WFH/not-WFH transition: The Dreadening

disclaimer: being able to WFH as opposed to not working at all is, obviously, a privilege. It is probably worth adding that sentence to any posts below as implicit.

As of late September, I’ll be back to the city centre to crack on with office life. Back in March, I was pretty chill about that – WFH was fun but my office situation was hardly the worst, nor colleagues. Now I’ve essentially built a totally different schedule around my life, one that’s more efficient, healthier, better for my marriage/cats/house, better for me in general, and brings me significant happiness daily. And I can feel it being taken away, and it’s horrible.

I suppose this should be in the MH thread but it feels like a form of separation anxiety that a lot of people will be having. I don’t wanna go back, guys.

Anyone else wanna talk about this’n?

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My work have said that it will be next spring at least before people have the option to go back without the current reduced capacity book a desk system. We quite frankly don’t need to be there and I appreciate the openness and honesty about that. They’ve said that as a result it’s quite likely that we’ll have total freedom in future to choose where we work from and are actively working to make that viable.

Very privileged position to be in in this sense and I have nothing but the greatest sympathy for those who have varying degrees of difficulty at the moment.

I do worry about the impact it will have on my MH though. It would be fine if I could engage in normal social pursuits but I can’t, and of the few that I can, I really don’t want to for the safety of those around me.

As such, the thought of even walking down a moderately busy street is really overwhelming and I need to take steps to counter that but spending half a day in a building with other people is off the chart anxiety inducing to me at the moment, just in a social non-Covid sense.

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Iirc you said your partner was in the vulnerable category? If so I would ask to continue to wfh as a precaution

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i certainly could do so, but the truth is that she’s (very carefully) out in the world working on the ballet school again so it’d be somewhat deceptive of me

Our employer has told us the “University should be seen to be open” which didn’t exactly convince us that they want us back for the right reasons. They also keep calling it “Return to Work” which is quite the pisstake, considering we’ve been working non-stop.

That said they are only asking people to go back in if they want to, the issue being that only a very small minority want to do so, and the employer would like more. But it’s pointless. We’ve been told that only 1 member of our team can be in the office. Why on earth would we travel in to sit around a bunch of empty desks? It’s not like it would be us getting used to the office again, it would just be desolate and strange. I don’t think it’ll be until Spring that they really try and get us back in there, but between now and then so much could happen.

No idea how this will pan out but I hope the union are able to force a consultation, which then leads to different options including always/nearly always working from home. It’s a real chance to reduce transport emissions, to have people spend more time with their families, to make crowded uncomfortable commutes a thing of the past, and to generally make people happier. That shouldn’t be passed up.

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I’m struggling to work an efficient day at home, and my work hours are bleeding too much into my home life. I’m not commuting, but I am having to work the time that I’ve saved, just to make up for the reduction in productivity.

I actually don’t think going back to working in our office would be too much of a problem for me, or others in the office - but it’s the commute that’s the issue.

How are you planning on getting to work?

At the moment, if anything needs doing in our office (eg rebooting the computers), it’s being picked up by people who can cycle into town, rather than catch the bus or train or tube. No one is asked to go in if they have to use public transport.

Been back in the office three days a week for the last couple of months and it’s been absolute bliss. Really appreciate the good chair, two screens and the fact it’s only a fifth full so easy to get stuff done. Also makes me really value the late starts and early finishes at home.

Quite lucky where I work in that it the surrounding area is not busy at all so I don’t have that bubbling under suspicion of the general public either.

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Our office is opening back up, but with a limited capacity of about a quarter of what it was. We’ve all been given the option of putting our names down for the rota, but no expectation that we must go in from my manager.
A few months ago I would have scoffed at the idea of going into the office for a few day’s, but wfh has been pretty shite (poor setup at home, screaming children, just feeling like I live in my office).
So might go in for a few days just to break up the monotony and use some big ass monitors.

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You could explain to them the situation that she is being cautious and to help maintain the caution they could keep you home? They have to do a risk assessment so maybe it could come up as a technicality that you’re allowed to wfh

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starting next job week after next wfh and i’m having to control a pc in town remotely and i know it’s going to be a laggy hellscape. would much rather be back in the office but would basically have to get the victoria line into town and there’s no way in hell at the moment. trying to think about other ways i could do it but reckon i’m kinda stuck at home for now.

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My work had been talking about getting people in the office more regularly by the end of this month/early October, but I think given Drakeford was very clear today that Welsh Government advice is for people to wfh unless they can’t, I suspect that’s out of the question for now.

I wasn’t looking forward to going back, tbh, as I’ve personally found wfh much more productive and considerably better for my mental health. Fully appreciate that not everyone feels that way of course.

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They’re gently encouraging us to go back in now but my line manager is American and I’m trying to impress on him that now, of all times, is probably not the time to be mingling again if we don’t need to.

Other colleague is desperate to get back in “for some socialising” even though our guidelines are essentially to stay at your desk and not gather in hallways, kitchens, etc. Canteen shut, packed lunches only. Mask on when not at your desk.

I’m going to resist going back to our poorly ventilated, sealed aircon building as much as possible. There’s no need, I can do literally everything remotely, and about the only impact on my productivity has been that my faffing is more efficient.

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I got told on the phone that they dint expect me back in the office until November at the soonest after they trialled a return. And even then it’ll be 1 or 2 days a week as opposed to fulltime. Or whenever id like to come in

So yeah I take that as foreseeable future

Many have returned full time, but I think they’re happy to let experienced staff continue remotely as they can just crack on with minimal assistance

To be honest working from the office once or twice a week sounds kind of appealing from a social aspect

I’ve been very lucky that my work provided me a phone, brand new computer and second screen that its a cosy set up.

My company have given us fuck all… although I was allowed to return to the office to pick up my monitor.

My WFH is looking like it’ll become permanent/the team get together in the office once a month. Not sure what their obligations are re providing equipment or an allowance to pay for a home working set up if this happens.

Pros and cons obviously but overall I’m happy. The 3 hours a day and literally thousands of £s a year on trains I’m saving makes it worthwhile. But yeah, feel very fortunate at the moment.

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Yeah, same. Well, not shite, but it has been a real mixed bag.

I popped into the office last week a couple of times. Wanted to meet up with a couple of people and collect a few bits and pieces that have been sat in my drawer for the last few months. Doing a couple of days a week would be my preference - every day was blending into one and I hated it. A trip to the office alleviates that feeling for me.

Plus I think there will be a permanent sea change. My boss is a bit of a dinosaur, but has now realised that having a remote workforce is actually fine. So I think a lot of things I liked about WFH will be here to stay - people were coming and going at whatever times they felt like, people were still joining meetings remotely etc, so no more rush hour travel, no more feeling guilty about working from home or leaving the office early for school pick up etc.

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I really don’t want to go back on to campus. Feel very apprehensive about stating face-to-face lecturing/teaching again.

Poll

  • WFH
  • WFW
  • bit of both
  • not on W-book

0 voters

My office is reopening later this month. There are mixed messages between where I work and the parent org about the extent to which we’re going to be expected to go back. But I’m intending on stringing this out for as long as possible because it’s helping me save loads of money towards us getting a bigger place next year :man_shrugging:

Pretty much totally dreading it though, even without the money saving my life is just a lot better and I really don’t want to move back to near my office on my lonesome. But I reckon as long as the London office looks busy nobody at the top is going to care all that much about some low level drones out in the provinces such as myself still wfh full time.

Yeah, I posted in corona thread the other day that work is encouraging us to go back two days a week and it’s given me loads of anxiety attacks.
The vast majority of my work can be done from home and I don’t actually mind going in to do what I can’t be but as and when and going in avoiding rush hour etc.

Annoying this push seems to be coming from management because the company in such a shit state they seem to think it’ll help them keep their jobs.
It seems crazy to me with cases rising etc and counterproductive as if one person gets it then the whole office and going to be closed for a deep clean and people will have to isolate for two weeks and then no one will be there.

I went in yesterday and getting the train there at 10 was ok but getting it back at 4 made me very uncomfortable with how busy it got. People without masks sitting next to me so I had to move etc

And as you say WFH as been great for my mental and physical heath and gives me more time to do the things I want and so to have the now start to go potentially is makes me realise even more how toxic the commute/office worker lifestyle is.

Bingo

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