I personally used to commute 3 hours every day to get to work from SF... I'm never doing this again, no matter how much you pay me.
Honest question: at that point why not move closer to work? Or get a job at any number of companies closer to home that are desperate for talent?
The whole point of enduring SFBA rent is that there’s dozens of tech jobs at every corner.
Because everyone thinks this first which is why a 1 bedroom in SF is like 5k a month.
Walking a few blocks to the office is an amazing way to start the day without incurring stress.
Just one person’s view: My Bay Area commute is about 2 to 2.5 hours each way, depending on traffic. I make pretty decent Bay Area money but not even close to enough to live in an equivalent house near work. Not by a long shot. Changing jobs means starting back at the bottom. Re-build relationships, re-learn new company’s tribal knowledge, start at zero in the promotion treadmill. I’m too old for that shit. And at my age, (45+) you’re not getting a +10% raise when changing jobs, like what was do-able in your 30s.
So changing jobs is mostly downside and moving closer to work is not financially do-able. Stuck!
Maybe joining a startup on the hyper growth track would be good financial returns. Only need one of those to do well to buy the house with cash at your likely experience range and the compensation they would be rewarding you.
Your startup advice is decent, I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. Been there, done that, have 600,000 worthless stock options to prove it. I feel like I have better odds at the poker table.
I understand. I'm just saying I did it and got $1m+/yr out of it. I've done startups before that lead nowhere - so I understand the feeling... It's not like joining startups at seed stage or something - I'd only join one with a $XXXm dollar valuation or greater. (And one that has gotten that valuation very quickly hopefully - not over 10 years) I left because of the horrible environment before I vested everything. I decided if I can find a job at $350-400k/yr with some minor upside and a much better culture then I'd probably be happier in the end. (I have about 8 YOE)
> I personally used to commute 3 hours every day to get to work from SF
I never thought I would feel that way - there were times in my life I dreamed of unlimited home office. But honestly there are things which work better in person, like solving problems on a whiteboard, or picking up on subtle cues in a meeting, or laughing with colleagues over a coffee.
For me, I think 2 days/week in the office would actually be the preferable split.
The older generation with their families, homes in the suburbs with the bad commute, and already established networks in the office have no interest in coming back, while it’s the younger generation that wants to be in the office.
I can see a certain subset of recent college grads and young techbro-types who would want to be in the office so they can hang out with each other, but it's definitely the boomer and older gen-X crowd who believe that it's only "real work" if it's done sitting in a cubicle where your boss can loom over your shoulder any time he wants.
All those people in the Bay may have a tough time with bills when they quit...
I’m really curious how it is going to play out. I’m a bit concerned that our salaries will be slashed, especially if engs from other countries enter the wfh market
Maybe move closer?
Our office is back to about 70% capacity. Traffic has returned in the morning. Public transit isn't as full as it used to be, but there are lines to get onto the busses in the morning where I live. Again, probably 70% of what it was before.
That reduced 30% has made the commute in quite a bit quicker I'd say. Price for parking is equal to public transit (I can't say if it was like that before because I didn't have a car before covid).
Sure, lots of offices won't return, but I think not as much as you expect. Our company is 3 mostly introverts. We'd likely be the first people to say "screw it, I don't want to be around people, I'd rather just wfh", but we're all really enjoying being back in the office. We know we're more productive this way too.
I expect most offices will reduce their floor plans. Most white collar workers will WFH a yet to be determined proportion of their time.
I appreciate your comment and the GP for tactfully expressing feelings similar to my own. Pollution from automobiles, the health impacts of long commutes, the economic and social costs of high paying jobs concentrating in relatively few places; it’s just sad to see how desperate everyone is to get back to the unhealthy normal.
People can only say no if there are options for them.
Pre-pandemic I traveled cross country somewhat regularly for meetings that could easily be done remotely. Sure there's some value sometimes in hallway conversations, but not enough to justify flying around whimsically blowing vast CO₂ in the middle of a climate crisis.
Someone should just make a more random hallway-conversation feature in Zoom or whatever. Or maybe we could normalize doing lunch together and casually chatting on zoom for certain important remote meetings (but not even close to all, please lord).
I mean, I've worked remote for 13 years now. Although it has been available for most of that time, we almost never used video during calls in the past. When covid hit, suddenly calls I've been having for 10 years require everyone to be on camera.
Video has its benefits of course, but it's not always necessary and it's more exhausting than a voice call. If I'm talking to people I've worked with for 10 years, I actually think it's worse to always do a video meeting. We're not looking at each other anyway, we're looking at what we're working on, and being on camera is so much more draining.
Does anyone else feel like a step back to more voice calls would actually be a step forward in happiness?
I think there are going to need to be a lot more research into this.
What about the 20 mile commutes most of them have? That infrastructure and fuel use has to be added into the equation.
Let’s add the medical costs of everyone being morbidly obese from work from home and the Covid 15 becoming the Covid 50 lbs. :)
I imagine atleast 50% of people working have someone at home while they are working.
Your first X units are cheap, the next Y units are pricier, and anything after that are expensive. This is what we have with PG&E. It means that families like mine, where my wife and I work from home (including before the pandemic) pay a higher bill because we're treated as if we are consuming irresponsibly.
But we don't actually use that much energy considering the fact that we are home all day long. Energy companies will hopefully adjust their tiers or find some other way to treat people who WFH equitably, not punitively. My understanding is that PG&E has done this to some extent already, but I don't know what they plan to do after near-global WFH ends.
Yes it costs less to heat my home than to drive in, but thats not the point.
I have two cars because we have to drive into work and drop/pickup kids. if we're WFH we dont need two cars, but i cant just dump one of then on a whim when WFH might end.
Also the energy costs measurements are just mine. they're universal. We wasted so much energy in this scenario.
Its just that the energy/resources were now both mine and the companies resources.
The interesting question is, will this ultimately become an expectation and if you "don't work from home well" then that's equivalent to simply "not working well". There are individuals who don't work well in an office and they were previously just considered poor employees. Now the tables are turned ...
Really early in my career, I recall being incredibly unmotivated after an acquisition by a private equity company and the subsequent cost cutting. Going to the office was just some check box that I needed to cross off in order to get a pay check. When I did work remotely, I found myself somehow being even less motivated and doing less work. If I had to identify key traits to figure out whether or not someone could work well remotely, I would probably try to understand their motivation level and their desire to grow, learn, and execute. But I guess that wouldn't be too far off from what I look for now when I interview.
1. work only possible in-office. (e.g. retail, hyper-secure jobs)
2. in-office 5 days a week (e.g. pre-pandemic office jobs)
3. in a remote office some weeks a year. (e.g. traveling consultants)
4. remote 1-4 days a week, in-office 1-4 days. (e.g. Google's hybrid pilot)
5. remote except for some weeks a year. (e.g. team visits or retreats)
6. WFH, shared work hours (e.g. working from the Americas)
7. remote async/time-zone independent (e.g. global digital nomad)
For instance, I can imagine that remote workers might attempt to move into a college campus amongst students, or if a college campus shut down for remote workers to move to it, and eventually for campuses that would be created for the sole purpose of hosting remote workers, that might be filled with 4+1's with more space for adults instead of dorm rooms. People who want a home could move close to campus instead of being on it.
This would give the people that need to be outside of their home a place to be, would give adults a nice shared third space. It would be filled with remote people from many companies, not one company per campus.
This is just one idea amongst many that are possible.
my employer has demanded that all US employees (over 30k of us) return to their respective office by the first week of August. no non-medical exceptions. and that is AFTER a full year of being told how successful we are holding the company together, and keeping the lights on for our customers, etc.
"working from home will stick" my white butt.
Companies that can make Work From Home (WFH) happen are ones that actually do something with their employees. Companies that are Asses in Seats (AIS) are companies that mostly do not have people that actually do something. This will vary by team and division in a company as well. Some managers that do not do as much 'real' work will want AIS more so than WFH, and it may change as projects come on and off the schedule. It's a spectrum.
The reason is emotional. AIS managers and companies feel that if they can see the employees working, getting coffee, hear the typing, etc, then their knowledge that no one is actually doing anything is calmed down. Their monkey brain gets a bit more quiet as they have a bit more 'cover' for their boss. 'Look, see, all my people are doing something. I know it's not really anything, but my boss may think it really is something. Phew!'
WFH managers know that their employees are really doing work and therefore aren't worried about the next promotion. Stuff actually does get done.
It's not the full reason, by any means, but I feel it accounts for some of the discrepancy.
All this is fine but what happens when in a team of 5, 1 person prefers WFH all the time and 2 want in office and others in-between. Its really awkward to have meetings where majority team is in a room white-boarding and one guy/gal joining in remote. Also the person working from home will miss a lot of ad-hoc conversations/corridor talk.
Offcourse all of the above does not matter if one's nature of job is not dependent on others to large extent and then that person can definitely wfh much more effectively.
I've been participating in such meetings ( me being remote, sometime others as well ) for the last 20 years. I find it great time and mental energy saver. Way less bullshit. At least from my experience.
I like this setup also, as "the office" could also be a villa on the coast of portugal where the team goes for face time
Not advice, just what happened. Definitely not for everyone.