What has your Work-From-Home transition been like?

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Humanity

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#1 Humanity  Online

I feel like on GB we end up discussing how the gang has been adapting to working from home and what that has been like for them and us as users. I am really curious though what everyone elses transition to working from home has been in the different fields that I'm sure a lot of us come from. Personally I work for a big company as a graphic designer and we have offices around the world that I interact with daily. Since March everyone in the office had been ordered to go home and all we got was a keyboard with a security card reader - no laptops or anything - which was kind of odd at the time. Except for maybe the first week of slight awkwardness, my workflow has barely changed. Myself and everyone in my department dial into virtual machines and work regular 8 hour shifts as normal. While my brother tells me that his days are basically spent watching Netflix and not doing a whole lot, I am doing as much if not more work than I would be at the office - except now there is painful latency attached to everything.

Overall, except for the strange increase in the workload, it's been business as usual. I deal with very strict deadlines and we are still expected to adhere to our previous productivity metrics. According to upper management everything is working at roughly 98% efficiency of what it was back in the office days so it seems like no one is really skipping a beat. The biggest challenges are personal I guess. It is a lot easier to get distracted at home. I'm sure people with pets or family can attest to this. Thankfully I only own a cat that is fairly passive but I do need to take breaks from work throughout the day to entertain her or else I end up getting a whole bunch of cat butt parading in front of my monitor. I've been able to stretch laziness to the breaking point where I can. Although all my work is very closely monitored with KPI's being counter and all that, but I've been able to get up literally 3 minutes before it's time to log in for work at 7:30 and still make it. That of course is followed by logging in and then making breakfast, getting dressed, cleaning up after the cat etc as I await for folder permissions to come through so I can start on the days new projects. There was a time when I tried to throw in exercise somewhere during the day but as time has gone by I've become a lot more lethargic. I used to be a pretty big runner, would run quite a lot, but with the need to wear masks I've given up on it.

All that said I am still very grateful to be employed in these times. I can't imagine having to actually look for work during the pandemic and from the few stories of friends that had to it doesn't sound very fun. So how have you guys been adapting? How has your work changed now that you moved to working remotely? Or do you still go to the office?

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fisk0

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#2  Edited By fisk0  Moderator

I work in a grocery store so nothing has changed at all for me, at least not for the better. Still go to work every day, we didn't get any protective gear and just have people coughing on us all day. Been a stressfull fucking year, and things probably won't start getting better until like 6 months from now either, and that's probably an optimistic estimate.

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quasiconundrum

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@fisk0: Damn, that sucks. I really wish essential workers got more support during this whole mess. You've probably heard it before, but you guys are true heroes. Thank you for keeping everything running!

As for me, I feel fortunate that not much changed, as I had worked from home even before the pandemic. My schedule was definitely out of whack most of the year, but I know a lot of people have been dealing with much worse circumstances.

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Nodima

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Same as @fisk0, except I work in restaurants and fine dining, or close to it, at that and so our customers have been very gracious and kind aside from maybe 1 in 500. Income is up across the board despite business being effectively 50% of what it used to be which is, frankly, wild to think about, but it really makes me happy to be in this city's food and beverage community.

We've been going at this new normal for so long though that I'm starting to get worried about what restaurants look like on the other side of this. We're getting so used to doing things the new way - new ways that are mostly incompatible with the old ways - that it'll be very interesting to see if we still have our sea legs and can handle 80-100 customers in a night the way we used to. These days, 40 or so customers can feel overwhelming.

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csl316

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Easy, my last job was a lot of work from home so I learned the proper habits. Keeping a balance, being productive, taking healthy breaks.

We're back in the office for the most part because old people can't embrace the future (record deaths... let's go back!)

But I hope to go back to a work from home situation because it really just fits my work style and life style.

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mellotronrules

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#6  Edited By mellotronrules

i'm in a strange limbo where i've had a mix of WFH and business-as-usual, and honestly it's a bit frustrating. i'm a strange place as i'm an entirely admin staff working at a frontline nyc hospital- so although my work is not directly patient-facing, i'm subject to policies as if it was. it would be impossible to distill the politics of my specific situation down to a discrete forum post- but suffices to say- i could be 100% WFH, more productive and safe- but our institution and leadership is demanding people work in office, irrespective of function or title.

all that said- i am on a 3 days in-office/2 days WFH rotation- so i do feel fortunate to have some WFH and to have my paycheck despite everything. and i have received my first dose of the vaccine- for which i feel immensely privileged. but i'm also going to work every week on public transit to a facility with active COVID wards and new viral variants on the rise- so it's a mix of the good and bad. but i can't complain too much.

edit: ha, realized i might have vented rather than answer the nuts-and-bolts question of OP. but in terms of replicating my work at home- no issues. i remote into my work computer, and that's it. however- the amount of work i'm asked to produce has increased dramatically, since i'm one of the more tech-savy in office and am asked to assist others. and we've been provided zero equipment to assist with WFH- which is pretty awful, honestly. i can get by because i'm more knowledgeable than most- but the lack of support is aggravating.

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@csl316 said:

We're back in the office for the most part because old people can't embrace the future (record deaths... let's go back!)

But I hope to go back to a work from home situation because it really just fits my work style and life style.

Same thing happened with my brother's wife. It's so frustrating. In her case, she not only can do her entire job just as well from home, but she doesn't actually work in a team with anyone in her office and instead works with people in other offices, but because she's technically a staff member of the office, she was forced to go back (in this case, just as virus numbers were getting very bad also). All of this was because some of the people were basically stomping their feet and refusing to work from home.

On my end, I graduated university in June and am still looking for work. There's just now starting to be job posting again in my field. Something that is surprising me a lot is just how many companies are indicating on their job posting that they are still working in the office despite it being obvious their work is not essential in any way and could be done from home easily. I'm hoping to find something that's permanently remote as I don't like commuting at all, but at this point I'll kinda take anything.

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LapsarianGiraff

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Game development hasn't been too different at work with WFH, which is nice and a little concerning. The biggest changes are simple -- can't walk down to my favorite deli near the office each day, can't just walk to a coworker's desk to ask them any questions about features. But in terms of communication, Slack and Zoom have definitely helped there, and in fact, for another studio we're working with, WFH improved communication since everyone is talking in the same place (Slack) instead of their own on-site offices.

It's also depressing as hell at times. Easy to forget to go outside.

I feel unspeakably fortunate to have 1. a well-paying job 2. in my field of choice 3. during a horrible pandemic, but any day that I'm not productive because the world is on fire just adds more piles of shame because I do have all those privileges.

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ajamafalous

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I'm a computer engineer at a microprocessor company and it's been much the same. We've all been working from home since March 2020. We still work an ~8 hour day during normal business hours, just that now it's a remote desktop into the PC at the office through a VPN. We've had plenty of deadlines from external clients that people have had to work overtime for just like we would've if we were in the office.

Honestly, the biggest difference has been not losing 1.5-3 hours a day to getting ready for work + commuting.

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Whitestripes09

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I switched jobs during the pandemic which I am eternally grateful for. I went from retail to getting an online admission role at a university. If you had asked me last year if I'd be doing this, I'd probably think you were joking. I had accepted that I probably would have stayed working retail for at least a couple more years, but I was really determined after being sent home during the start of the pandemic to find another job. Mostly because I didn't want to put my at-risk parents in danger.

It's been tough I'm not going to lie though. I've been working there for a good 6 months and feel like I don't have a real relationship with any of my co workers yet (Though I guess depending how you look at it, that can be a plus). It's a different kind of stress being in an office-like environment with metric data reviews every week. So it's been a bit tough getting used to that, though I feel like that is just going to be the future of big and small businesses.

Not to mention being inside all the time is seriously depressing. I never thought I would say that since I generally like my alone time and pretty content with that hermit-life. I don't think in the future I will ever turn someone down for wanting to go out and I'm setting aside money for future travelling.

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ali_d

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@whitestripes09: Yeah, I feel the same. I thought I would enjoy all the time alone with just myself but it's been really getting me down. I miss people, I get on well with my co workers and I miss going out for drinks after work. Working from home itself is fine and all, and my work transitioned fairly easily as they had already started putting in place laptops and other things to allow us to work easily in our own place. I've gotten a new monitor, chair and other computer accessories provided by my work. If I could still go out and see folk it wouldn't be a big deal but yeah being stuck inside the same place all the time is bad.

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#13  Edited By frytup

Pretty easy since I did it 3+ years ago. The only thing that's really changed for my company is the boss finally got rid of the office space no one was really using.

What I quickly learned about myself is that if I don't take a shower before I start work and make some sort of effort to change out of whatever I wore to bed, I find it very hard to get motivated.

I also try to take walk breaks throughout the day, but that can be tough to stick to when you've got meetings and emergencies popping up at random times.

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csl316

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@ben_h: We actually went back in July and worked in the office til early November. What's funny is that in June we took a survey indicating that we'll be able to do 2 or 3 days at home permanently. Apparently a top person saw that and said fuck no, and made us go back. I was pissed but things are uncertain, so figured I should keep the steady paycheck.

I'm in corporate accounting, meaning I can do the majority of my job alone. If I need to ask someone something, it's usually resolved with a message or a quick call. Hell, we completed a gigantic project 90% remotely. But nah, we gotta come in. When I laid out why our department doesn't, the response I got was "but it's good optics," like I give a shit during a pandemic. We get a new CFO next week, maybe I can influence him. Now I'm just thinking out loud in public here, lol.

Anyway, I figured most corporate companies would embrace partial WFH as it's an enormous perk that doesn't cost the company anything. But old people are set in their ways, I suppose.

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Shindig

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Pretty easy. I lucked into having a setup that was kind of ready for it. I set up a chair next to my TV desk and I'm sorted. There no word if we're going back and I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if this was permanent for me.

Training over the phone sucks but at least I've had to do a lot of it in the last six months. Other than that, the job's quieter with less responsibilities. I don't appreciate how cold the front room gets during the winter but the days go quicker. I definitely miss people, though. The weekly meeting's the only chance to chat to them.

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Humanity

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#16 Humanity  Online

@csl316: I work with confidential client data and for that reason my department alone was always prohibited from working from home while everyone else could do it whenever. Now that COVID forced the transition on the entire office and the higher ups saw that it’s not really a problem we’ve been told that going forward even past COVID these rules will be relaxed a bit. People in charge are somehow still set in their ways that if they can’t see you they can’t control the workflow or that people will do nothing all day like somehow that wouldn’t have the same repercussions as doing nothing at the office would.

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#17  Edited By Sweep  Moderator

I work at a VFX studio and we've been working from home since April with absolutely no detrimental effects to productivity (In fact I think our productivity has actually increased). One of the huge concerns that film producers have always had has been security - they are extremely paranoid about anyone leaking anything at all when it comes to their AAA franchises, and the requirements for a studio to work on those projects is extreme - lots of locked doors and key fobs which restrict where you can go in each building, airgapped networks that prevent you from uploading/downloading anything to the internet, and extensive NDA's that prevent you from talking about anything you're working on - obviously most of that can't be applied when you're working from home, and it's a lot harder to enforce security protocols in general. I imagine it's fairly similar for game developers in that so much depends on building hype around a product that a leak can be valued in the millions of dollars. So it was actually surprising how quickly all the clients got on board. Typically they're terrified of any material being in an environment they can't control, but I guess when your options are "Either they work from home or your movie doesn't get made" then you don't have much of a choice. It's one of the weird silver linings of COVID - working from home in my industry needed to be part of a global shift, if only one studio had insisted it never would have worked. I'm just praying that this door stays open and we don't immediately get pressuring into going back into the office.

Other than the location my days are pretty much the same. I'm lucky in that I already have a pretty comfortable gaming setup/chair/office space, so it's actually a lot nicer here than in my studio. I've also found the remote login software that we use to be surprisingly good, with a clear picture, smooth playback (which is important when you're working at 24fps) and minimal latency. The job I'm doing is unchanged, it's just at a different machine, and my meetings now take place on zoom. I feel extremely bad for the folks out there who didn't have the space available (assuming they wouldn't need it when picking out an apartment) and are now forced to work in a bedroom or at a kitchen table without any privacy.

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#18 theuprightman  Online

I teach secondary school, from March to June we were WFH with all lessons being delivered online using Microsoft Teams. There were a few weeks of an adjustment period but then we fell into a routine. The biggest issue was motivating the older students (15 to 18) to fully engage with the lessons.

We have learned a lot from working online, the biggest thing to impact me is we have almost completely removed in-person meeting which took up at least 3 hours a week after school, since the lockdown started we haven't done these and everyone is much happier for it. We have also moved all of our parent's evenings and meetings online too so we can do those from home which has saved a lot of time and energy. For example, an in-person parent's evening usually turns a 10 hour day into a 12/13 hour day, if I can do it from home I can make dinner in between appointments or even play games to help relax, and we do about 14 parent's evenings a year.

Since September we have been back in school working mostly as normal, with a about 5% of kids learning online, which means I start a Teams call at the beginning of the lesson and just deliver my lesson as normal (mostly). In the last week like most places in the world, we have had a surge of cases and we now have a number of kids and teachers with confirmed cases. We are still open but most of the students are online for the next two weeks and teachers are staying in their classrooms all day. I am hoping it goes back to normal soon, even if we could get back to how it was in December it would make the place more cheerful.

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I worked a service job downtown supplying offices with various things. Once the offices started closing and the office workers worked from home there wasn't much work to do. My company kept everyone on most of last year due to government help, but in December they laid off myself and a few others. It's a temporary 6 month lay off, but there is no guarantee that we will be called back in.

I understand that a lot of people think working from home is a good thing, but a lot of people will lose their jobs because of this shift. A lot of places closed for good because of it. It was pretty haunting going downtown and seeing it empty and once busy places closed down. Our city was already on a downturn and this just made things even harder.

This job was the best I've had, so it sucks that it might be gone for good. I just hope everything gets better soon and that a lot of people return to their offices so I get called back in to work.

In the meantime I'm clearing out a lot of my backlog of games and trying not to think about things too much at this point in time.