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Work from home trend

 
Ranch Hand
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Thoughts on work from home trends? I personally love it and never want to go to an office. Originally people where complaining that they where suffering hardships but when their was volunteers to come back...out of 100 devs there was zero people interested. Now I am starting to notice more and more remote developer jobs. I am now wondering this forced experiment will revolutionize this idea. Then I see riots and lawlessness taking over where I used to go to work and shake my head say there is absolutely no way I am taking public transportation in and now I think I might just refuse to go in even after there is a vaccine. There just looks to be more and more WFH options. Thoughts?
 
lowercase baba
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I'm curious about this, too, but for different reasons.  I'm pretty sure my agreement with my ISP says it is for "non-commercial use".  If i use my connection for work purposes, does that count as commercial?  While I am using a corporate issued laptop, I am also using my own monitor, mouse, and keyboard.  I am also using part of my home as a work space.  Are there tax implications for this?

Let's keep going.  At the office, one benefit was free coffee.  that's gone.  If my employer goes to more WFH, they can save a ton of money on rent/real estate.  Will some of those saving be passed on to me (i'm pretty sure "No" is the answer).

I'll admit i'm older than most developers.  However, I LIKE going in to the office, talking to my colleagues, meeting new people in different departments, learning about different products/business components.  These things are MUCH harder to do in an all-virtual workspace.

I do like not commuting for the 45-60 minutes each way, but i also feel a huge loss in part of my work day when i don't see people.

 
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I've had co-workers I could comfortable go years without seeing (I'm sure they'd say likewise). And though it's always nice to directly talk to/see/physically meet people, I've got good customers in Romania, New Zealand, Autralia, California, and the like who I've never met and often never had as much as an audio call with. My work requires human feedback, but not so much human interaction - whiich can actually interfere with productivity if not held in check.

In a purely practical sense, I can be far more prooductive in a WFH environment, given sufficient autonomy. My biological cycle tends to break work up into A) get up about 6 AM. Work until about 11, Eat lunch and fall intot a post-prandial stupor/nap for an hour or so, Do more work. Go outside and garden. Do another couple of hours at night.

That doesn't work in a traditional office environment, where your physical presence counts more towards productivity metrics than your actual accomplishments. After a 35-minute commute, I arrive about 7:30, wotk until 11, eat, stagger around in a daze dfor an hour or two. Wake up enough to put in another hour or so, and end up with a grand total of about 6 hours actual productive work done per day with typically the last 2 or 3 hours of the day being about as useful as an inflatable Bozo the Clown "Bop Bag" rolling around in my chair.

IRS rules (USA) state that almost any supplies/resources that your employer requires you to have must either be paid for by your employer or they will be (generally) allowable as tax-deductible business expenses. So, for example, Internet service, phone service, electricity, climate control, designated work space (NOT shared for general personal/family use) and so forth. In the case of being self-employed, you'd typically be allowed to deduct a fraction of your total utility/real estate expenses based on how many square feet your reserved "business area" is. I don't think anyone has ever tried to figure out how to parcel out deducting Internet between Zoom time and Netflix time, though, and trutfully, I'd find it hard to track. The work/home times are blurrier there than almost anywhere.

Stats released yesterday indicate that about 54% of people would prefer to work from home forever, and if you polled those who were thrown into that hideous abomination known as "Open Office", probably more for that crowd. I don't care how much "idea interchange" you might theoretically obtain. There's also a need for alone-time to integrate those interchanged ideas.

As a whole, I think that WFH is probably more energy efficient, allowing for lack of scale on climate control. It obviously saves big on road wear and resources burned by commuting. Plus I'm generally in a better mood when I come into the office if I haven't been fighting road rage. I don't feel as bad about overtime if I can step out and heat up a quick meal or even grab a nap before resuming - which I can't do if it's an hour home and back.

So count me in on the WFH fan club. And if I don't get free coffee, at least what I do get is higher quality.

And of course, Fred, we know how "trickle-down" savings work. If all the productivity gains we've made since 1980 haven't done the trick, why expect corporate savings on office resources to be any better? (grump).
 
Greenhorn
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@fred:

I'd bet that your ISP is mainly covering its a$$ in case somebody tries to use them if their internet goes down and trashes a day's work.  Maybe some ISPs will need to define what counts as "reasonable" home office use in future?

Personally, I'm fine with WFH, although my preference would probably be one or two days a week in the office to help maintain the contact with colleagues and swap ideas more easily.  But right now, the prospect of travelling in virus-laden trains and buses to get to a virus-laden office and sit there with (virus-laden?) co-workers doing the same thing I can do more productively at home is far from tempting.

Luckily, my employer currently seems happy with most of us working from home, although as you point out, I suspect we won't see much of those savings on office space/maintenance/consumables etc.  But we're doing our bit for the environment and for saving other people's lives by giving the virus fewer potential vectors, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.
 
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fred rosenberger wrote:. . .  I am also using part of my home as a work space.  Are there tax implications for this? . . .

Depends where you live; in this country there would be implications, yes.

a huge loss in part of my work day when i don't see people.

“It's not what you know it's who you know.” Apart from saying who for whom, that quote is usually used rather disparagingly. But there is a lot of truth in it; I think it means that people are more important than things. You are obviously like the large majority of the population who make many of their friends at work, and that social interaction is an important part of their lives.
 
Tim Holloway
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"Whom" is, if I recall, a predicate form, so "Who" would be correct in this context, I think. Aside from sounding more natural - which is something that typically shapes language more than logic.

Anyway, mine rule of thumb is that "If it helps you make taxable income, the IRS probably will allows some sort of deduction". Popular slander aside, they really don't want to simply rob everyone blind, and they're usually quite happy to give up a little to make more. Though it never hurts to consult a tax expert.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Tim Holloway wrote:. . . the IRS probably will allows some sort of deduction . . . they really don't want to simply rob everyone . . .

Similarly here; you can claim a proportion of your heating bills, etc., but it might make part of any profit from selling one's house taxable. If you can claim to be self‑employed, they become much more permissive about what expenses they will allow.
 
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Tim Holloway wrote:"Whom" is, if I recall, a predicate form, so "Who" would be correct in this context, I think.


And yes, "who" is the predicate in the "you know who" clause so "whom" would be correct. The subject is "you" and not "who".

Aside from sounding more natural - which is something that typically shapes language more than logic.


Which is why most people (including you and me (or "you and I" like a lot of people would say lately)) use "who" in that idiom. Nowadays "whom" is a fossilized word which is still used but only in fixed contexts like "To whom am I speaking?".
 
Tim Holloway
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Whilst in the US, we've only say "while" now.

I have a German copy of "Harry Potter und der Stein Der Weisen" (Philosphers/Sorcerors Stone depending on which edition you have). Interestingly, "You-know-who" becomes "you-already-know-who" (du-weißt-schon-wer) in German.

Language. What a concept.
 
Christopher Webster
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Side topic, I know, but hey, languages are my jam, as the saying goes...

As Paul points out, "Whom" is an objective case form of "who":

Direct object (originally accusative) e.g. "Whom did you meet?"
Indirect object (originally dative) e.g. "To whom did you write?"

The problem in modern English is that we have very few case distinctions, basically just for pronouns like I/me, he/him, she/her, we/us, they/them. English speakers are not used to analysing grammatical case, so they tend not to recognise that who/whom is a similar pair and don't realise there is a systematic distinction here. As this confusion has been going on for a very long time (English lost most of its grammatical cases centuries ago), most of the time we just use "who" in everyday speech and writing, including common sayings like "It's who you know...".

But if you look at a related language such as German, where case distinctions between subject (nominative), direct object (accusative) or indirect object (dative) are much more common (every time you use the word for "the"), and are also related to grammatical gender and number, then my experience is that German speakers normally use the German equivalents of who/whom (wer/wen/wem) correctly.

So I guess the real problem is that grammatical case is mostly a deprecated feature in English. A bit like our spelling...  



 
Campbell Ritchie
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No, at risk of being transferred to the MD forum, English inflections for cases might be deprecated, but spelling isn't. But English spellings often go more with the etymology of a word than its pronunciation or modern meaning, so it is notorious for its inconsistencies.

Actually, “atrophic” might be a better term than “deprecated”.
 
Tim Holloway
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The other extreme from declined languages can be seen in examples such as Chinese, where there are no word prefixes or suffixes at all nor variances in pronunciation. If you need to know the little details, you have to infer them from context (word order) and/or from "helper" words (particles). That's not always good. While Russian is very heavily declined, its lack of definite/indefinate articles makes inferring certain distinctions a challenge when you're reading it in translation. English, however, plays second fiddle to Arabic where definite articles appear on both nouns and adjectives (e.g.,) Middle East (lit. the-east the-middle).

I don't know of any languages that have been evolving towards more highly-declined forms, and even the most rigidly grammatical systems have been seeing quite a bit of erosion in modern times. It's the older and more isolated languages that have the most rules and specialized forms and indeed I've seen the assertion made that languages used as lingua franca - particularly creole and pidgin languages - are the least-declined, as the aim is to convey meaning over format. I do sometimes wonder if part of the reason is a heretofore-untracked evolution of humanity's overall verbal communications abilities so that such hints are becoming superfluous.

Regardless, I do recommend shewing some discipline in one's business correspondence, whether in-office or WFH. Tow the line and don't give free reign to your grammer (sic), speling (sic), or vocabulary, less you loose all credibility as a serious businessperson. I still want the letter "thorn" back, þough.
 
Greenhorn
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I would share my experience for WFH. It comes with pros and cons.

Pros

1) You definitely are going to save travel time, lesser for some and more for some but overall everyone would agree that they save some travel time. This time can be utilized for other things which can be self learning or any activity. You are likely to have more time in the day and one can think of spending time for some other activity which one may not have been able to devote time for earlier.
2) The time one is close to your family would be surely more. One would be working and not talking to them but still it gives satisfaction if you are near them. One can have lunch together.
3) One can prepare our own tea/coffee while taking a break instead of having whatever is served by the office coffee machine.

Cons
1) In addition to what we learn by yourself and by working , we learn a lot by interacting with other employees too. Although we would still interact using skype etc, actual interactions would be missed.
2) When working from office, once we come home there would be better separation between work and life. In case of working from home, literally one is always 'ON'. Depends on whether you prefer work life balance or work life blending.

List would be different for everyone but there would be some pros and cons. We have to make the best use of this changed situation.
 
Master Rancher
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Saurabh Rana wrote: In case of working from home, literally one is always 'ON'.



That requires you to create a separation between the two environments.
If you're working from the kitchen table then yes, possibly. Even then, I would expect once the laptop has been put away that it would revert to being a kitchen.

I've ensured, this past 15-20 years or so, that I have an office set up at home. That keeps things separate.
 
fred rosenberger
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Saurabh Rana wrote: You definitely are going to save travel time, lesser for some and more for some but overall everyone would agree that they save some travel time. This time can be utilized for other things which can be self learning or any activity. You are likely to have more time in the day and one can think of spending time for some other activity which one may not have been able to devote time for earlier.


I used to commute between 45 minutes to an hour each way, every day.  While commuting, i'd listen to podcasts on news, the economy, politics, social issues...whatever.

Now I don't commute at all, and I don't listen to them at all.  So with the WFH situation, I am LESS educated.
 
Tim Holloway
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On the other hand, I prefer my information sources to be silent on the whole. For a while I could read a newspaper on the bus, but public transportation anywhere in Florida is such a joke that that was a very unusual case. So mostly I got my news from the clock radio by the bed and tried to control road rage by listening to the local rock radio stations.

On WFH, I have enough time to do more garden work which is greener and more productive than commuting, so if I wanted to, I could always wear a radio or media player while doing that.
 
Saurabh Rana
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Dave Tolls wrote:

Saurabh Rana wrote: In case of working from home, literally one is always 'ON'.



That requires you to create a separation between the two environments.
If you're working from the kitchen table then yes, possibly. Even then, I would expect once the laptop has been put away that it would revert to being a kitchen.

I've ensured, this past 15-20 years or so, that I have an office set up at home. That keeps things separate.



Useful advice. Thank You.
 
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