed over the last year just to soothe the director’s ego would make me jump ship.

    Another of the benefits of homeworking has been the peace and quiet I need to be able to concentrate. Unfortunately my usual desk is in the middle of an open plan office with some of the most irritating people surrounding me on all sides. If I was made to return to the office full-time then my employer (and the law) would need to show some leniency if I started getting a bit stabby.

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  4. way0utwest says:

    I completely understand. I loved it when I first started working from home. It was a joy, I appreciated the lack of commute, and certainly the distractions. I’ve been hybrid for a decade, and I like that, though I miss the office at times.

    I also wonder if we’ll move away from open plan spaces in our offices.

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