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Back to the office, or not? October 19, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Anyone confused by what is taking place with regard to the rhetoric around the reopening?

On the one hand there’s been calls from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer that “work[ing] from home where possible this autumn and winter” should continue. The government pushed back against that sharpish. Sort of kind of, as is the way with this government:

Speaking in Cork today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government’s position hadn’t changed but that companies can make their own decisions. 

“The government’s position is as announced in September that there will be a phased return to the office, that is the government position, that hasn’t changed,” he said.

But… for there was a but… 

“But that said, many companies informed us that it would be indeed a very phased return, so companies have taken their own decisions in that regard and they haven’t come back all at once or they have phased it back and blended it.” 

I’ve had no direct instruction to return to the office – any time I was in was on my own initiative, and to be honest the experience was a bit dispiriting with a range of issues that prevented work continuing seamlessly there, and actually had me racing home to complete projects in time.

Be that as it may that’s no great complaint, I’m not public or customer facing and the work environment I’m in is – in fairness, broadly Covid-safety compliant. Many don’t have that luxury.

What I’ve heard is that the return to work will be slow moving with limited numbers on site. Again, I’ve no great complaint there.

The Sunday Independent editorial this weekend called for the government to speak with one voice on this and implicit in that was the demand for certainty. But I’m not sure that certainty is possible. It does seem sensible to stagger the return to workplaces as much as is possible given rising numbers. But isn’t it notable how leery the government is to announce any sort of halt on matters, treating them as if they’re reversals. A slightly delayed return isn’t a reversal. It’s a possibly sensible precaution in the overall context of the pandemic. And one the public might appreciate.

Though IBEC wasn’t keen on it, for only yesterday:

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said that current advice allows for a staggered and phased return to the workplace and any change to that needs to be communicated by the Government.

He said that unless the situation is very grave, there is no need for all workers to continue to work from home.

And:

Mr McCoy said that mixed-messaging about the return to work seemed to be driven by concerns about the pressure on the hospital system.

 

Well now that he mentions it, Andrew Flood has some thoughts on ICU bed availability – and as mentioned before for all those who say we need more ICU beds, keep in mind that hospitalisation of those suffering from Covid-19 is in some senses a failure given the vaccines and some having to go on to ICU is an even greater failure. In other words by the time one arrives in hospital, let alone ICU, the individual will be suffering from severe illness:

Comments»

1. irishelectionliterature - October 19, 2021

I returned to the office for a day. There was a new person starting so a few of us went in. Even though it’s only a few miles away ,I lost an hours sleep in the morning and 30 minutes on the way home. Really made me think of the advantages of working from home. I also got less done in the office than I would at home.
We went out for lunch and were lucky that it was pleasant enough to sit outside. I’d imagine that there is a bit of socialising associated with the return to the office be it lunch or after work pints.
Apart from the value of property investments, I really don’t get the urge to have people return to offices, if it isn’t necessary.

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WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2021

That’s really interesting and I’d feel much the same. Your point about productivity really strikes a chord. I feel exactly the same (sure, I’m a bit more always on – longer hours, but that’s not a huge problem as long as it is contained within say broad hours because there’s also a bit of flexibility that otherwise would not be there). And also what you say about sociability. I met a few folk when I’ve been in who I woudln’t have seen in a long time but to be honest I do quite a solitary job and while really nice to see them it’s like, okay, see you next week or month or whatever.

Are you intending to go back in more regularly or is there a facility for hybrid working?

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irishelectionliterature - October 19, 2021

No sign of going back to the office for the foreseeable future anyhow.

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WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2021

Snap!

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EWI - October 19, 2021

Apart from the value of property investments, I really don’t get the urge to have people return to offices, if it isn’t necessary.

Property funds would be the whale here, I’m guessing. But there’s also the crappy sandwich vendors and the psychological need of the intermediate and upper boss levels to have that daily reaffirmation.

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2. sonofstan - October 19, 2021

I’m feeling much more productive in the office, and the walk/ cycle in a great way of breaking up the day, but also thinking through what’s ahead. It also means I seem to work shorter hours and get the same amount done.
I’m in 4 days a week teaching and have let everyone know I won’t be seen on Fridays, which is also nice 🙂

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EWI - October 19, 2021

It also means I seem to work shorter hours and get the same amount done.

You mean at at home or in the office?

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sonofstan - October 19, 2021

In the office – more efficient for whatever reason.

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WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2021

Interesting. It really is a personal thing isn’t it, how one feels about one’s space. I do find the room I do the day job in in the house has stopped being a room I particularly like any longer and when not working I stay out of it. And it’s not a big house.

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Jim Monaghan - October 19, 2021

I appreciate the danger of seepage, no separation of work and other stuff. Some sort of ritual is needed where you “leave” home and go to work. Even a walk around the block.

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WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2021

That’s a great idea.

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