Life After the Pandemic

Seat0B

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This article from the Guardian stimulated me to start thinking about life after the pandemic. Our society has certainly been through some paradigm changing opportunities. Yes I know it’s a buzz phrase, but actually true in these circumstances. I thought I might start a positive thread to look at things we might do differently in the future.

I for one would love to see work from home become a permanent thing. So many benefits to work/life balance. Reduced traffic= less pollution. The rise of the local coffee shop.

What good can you see coming from this?


 
I think WFH has a lot of advantages but I think there are some disadvantages. Some people just don't have the dedicated space and I'm sure in some outer suburbs and lower socio-economic areas there won't be that many coffee shops. I must admit I do like going into a place where I am recognised and acknowledged as a regular
 
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I think WFH has a lot of advantages but I think there are some disadvantages. Some people just don't have the dedicated space and I'm sure in some outer suburbs and lower socio-economic areas there won't be that many coffee shops. I must admit I do like going into a place where I am recognised and acknowledged as a regular
Yes so maybe WFH as a respected and genuine option, not compulsory. In the same way work from office should not be compulsory if work can be done from home.

I want us to take this chance to reconsider "how things are always done".

I also don't want options that work for some segments of the population to be ruled out because they don't suit other segments. I know a lot of people can't work from home due to the nature of their work. I know some more can't because they don't have the space. But plenty can, and I think it should be an option. Based on a very small sample of my family and friends, the public service is a good example of arbitrary rules. The department where one family member works has returned to forbidding WFH except when there are lockdowns. They have not given a reason for that. Another department said WFH but no more than 2 days a week (sounds about right to me - good balance). Another said WFH, no more than 2 days a week, and cannot WFH on Monday or Friday. They had to change that when they realised that having 100% of staff in attendance Tue-Thur meant that they could not provide appropriately distance work spaces for all.
 
Here's another one I would like to see carry forward after the pandemic. Stay home if you are sick. When I ran a Registered Training Organisation, I used to cringe every winter as there would be several occasions when a student would arrive for training, carrying a box of tissues and sipping on a hot lemon drink, with their eyes all red and their noses all runny. Often they would say "oh yeah, I'm as sick as a dog, but I really wanted to do the training". And then I would watch all the other students and my staff get sick around them. As a small business, I always had a strict stay at home if you are sick policy, and even sent people home if they came to work sick. We just couldn't afford the whole office to go down with something, even just a cold.

I'd like to see businesses allow this, and customers of restaurants, airlines etc to be permitted to cancel without penalties if they are genuinely sick. I understand that proving genuine illness is an issue, and that businesses may miss out on the sales and be unable to replace the sick customer, but over all we would all be better off if sick people stayed at home.

That then feeds to another thing that needs to change - the gig economy, where people don't have sick leave and so feel compelled to work to pay their bills.
 
Some people just don't have the dedicated space
I'm with you on this one. Which is why, I have been coming into work even during the lockdowns. That, and I'm also an essential worker .. but I was happy to come in just because of the dedicated, distraction-free, well connected (internet speed wise) workspace that my work offers ..

Also, I live in a share-house with 4 people and between 9am and 11am the house sounds like a call center with everyone having their standups and meetings etc .. and the internet is pathetic. Especially for a programmer like me, I live & breathe on fast internet and being able to access help sources almost instantly .. What I have realised is, as a programmer, there is only a few hours in a workday my mind is "active" .. so I need to make the best of my "active" hours and to do that efficiently I need to be in office and NOT WFH !!


The rise of the local coffee shop.

I SOOO WISH your statement comes true. I might open a small coffee place soon and would like to see it flourish ... I live near CBR city and I think it's a very good business area to open a "traditional" coffee shop .. fingers crossed !!

What good can you see coming from this?

I also think that, for at least a year after we are out of the pandemic, people might be a bit hesitant to travel ... just due to the fear of contracting infections or what if there were unvaccinated people in the place I'm visiting .. that sort of a feeling ... but a couple of years down the line leisure & business travel will bounce back and people will do more trips ...

Me, personally, might choose NOT to travel immediately after the pandemic is over, unless of course, it is for compelling personal/business reasons ... I might be comfortable to be indoorsy for a bit before I get back to my pre-CoVID travel patterns ...

I think, all the industries will come out of the pandemic being wiser and smarter in their business decisions and alter their offerings to suit a variety of clientele ... Food delivery services will ALWAYS be an essential service, with nothing slowing them down ... Customers are now getting used to the idea of no leaving their couch to order their meal/drinks ... so some will choose to stay that way providing more business to delivery drivers. In my part-time gig, I spend over half a day just packing delivery boxes of booze ... so I see how much business alcohol delivery drivers are making ... <ka-ching>

People will become more aware (sanitation wise, health wise, money wise) and make better decisions ... for instance, people will start to see the cost-value when doing things ... a typical question might be, "do I go to my local beach and spend $50 or drive 200 kms to a bigger beach and spend $300" .. "what can I do to support my local business" etc etc ... or "I don't think I should go out today, I feel a bit under the weather, may be I will stay indoors today"

I think the people will also become more organised .. no more haphazard or impromptu shopping ... let's plan, make a list, stick to the list, get in & get out .. no more or very limited loitering in the shopping malls, window shopping etc .. no more buying a cuppa in *Bucks and spending 3 hours using up the free wifi ...

The population, in general, will start to appreciate small things in life ... I think ... I hope .. I dream ...
 
I think part WFH part office is a good balance because it's hard to build a strong team if all of us work remote 100%. You need some face to face interaction.

After last year I was WFH 2 or 3 days per week and my boss is ok with that but I know entire teams/other departments were told to return full time because they failed miserably at WFH and their work results/productivity proved it.
 
I SOOO WISH your statement comes true. I might open a small coffee place soon and would like to see it flourish ... I live near CBR city and I think it's a very good business area to open a "traditional" coffee shop .. fingers crossed !!
Let me know if you do and I will come for a coffee! I prefer to drink independent rather than coffee chains, as the coffee is usually better, I know I am supporting a small business, and I like to chat to the staff who seem to have a bit more time than those following a chain's operating procedures.
 
Let me know if you do and I will come for a coffee! I prefer to drink independent rather than coffee chains, as the coffee is usually better, I know I am supporting a small business, and I like to chat to the staff who seem to have a bit more time than those following a chain's operating procedures.
and you also get to have a consistent person behind the counter. Many of the big chains they are different every time you go in there
 
Let me know if you do and I will come for a coffee! I prefer to drink independent rather than coffee chains, as the coffee is usually better, I know I am supporting a small business, and I like to chat to the staff who seem to have a bit more time than those following a chain's operating procedures.
Thank you so @Seat0B or should I say "customer-zero" for my coffee shop :D
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I like to chat to the staff who seem to have a bit more time than those following a chain's operating procedures.
YESSSS !!! I strongly believe that for a small business to operate effectively, it needs to have customer service superstars behind the counter, making friendly chats with customers, offering the best service and listen to the customer when they want to share a story or feedback (good & bad).

When I was operating this coffee stall in SYD, I have had customers come in just to have a chat with me and buy a coffee when they leave.
 
I think part WFH part office is a good balance because it's hard to build a strong team if all of us work remote 100%. You need some face to face interaction.

After last year I was WFH 2 or 3 days per week and my boss is ok with that but I know entire teams/other departments were told to return full time because they failed miserably at WFH and their work results/productivity proved it.

Re : building a strong team - I agree with you on this. I attempted to (in my previous gig) to organise a time on fridays to do virtual drinks, casual, out of work catch up, but the attendance was very low. I tried a few other initiatives to keep the morale boosted, forster casual chats etc, but not as great as it would have been great face to face

Re : work results/productivity - THAT IS SO TRUE !!! a piece of work that will normally take 2 days takes 5 days ... the team members were not reachable on phone when urgently needed. Showed up to meetings 5 mins late consistently .. some chose to have the telly running in the background when working or chose to dial in to a meeting when on travel or shopping etc ... I understand that one only gets certain times in a day to go out and shop, but it would have been great if they'd notified me and I'd have moved the meeting around

sometimes, I found out that people just don't work .... for instance they choose to watch Netflix on the work machine, in a different window. But what they didn't realise is that when they move out of the VM, it will change the status to Away on their MS Teams.

It was very challenging to get an idea across the team without having the meeting room board & pen setup ... Technological challenges for senior workers in the team (from unable to dial into a Webex meeting to accessing virtual boards on Teams etc etc ) The first 15 minutes in a 30 minute meeting was just to ensure that everyone is able to join, hear, see, respond to others in the meeting ... And the whole drama of explaining what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, why this is the way to do it etc etc .. And fielding questions which were hard to comprehend/understand/explain and respond to .. GAWD !! horrible times, to be quite honest ...

And the general "delay" in getting things done ... don't even get me started on that!
 
Re : building a strong team - I agree with you on this. I attempted to (in my previous gig) to organise a time on fridays to do virtual drinks, casual, out of work catch up, but the attendance was very low. I tried a few other initiatives to keep the morale boosted, forster casual chats etc, but not as great as it would have been great face to face

Re : work results/productivity - THAT IS SO TRUE !!! a piece of work that will normally take 2 days takes 5 days ... the team members were not reachable on phone when urgently needed. Showed up to meetings 5 mins late consistently .. some chose to have the telly running in the background when working or chose to dial in to a meeting when on travel or shopping etc ... I understand that one only gets certain times in a day to go out and shop, but it would have been great if they'd notified me and I'd have moved the meeting around

sometimes, I found out that people just don't work .... for instance they choose to watch Netflix on the work machine, in a different window. But what they didn't realise is that when they move out of the VM, it will change the status to Away on their MS Teams.

It was very challenging to get an idea across the team without having the meeting room board & pen setup ... Technological challenges for senior workers in the team (from unable to dial into a Webex meeting to accessing virtual boards on Teams etc etc ) The first 15 minutes in a 30 minute meeting was just to ensure that everyone is able to join, hear, see, respond to others in the meeting ... And the whole drama of explaining what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, why this is the way to do it etc etc .. And fielding questions which were hard to comprehend/understand/explain and respond to .. GAWD !! horrible times, to be quite honest ...

And the general "delay" in getting things done ... don't even get me started on that!

All of this makes me want to throw up because it is exactly why I loath 100% work from home.

We will probably end up with mandated % time in office by team overlapping so you can can team meetings F2F (not with one annoying person on Teams)…

Don’t get me wrong I love the occasional day from home every week but I hate work being in my home, I like being out and about, socialising with my team in person.
 
Re : building a strong team - I agree with you on this. I attempted to (in my previous gig) to organise a time on fridays to do virtual drinks, casual, out of work catch up, but the attendance was very low. I tried a few other initiatives to keep the morale boosted, forster casual chats etc, but not as great as it would have been great face to face

Re : work results/productivity - THAT IS SO TRUE !!! a piece of work that will normally take 2 days takes 5 days ... the team members were not reachable on phone when urgently needed. Showed up to meetings 5 mins late consistently .. some chose to have the telly running in the background when working or chose to dial in to a meeting when on travel or shopping etc ... I understand that one only gets certain times in a day to go out and shop, but it would have been great if they'd notified me and I'd have moved the meeting around

sometimes, I found out that people just don't work .... for instance they choose to watch Netflix on the work machine, in a different window. But what they didn't realise is that when they move out of the VM, it will change the status to Away on their MS Teams.

It was very challenging to get an idea across the team without having the meeting room board & pen setup ... Technological challenges for senior workers in the team (from unable to dial into a Webex meeting to accessing virtual boards on Teams etc etc ) The first 15 minutes in a 30 minute meeting was just to ensure that everyone is able to join, hear, see, respond to others in the meeting ... And the whole drama of explaining what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, why this is the way to do it etc etc .. And fielding questions which were hard to comprehend/understand/explain and respond to .. GAWD !! horrible times, to be quite honest ...

And the general "delay" in getting things done ... don't even get me started on that!
Other department/team that was ordered back to full time (before current lockdown), one member was phoned only last week because he was missing a meeting and was out jogging. All very good for his health but he had 8 people waiting/working at the time and it wasn't arranged last minute.

Ive also found, as a payroll person, that some people are incredibly lax in advising they are not working/sick/taking leave and/or do not complete leave applications for time off.
 
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Ive also found, as a payroll person, that some people are incredibly lax in advising they are not working/sick/taking leave and/or do not complete leave applications for time off.
Oh yes, the other thing is - staff choose to "work" after hours without any prior approvals or notifications and then take a day off, especially, on a Friday and say "oh, didn't you realise, I worked extra on Wednesday from 7 PM to 9 PM" .. and I'm like "Well, I haven't been notified of your extra work and I don't remember approving your "after hours" work ... "

The problem with working "after hours" without approval is - the organisation is responsible for anything that happens to the employee when he is working.. so if the employee "chooses" to work at his "leisure" and if something happens to him/her, the organisation is liable to pay for the damages ... I explained this to my employee and he/she wasn't happy !!

It's like they think having the ability to WFH is solely for the purposes of misusing such a privilege ...

And then there is over-enthusiastic worker who logs in at 11 PM to respond to emails and CC's me in every email - just so that I know he "burnt" the midnight oil, when, clearly he was NOT ASKED TO !!
 
Oh yes, the other thing is - staff choose to "work" after hours without any prior approvals or notifications and then take a day off, especially, on a Friday and say "oh, didn't you realise, I worked extra on Wednesday from 7 PM to 9 PM" .. and I'm like "Well, I haven't been notified of your extra work and I don't remember approving your "after hours" work ... "

The problem with working "after hours" without approval is - the organisation is responsible for anything that happens to the employee when he is working.. so if the employee "chooses" to work at his "leisure" and if something happens to him/her, the organisation is liable to pay for the damages ... I explained this to my employee and he/she wasn't happy !!

It's like they think having the ability to WFH is solely for the purposes of misusing such a privilege ...

And then there is over-enthusiastic worker who logs in at 11 PM to respond to emails and CC's me in every email - just so that I know he "burnt" the midnight oil, when, clearly he was NOT ASKED TO !!

We had a problem with surprise ‘time in Lieu’ requests so we put in a new policy that this must be agreed with your manager BEFORE the time is accrued.

Suddenly 99% of it disappeared.
 
Well I would feel it very difficult for me to WFH.
It is a 2 edged sword.One fellow who runs an office that I talk to has said it has enabled him to find out just who is productive and who isn't.When there is finally a full return to the office a few have have now made the list of those to be advised their attendance is not needed.
 
a few have have now made the list of those to be advised their attendance is not needed.
Whoa :O a bit extreme? Although I think in your field, it's NOT ACCEPTABLE to be slacking off?

I mean, honestly, I've also got a "list" of folks that are I know that I can't count on for an urgent work/deliverable ... but ...
 
As someone who has been WFH essentially since April 2020 I love it. I changed roles a couple of times and had to quickly learn new skills and we've done it well.

My current role has lots of cogitating and writing so peace and quiet is essential. I meet my KPIs as does virtually everybody in the team. Those who don't are dealt with by their boss.

I live alone and have a dedicated work setup that is better than many office setups I've worked in.

However, post pandemic I can see businesses demanding that governments (state and federal) force their employees back to the office so they'll spend money in the CBD. I refused to spend a cent in the city last time we were back for a few days, as did several colleagues.who were also upset at the forced return.

Now is the time for businesses to really think about what they really do and why they're in business. If they rely on the CBD office set up with customers walking by, then time to rethink your business model. When people start to go back to the office they'll seriously consider every cent they spend.

Many people now realise just how fragile their finances are and will reconsider discretionary spending. Sadly, many people are in debt and will not have any discretionary spending for many years.

For businesses that rely on overseas visitors then seriously consider broadening your customer base because no-one's coming here soon.

There will be opportunities but too many people will miss them, because, 'we've never done that before' or similar excuses.

This is an opportunity to rethink and decide what is truly important and what was 'make work' to fill in time.

And of course the health issues, physical and mental, will need to be properly identified and treated.

The opportunity is there for a visionary leader to step up and make the world, even just our little bit, a much better place.

But, I suspect the carpetbaggers will swoop in, make their riches and exploit people. for their own nefarious purposes. :(
 
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