Remote Work Benefits

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720963

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Remote Work Benefits

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75395

    We are discussing what a return to the office might look like and there is an acceptance that WFH is going to play a bigger part of our lives from now on regardless of the outcome of COVID.

    We are looking hard at our business processes and in fine detail and mapping them on a grid of

    • Easy at home
    • Easy at work

    We are asking ourselves how can the stuff that is easiest in the office can be improved if carried out in the home environment.

    Whiteboard work being a case in point for office work.  Options like Miro are being explored.

    1:2:1s are often easier remotely because two people in their own private space having a conversation is a more open and candid event than in an open plan office with limited meeting room options.

    We are asking what changes we need to make as managers if we have a lot of staff working from home.  How do we measure and track performance?  How do we spot when remote staff are experiencing difficulties?  How can we make sure that stuff gets done and nothing falls through the cracks?

    There is the question of how do we recruit and onboard staff in a predominantly WFH scenario?

    One factor that has emerged is that people's homes may not be suited to remote work.  I'm fortunate in that I live in a 3 bed semidetached property and 2 of my sons have left home.  That means the 3rd bedroom has become an office.  I shut the door after work and don't set foot in the room unless it is work time.  There's the psychological separation between work place and home place.  I think the importance of  that separation has become apparent as time has gone on.

    Some of my colleagues live in 1 or 2 bedroom flats and have to work on the kitchen table.  Not ideal ergonomically and they lose that physical separation of work/home.

    There is the question of what it is reasonable to expect an employer and employee to contribute to the WFH environment.  What I saved on the commute in the first 3 months went into a decent monitor.  If I wasn't WFH would I spend a lot on a chair?  Probably not as I wouldn't spend much time sat in it if I had returned to the office.

     

     

  • Cebisa

    Valued Member

    Points: 51

    After doing work from home for several months I  purchased a new professional office chair. That really changed wfh for me. At the office I had 3 screens, at home I have 2. I miss my 3rd screen and now am thinking of getting one

  • Doctor Who 2

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7903

    At my company there's a lot of mystery as to what's going to happen. For the most part, the employees don't have any say in the matter, any matter. I personally hope that WFH becomes a permanent part of the equation, in some fashion. My employer did help people get set up with necessary equipment to do their jobs from home, which I appreciate. As it is, I didn't need to take advantage of it, at least not at the first. I do know that if my employer helped purchase anything, like a chair or extra monitor, that item instantly becomes a part of my employer's property. For that reason, everything I've purchased over the last six months I've purchased by myself, because I want to keep it. Such as the chair I bought about two months ago, and a laptop stand I bought last week.

    It really would be nice if we'd get a stipend for electricity, heating, and cooling. I don't see that happening.

    Rod

  • amy.holzinger

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 755

    My office let me bring home an additional monitor when they sent me home to work.  Very helpful!  However, after 9 weeks my home office chair was giving me sciatica, so I had to invest in a new chair.  No financial help for that.  I am now back in the office 2 days a week (in cube world, with a mask) and 3 days a week at home.  I very seriously doubt we will ever get financial help for electricity, heating/cooling, etc.

  • Aaron N. Cutshall

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8815

    I agree that if companies are going to require people to WFH, they should accommodate them. That's a different proposition than giving them the option and treating it as a benefit. In my case, even when I'm in the office, all of my meetings are on Zoom. Therefore, for me, there's no advantage whatsoever to be in the office. My company even announced that they cannot accommodate everyone in the office with social distancing requirements so they asked who would prefer to remain at home. Of course, I certainly do! I like my home office much better because I have a door I can close and I have everything I need within reach. It's certainly much better than a shared cubicle!! Although, I did recently invest in a better mesh chair and it's been quite helpful.

  • Ralph Hightower

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2817

    In that Denver office example, it seems rather silly to require the people at the office, but everyone attends meetings via Zoom behind their closed door offices.

    My work environment has a desktop with two monitors.  My employer has the corporate GoToMyPC plan and also uses issued laptops and VPN access.  My home environment is a desktop with two monitors.  I use GoToMyPC to access my work environment.  I can stretch the GoToMyPC viewer across the two monitors, but I have found that using two monitors at work with two monitors at home is less than ideal.  Meetings are conducted with Microsoft Teams and most meetings use a conference calling service to connect everyone.  When I use the conference call, I have to mute my PC speakers to avoid creating feedback.  I attended a meeting where no conference calling service was used; the organizer assumed every remote computer had a microphone.  I've done some research and asked our service desk if GoToMyPC supported remote audio, but the consensus appears to be "No". It would seem pointless to buy a headphone/mike setup for meetings for it not to work.

  • Andy sql

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 9405

    Like David, I am lucky to have a spare room, which was already setup as an office; best investment was an adjustable standing desk (can be lowered to a normal desk height, or raised to standing height) along with a Bestand monitor arm to handle the monitor. Takes some getting used to, but your back will (eventually) love you for it.

    No financial help from the company, although they did allow employees to "borrow" monitors, chairs, etc from work at the start of lockdown.

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75395

    There is clearly quite a range of responses by different companies to COVID.  I have been extremely impressed with my organisation's approach to the pandemic, ongoing communication, attitude from the exec board downwards.  It is part of why I have stayed with this particular employer so long.

    My cost of heating and electricity is considerably lower than my weekly commute costs.  OK, it's not winter yet but I'm not expecting a huge jump in costs.

    I'm not a UK tax expert but I am aware that some things that a company might buy for you count as a benefit in kind and are taxable.

    I know people who's employers approach could be best summed up as appalling.  I think that will rebound on them when the job market gets more fluid.

    Other employers have found that their capability for a WFH world isn't where it needs to be.  Their hearts are in the right place but their infrastructure isn't, though it could be.

    Every 20 or 30 years there is a sea change in the way the world of employment works.  There is always pain involved and it is a scary time.  The change is probably more worrying for a lot of people than COVID.  We will get through this.  We will be able to counsel the next generation of workers when their huge employment change comes because there will be another sea change just as there have been changes before this one.

     

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997150

    amy.holzinger wrote:

    My office let me bring home an additional monitor when they sent me home to work.  Very helpful!  However, after 9 weeks my home office chair was giving me sciatica, so I had to invest in a new chair.  No financial help for that.  I am now back in the office 2 days a week (in cube world, with a mask) and 3 days a week at home.  I very seriously doubt we will ever get financial help for electricity, heating/cooling, etc.

    You're kind of getting a couple of major stipends as it is when working from home.  More time at home because no commute.  Less gas used in your vehicle, less wear and tear on your vehicle, fewer oil changes, tires last longer and, if you talk to your insurance agent, you can get a hell of a break on insurance.

    You also don't have to do as much laundry and don't have to do as much dry cleaning when you work from home.  Lunches and snacks are usually a whole lot cheaper, as well.

    I also not like you'd let your house get to low temperatures in the winter or high temperatures in the summer when you were working in the office, especially if you had someone at home.  It's also more expensive to change the temperature of the interior thermal mass of a house rather than keeping it at a fairly constant but reasonable temperature.  You probably also already had an internet connection that isn't costing you more because you're VPN'ing into work.  With connectivity through things like TEAMS, my phone bill hasn't changed a bit, either.

    Even if COVID-19 wasn't around, you also stand much less of a chance of getting a cold or the flu and you don't have to worry about papering the toilet when nature calls.

    Although I miss "free coffee", it doesn't cost that much to make coffee at home and it's also a whole lot better than the stuff I used to get at work.

    I don't experience an increase in the electric bill but, even if I did, I save so much more by not having to put on work clothes and not having any of the expenses of even a short commute and, as short as it was, I don't have to spend as much time getting ready for work or driving to or from work.

    It's been an awesome set of implicit stipends and I'm not going to look such a major gift horse in the mouth as to ask the company for anything else.  I've wanted to work from home all my life and now it's here and, thankfully, might be here to stay.

    Another side benefit is that I've been wearing my robe for so long that it's learned how to type. 😀  It'll only take another week or so to have it make coffee.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

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