Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
At JPMorgan, productivity falls for younger employees at home (bloomberg.com)
137 points by davidw 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 257 comments

Never believe stories like this, measuring productivity is an impossible problem. Microsoft spend something in excess of 3 billion dollars trying to quantify productivity in the 90s and they couldn't do it. One of my college professors worked on this exact problem for the Army in the 80s, they created a formal domain specific language for quantifying employee productivity it took them 20 years and several hundred million dollars before they finally realized it wasn't generalizable. They had to scrap the entire project.

It isnt possible to measure employee productivity because its impossible to properly quantify the relative importance of a task. Properly scoping problems is a massive task and finally its impossible to adjust for employees gaming the system, collusion or simply malicious behavior.

Employees always figure out how to abuse productivity metrics.

> Never believe stories like this, measuring productivity is an impossible problem

I want to start off by saying that I don't completely disagree with you, but all of us should take a step back and realize how an absurd of a position this is for us to be in a society.

This immeasurability is inversely proportional to the tangible, real value created. You can, for example, absolutely measure to the dollar the productivity of a plumber and you can easily compare two different plumbers, and see if environmental factors improve or decrease their productivity.

If you own a factory making screws you can unquestionably measure the valued added and therefor productivity of each and every employee. If you have a farm and you hire seasonal laborers to help you harvest, again you can easily measure the exact productivity of each worker, determine if a hot day makes them less productive etc.

Software engineers are a step removed from this in part because the things we make are of questionable value (especially in the extremes). Front-end contract engineers certainly seem to have measurable productivity. If someone can build you a working store front in 40 hours, you can compare this to another one how can do a worse job in 100 hours at the same rate.

But as software products grow more complex and the actual value more vague, then software engineer productivity likewise gets harder and harder to measure. And I think a real question every engineer who has worked at a large company has asked, even if they work their asses off, is "do I really create any value?"

Software engineers, again, are still closer to the side that you can measure real productivity because in at least most cases software itself is important. When you move on to other "office workers", those who are really struggling now, that value again is very hard to measure and therefore so is productivity.

The question that we need to ask more often is, if productivity is so hard to measure, maybe it is possibly because we might not be creating as much value as we have largely tricked ourselves into believing we have.

> You can, for example, absolutely measure to the dollar the productivity of a plumber and you can easily compare two different plumbers

I'm curious about this idea.

What if plumber A shows up, quickly fixes something using existing, on-site materials, and ends up charging much less (no parts + 'quick' labor), and then the plumbing breaks again in X months.

What if plumber B shows up, takes more time and replaces a part of the plumbing, and ends up charging more (part(s) + more labor) but then the plumbing lasts for Y months, where Y >> X?

Which plumber is more productive? How does one convert the productivity to dollars?

Doesn’t happen to the same degree as in software. With plumbing or painting, yes there are good jobs and bad jobs, but if the water gets to where it’s going and there’s no moisture, you’re pretty much done. If the paint is on the wall and not on the ceiling or the trim, and you can’t see roller marks, it’s a good job. With software, there seem to be endless layers of nuance between good or bad, finished or unfinished.

Also, it should take X hours to paint a room of Y size with this many windows or doors. There are clearly established timelines for a job and any big deviation from that will get you fired (or not hired again by the same builder). There’s no “due to this manager’s lack of experience with agile, a project that should have taken 2 weeks took 4 and a half months, and the test coverage is poor”.

Doesn’t happen to the same degree as in plumbing. With front end or back end, yes there are good jobs and bad jobs, but if the data gets to where it’s going and there’s no bit rot, you’re pretty much done. If the data is in the db and not on the paper forms, and you can’t see it decrypted at rest, it’s a good job. With plumbing, there seem to be endless layers of nuance between good or bad, finished or unfinished.

Also, it should take X hours to code a feature of Y size with this many fields or inputs. There are unclearly established timelines for a job and any big deviation from that will get you fired (or not hired again by the same builder). There’s no “due to this plumber’s lack of sobriety with the world, a project that should have taken 2 weeks took 4 and a half months, and the connections on the joints are poor”.

With all due respect, you probably know more about software than plumbing, maybe leading you to simplify a bit. Because the same logic could be applied to plumbing, but any plumber might see more variables, the way you do with software.

That is another distinction. All the example jobs do routine, repeatable things. Everything a programmer does is either novel or trivially replicable. There is no equivalent to "painting a room of certain size", to do that you use a copy of already existing painted room.

It doesn't happen as much in plumbing or painting because these fields have not had rapid change in the last few decades, so common practices have stabilized. Plumbing also has standardized code and inspections which pretty much make sure that everyone is doing the same thing the same way. And still there are differences in quality. Look at what two painters will do to a piece of shitty material like an oil-painted unprimed piece of plywood. One will sand it down to the wood and prime, the other will just slap a coat on top, and you'll have flaking in a few months.

Whichever one earns more dollars is more productive in terms of dollars. If you want to do this right, pick a good metric (plumber dollars is fine), then optimize your workforce for that metric. Do not reward them for that metric or it will be gamed. Consider other metrics that are important (e.g. customer satisfaction) and set constraints on the processes that set a standard that must be met.

Not objective, not right 100% of the time, but let's not pretend its impossible to improve processes with some sort of goal in mind.

Quality is the conformance to requirements. If you (the client) wanted a quick and cheap solution then A is for you. If you wanted a robust and you are willing to pay the premium to get the B, you're in luck!

Mega big banks in the USA suffer from tech debt A LOT. The number one reason for operation disruptions is software errors, and with a large difference to reasons 2-3-4.

An additional point could be that large USA banks have a higher (imho) ratio of sociopaths in their ranks. Perhaps the sociopaths lost the ability to whip their minions, and the minions started working under normal/human speeds 40h a week instead of 60-70h per week that is the typical expected work while under the influence of a sociopathic boss.

Also lets not forget that JP Morgan CEO is THIS guy: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2019/apr/11/jp-mor...

I think that, although imperfect metric, the bottom line will speak of performance. I take it that there are multiple criteria that affect the bottom line, but the management of JPM cannot be trusted, again, sorry for repeating, is not the most decent in the planet.

Edit: apologies for the rant-y beat down of the mega-big US banks, but yeah.. not sorry really.

You are conflating very different issues. So yes, it does come across as a rant.

My perspective, as someone who worked for JPMorgan in technology for 8 years, and for several other banks, is that JPMorgan is way above most other banks in the quality of their systems and their dev teams.

Likewise the top management. Jamie Dimon is very impressive. You don't get to stay CEO of a bank with 250,000 employees for more than 20 years without being seriously good at it, very consistently.

One thing that has stuck with the after many years of working with IT is that the big projects with resources to spare, the few that really gives you time to do the work properly for once, are often the one that ends up with the most tech debt.

It is completely contrary to my own feeling that debt is created by external pressure to deliver too fast. I can see why that would create perverse incentives should a project manager make a similar observation.

Great art breaks constraints, but there is this symbiotic relationship where art is nothing without constraints. I'm starting to think there are similarities with other creative endeavours too, which I absolutely consider programming to be.

Not sure where I wanted to go with this, just reflecting on your rant with one of my own.

What I’ve found over the last 20 years: Tech debt scales with amount of code written, regardless of other factors.

If you write the minimum amount to validate the business need, you have minimum debt. :)

Productivity in this case is fairly simple to calculate = Cost/Duration.

You can factor in the time (presumably that’s paid for so you should have a real number) and cost of materials (On-site use historical or replacement cost) yourself.

Your points holds more generally though, especially when there aren’t clear prices paid.

That isn't productivity, productivity is value/duration.

You're absolutely right, but in "Agile" teams this is exactly how they measure productivity: story points (cost)/sprint (duration)

And that is exactly why management shouldn't be looking at or comparing burndown charts. It's too tempting to see IT as a cost centre instead of an enabler.

Define value. Now that's a rabbit hole. Marxist definition? Ricardian?

>The question that we need to ask more often is, if productivity is so hard to measure, maybe it is possibly because we might not be creating as much value as we have largely tricked ourselves into believing we have.

at a very low level productivity is hard to measure because it's tacit and implicit rather than explicit. The reason why we can measure the productivity of a business is because it responds to price signals and you can put a literal number on what they put out.

You can try running some sort of market scheme within your company but at some point the trade-offs are bad and it adds too much complexity and creates strange incentives.

For software in particular if anything the opposite of your assumption is likely true. It adds a lot of value without necessarily being able to put a price tag on it. It's pretty hard to measure what wikipedia or vim is worth in terms of productivity as long as they're not charging, but that doesn't mean it's not worth anything.

This. The productivity of a business is its ROI, roughly its profit + reinvestment. The productivity of a salesperson is also easy to measure: sales / compensation and travel costs. It's much harder to measure the productivity of an individual employee who is not a salesperson or directly supporting sales. Some are rockstars, and these you know when you see them. But the rest... it's harder to tell. Metrics can only do so much, and often they are easily gamed -- they just aren't directly related to the bottom line because these aren't salespeople, but you can't only have salespeople either. Take sprints: if you really want employees to hit every sprint then they'll work hard to hardly load their sprints. As you say, there isn't really a market inside a business, so it's hard to just look at the "bottom-line" for every non-sales force employee.

> The productivity of a salesperson is also easy to measure: sales / compensation and travel costs.

It's not that simple, because most companies don't perform inter-departmental cost accounting. A salesperson might seem to be very productive, while actually selling made-up solutions that are very cost-intensive to implement. To get a real number on how productive they are, you would need to measure:

([sum of sales * price] - [sum of solutions sold * implementation cost]) / compensation

or even:

customer price * weighted average of per-deal profit margin / total compensation

The cost to implement isn't added value. This kind of internal debiting would also change how management looks at IT. If they can solve the problem for less than the estimated cost by the salesperson, they're turning a profit. If they're taking longer due to "science fiction" products being sold, the blame lies squarely with sales. As it is now, salespeople are mainly incentivised for units sold and total price for deals made. You can be a rockstar salesperson while simultaneously mainly causing huge problems downstream.

The real problem isn't measuring the productivity of doing work in its entirety. Installing plumbing is a job. Since only one person is doing the plumbing and that person only does plumbing you can measure the productivity of that job and attribute it directly to a single person.

Once you have a group of people all working together on the same job or the inverse where you have a single person do a variety of jobs everything is different.

You split the big job into smaller jobs and distribute them to people. Some jobs are easier and bring in more money and therefore are more "productive" than others. But all jobs have to be done, no matter how productive they are. So you end up handing easy and difficult work to people. When you start to measure individual productivity of each team member you start noticing that there is a huge variance in productivity. Some people are "useless" while others are highly productive. When you remove the "least productive" people from the job then you notice something odd. Suddenly the productivity of everyone else goes down as well. Your productivity measurements were actually just measuring the way you distributed the jobs.

I remember a machinist talking about how he spends all his day fixing his coworkers mistakes. They kept breaking $100 tools (tool as in endmills) which jammed the machines and he's the only one who did the thankless job of making the machines usable again. He made fixtures that his coworkers broke and then he made them again.... Oh and he had a quota of how many parts he has to make per day. After all, measuring the productivity of a machinist should be pretty easy. Just count how many parts he makes per day. Of course the coworkers always exceeded the quota while he was always well below the quota.

"This immeasurability is inversely proportional to the tangible, real value created".

Although I understand your view,Financial sector and banks in particular is a very regulated sector which means that significant number of people working there have their job almost entirely related to making sure the company comply with the rules from the different jurisdictions. From your perspective, they do add no value to the company ( actually there are cost center) but are crucial to ensure company can operate legally. To add an additional layer of complexity, new rules from different countries, authorities, committees are updated/ amended quite regularly ( last one is the LIBOR demise which will have a huge impact on the market where no clear rules,have acknowledged nor agreed). So even you would try to quantify those costs ( legal issue with new rules implementation which lead to update the system or create one from scratch while making sure this will comply with internal task,etc...), it is quite difficult to assess what is the optimal allocation the company needs to allocate. As an illustrative example, it took 2 years to validate some components of the google cloud features (some are still pending) because of all the intetnal rules set out.

More globally, yes there are people adding no value to the company but the can be hardly spot on from top management view.

There is a big problem in knowing when to measure and what to measure. For example, today my work looks to have similar value to the work of my dog Mr. Biscuits, yet I cost 10x. However, move to tomorrow and it turns out that Mr. Biscuits' code has locked up the cluster and Q3 results are gone. Suddenly I look cheap (I am cheap, but that's a different thing).

Also there is zero agreement on what is good; maintainability, robustness, ease of use -> all subjective at the minute.

> This immeasurability is inversely proportional to the tangible, real value created.

I don't think that's true at all. Certain kinds of value are more easily measured, sure, and if that's all you mean by tangibility, what you say is a rather trivial tautology, but there's times when the value is real and tangible and easily qualitatively described (e.g., reduced workload), but tricky to measure because to accurately measure the increase you'd have to measure against a set of hypotheticals (e.g., cost/performance using best alternative of continuing with the status quo ante or competing automation options, including alternative custom builds.) For certain types of value, this is irreducibly true for many of the same reasons intellectual work is well established to be difficult to estimate accurately (this actually converges to an identical reason when what you are doing is building automation to support intellectual work.)

And even when productivity is measurable, it's often not easily measured at the time of delivery ; where the problem is measuring hypotheticals but the only problematic hypothetical is performance with the software, it may take considerable real use before the actual value is clear.

But, it also can be unclear the value of any individual contribution even when the aggregate product value is clear. Telling the value of what the team delivered is different than trying to peel out the value Bob created.

So you actually believe that if we imagine two plumbers A and B doing exactly the same jobs at exactly the same speed, A charging 70$ an hour and B 35$, A is twice as productive as B ?

It's in line with GDP based reasoning but that's generally done on aggregated data which tend to smooth out these kinds of oddities. As a direct comparaison, it is probably at odd with what most people envision when they think of productivity.

Incorrect. A plumber can spend 10 minutes to fix a leak, but the same plumber can spend 4 hours on apparently the same leak but a slightly trickier one. The same for farm - how much of the output depends on workers and how much on the environment and other factors?

> But as software products grow more complex and the actual value more vague

most popular software tend to decrease in quality with time... engineers are just looking for something to do and add stuff that can sometime be of negative value

This misses the mark by quite a large margin. It's hard to measure the "productivity" of an individual who worked on the polio vaccine, that doesn't mean that it was a worthless product.

The fact that productivity is hard to measure has very little to do with the value of that work, but rather the difficulty of drawing boundaries around people, objects, and time in the functioning of a complex product.

You cannot measure the value of a software engineer without assessing how their work impacted the work of other people, whether it needed refactoring in the future, whether it took into account future requirements that wouldn't be known for five years, etc. You can't even do that with plumbers! One plumber's work may fail in 10 years while the other's is going strong 20 years later, and you may have thought the first one was more "productive."

Another complexity with measuring software productivity is the value of reliability and maintainability which can take years to manifest. Also there is the multiplier effect of having a team player who brings up the whole team’s productivity but might not be obviously measurable.

Great background info; it reminds me--albeit on a greater scale--of an earlier HN thread to the effect of "how hard could possibly be to show street names on maps at with globally correct-seeming detail at arbitrary zoom level," which does sound kind of simple, if you've never tried to do it for real, but which has frustrated many smart people for a long time.

At Sun we experienced a new metrics fad every other year. Once they tried to use bug report clearance rate, so a friend said "I'm going to code myself a minivan" at a meeting. That metric didn't last.

You have to have a great deal of sympathy for the management of software-heavy companies. They've no idea how to manage software development. Nobody really knows how to. It sucks. Oh, well, I suppose there is a way: mind the bottom line, do not over-hire, and have good managers of the old sort: the type that know how to keep tabs on their direct reports without being overbearing. Business schools won't go for that.

Dilbert had this punchline in 1995: https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-11-13

It's possible one of Scott Adams's moles was at this meeting, since they seem to be omnipresent and omniscient.

Ahhh, I'd missed that. Thanks for setting me straight!

Goodhart's Law in action: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”


This sounds true and I've seen it in action. But I always wonder about the implications.

Must we keep our most important measures target free? That sounds insane, although I can see how it would improve the measurement.

So the questions is how are we supposed to set targets without our most important measures?

> "I'm going to code myself a minivan"

Could you explain this term? I thought i was a native English speaker but this has lost me.

"I'm going to get myself a large bonus by clearing many bugs".

The Dilbert strip has the additional suggestion that the programmer could introduce bugs in order to clear them, in an example of the Cobra Effect.

Or the AI vaccuum cleaner problem. If the target is to scrape maximum amount of dust then it would clean-dump-clean to maximize efficiency.

On the other hand, everyone in the office knows who the productive and unproductive people are.

It's also true that many people have a very different assessment of their productivity than their colleagues do of them. I've seen some pretty massive disconnects there, which usually lead to trouble.

> Never believe stories like this, measuring productivity is an impossible problem.

While I do agree that many productivity metrics are useless and even counterproductive, measuring productivity in a useful way is most certainly possible. For example, sales organizations measure sales per unit time for each sales person. I doubt you will find a successful sales organization not doing this.

Even then, what if one salesperson builds up better longer term relationships (e.g. by not pushing options the customer doesn't really need) and thus their future sales will be better but their initial productivity looks poor?

Or a team player who is good at opening conversations but not closing? (I know, always be closing)

But yes, with a quantifiable and accurate and business-orientated metric, you can measure some form of productivity. It is still hard for most roles in most organisations.

Modifying a now trite-but-true saying from the statistical modeling world: “All productivity metrics are wrong, but some are useful.” I imagine there will always be an infinite number of ways an employee could add value that would be inadequately reflected in any finite collection of metrics, but that does not eliminate the usefulness of good metrics. Managerial judgement is always needed to account for exceptions that require accommodation.

Metrics will never be perfect, they are an approximation of the real world. And some things are unknowable. Maybe a customer goes bankrupt 3 months into a project and you never collect the full revenue. One metric shows that a salesperson closed that deal and another metric shows that his revenue per customer isn't good.

A successful team structure will make it difficult to measure individual productivity because team members spend some time on shared team priorities rather than just individual priorities.

I enjoy team work and I push hard against managers focusing on individual performance metrics because it destroys team work.

We can't measure productivity of creative workers to the cent, but we of course can use various proxies to assess the productivity. This often can lead to unwanted outcomes (like Uber's criteria of being innovative led to microservices hell), but in general you can't dismiss those proxy measurements as totally irrelevant.

I don't agree that measuring productivity is impossible. It's obviously possible for some roles, especially sales, which seems to be the focus here. That said, it's dubious whether or not they've got anything real here. They say productivity fell, especially on monday and friday. Probably implies they're looking at:

* Login time on the VPN

* Number of meetings or some other proxy for activity

* Sales numbers

The first one might be right. People might be spending less time working, when working remotely. The mistake is in assuming that they would be contributing any sort of value if they were in the office and logged in 100% of the time.

The second one might be right too, but again, may not correspond to anything

The third one, if true, probably has less to do with the productivity of the workers and more to do with the economic situation.

But who knows? They may have something real.

> Never believe stories like this, measuring productivity is an impossible problem.

I totally disagree. That's the whole point of your manager and reviews.

In addition, JPMorgan isn't just programmers. It's a lot of people who talk to people and process paper--a LOT of paper. And they can quite clearly measure how much paper is being processed per person.

> Employees always figure out how to abuse productivity metrics.

That's a different problem from being able to see that productivity is up or down.

Now, the larger question is whether productivity is down because of work-from-home or productivity is down because the economy is in a complete shambles.

The review process is a complete sham. If you honestly believe it’s a measure of your productivity and not a post-hoc rationalization based on a restricted promo and bonus pool I have a bridge to sell you.

Most managers will think an employee who spends 10 hours working and 30 hours schmoozing/promoting their work is more productive than someone who spends 60 hours grinding the tasks given to them.

> The review process is a complete sham.

It's a complete sham--up until the moment it's about to fire you.

Yeah, I've been in the "Look, that deadline is HARD. If you don't figure out how to do something useful by it, the whole GROUP, including me and you, are fired. So, are you gonna figure something out or should I fire you now and get someone else?"

That can wake you up, reeeaaaal quick.

> Most managers will think an employee who spends 10 hours working and 30 hours schmoozing/promoting their work is more productive than someone who spends 60 hours grinding the tasks given to them.

And you know what? The "schmoozer" might actually be more productive.

One of the articles on HN recently was about how senior people tend to avoid work that might get thrown away.

"Grinders" are useful, but they can also go grinding in the wrong direction or keep grinding on something that no longer needs to be done because conditions changed and they aren't paying attention. This is especially true if they get too irascible so nobody wants to talk to them.

The "schmoozer" might see that the assignment given doesn't quite match up with what the end customer (either internal or external) actually needs and adjust things appropriately. Or, perhaps, just delivers something "close enough" but takes a lot less time and makes the recipient happier.

As I became increasingly senior I spent far more time "schmoozing" than getting concrete engineering done.

>"Look, that deadline is HARD. If you don't figure out how to do something useful by it, the whole GROUP, including me and you, are fired. So, are you gonna figure something out or should I fire you now and get someone else?"

The only sane reply is: "You can't fire me, I quit". First of all, this working env is toxic. I don't need this kind of stress and I can freely quit because I have life savings, like any other sane person. Second, now that deadline becomes impossible without me, not merely hard, good luck to the rest of the team. Third, I might not quit if you apologise right now.

But then again, I'm in Europe, where we have more rights than the Americans. YMMV.

Your narcissism is showing.

It's smart for an employee to let the manager know what he's been doing. It's just like a business has to do some promotion or the business will fail - even great products don't sell themselves.

Working somewhere where it's thought that 'whole point of my manager' is measuring my productivity sounds like a real nightmare.

>That's the whole point of your manager and reviews...process paper--a LOT of paper. And they can quite clearly measure how much paper is being processed...the economy is in a complete shambles.

And in one HN comment the whole problem with late stage capitalism is laid bare.

It doesn't surprise me that your friend failed on this project but it isn't obvious a priori that measuring productivity is futile. But in my current job they're trying to create KPIs for us, so I've thought about this a bit and can certainly recognise the difficulty.

As an engineer in general how can you quantify the value of maintenance? On paper it's just a cost and it's impossible to know what would have happened without it.

The worst strategy is just to measure easy things like story points or number of tasks completed because it ruins the work culture. In those cases you're not going to take time to review pull requests carefully, advise colleagues, propose new projects or work on difficult tasks. It seems impossible to measure these, at least to me.

I would argue that measuring productivity is only possible if you’re trying to detect the lack of it. Ie it’s definitely possible to see if someone’s slacking behind the rest if whatever output they’re expected to create is way less than the average of all colleagues, but at some point you have to accept that the confidence intervals are pretty vague.

In a situation where workload is at least sort of randomly distributed, which it normally is given time, there’s no other good explanation for statistical deviancy than simply less “work” being done.

But again, this only works for detecting problems. As you point out, and I agree with you, as soon as you attempt to measure “change in productivity” you’re on very thin ice.

This is what makes me so uncomfortable with hiring software developers. I don’t know how good of a job they’re doing, or what’s taking them so long, or whether another group of developers would do a better job faster.

If I hire painters, I can tell if they’re doing a good job by looking at it. I know what’s taking them so long. They’re using slower drying drywall compound, or they’re having to mask off because they’re not good with a brush.

There are fields of work where it’s easy to gauge productivity, but software development is not one of them.

If I hire painters, I can tell if they’re doing a good job by looking at it.

It's easy to make a job look good for a day, but on some jobs if you skip the prep work, lining, filling, priming, undercoat, additional coats, clearcoat, and finishing the paint job is going to look pretty bad after a year. You can't tell how good a painter is unless you know a bit about painting things.

The same is true of software. In order to know if a developer is productive you really need to know quite a lot about the domain they're writing software for.

>> There are fields of work where it’s easy to gauge productivity, but software development is not one of them.

I manage a team of developers / analysts and it's straightforward (though not always easy) to measure this over several six-week blocks of time for the team. It is not, however, easy to measure it for any single developer or analyst, and there's a lot of variance when you try to look any more granular than the team.

I suspect it's doable for small groups that work together. Or even larger groups. (I have no experience here.)

But for individuals? I agree. No shot.

And if you were going to believe a company's metrics on productivity, JP Morgan is almost certainly not the place to start.

This is hyperbole. There are many ways to measure productivity depending on the task, and often you can simply ask managers who have a good feel for how much progress is being made. It may be that remoters are 'trying hard' but that the limitations of remote are not overcome, but this is still a lack of productivity.

Management is part of the social sciences, and there there was a big shift away from the quantitative methods (e.g. measuring productivity) towards qualitative methods, where one can better understand why managers are now saying that the productivity fell. And what is behind those reasons.

> Employees always figure out how to abuse productivity metrics.

Yes, and working from home makes it even easier. Your post basically says that any measured productivity gain from WFH can't be trusted but I don't understand why it would apply to a measured productivity decrease.

Just because it cannot be measured to a high precision does not mean it can't be measured. People clearly have some sense of when they are and aren't productive.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's quantifiable, rather than qualifiable.

A subjective sense that fails to account for the productivity of the organization over all or the productivity of the team they are in as a whole.

Quick correction, this problem is far from impossible. A multivariate model and about 5/10 years of data and you can easily get an answer to that.

That seems like way too strong a claim to make, since it would also mean that you can’t claim anyone is just as productive after going remote.

> Employees always figure out how to abuse productivity metrics.

Targets aren't the same things as measures. Measures of productivity are easy, but targets are not.

For example, for a sufficiently large group of people (e.g. all young developers at JP Morgan), you can measure their productivity with how many lines of code they write on average. As long as you aren't using lines of code for performance evaluation, there is no reason any developer will perform needless large refactors or find other means for increasing their delta.

Edit: changed metric to target

Lines of code on average is a terrible measure of productivity.

I’ve solved problems with 6 lines of code that took me a week to think of. Other days I write 600 lines of code.

I would argue that the former 6 lines I wrote is much more productive than the 600 lines.

For an individual, lines of code is a bad measure. Some problems are harder than other and some people do more design or leadership work. However, for the collective this all should average out.

No, the problem is that, in general, the more lines of code you have, the worse your program is. Perhaps people working at home feel less pressure to just code, and are thinking more about the problem and writing less code to solve the same problems - a massive win in productivity, which would appear as a loss by your measure.

On the other hand, perhaps people are indeed writing the same old code that they always were, just writing less of it.

So lines of code are not a good metric. Average number of features/user stories/tasks delivered may be a decent metric (at the group level, not for individual developers), as long as it doesn't become a target. Delivery VS estimate could also be OK, in the same way.

The top comment started off with the argument that you can't know the relative importance of the work. 6 lines of code can do a lot. 600 lines of code can do little. To measure productivity you have to measure how difficult the job is compare how valuable the job is. Most of the time both value and difficulty are unknown.

Across JP Morgan as a whole, the "relative importance of the work" isn't going to change significantly over time. It definitely has nothing to do with WFH. It's far more likely that a drop in LOC is caused by an increased difficulty of mentorship, slower time to resolve blockers, etc.

Yes, but that proves OP's point. If the productivity metric was equal to the measure of lines of code, then they would figure out that they can abuse the metric by artificially adjusting the output of the measurement.

Oops. I meant target rather than metric.

100% correct. If it were possible to measure productivity, the Soviet Union would have won the Cold War and cleaned the capitalists' clocks.

> Employees always figure out how to abuse productivity metrics.

If people can abuse your productivity metric, then it's a bad measure of productivity - not a fault of the worker.

Parent agrees, and further observes that all measures of productivity are "bad".

Parent does not agree, if parent agreed, then parent would not have used the word "abuse", which implies that the worker is the one at fault.

There are many nuances to the English language that are difficult for non-native speakers to pick up.

> There are many nuances to the English language that are difficult for non-native speakers to pick up.

Being condescending is bad, but being condescending whilst also being clearly wrong is doubly so. Get out.

English as first language speaker here. Your comment at the end was rude.

And I think you’re wrong. I think your parent post agrees with you. Not every conversation includes the requisite specificity of language to make declarations of perfect understanding of original writer’s intent.

We will need OP to confirm.

I think the parent comment reads like it was written by a native speaker.

I don't see how the term abuse means that the parent doesn't agree?

ponker 12 days ago [flagged]

Is there a word for the pedantry of an uninformed idiot?

I nominate parent: "honeycombing".

Strongly disagree, by definition it's the abuse that compromises the metric not the abusability. The distinction is important because it means that with a large and rapid enough rotation of obfuscated targets you can find out what you need while mitigating the bulk of intentional metric abuse.

First off, let me say that I have happily WFH for a few years now. I'm not opposed to it. It works for some people.

However, this is likely a problem that will get worse, not better, over time. The early WFH experience was able to cruise on the office connections, cross-training, personal knowledge, team-building, etc. that had happened previously. The longer people are away from the office, the more that hard-to-quantify stuff will decay. Plus, onboarding a new college grad has got to be challenging when there's not a group of experienced team members around them to be able to see when they're struggling or headed off the wrong path without realizing it.

All of these problems can be mitigated, but they won't be eliminated. There will always be some positions and employees where WFH makes sense; as I said, it has often worked for me. But the idea that half or even a quarter of employees would become permanently WFH, is fantasy. It's kind of like having a long-distance relationship. You can do it for a while, but the penalty mounts over time in ways that are hard to quantify, but real nonetheless.

This is a great comment

I think it's increasingly clear that blanket policies and one-size-fits-all WFH plans are just not going to work. People may gripe, but it seems like WFH is not going to be for everybody, in every position, at every stage in their careers. Hell, it might not even be feasible depending on the project you're working on this year.

I really like your comment.

In my experience - heavily relying on relationships built before is how a lot of things are actually get done. While my company closed its offices in March - I see people getting `socially distanced` coffee with their co-workers more and more.

I think there are tasks / kind of work, that requires minimal communication or relationship building, and it's possible to optimize WFH setup to be very productive at it (way more productive than in the office). A lot of comments on HN are alluding to that some people figured that out and are good at it.

There are also tasks that are hard or borderline impossible to do remote. Relationships are harder. Negotiations are harder. Random lunch conversations don't happen anymore, the serendipity of new learnings is lost.

And yes, I can't wait to go back to the office.

> onboarding a new college grad has got to be challenging when there's not a group of experienced team members around them to be able to see when they're struggling or headed off the wrong path without realizing it

Has anyone figured this one out? It’s inhibiting hiring quite significantly at our firm. I can’t imagine we’re the only ones.

We elect a senior/experienced team member to provide most on-boarding, and continued assistance/training/mentorship during the new hire's probation period (usually 3 months). We then interview the new hire at the end of their probation period to get feedback on the training they received from the senior member they were paired with, and the on-boarding process in general.

We rotate between the senior members for each new hire, where it makes sense. The senior member in return receives a $ bonus during this time, and their effort also contributes towards their performance review. I've also noticed it helps the new hire integrate with our culture.

For fresh grads: x2 Manager checkins daily for first 2 months

For the 2-5 yr expirence: x1 checkin daily for the first month

For the 5+ yr experience engineer: x1 checkin daily first week.

For all: reduce checkins as appropriate for each, case-by-case.

2x Daily Checkin’s for 2 months.... sounds like a recipe for micro management.

Also given most managers schedules are packed, I’m not sure how feasible this advice is. Especially if they onboard 2 or 3 new hires.

This is fresh college grads, and it’s literally a “you have things to do? Are you stuck at all?” The checkins reduce in proportion to the positive check on things.

People don’t understand the massive amount of time new hires can spend stuck (be it HR, software license issues, unfamiliarity with the process, etc).

I would say there still needs to be more regular checkins, even for experienced engineers. The onboarding stage is almost always way longer than anyone wants to be stuck onboarding, and direction is very important, especially on teams that own way too many features.

Interesting, I find on boarding easier with WFH teams because so much of that informal stuff gets documented. Transcripts of troubleshooting text only (slack/IM/etc) meetings for example are a gold mine. It’s really the mix of WFH in mostly face to face offices that’s difficult.

It's great if that stuff gets documented, but if your team didn't already have a culture of writing good docs, what makes you think they magically will develop one now?

It’s not that you end up with good documents, it’s that similar effort results in more useful documents. Pasting a long conversation into a document kind of a pain to work from, but it’s fast and a much better starting point than a vague description without any real context. The next person reading the document might be motivated to clear up any misconception they had, where starting from scratch seems like a huge effort.

PS: The second bit is surprisingly effective. I have created a few bare bones documents that ended up becoming very fleshed out in a year+ when some sends it back to me.

> what makes you think they magically will develop one now?

Nothing magical here, the culture shift will/should happen exactly because remote work is now the default.

The same way companies adopted Internet and digitized their workflows.

We have Slack and Zoom both, but once we start to involve a bunch of people, we wind up moving to voice and video. Sure, we captured all 6 hours of the call —- Who is up for finding a random 15 second snippet of conversation?

Automatic transcripts are surprisingly useful for this as you can simply search for key words. Their far from perfect especially when multiple people are talking, but all you really need is a time stamp.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I honestly can't wait to get back to the office (or any other workspace that isn't my home). I really hate working at home. I don't have enough space or privacy, it becomes far more difficult to partition work and play when they occur in the same spaces / I find myself distracted more easily, and there is no one to socialize with when I'm sitting by myself every day.

Could I remedy all of these problems with extra effort? Sure, but it's far easier for me to simply go to the office.

I've officially reached zero productivity today.

I'm sick of being stuck in my tiny condo with the noise from neighbors and zero work/life balance. The constant streams of asks on Slack that wake me up in the morning and keep me up at night.

I'm making more in the stock market than my job.

Just close slack at 5 or 6 or whenever your day is over. That's what I do. Don't be dumb enough to install it on your phone. Unless your job explicitly says "on call 24/7" you're doing it for free.

Might seem a little off topic, but you are well positioned to read "Deep Work" by Cal Newport. It's been discussed on HN many times, and when I recently read it, it felt like someone finally "got it". Like "yes, this is what I've believed, but now someone else is saying it!".

Back on topic - I've been on both sides of this. I started working from home ~7 years ago when I took a job on the west coast, but opted to stay in Chicago.

Prior to this role, I had worked almost exclusively IN the office for ~10 years, with the very occasional WFH day (literally about 1-2 days/year, usually during the holidays, so definitely not a habitual thing).

When I started WFH, I loved it...for about 3 months. I relished the lack of commute. I enjoyed the additional focus / reduced distractions. But then I started to feel the downsides. The lack of connection with people, the higher effort required to collaborate on some kinds of things, etc.

Over the years though, I found a balance. I found new outlets. New habits. And about ~25% travel helped break things up a bit.

And then COVID hit.

And now I'm back to fully hating WFH. My new habits, outlets, and most importantly the work travel, were no longer viable.

On top of that, while I may have been comfortable with WFH by the time this all started, most of the people with work with were not. So they're going through the learning curve, and I'm empathizing every step of the way. Which is in turn reminding me about the things I dislike.

Anyway, this is a super long winded comment that I'll bring to a close by saying: WFH is not a cure-all. It's not a solution to every problem. Like everything in life, it needs to be applied prudently, and a balance must be found.

My advice to you and people struggling with similar challenges is this: quickly learn to set boundaries.

- Set "Do not Disturb" windows on all work apps/notifications.

- Set clear expectations with your management about when you'll start/stop your day

- Don't succumb to the temptation to just keep working...working...working at the end of the day

- If possible (this is hard or impossible for some), set up a dedicated work space

- Only check Slack once/hour if you can. Encourage your team to do the same.

- Invest in good noise cancelling headphones

- Oh, and read Deep Work :)

> - If possible (this is hard or impossible for some), set up a dedicated work space

This is the real killer IMO. It's impossible to focus in a studio apartment. It's where I cook, eat, drink, sleep, Netflix, and now work.

Try to micro partition your space.

Have a desk to work and a table to have food, possibly facing different walls.

Sit on a couch to play videogames and on a (office) chair to work.

Don't play games or watch Netflix on the computer you use to work. Uninstall them.

Yeah, counterintuitively buying a TV helped. It's better for my sanity than going full cold turkey on Netflix.

I'm with you on the lack of work travel. Pre-COVID, I was mostly full-time WFH but I traveled for over a third of the time so I had plenty of people contact. But that's of course all shut down. I haven't been more than an hour away from my house since early March.

Slack literally has a Do Not Disturb schedule built in, its very useful. It silences all pings.

> I'm making more in the stock market than my job.

Assuming you’re talking about trading - enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t quit your job to do it full time. Unless you have an actual edge of information, you’re just gambling and will eventually get steam-rolled by the event you’re not expecting.

Can you sign off from slack when you finish working for the day? That should be step one for getting a balance.

I don't use Slack anymore but I think there is a feature to specify your working hours so it will not notify you outside of those hours.

I don't think the issue is technical, but cultural. If everybody else is available all the time, it's hard to do differently.

Now is a good time to broach the subject. Everyone working home, something needs to be done for the balance.

Set hard work hours and refuse to deal with it outside of those hours.

serious question how much do devs like you make? what is "you" ? 5 YOE staff engg at FAANMAG?

> I really hate working at home. I don't have enough space or privacy, it

I really my office, I don't have enough space or privacy, or even a window. At home I have a spacious desk with wide windows.

It's almost as if the problem is not office vs home but comfortable space vs shithole.

You're lucky

For many people on HN, it's going to be the opposite. A smaller than desirable city apartment and an office which the company has spent money on to make it comfortable, well-lit, good facilities etc.

And yet many companies insist on the disastrous open floor plan. No privacy etc.

I am dreading the one hour travel time and switching there tube lines to get to the office. The inability to be grumpy or annoyed in the office. Enjoying working from home.

> Could I remedy all of these problems with extra effort? Sure, but it's far easier for me to simply go to the office.

This, exactly this. People adverse to self discipline are the ones that most want to go into the office, because its "the easy way". But people with discipline should have always, and should continue to be given the choice to work in the way that suits them the best, if you will, that is "easiest" for them. Don't try and make me come into the office too when the things that happen at the office

* open office distractions & lack of privacy * trivial socialization * commuting to and from work

are what makes it not "easier" for me to get my work done. Diversity folks, or if you will, different strokes for different folks.

>This, exactly this. People adverse to self discipline are the ones that most want to go into the office, because its "the easy way". But people with discipline should have always, and should continue to be given the choice to work in the way that suits them the best, if you will, that is "easiest" for them. Don't try and make me come into the office too when the things that happen at the office

So basically "people who prefer what you don't prefer are lesser in some way" but with some extra words for obfuscation because you can't just come out sand say that in polite conversation?

People have preferences. If you're gonna try and pretend that one is universally better or superior then I hope that attitude causes big problems for you.

Wow relax...All I said was I prefer working in an office setting; I didn't say you had to come back to the office. If you prefer working from home then you should work from home.

> Diversity folks, or if you will, different strokes for different folks.

I agree but it sure sounds like you don't based on what you said a few sentences earlier.

People should work in the way that suits the job they're paid to do best. At some workplaces, you need to be present in the office because the company, for various business reasons, has not invested in developing the necessary structures to make effective and well-directed remote work possible. At some workplaces, they have done so.

I prefer working from home, I'm happier doing so, and my boss says I'm even more productive than usual (and he hasn't been concerned about my productivity, and my boss's boss expressed concerns about me working too hard and hitting burnout in our last in-person one-on-one). But my company, organizationally, is not set up this way and we were dragged into it unprepared in March. I'm doing very well on the things where I know how to work autonomously, and I have a good-sized backlog, but at some point I'll run out, and once we're back in the office, I'm going to want to be around for all of the "distractions" and "socialization" that help me develop a good idea of what I should be working on. It does the company no good - and it does me no good, come performance review season - to be highly productive at the wrong thing.

And the "diversity" argument doesn't work here. You need to pick one context where things happen, unless you want to effectively run multiple companies. Either you go remote-first and you adopt the Apache-style policy of "if it didn't happen on the mailing list, it didn't happen," or the folks who are seeing each other in person will chat in person, come up with ideas in person, make decisions in person, consult each other for design reviews in person, etc. and cut the remote workers out of the loop.

Now, yes, I think my company probably should develop the structures needed to work remotely, but I'm aware that's a self-serving belief. I genuinely don't know if my company has enough people who have the "discipline" (in your words; I might also add "lack of roommates, spouse, or children") that this switch is the right thing for the company. It's rather like my position on whether my company should pay me more: I'm not going to argue that I don't want the money, since it would certainly be good for me, but there is certainly some finite salary level where it's no longer in the business's interest to do so.

I'll venture a good chunk of that is due to an out-of-sync-with-reality issue.

I think we'd all feel more productive and motivated working from home if the world wasn't collapsing all around us. Working on some new feature shaving a few milliseconds off an API call for investment bankers seems a bit out of touch, whether at home or in the office.

Blaming loss of productivity solely on working from home may be the wrong conclusion.

At the same time JP Morgan wouldn't have done the WFH thing if the world hadn't been falling apart. But yes, when the sky is falling, most people get very anxious, and anxiety isn't good for productivity. For JP Morgan, getting people back into the office might simply cure the anxiety issue, if that's what the issue is, and paper it over, making it seem as though WFH was the problem. But for JP Morgan it probably won't really matter, because if productivity has been down, and going back to the office fixes it, that may be all they care about.

This has been a massive issue for me. I've had the same problem off-and-on over the past few years, whether in offices or at home. The work I do feels rather pointless in a world collapsing around me with no short or long term future. I at least sometimes get pulled back into feeling good about what I work on because it's a consumer app that does have a large userbase that depends on it for their happiness, and I do feel good about contributing to that, but if I was working in finance? No way.

Anyone who has been able to stay productive, let alone get more productive, in this reality is either in denial or far more optimistic than I'll ever be.

> in a world collapsing around me with no short or long term future.

This is just your world-view being shaped by your “news” sources. Maybe get off of social media for a while or only follow people who do not talk about politics/current events.

> but if I was working in finance? No way.

People who say this tend to underestimate the importance of finance. For example, enabling easy mobile banking for tech illiterate people is going to have a much larger impact on society than 99% of the apps already out there. Another: imagine if you can fix budgeting for the 90% of people who don’t bother.

Don’t shit on fields you don’t understand. It makes you look ignorant and blocks you from even realizing the opportunities in the world.

I had a friend die from CV-19. A parent got infected.

My home has been basically the center of racial justice protests: we’ve had fires set outside our door, tear gas wafting in to our windows, etc.

Even when there’s not a protest, the entire neighborhood is covered in protest-inspired murals that serve as a daily reminder that my life (as a Black person) doesn’t matter right now.

And these past few weeks we’ve been choking on wildfire smoke.

I don’t think this is from watching too much news or doom scrolling. There have been an unprecedented confluence of events that make most tech work seem meaningless right now.

Even with all those things happening, I'm not sure I'd say we're "in a world collapsing around me with no short or long term future."

> This is just your world-view being shaped by your “news” sources. Maybe get off of social media for a while or only follow people who do not talk about politics/current events.

This is a good way to escape reality, but not much more. I've done this plenty of times, but the world doesn't stop moving because you're ignoring what's going on. You become ignorant, and that is far worse.

> Don’t shit on fields you don’t understand. It makes you look ignorant and blocks you from even realizing the opportunities in the world.

I took the comment as they are not interested in finance. Maybe they've worked in the field in the past and don't like it. They didn't "shit on" anything.

> This is a good way to escape reality, but not much more. I've done this plenty of times, but the world doesn't stop moving because you're ignoring what's going on.

Unless you’re in a position to actually create change, I don’t see how following every single update to an unfolding news story helps you. I am not talking about being completely ignorant. There is a saying, important news will always find you.

You could try avoiding news, and letting the news find you. Just following that simple methodology will greatly change the perspective you have on the world, and your short term life.

Avoiding the news is a good recipe for becoming ignorant, and only knowing the propaganda. In a world of public relations experts, the only way to avoid this is to look for original sources that you can trust (e.g. by interacting with people who were part of the event), and/or listen to as many different news sources as you can find. You should usually avoid the bigger ones, especially the ones intended for mass consumption.

If you just find out about the world from what the NYT or Fox or WSJ write about, you only know propaganda.

Following the news is a good way to drink a bunch of propaganda and think you’re not ignorant when you still are. See Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

> This is a good way to escape reality, but not much more

The news have been biased towards negative stories for many decades, way before the internet so I wouldn't say watching/reading the news gives a good, balanced picture of reality. Ideally you need to balance a minimum ingestion of neutral, informative news with staying in touch with the reality around you, by meeting and getting in touch with local people and events. You might be surprised how big the difference is between how the news presents the world and the reality.

> This is a good way to escape reality, but not much more. I've done this plenty of times, but the world doesn't stop moving because you're ignoring what's going on. You become ignorant, and that is far worse.

You’re ignorant either way. The only difference is whether or not you seem informed to your stuck up friends who read a particular news source every day. Do you realize how big the world is and how irrelevant the vast majority of “major national news” is to actual life?

> “ This is a good way to escape reality, but not much more. I've done this plenty of times, but the world doesn't stop moving because you're ignoring what's going on. You become ignorant, and that is far worse.”

The news cycle tends to focus on all the things going wrong in the world. Rarely will you hear positive or uplifting stories. After all, if it bleeds it leads.

I fail to see how opting out of the constant spew of toxic negativity by the media will result in you being ignorant. Who knows, it might even give you time to pick up a history book and give you some perspective on the current moment

> This is a good way to escape reality

The news isn’t reality, it’s the world through the lens of what the journalist who reports it wants you to see. They don’t report objective reality. They will willingly admit that their job isn’t reporting objective reality if you ask them.

I agree that the problems you mentioned are truly important. The issue is that most banks, and especially the giants like JPMorgan, are interested in making them worse.

[1] https://newrepublic.com/article/155212/worked-capital-one-fi...

[2] https://jpmadoff.com/victims/

[3] https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-9-bi...

Finance is a great enabler and very important -critical even-, but there's no need to be rude about it.

> The work I do feels rather pointless in a world collapsing around me with no short or long term future.

Stop reading twitter, stop watching the news. Honestly the world isn’t representative to what they’re reporting and they profit from selling you fear.

What are you talking about? The world have made incredible progress in just the last 20 years, lifting billions of people out of poverty, and the exact financial system you're talking about was, and is, one of the main reasons behind this push. These milliseconds translate into liquidity provided into market, which in turn translates into more efficient and less risky allocation of capital, which in turn translates into efficient production and use of labour, and so on and so on.

All of that sounds incredibly boring, but that's the case with any real human progress. It's the same with a famous, and incredibly stupid quote "the brightest minds of our generation are working on making people click ads". Every time I hear it, I remember all the small businesses and ventures that only exist because of Instagram, Facebook and Google Ads. Housewives baking cakes, a leatherworker making custom backpacks, a blacksmith restoring antique knives - those are just personal friends of mine who wouldn't be able to build their businesses if not for what those brightest minds of our generation are doing.

Agree. If it were true "work from anywhere" and the preparation was all in place and the employee was going in with the right tools and set up and the mindset of being a true remote worker, we might not see the same drop in productivity.

Younger employees probably have less space. Apartment/house shares, etc.

I've known some who are working on their bed. This isn't healthy nor is it likely to be conducive to productivity.

Not to minimize the struggles of suburban parents, but I do feel they might be divorced from what single urban life is like right now.

As a "younger" (30 year old) tech employee, in addition to living in a cramped space with 3 roommates in SF with no privacy, I have to work in a dining room because my bedroom has very thin walls. I also have to do cook and clean way more often, when I previously used to get 3 meals a day at work. I also have to haul groceries a couple times a week, which is super painful without a car, and then I have to compete for very limited fridge space.

I also haven't met friends and family in over 6 months, and my dating life's been obliterated. It's been mentally taxing in a way that living with your loved ones in a McMansion isn't. I can't even handle Zoom calls with friends anymore. It's the last thing I want to do after the 3 hours of back to back Zoom meetings I get roped into because I'm "senior".

Again, I don't mean to minimize the struggles of parents, college kids, the many people unemployed, our essential workers keeping things running, or our elderly who are at risk of dying. I'm in a very privileged position. But it's clear that all the lifestyle changes I've been forced to make have been a huge drain on my productivity.

How about moving back home? Your parents will be happy to have you around, cooking will be fun again, they are your best friends. And since there are only 7 zipcodes in the whole US where single men outnumber single women ages 20-40, your dating life may surprisingly improve too!

Listen this is a healthy perspective. Having such clarity about how shitty things are without the perks. Most people sit around years ruminating how crappy all this stuff is and you figured it out pretty quickly.

Thanks, that's actually great advice. I can't move back home - my parents aren't in the US and with border closures and tax implications I don't want to risk international travel now.

I don't have any visa issues thankfully, so I can pretty much relocate to anywhere in the country. I'm thinking of an AirBnb in a nice seaside town.

Have you thought about relocating from SF?

Most of my friends, including myself, have taken advantage of the current WFH situation to find much better accommodations for themselves outside of SF.

Obviously not an option for everyone, but for those that have it I would definitely pursue it.

Oh yeah, definitely. I held on to my place in SF because it was a rent controlled spot that I clinged on to, but with rents crashing and the quality of life in SF worsening, I've considered terminating my lease and putting my stuff in storage.

Where did you move? A few months in a seaside town Airbnb would be nice. I could use the change of scenery.

You might really like Portsmouth, NH. It's a cool seaside town with a lot of character, and easy trips to Maine, VT, NH White Mountains and Boston.

The places you mentioned are indeed so beautiful, but I for one would hold off on moving from California to NH right before winter. I felt the first breath of fall today in NY...

I'm not sure there is a perfect place in the world Asheville, but Asheville and Durham NC are nice and affordable. Sacramento is nice too, especially if you soon want to commute in to SF 1-2 times a week.

how much is your salary for you to be on that living arrangement? sounds awful when 250K/year in SF can't buy any decent living space.

About $450k all in (not FAANG but a mid sized public company in SF I'm sure you've heard of). Fwiw, it wasn't a terrible living space before the pandemic; it just isn't conducive to WFH situations. I'd found that rent controlled spot, and I was paying $1100/mo for a room in an apartment with a backyard, in-unit washer/dryer, and a dishwasher. As a single dude, I really didn't need anything else, I wasn't willing to pay $4000 or whatever for a 1BR, and I just hate moving.

Of course, times have changed, and I think I'll move soon.

But yeah, to your point, pre-Covid SF was absurd in terms of cost of living, and the current exodus just shows how unsustainable it was.

> living in a cramped space with 3 roommates in SF with no privacy

> About $450k all in


Haha, well it's the same spot I was living in when I was making $120k + non-liquid RSUs. And since it was rent controlled, I never bothered to move. I'd be paying $3000 more if were to move into a 1BR, and I would rather spend that on travel, dates, and post-tax investments.

And anyway, an apartment that's fairly spacious can turn into a congested mess when everyone's WFH. Previously, all of us had tech jobs where we had dinner at work, did a post-dinner workout, went to happy hour, and such. On weekends, some of us would be on day trips to Napa, or at a dinner party, or some such thing like that. Now that everyone's more or less inside during business hours, organizing the fridge is like playing Tetris, walking in the house requires a level of spatial awareness driving in Manhattan does, and storing all the household essentials takes up even more space. Kitchen contention issues also come up all the time.

The getting more space vs. staying tradeoff is worth it now: I'd personally value each sq ft I have to myself more, and the rent differential is much lower too (rents in SF are crashing, and I'm not restricted to living in SF anyway). IMO, that wasn't a reasonable tradeoff to make pre-Covid.

Not to tell you how to live your life, but if I were you, I would move ASAP. I lived alone in SF on 88k a year supporting my unemployed fiancee and a dog and still saved a good bit of money. I know people who get by on 50k. You can afford your own apartment! 4k for a one bedroom is def the high end but you can ball out!

So now you're making something like 20k/month post-tax, spending 1.1k/month on rent, and complaining that you don't really like the apartment. Solution sounds pretty obvious to me.

Just curious, what's your career path? Growing your compensation 4 times in such a short timespan does sound like an achievement, at least from outside the valley.

OK, I'm out.

As opposed to older employees...who have a spouse, who may also WFH, and and kids...who are doing remote learning?

Distractions are orthogonal to space.

It's generally not productive to play "who has it worse".

I have a spouse and a kid, and though it's super taxing trying to get any work done, at least I have these super great relationships to lean on. I know that if I were on month six of having roommates that were not close friends, I'd be going absolutely bonkers.

Of course every personality type deals with this differently, as we all need different things in life. And if I didn't have such a luckily great family life I could easily be miserable. I seem to notice more breakups and divorces recently, but that's hard to quantify beyond my acquaintances. Maybe a social scientist will measure this.

WFH was awesome when I was young. Shared a 3 bedroom house with 3 other friends. My bedroom was a bed, desk, and about 1.5 square meters of empty floor space. After work I could instantly head to the living space to hang out with my actual friends rather than co-workers who would lose interest in me if my work output ever turned subpar.

I don't think space cannot be blamed here: modern offices are crowded and noisy.

My scientific wild-ass guess would be that younger employees naturally require more coaching, while the older, more experienced folks know the stuff and just keep doing what they've been doing for the past ten years.

I think it’s unfortunate that people are taking statistics (or anecdotes) from this period to support or not support WFH. At this point in time, it would be rather audacious for anyone to claim that productivity is more tied to the location of your desk than to the fact that people are working through the apocalypse, and some people are working through more than one “once in a lifetime” disaster. If productivity is down, maybe it’s because we expect people to keep adding to billionaire bottom lines when their entire lives are falling apart, in many cases irreparably??

Chiming in here. I moved across the country to SoCal and returned to the company I left, (re)-starting in Sept. 2019 as full-time WFH. I worked 4-5 days in the office before the move.

I'm a good control here because I've worked for the same company:

1. In the office

2. WFH pre-Covid

3. WFH during-Covid

What's more, all of my favorite activities: golf, hiking, cooking--are largely unaffected by the pandemic. My income's been the same and the work activities have been roughly similar.

I felt relatively productive WFH pre-Covid but something has changed that's affected my productivity/motivation--and I can't put my finger on it. I think it's the general, subconscious, back-of-my-mind feeling that things are profoundly going to shit that's dragging me down. It's been a struggle now when it's not been before.

This is all purely anecdotal, but I think I'm a good case-in-point example of your position: that WFH is a convenient strawman to hand-wave away the effects of people living in the final pages of a Vonnegut novel.

I love WFH; I want to be productive; but I don't think that shoe-horning people back into offices (wearing a mask all day, nonetheless) is going to magically turn everyone back into creative, chipper good-time-charlies.

if we're doing anecdotes, the apocalypse makes me more productive since good work allows me to hide from everything else in the world being terrible

The younger employees clearly haven’t mastered the art of the automated Monday morning 7:47am email or how to rewrite git commit history to edit the author time stamp.

The old guys want us back in the office as well. The party is over. It's a shame. I am getting so much more done at home. I can't believe I have to go back to that hell hole. There's no way I can replicate my home office setup. I think I am going to glue my headphones to my head claim it as an ADA accommodation...

I want to bring up another question: How much of the work was synchronous vs asynchronous?

A company that is deeply in bed with meetings and face-to-face cooperation will suffer in a remote-first environment. The article, as others have noted, talks a lot about feelings of the upper management rather than any hard data.

Reading a linked article further down [0] says that JPMC, and other banks, were ramping up the return to the office for months, and it's now when they are making it mandatory.

Also, several weeks ago large New York landlords [1] were urging Wall Street banks to bring their staff back into work. Might be a coincidence, but the timing certainly warrants a look.

[0]: https://archive.is/qJYRo

[1]: https://archive.is/LSp9t

As a young guy who was a full time remote worker for about 6 months, and also very honest with myself: I was more distracted as a remote employee. I wasn't as focused as I needed to be and when I was on site working next to the guy I reported to I was much more productive.

That's true but you were fooling yourself. Wait until you get fired and then you'll realize it's about getting your work done and not where you are sitting. Discipline should come from within.

> That's true but you were fooling yourself.

When did I fool myself? What are you talking about?

We took an entire society from in-person offices with norms structured around a clear delineation between home/work to full WFH basically overnight. There was little to no training, often limited or confused technology rollout, and no planned culture transition. On top of that, many people had their kids kept home as well and had other essential services disrupted.

The fact that it is difficult to measure whether or not WFH had an impact on productivity or not is a HUGE mark in its favor. This should have just fallen apart, no consultant or advisor would have every recommended trying a mass remote working initiative this way. Instead it seems to have mostly worked.

I say mostly, because now we are at the point where it takes concious thought to build processes and culture to sustain a remote work culture. Developing young talent is difficult regardless of the circumstances, but in the in person office we have well developed norms, culture, programs, and processes to support them. Have you and your organization spent significant time thinking adapting and developing those cultural factors? I'm a remote work advocate because I've seen it work not just for me but for those around me, including junior talent, but you have to think about it, experiment, and work at it.

Beyond the workplace, a lot of people have complained about the sudden transition to WFH do to them being not set up for it. I've heard this expressed as because they have limited space / lots of roommates or just being uncomfortable with the lack of home/work seperation. The root cause of these is (mostly) the unique circumstances of this experiment. If WFH was a strong social norm, people would have chosen different living accommodations and would have "seperate spaces" without needing a corporate office.

While not every job ultimately can or should become primarily remote/WFH, I think the benefits for most information workers and their companies will win out. But right now we are going to see the long and hard process of rebuilding culture and norms in a new work environment.

I don’t know about you, but work/life delineation pre-Covid wasn’t much better. The reason that employees are feeling it worse now is because even that pretense is gone, even if it barely existed before.

Dimon kind of throws them under the bus, doesn't he:

"Work output by younger employees was particularly affected on Mondays and Fridays, according to findings discussed by Chief Executive Office Jamie Dimon in a private meeting with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts. That, along with worries that remote work is no substitute for organic interaction, are part of why the biggest U.S. bank is urging more workers to return to offices over the coming weeks."

Of course, if one were cynical, you might suspect he wanted return to office anyway and young workers are a convenient and safe group to blame.

LOL - as a data analyst - I would love to know how they measured this and what their confidence interval is. It's interesting they didn't share any percentages. And it's interesting that they didn't talk about weekend work at all. A lot of people where I work are working shorter days, but also working a little bit on the weekends.

I realize JPM is a pretty big company - but the way this works at a lot of companies is - someone has a narrative they want to tell, does shitty analysis until they find some data point that fits their narrative, and then the company makes decisions based on that.

How do you boil productivity down to a metric that's easy to even discuss? Anyone can get more work done by performing it at a lower quality.

Even if this was just for bankers that have a list of tickets to close - are we just talking about sheer number of tickets closed? Is the quality for each ticket going up or down?

Yeah when you dig you'll often find out "decrease in productivity" is in the noise of the data. CEOs and managers enjoy control and surveying their minor kingdoms. I think it's more about ego than efficiency. I know that I am dramatically more productive at home. I hate the distractions at work. The random drop bys, the "do you have a second", the "15 minute (oops 1 hour)" meetings that could be done over slack or email. It's ridiculous. I know it really depends on your work and personality but by and large managerials are type A with egos and they are starting to feel less important so everybody needs to get back to the office stat.

This is very on point to how large companies operate.

Do you think he’s just lying about it?

When I was a younger worker I certainly did slack off on Friday and Monday when I could get away with it.

I’ve worked in more than one office where people started drinking on Friday afternoon in the office when the CEO was out of town.

You're right in that most office workers take Monday to get going and wind down on Friday, but Jamie Dimon is the guy that lied in Congressional testimony multiple times, so that's equally likely.

It’s not equally likely unless you think 50% of statements Dimon makes are lies.

If you do think that, it would be an interesting and unusual claim worthy of analysis, but it’s certainly not a reasonable assumption without such analysis.

I think he's not a dispassionate observer of WFH trends. Lies have an underlying motive, and he's shown before that he is willing to lie in high-stakes testimony to avoid a negative outcome. Dimon's WFH assertion was made to analysts, and in his role as a leader at JPMorgan, presumably for a positive motive (market sentiment, boost morale, ensure a return to normalcy). This wasn't an off-the-cuff observation. By equally likely I mean he was in a situation with a clear motivation so the likelihoods are between truth and falsehood. In that frame, 50% is generous.

Edit: the above does preclude the idea that "truth" can have a motive behind it as well, but I don't particularly think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

>Do you think he’s just lying about it?

Not really. But the general impression from the piece is that he has various less-quantified reasons for wanting more people back to the office and slacker younger workers does seem like a convenient excuse -- especially if there's some truth to it (which is entirely possible). FWIW, if I were in my twenties at this time, I'm not sure I would trust myself to keep plugging away.

I’m in my 30s and I personally have a hard time being productive when the world is literally and metaphorically on fire and plague stricken. Being in an office would not change this.

Being in an office would make me more distracted imho. Between wondering if the ventilation is giving me covid from careless co-workers, to being more separate from family and home should another disaster crop up.

Edit: careless not carless ... lol

Right now I'd pay good money for corporate HVAC. I'm coughing myself to death in my own home right now

If this is because of high PM2.5 concentration (due to wildfires or otherwise), I suggest building a DIY air filter, such as the one in the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH5APw_SLUU

When the Air Quality Index shot up to ~150 in my area (you want to keep it below 100, preferably below 50), I went to Home Depot and bought box fans and furnace filters and built my own.

You can check the air quality in your area on this site: https://aqicn.org

Thanks I do have a fairly good filter for one room in the house, where I'm holed up. Just when I have to venture out for food and stuff, I either wear a mask in the house or just cough.

The AQI in my area is closer to 300 :(

I’m in my early 30’s and honestly the world has been on fire since always. First the Balkan wars next door when I was a kid, then 9/11, then Afghanistan, then ISIS, then Trump, then Covid.

Fuck it, I can’t think about all that. Focus on what’s in your sphere of control and ignore the rest.

March pulled me back into a vicious news cycle after I learned to ignore the news 10+ years ago. It was terrible.

Now I’m back to mostly ignoring the news and life is better.

PS: this is the core teaching of stoicism, focus on what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t

Lying? He's saying what he needs to say to print more money. He didn't say it was _only_ the younger employees, did he?

He's not a goal. He's got a narrative. Is anyone going to question him? And wreck their career?

Yes, I think we call that "lying".

I was simply noting that one person's lie is another person's "motivating speech."

I was also noting that not being 100% transparent typically gets called deception or propaganda.

Mr D singled out the younger employees but he was also careful not to say it was them and only them. Calling out everyone would be a bad move for moral. So he sliced his "facts" a bit in order to meet his ends. That's deception, and not fraud per se.

Except it’s not really deception - it’s just a true statement.

It’s only ‘throwing younger people under the bus’ if you use it to support a pre-existing narrative that he isn’t actually making.

We don't know if it true. We have to trust him. And that's not wise given his track record.

He wouldn't need to be lying to be blind to data that doesn't fit the desired conclusion or to torture the data until they confess.

As a senior manager, he's a professional liar first.

What kind of work are these junior employees doing that is this highly measurable?

They are almost all proxy metrics of course. For engineering you can look at commits, PRs, incidents, deployments, etc and most of those metrics actually improved quite dramatically the first few months after everyone worked from home. Many of the offices are hot-desked high capacity environments and I cannot get anything done in them, so the initial reports were completely unsurprising.

I can't speak to what is being said now as I'm not really tracking any of it. I don't believe it's pure bullshit. It could be that people are just picking up bad habits. It could be stress and distractions from all the stuff that's swirling around now. It could be an exaggerated stance to signal to real estate in the affected markets that JPMC isn't packing up and getting out of town. Who knows. I will say that the technical infrastructure has been very good, due in part to long term investments in remote infrastructure for years now and it's pretty seamless switching from the office to remote.

I personally will quit before I go back full time to the chaos of high capacity office environments. I'm not built for it.

JPMC is a huge institution so it's hard to answer. Certainly there are many roles in trading, working with clients, support, etc. that will have pretty quantified metrics associated with them.

How does anyone take quantified metrics seriously if trying to compare pre-covid market bubble data to in-covid recession/market bubble. The environments are completely different.

One can do differential comparison for day of week.

AggregateOverEmployeesByAgeGroup(AggregateDatesBeforeCovid(Prod(employee_i | day of week)/AggregateDatesAfterCovid(Prod(employee_i | day of week before covid)))

Then see if it is flat or if there is changes (such as it dips on monday/friday)

Thats .. an adjustment. It really doesn't tell you if the work inputs allocated to young vs old groups shifted before and after covid. Also, I question the validity of the Prod( ) function as, like much other information work, the productivity yields on different timeframes and can be very difficult to correlate inputs vs outputs.

There were 3 things mentioned in the article. Younger vs older, Monday and Friday vs rest of week for younger, and creativity. You could theoretically measure younger vs older in the same job and also compare those two groups by M/F vs rest of work week. Compare those groups before and after COVID-19.

Yea, but the Prod function still entirely determines if it’s comparable.

Agreed, this claim feels totally baseless.

I felt the same. I'm sure JD had particular results in mind. When you have that much juice you tend to get what you want.

It'll be interesting to see the social media reaction once it breaks that employees are being ordered back en mass, no opt out, etc.

I used to enjoy short periods of remote work but I have hated WFH since it started during the Covid period.

- I miss talking with colleagues on things related to tech, but not necessarily related to the current task.

- Video meetings are exhausting to be a part of for resolving simple things. It was way faster to just talk in person.

- Video meetings feel less collaborative in general for open ended discussions, I see far fewer participation from teammates if it is not their own task.

- New employees who onboarded during Covid feel isolated as they didn't get to build personal rapport with others in the same or different teams.

- Interaction with people from different teams has almost disappeared, not everytime you had a new idea, you were actively looking for it.

- As much as I enjoy cooking, I hate that it feels like a chore at this point to do day in, day out.

- I hate that personal time and work time boundaries have merged and it seems like I am working at all hours and relaxing at all hours at the same time.

> The bank has noticed the productivity decline among “employees in general, not just younger employees,” JPMorgan spokesman Michael Fusco clarified in an emailed statement, adding that younger workers “could be disadvantaged by missed learning opportunities” by not being in offices.

From the article

Something I’ve observed is middle management is doing more of the doing. That is to say, they are cutting out their (younger) subordinates. This is happening as they want to be in the best position to survive layoffs. I sadly have overseen the talent reviews aka lay-off rankings and I’ve heard from colleagues that this is happening at their companies too.


Interns and new graduates are mostly dead weight right now. They're impossible to train and bring up to speed without being physically together.

Layoffs will come and younger employees will be the first to go.

With a 1.5 year old daughter WFH is great. Sure, there’s distractions — she wants to climb on my lap and bang the keyboard and play with the mouse. In the start I used to get upset about the interruption but now I take a 5-10 min break and play with her. It gives me purpose to why I’m behind the keyboard in the first place. If I were in an office I’d miss these moments, leaving the house before she wakes up and returning just before she goes to bed.

I'm not nearly as productive in my 1 bedroom apartment as I am at the office.

I try to only go to my desk during work hours but it's where my dining area would be, so while cooking I like to browse the internet/watch Youtube on my ultrawide monitor. At the same time, it's a small apartment, so the dining area is part of my living room.

This means I'm in the same room for pretty much the entirety of the day. I try to avoid going into my bedroom outside of night time sleep hours so that I can at least keep that space as more of a nighttime only relaxing one.

I desperately need a completely separate space. I was already planning to move to a new, nicer apartment this year, and because of COVID WFH I'm considering getting a 2br and taking the hit on the additional cost just so that I can have an entirely separate office space.

But regardless, while I don't mind WFH once or twice a week, I really prefer a separate office a majority of the time. I need and value the separation.

As someone who has that extra room, which I have made into an office, I say, if you can afford it, do it. Not only is it good for WFH, it makes a good hobby room/library for me.

I agree with you about WFH in the future, as well. When I can go back to an office, 1-2 WFH days a week is about what I want. That would be a bit of an uptick for me, since I normally would take 1-2 WFH days a month, but there's enough to like about it that I don't want to give up (getting the commute time back is nice sometimes), and I've gotten good enough at it to sustain it.

It sounds a little silly, but a uniform can help. Pick some clothes that are work clothes, put them on when you "go to work" and then switch back out when you're done. Sort of like how changing into gym clothes helps (me anyway) motivate myself to go out and excercise.

It’s a pretty powerful psychological motivator - if I change into my gym clothes there’s no way I’m not working out - imagine going through the trouble to change into your gym clothes and then changing back out without doing anything. To me it’s almost unimaginable.

I despise working from home, and think my productivity has taken a massive hit as a result. Believe it or not I like being able to switch between a work and home environment, and find it vastly improves my mood and productivity.

I work from home and have done so for a couple of years. It all depends, like most stuff in life. It depends on the person working from home, their situation, what their job is etc.

It works great for me since I have a dedicated office at home which is larger than any office space I've had before. I can have this because I can live on the country side where housing is cheaper.

I can walk my dogs when I need to and I can focus a lot more here than I ever could in an open office. I have respect for people who claim they cannot and see no reason (except a pandemic) why people should always work from home. I can imagine why a 20-year old in his or her 20 square meter apartment isn't as productive as they would be at a big, bright office. For me, if I had to go to an office, I would have to leave my dogs in some dog care facility in the morning, stressing in my commute to work since I am forever a optimist when it comes to time. I wouldn't feel good, I would be tired and unable to focus. I have been there and done that. I know I am more productive at home.

I think it's nice to offer people the ability so that for the people who thrives in it (like me) can have the ability to work from home.

It has been hard, because the WFH mentality is either all or nothing. Why can't people and companies simply be a bit more laid back and offer both? The world isn't black and white, just let people decide for themselves since we are all grown ups.

I expect companies not to treat me as a child and so should you.

I prefer arrangements where I go in to work ~80% of the time. (e.g. ~1 day each week WFH of my own choosing, completely spontaneous day-of decision.)

That being said, I don't think my productivity has taken a hit during this long period of WFH. If anything, I think I'm being more productive. I do miss the social interaction, though. That's why I prefer the 80/20 arrangement.

Without giving even the slightest idea on what productivity and how did they measure it I would say it is just plain propaganda from managers discovering that some of them (maybe a good lot) are becoming redundant.

As for learning things - there is insane amount of knowledge online and if one is unable to use it they have bigger problems than being/or not in the office.

I've worked in two of these top investment banks and the amount of red tape that needs to be crossed is just breathtaking. Something as simple as provisioning a kafka topic? Go raise 2 requests, have it approved by these 4 people including your manager, then create multiple system accounts for each environment, each with its own approval steps. Agreed that these approvals and audit trails are necessary - but surely they can be simplified.

In office - you always knew someone who knew someone in that team. It was just a matter of picking up the phone, calling them and getting them to expedite your request. Now that everyone is WFH, you ping them on IM and wait for them to respond. With back-to-back zoom calls, it's honestly the last thing people want to do.

Couple that with the fact that there isn't a divide (like commute) between work and home anymore - so there's just more fatigue and higher levels of irritability.

Apples to Oranges. This is not Work From Home. This is Work From Home during a Pandemic during Natural Disasters. WFHPND is a bit long for an acronym though.

Productivity may, actually, fall for younger employees at home, but data from this year is not valid for a calculation vs prior years.

I've enjoyed working from home for the past four years but have serious reservations about how well it would have worked for me at the beginning of my career. Though I came into the labor market with a good degree from a good school, there was so much to learn and much of that happened informally and organically while in the physical presence of others with more experience. Perhaps the nature or structure of work will adapt in such a way that those early in their careers will not be hampered by being remote but in the meantime it does seem like there is going to be a need for extra patience in developing younger employees into higher levels of productivity.

It's a good thing that in this natural experiment nothing else that might effect productivity changed between February and March except switching to work from home, right?

Since factors that might effect anxiety, physical and psychological health, priorities, demands on time and attention, and external factors effecting success stayed largely the same, but for switching from working in an office to working from home, so we know it was "the WFH lifestyle" (lifestyle?!?) that caused a 'hit' to 'overall productivity', so we can be confident that instructing employees to return to the office regardless of safety will restore this stolen productivity.


Could they have chosen a more inane data point? These companies hire one person for the job of three people, underpays them for the number of years they squeeze from their stressed lives, then spits out the ones that can’t handle the hazing.

It's important to keep in mind we can't distinguish between work from home and having to work during a pandemic affecting everyone's daily routine and moral and keeping us from our normal activities.

The fact that JP Morgan have managed to actually measure productivity for any complex role is frankly incredible. That alone will get them the (non-) Nobel prize in economics I imagine...

Going way out on a limb here, maybe productivity has dropped due to the overall stress of the situation, and not being at home? It doesn't seem like it's ever going to be possible to separate the noise from the signal here - everyone's experiencing an unprecedented in their lifetime event causing an immeasurable amount of extra stressors...

At this point I'm not sure I care whether I'm more productive at home or in the office. I'm simply not going to consider ever going into an office again unless someone wants to pay me at least double what I'd make working at home, and that's that.

FWIW my honest assessment is that I'm more productive at home on average, but with much higher variance.

> extended remote work may not be all it’s cracked up to be, at least for some job functions. While pre-pandemic studies found remote workers were just as efficient as those in offices, there were questions about how employees would perform under compulsory lockdowns.

Or maybe ya know... A pandemic has its own negative effect on productivity.

Not surprised in the least.

My hypothesis is that we won't see a massive shift towards WFH with the exception of a few big name tech companies. Most employers will require people to be in the office, at least a part of the week.

And even those companies who say "ok" to WFH, will start second guessing their decision within a couple years.

Are bank employees that work on securities permitted to use common collaboration apps such as Slack? Or are they prevented from doing so to crack down on insider trading etc?

If they can't use common collaboration apps you in a remote setting you could see how this could impact their productivity.

You can chat to other people on internal IM apps or on Symphony/Bloomberg to external people. They're all monitored and recorded along with Zoom calls.

My drop in productivity as a trader was mostly due to the fact that despite we were raking in a lot of cash I could just see us barely getting paid at the end of the year so I just made sure our books weren't blowing up and spent most of my time finding a hedge fund job.

> Work output was particularly affected on Mondays and Fridays, according to findings discussed by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon in a private meeting with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts.

How would they measure that? It seems basically impossible, and the article has no details.

Imagine for a second these comments but for an article praising productivity while working from home.

Ramping employees new to the workforce is probably best done in person over the course of several months. There are so many things that someone new can spin their wheels on for hours that you can solve immediately.

Younger employees won’t be getting the full support they need.

Report: "WFH has made productivity go up."

HN: "Of course you're more productive. WFH is the best, I hope we never return to the office!"

Report: "WFH has made productivity go down."

HN: "Don't trust this. Productivity can't be measures."

I don’t get it. How does one even measure productivity and that too on a daily basis? How do they know that productivity fell on Mondays and fridays? Are they stalking their employees and tracking their every keystroke?

For those who don't know, Bloomberg journalist have their bonus linked to their capacity to have their articles impacting th market. Bloomberg has developed a tool to monitor this.

Don't young bank employees just sit around all day until their boss asks at 7pm for powerpoint they rush to research and make for the next 3 hours?

At least it would match the college experience of working those hours.

I see it as good news.

If employees can be fully productive while working from home, they can be equally productive while working from Mumbai.

I'd rather be in NYC office.

I somewhat disagree. For a lot of work you want workers to be in, or near the time zone of the majority of the workers. 10+ hours offset means no real-time communication and email chains take days instead of minutes.

Landlords in NYC will feel happy about this.

From their perspective, it would be rational to cut a deal with JPMC: they bring workforce back to offices, landlords get their money and give a % of that to a few execs at JPMC. And all the health related problems won't be a JPMC's problem. In some sense, JPMC's execs suggest to burn the workforce now, pocket the extra money, and depart to greener pastures (less contaminated with viruses) shortly before the fallout.

Sounds like propaganda to me. No word on how they have measured it.

Maybe if they offered desk, stand+keyboard+mouse/desktop so people don't have to work from the "kitchen table" the results would be better?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact