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Microsoft CEO warns remote work could have serious consequences

TempestCatto
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Humans are social creatures - even us introverts. I too need to see my best friend, helps my mental state. So working exclusively from home would be a detriment to anyone. Twitter said it's employees can work from home forever but still go into the office if need be. Perhaps that's a better alternative? Having most people working from home that actually can work from home would help reduce emissions and traffic on the roads, making the commute for us blue collar workers safer.

 

Quote

“What I miss is when you walk into a physical meeting, you are talking to the person that is next to you, you’re able to connect with them for the two minutes before and after,” he said.

But most meetings can be a simple email too.

 

Quote

“What does burnout look like? What does mental health look like? What does that connectivity and the community building look like? One of the things I feel is, hey, maybe we are burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote. What’s the measure for that?”

Have to agree here though. Like I said earlier, humans are social creatures and it does improve your mental health when you have at least one or two other humans you greatly enjoy.

 

Quote

Microsoft was one of the first companies to shift its tech workforce remotely when the coronavirus hit and will likely continue to pioneer flexible arrangements for employees. But Nadella warned the New York Times that switching to entirely remote offices would be “replacing one dogma with another dogma.”

As times changes so do certain principals. This whole pandemic is no exception. Many work places are realizing the meetings they have can be remote - easily. Many others realize the work they do can even be done at home.

 

 

As for what I think about this, I agree with him. But at the same time, like I've been saying throughout, it's a good idea to have that flexibility. Maybe going into the office once a week or twice a month. But therein lies another problem, companies will need to have extra space for those that seldom come in. Maybe it's not a good idea for every company, but I'm sure a lot of them can benefit from all this.

 

 

Bacon Fat: https://www.geekwire.com/2020/pandemic-isnt-hurting-microsofts-bottom-line-changes-still-worry-satya-nadella/?fbclid=IwAR3d4zSKlTy8tNxS5dmpvECmg1PTDpUiOPe1K14jSSFRqJka2VLLq990mKk

 

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Plenty of people work exclusively from home and they're fine. As long as you have another source of social interaction it's not a problem.

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

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What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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Time to give workers 2-weeks paid vacation and shorter work week by law? Sounds like it if that's the argument they're going to make. 

 

More on topic: I think losing out on commutes is a benefit to everyone. Less traffic for other workers. Less time wasted doing nothing by driving to work. And an overall higher productivity. 

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Not all humans are social creatures as there are people who prefer a hermit/reclusive life that are normal, and there are also those with mental and developmental disorders also contradicting that.  I'm rather used to, and prefer, this sorta life.   Then again, I have Aspergers.

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@TempestCatto
I think there's a balance to be struck with this...

 

I was a blue collar worker for over a decade and then went to a white collar job a couple years ago. I noticed that ~90% of my work did not require me to be physically present and even when I was required very little interpersonal communications. This was VERY different than working in a construction environment, but at the same time I can remember working on job-sites full of people and not interacting with many/any of them for most (if not all) of the day. 

The balance part I mentioned earlier is that while working from home/remotely, it will be challenging to partition work and personal time/life. It takes experience and discipline to set your own boundaries. Additionally, making time to have other social relationships is important as well, which will likely vary individual to individual (some people would be okay with only online socializing where others will need more in person). 

 

I think flexibility is a good way to go, but sometimes even if a company has a 'flexible' policy, managers can pressure workers to come in to work and there's not really anything that can be done about it. There is a saying I've heard (can't remember where) that for these kinds of jobs, 70% or so is just showing up (much different than a blue collar job). Some people refer to the saying with respect to being on time, but mostly it comes down to the idea that a company wants people to come to their jobs to do the work. My sense is that it's a form of control, but also to "keep an eye" on employees to make sure people are working at least 100% of the time (not that all of that work is productive). 

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9 minutes ago, ARikozuM said:

Time to give workers 2-weeks paid vacation and shorter work week by law? Sounds like it if that's the argument they're going to make. 

tHaT's CoMmUnIsM

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

sudo chmod -R 000 /*

What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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Another side affect of this that i don't think a lot of people have thought about, it will weaken everyone's immune system, herd immunity will dwindle and people will get sicker from things they never have before. Social distancing is good in theory or something like covid, but for extended periods of time can be very detrimental.

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Working from home is the best thing ever, can't see why anyone would want to go to a working place over home if offerd that option. 

Just in earlier starts of human malware and staying at home people after 10 days started to lose their minds like wtf though. Didn't change anything for me. 

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7 minutes ago, Sauron said:

tHaT's CoMmUnIsM

UnIoNs ArE DiCtAtOrShIpS!

 

7 minutes ago, Arika S said:

Another side affect of this that i don't think a lot of people have thought about, it will weaken everyone's immune system, herd immunity will dwindle and people will get sicker from things they never have before. Social distancing is good in theory or something like covid, but for extended periods of time can be very detrimental.

I don't think it would. It's not like you're exposing yourself to new threats in your workplace on a common basis. The commute is likely to be more effective in challenging your immune system than the workplace is. 

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I am for working at home where possible, due to the number of advantages. Please note that I am no expert. And what I am saying reflect only my work environment and myself;

  • Save massive amount of time from not requiring to travel to work, not to mention at the same time (rush hour).
  • Feel like (at least for me and my coworkers) have more energy after work, as you have the psychological effect of going home and be lazy after such point. 
  • The above point, has help me be more active, and I actually reduce weight a bit. Heck, I stop drinking coffee.
  • Promote flexible timing. Need to go somewhere for a moment during the day? No problem. You'll catch up after.
  • I also noticed a reduction in meeting, in favor of using a group chatting (in our case Teams).
  • Notable increase productivity due to less distractions.
  • Reduce environmental impact (massive reduction in traffic, or even the need of a car. Many uses cars to mostly get to work, so they have 2 cars or even 3 cars under 1 household, someone that is not too uncommon in the US on cities where everything is super far apart, and poor to no public transport. 1 car can easily be shared between family members).

That said, of course, we are social creatures.

 

So as noted by @burh4n and @Arika S, a balance needs to be set. (that said Arika, if you have young kids, based on my observations, it seems that your immune system will be challenged every day, with all the latest viruses and malware they bring you from virus.com from daycare or school)

Right now the issue, from what I am seeing by others is the shock of the switch, and because of the current situation, there is little to no option for socializing. But assume this current situation is over, one is able to do this, and can get to the office, say 1 or 2 times of week at whatever period they like, and have activities before or after work. My point is, things can be adapted, we are adaptable creatures. The issue right now, is just the surprise shock, and everything or nearly everything being closed.

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25 minutes ago, HarryNyquist said:

The problem here is the middle/upper management/executives wanting to see people around and hold meetings so they feel vital.

Well normally, you have a weekly or bi-weekly status meetings (or scrum meetings). These can be done via video conference.

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27 minutes ago, ARikozuM said:

Time to give workers 2-weeks paid vacation and shorter work week by law? Sounds like it if that's the argument they're going to make. 

You mean paying someone to not be at work? How dare you suggest people need time off and shouldn't loose income doing it!

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5 minutes ago, Curious Pineapple said:

You mean paying someone to not be at work? How dare you suggest people need time off and shouldn't loose income doing it!

YES! And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those blasted boomers kids!

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50 minutes ago, TempestCatto said:

So working exclusively from home would be a detriment to anyone.

Nope, not to everyone. I, for one, am one of those people.

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We used to have an extra office with a few desks in it for those that worked remote when they came in.  It was used often, and overfilled when we had an "everybody here" meeting a couple times a year, since there were many remote workers.  But for that couple days surrounding the meeting, we just added some extra desks in the common areas and meeting rooms, and everybody was comfortable enough.

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Preface: I'm fortunate enough to work for a company that allows me to WFH 100% of the time.  And by that, I mean, literally, 100% of the time.  I went into the local office exactly once: my first day, to collect my laptop and badge.  I haven't been back and haven't needed to.  My team is scattered all over the country: the manager in PA, one guy in NC, another near Las Vegas, and two or three of them in Texas somewhere.  It works.  And works well.

 

When the big tech companies started proudly announcing that their employees could WFH during this pandemic, I made a note to a buddy who works at one of them (Google).  I said back in Feb, "I'll bet that after all this is done, the bigger and smarter tech companies are going to re-examine their office policies.  I suspect they're going to see that most of the geeks they have on staff are more productive (and happier!) at home than they are commuting to/from an office every day.  And as a consequence, these companies are going to re-think their positions in the real estate business."

 

A week or two ago, GOOG and FB announced (I'm simplifying), "WFH until 2021!"  Then Twitter said, for those that can, "WFH permanently."  I'm going to stick with my initial statement; by the end of this year, both GOOG and FB will re-examine everything and will likely extend the WFH policy to be vastly more liberal than it's been prior.  Which then allows them to seriously down-size their office holdings, which will save them immense amounts of money in insurance, taxes, and other real estate-related OpEx.

 

Basically, I'm betting the large "Internet campuses" that these companies have are going to slowly shrink in size.

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I support flexibility. Even I have work from home and even though I work in a sector that is heavily hardware dependant, they can just ship me or I can collect the necessary items I need for the project before the next week starts, having pretty much minimal to no impact on my productivity. 

 

But whenever I do have to collaborate with someone over a project that requires fast reaction time to change or modify something from both of us, we decide in advance a day to go to the office and try to finish it off asap and resume wfh.

 

In this way, we both have social interactions when necessary plus all the benefits of work from home as a lot of people suggested allow. I think this realization is one of few good things we got out of the pandemic

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8 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

A week or two ago, GOOG and FB announced (I'm simplifying), "WFH until 2021!"  Then Twitter said, for those that can, "WFH permanently."  I'm going to stick with my initial statement; by the end of this year, both GOOG and FB will re-examine everything and will likely extend the WFH policy to be vastly more liberal than it's been prior.  Which then allows them to seriously down-size their office holdings, which will save them immense amounts of money in insurance, taxes, and other real estate-related OpEx.

 

Basically, I'm betting the large "Internet campuses" that these companies have are going to slowly shrink in size.

I don't know that they'll shrink, but they won't be in a rush to expand their offices any time soon.

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I preferred my working arrangement prior to COVID19. The social interaction. The disconnection between work and home. Walking to a cafe to get a coffee with a colleague. Catching up with friends over lunch at a nice restaurant. Even the 20 minutes on the train with my headphones on was nice.

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(Moved to Off Topic - it's an interesting discussion, but not inherently tech-related)

 

I am working fairly well from home, but I've found that higher level planning and software architecture design, where there's a big benefit to just talking through ideas and getting thoughts from other people, is much harder to do over video chat (especially without a whiteboard). I also definitely feel that I'm missing out on the social interaction of the office, just stuff like discussing things over lunch.

 

I wouldn't want to work fully remotely forever, but I wouldn't be opposed to wfh for some of the week and being in the office on the other days.

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Just now, colonel_mortis said:

(Moved to Off Topic - it's an interesting discussion, but not inherently tech-related)

I must respectfully disagree. Without technology we couldn't work remotely. I feel as though it is very tech related.

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IMO, working from home has been a win win...I've used less gas, have been less aggravated dealing with rude people, traffic and coworkers I really dont care to spend time with. Overall, I just feel healthier.

 

Of course, everybody has a different situation.

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