• WFH and Passenger Rail (Throw In Airlines)

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by mtuandrew
 
It's an interesting turning point for corporations: either have their employees come to the office and work at 100% of potential, or work from home (or coffeeshops, libraries, coworking spaces, or part-time at the office) at perhaps 95% of capacity while subsidizing the corporation through much lower rent cost. Were I running a corporation and looking to reduce fixed costs, I'd opt to send people home with laptops, cell phones, and an internet subsidy in order to save the costs on everything from insurance to food service. (I'd subsidize their rent/property tax and office supplies too, and the Board would probably oust me as CEO because I have my employees' best interest at heart rather than the hard bottom line :-) )
  by eolesen
 
Coming into the office is actually *less* productive all things considered. There's no water-cooler conversation, no leaving for lunch, and arguably people aren't late or leaving early because of public transportation schedules.

What I've experienced with WFH is people are online early and hang around later, partially to remain visible but also because you can start to feel somewhat detached without some interactive conversation. We had an impromptu staff meeting one night well after closing hours because everyone happened to be watching our group chat in MS Teams, and a couple jokes from two of the on-call people started to light up everyone else's phones. Now we're doing that a couple times a week for gossip and rumor control. Doubt we'd be doing that if everyone was in the office.

Few companies have the ability to jettison real estate quickly. Some NYC based companies are indeed looking at not renewing space when it comes up, and I suspect you'll see the same in other big cities. So the loser in all this may be public transit. The winner will be people like me a few years away from retirement possibly having the ability to leave a high cost of living (and high impact from future pandemics?) area, go somewhere with lower costs and still be able to be working for the same company. Working with an Illinois company and living in central Tennessee or Texas would more than make up for tax hikes that are bound to happen and the salary cuts some of us are facing for years to come.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
If New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg's say becomes reality, all will be "back to normal" - including commuter rail:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/17/opin ... d=em-share

Fair Use:
The office, for the foreseeable future, is dead. Google and Facebook are telling employees they can work remotely until 2021. Twitter is allowing employees to work from home “forever.” A number of big banks are contemplating never fully refilling their office towers in Manhattan. Last week, my colleague Matthew Haag wrote a thoroughly depressing story in which the chief executive of Halstead Real Estate asked him point blank: “Looking forward, are people going to want to crowd into offices?”

Call me crazy, but I’m still thinking: Yes. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. The modern office may be the target of bleak caricature — the lighting is bad, the meetings are long, the only recourse to boredom is filching a colleague’s stapler and embalming it in lemon Jell-O (if you work at Dunder Mifflin). But over the coming months, I suspect that those of us who spent most of our careers in offices will grow to miss them.
I'm with Mr. Olesen; for had the WFH option ever been offered to me, I'd grab it like that; get twice done in half the time.
  by JayBee
 
Of course most of the jobs you all are describing are "White Collar". How does that work for Doctor's and Nurses, Schoolteachers/childcare, Waitresses and Cooks, Store Clerks and Factory workers, Janitors and other cleaners, etc.? What happens to the Tourism and Travel Industry, will people take "Virtual Tours" using their TV, Computers, or Virtual Reality headsets?
  by Tadman
 
I WFH a lot and understand the shortcomings.

The pontificators have been saying "it's never going to be the same", partially because they have 10x the bandwidth they once had and need to say something that gets attention. They are all looking to "create a brand", get some clicks, and stand above the noise.

Frankly all it's doing is creating more noise.
  by SouthernRailway
 
I would expect that a lot of jobs where you can work from home--such as mine--will be part-WFH, part-office-based. Companies are investing heavily in remote technology now and I don't see them throwing that investment away, particularly if employees like working from home and are just as productive. Most days, I am more productive working from home. But the parts of my job that require face time--pitching to clients, in-person meetings, etc.--are key, even if they are only a minority of my working hours. So I figure that some jobs will be partially in the office, partially from home, even after the pandemic.

Meetings that don't have to be in person will be heading to Zoom, though.

I expect that Amtrak and airlines will be affected somewhat in the long term, but business travel isn't going away for good.

I think that if and when we have a coronavirus vaccine, we ought to revisit this topic.
  by STrRedWolf
 
SouthernRailway wrote: Wed May 20, 2020 7:59 am I would expect that a lot of jobs where you can work from home--such as mine--will be part-WFH, part-office-based. Companies are investing heavily in remote technology now and I don't see them throwing that investment away, particularly if employees like working from home and are just as productive. Most days, I am more productive working from home. But the parts of my job that require face time--pitching to clients, in-person meetings, etc.--are key, even if they are only a minority of my working hours. So I figure that some jobs will be partially in the office, partially from home, even after the pandemic.

Meetings that don't have to be in person will be heading to Zoom, though.

I expect that Amtrak and airlines will be affected somewhat in the long term, but business travel isn't going away for good.

I think that if and when we have a coronavirus vaccine, we ought to revisit this topic.
I'm a bit of the reverse. I can work from home, but it's not optimal. At work I have three screens to pour source code and documentation over, I can get up and talk to coworkers in different departments if they have problems with the monitoring system (since I'm essentially it's admin), the commute is by rail and I can get a bit of walking on to get some exercise. I can hunker down and work. At home, I'm more than likely to distract myself... and that slows down work. I also have to deal that I can "remote desktop" into my work PC, but it's only one screen (due to Windows licensing).

No, I want to come into the office. I miss the commute. We're already using Zoom for meetings with an off-shore group. We're already using Slack to talk to each other. We replaced our firewall to handle all the VPN traffic (yes, I was there for that). And yes, we were already "working from home" on deployment nights. Now it's ALL THE TIME. This new normal stinks.
  by eolesen
 
When we went to WFH, we were allowed to bring our monitors home, so I've got three at home right now...
  by daybeers
 
eolesen wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 12:24 am When we went to WFH, we were allowed to bring our monitors home, so I've got three at home right now...
Oooo nice! Jealous!

I agree that post-pandemic, it will be a balance between WFH and in-person. I think we will see much more widespread adoption of A/B days or 2x/week in the office, and business travel will have a noticeable dip. However, there are certainly jobs where WFH is simply not possible (most essential jobs), or where WFH is less productive or less applicable.

Let's be real here, a lot of behavior is going to change for a lot of people. The world hasn't seen a virus outbreak this widespread and life-changing in over 100 years. But it won't change forever.
  by STrRedWolf
 
eolesen wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 12:24 am When we went to WFH, we were allowed to bring our monitors home, so I've got three at home right now...
I got three on my main Linux rig, two on my Windows rig. Both the Win10 PC and my work Win10 PC have Windows 10 Pro on them... but multi-screen RDP only works on Win10 Enterprise or Ultimate. I'm not licensed for it.

Besides, I like the psychological buffer that train ride provides.
  by Tadman
 
I tried to setup a three-screen but go the "NO" from our house decorating committeee, which consists of the girlfriend and the dog. I've since tried to rent a climate controlled storage unit as an office but can't get good cell. cripe... I'm ready to go back to my office.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Tadman wrote: Wed May 27, 2020 12:17 pm I tried to setup a three-screen but go the "NO" from our house decorating committeee, which consists of the girlfriend and the dog. I've since tried to rent a climate controlled storage unit as an office but can't get good cell. cripe... I'm ready to go back to my office.
It makes you wonder about how big those cabooses are... and turning one into an office. :)