Opportunity in adversity

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sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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This pandemic is going to have a lasting impact on city and suburban life. With so many people successfully working at home, it will be harder for employers to find a business reason for people to return to the office. Besides, they can reduce office space and save on rent. It also means employers can get great employees from across the country without uprooting families. Of course, apps like Zoom and Teams can't fully replicate in-person meetings and socialization.

With smaller offices, businesses may need to rely on outside conferencing facilities for their occasional in-person events. In fact, the reduction in rent expenses could increase the budget for such work functions. Given that many workers have never met each other in person, there could be a market for people to work as professional ice-breakers at these meetings. And who is better equipped to play that role than a DJ? Even better, these events could create mid-week income opportunities for DJs. It will be interesting to see if such a market develops and who jumps on this opportunity first.
 

rickryan.com

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You said a mouthful. Personally, I'm thinking this pandemic is forever more changing a lot of things; employment being a major item. In my own case, we've gone 100% remote work and everything I'm hearing is that we'll never return to the office again. I'm holding my breath that this stays permanent and that I'll be able to keep my employment in TN while living in AL. If the venue generates revenue like I expect in the next 24 months, all the better. Here's to the future and possibilities.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
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I don't think the professional Team Building industry will be facing any meaningful threat from former mobile DJs.

I also don't think working remotely will remain for anything but the scheduling and software sectors. The cost reductions come with a lagging but inevitable decline in the rate of productivity. This remote work trend is patently unhealthy long term and already domestic abuse, violence and divorce rates are skyrocketing. People need engagement with other people in real time and space.

The Capitol riots are not a case of insurrection or extremism - they are the logical reaction of a marginalized population. This notion of "condemning" the incident is no more useful than condemning tomorrow's sunrise. You can use fences, barb-wire, and the military to stem the tide, but the root causes remain and the waters will overtake the walls eventually. The short term gains of the market do not yet reflect the thinning walls of America's hollowed out industries and marginalized workers.

My assumptions about the return to an engaged workplace and social interaction however, presumes we return to a Constitutional Democratic form of governance. (We're kidding ourselves if we think there is an attempt to overthrow the government because the truth is - we already missed it. It happened while we were busy following Twitter feeds and condemning the hyper-speak du jour.) Those self-righteous calls for whatever it takes to restore peace and order - that's us blindly surrendering to a social plan we're not part of.

There is a huge push right now for some kind of Orwellian society - where the wealthy elite remotely tap society without having to actually care for or maintain any kind of real social structure. It's the internet age equivalent of the old workhouses and slums - only today, they have suburban street addresses. You don't need you're job back - you can learn to code! We can build high-density affordable housing! The service industry needs you!

There's actually a TED talk where some elite sociologist presents images from dystopian societies in India, Pakistan, and Malaysia - wealthy jewel cities occupied by the elite, fenced off from slums by 10ft high walls of waste and sewage where the supporting worker peasants live in squalor among tightly packed hut style houses. Its presented as highly efficient ideal solutions for a future world population - separating the lower classes to their supporting roles while freeing the productive intellectual elites to the task of advancing human achievement. It's mind boggling to watch this presentation as he essentially glorifies the societal efficiency of what are modern concentration camps.

The capitol is not "hallowed ground" - it's just a building, a monument to a one spell-bounding ideal. Do not let the mere image of an ideal supplant your own ideal of self-determination. Whatever the future of work will be - it should be your choice, not the directive of perception in an "unprecedented time."

My intuition is that democracy isn't in danger - it's already supplanted, and that we are already at war on a world scale. What we call technology or the space race is actually an arms race. Do you REALLY think the future of mankind is in outer-space where a single moments exposure to high gamma rays will turn you into a rotting pile of flesh from the inside out? Where there is no atmosphere, no water, no warmth, and no refuge across light years of distance? Do you REALLY believe the moon (which we've known since the late 60's is a dead rock) is a stepping stone to our colonization of the galaxy or is it more likely a strategic stronghold from which to oversee and defend a new world order?

Well, it's late - go get a good night's sleep! :)
 
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sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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I don't think the professional Team Building industry will be facing any meaningful threat from former mobile DJs.

I also don't think working remotely will remain for anything but the scheduling and software sectors. The cost reductions come with a lagging but inevitable decline in the rate of productivity. This remote work trend is patently unhealthy long term and already domestic abuse, violence and divorce rates are skyrocketing. People need engagement with other people in real time and space.
Nothing past this was really relevant to the topic of the thread but I hope you feel better for having gotten it off your chest.

I think you are confusing correlation and causation. The rise in domestic abuse and divorce you cite probably has a higher degree of correlation with the financial stress of unemployment and the lack of social outlets outside the home. To say the work from home trend is patently unhealthy is to completely overlook the unhealthy impact of 2+ hours a day workers face commuting to and from jobs in large cities. Working from home does not mean people can't and won't meet when needed. That is only a problem now due to the pandemic.

Some employees are definitely less productive at home. They need more structure and oversight. Others thrive at home. I spent 15 of the last 17 years working from home. I am way more productive in my home office. It is larger, quieter and has better lighting than any office setting I've worked in. I find applications like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Slack way more effective than traditional office phones and email. Other that work from home get distracted by kids, pets and their own lack of discipline. Maybe they don't have a proper office. It won't be for everyone or every job. However, it is myopic to think just two business sectors can thrive without an office.
 

Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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Nothing past this was really relevant to the topic of the thread but I hope you feel better for having gotten it off your chest.

I think you are confusing correlation and causation. The rise in domestic abuse and divorce you cite probably has a higher degree of correlation with the financial stress of unemployment and the lack of social outlets outside the home. To say the work from home trend is patently unhealthy is to completely overlook the unhealthy impact of 2+ hours a day workers face commuting to and from jobs in large cities. Working from home does not mean people can't and won't meet when needed. That is only a problem now due to the pandemic.
I think all those years of working form home has left you in a bubble. You seem to separate the world outside your window from the one in which you live.
Whether caused or correlated everything in play will change your existence even if they are not you're own personal issues.
 

sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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Potentially valid point. However, I have quite a bit of additional evidence to back my assertion. Here are two examples.

My current job was supposed to be an office job. Half the company works exclusively from home these days with no apparent reduction in productivity. The owner of the company has already announced this will continue after the pandemic. They have already downsized the office footprint to save on rent.

My brother's company is planning to move into 18 floors of skyscraper in Manhattan currently under construction. He is in charge of the technical infrastructure requirements for their business. They are now planning for occupancy to be significantly below half of what was initially predicted (due to WFH, not layoffs). They are also reconsidering their planned layout. Open spaces are now viewed as a health risk so they are looking at reconfiguring (more offices, greater spacing). He works with lots of Manhattan developers who are all telling him that other companies are doing the exact same thing.
 

Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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My current job was supposed to be an office job. Half the company works exclusively from home these days with no apparent reduction in productivity. The owner of the company has already announced this will continue after the pandemic. They have already downsized the office footprint to save on rent.
This is simply a state of status quo. In the short term people are doing their job and productivity appears to be maintained. In the long term, resources have been cut, interoperability limited, placing an effective ceiling over growth. It's like taking a game once played on an open field and placing it in a conduit - making organizations more rigid. Companies that once had the ability to economically and socially yield like aluminum may now perform more like brick or glass.

My brother's company is planning to move into 18 floors of skyscraper in Manhattan currently under construction. He is in charge of the technical infrastructure requirements for their business. They are now planning for occupancy to be significantly below half of what was initially predicted (due to WFH, not layoffs). They are also reconsidering their planned layout. Open spaces are now viewed as a health risk so they are looking at reconfiguring (more offices, greater spacing). He works with lots of Manhattan developers who are all telling him that other companies are doing the exact same thing.
This speaks mostly to New York rather than Covid. The company has chosen to yield it's fate to the fluctuating whim of politician's when it' best interest might be to leave the state and continue doing what it was already doing best.

______________
In both cases you describe one or more contractions of the business or organization which may or may not be reversible in the long term. While in lock-down the WFH employees have no where else to go, and nothing else to do. When that ceases to be the case the productivity you cite may not continue, and the companies may have foregone the resources and agility necessary to again adapt. These same conduits may become traps.
 

sawdust123

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You explain away everything that doesn't adhere to your preconceived notions. You haven't presented evidence though to support your opinions. It makes me wonder if you just look for reasons to keep your mind shut to new possibilities. WFH is not for every individual or industry. However, it does work for many.

The collaboration tools available now are better than ever. As a sales person I have visited hundreds of companies over the years. Rarely did any company have enough meeting rooms. The first 15 minutes of many meetings is wasted chasing out the rooms previous occupants, readjusting lighting, searching for outlets, figuring out how to plug into the room's AV resources, looking for extra chairs and waiting for attendees to walk across the building. Collaboration tools have mostly done away with these problems. I can now give a presentation via Teams or Zoom without waiting for a room and all attendees have a perfect view of it. They also show up on time since they never leave their desk. Impromptu internal meetings are now possible with people on opposite ends of the building, on different floors and those working from home with the same ease as a phone call but with much greater impact. You can even use the chat feature to share files and comments or the record feature to go back and listen to the meeting again.

There are some downsides. You can't read body language and multiple simultaneous talkers can produce garbled results. While you can share documents online, it is not the same as free-form white-board discussions and sticky-note collaborations. This is where in-person events still stand out. Collaboration tools will grow so the opportunity to enable on-person events may be short lived.
 

Scott Hanna

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Oct 25, 2006
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Like most things, the answer probably lies in the middle. Many companies have discovered that employees can work from home effectively. Does it mean everyone can? No.
Being in sales, nothing will completely replace face to face meetings. But video meetings can be a fantastic in tool. I credit my new Australian distributor’s success to video meetings with them and their customers.

A person I know says his company rents space in several buildings in the Cleveland area and spends $600,000 a month in rent. They pay more in other cities. Their leases are coming up this year and they expect to cut their office space in half and expect to get a better rate on the space they keep.
 
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Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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You explain away everything that doesn't adhere to your preconceived notions. You haven't presented evidence though to support your opinions. It makes me wonder if you just look for reasons to keep your mind shut to new possibilities. WFH is not for every individual or industry. However, it does work for many.

The collaboration tools available now are better than ever. As a sales person I have visited hundreds of companies over the years. Rarely did any company have enough meeting rooms. The first 15 minutes of many meetings is wasted chasing out the rooms previous occupants, readjusting lighting, searching for outlets, figuring out how to plug into the room's AV resources, looking for extra chairs and waiting for attendees to walk across the building. Collaboration tools have mostly done away with these problems. I can now give a presentation via Teams or Zoom without waiting for a room and all attendees have a perfect view of it. They also show up on time since they never leave their desk. Impromptu internal meetings are now possible with people on opposite ends of the building, on different floors and those working from home with the same ease as a phone call but with much greater impact. You can even use the chat feature to share files and comments or the record feature to go back and listen to the meeting again.

There are some downsides. You can't read body language and multiple simultaneous talkers can produce garbled results. While you can share documents online, it is not the same as free-form white-board discussions and sticky-note collaborations. This is where in-person events still stand out. Collaboration tools will grow so the opportunity to enable on-person events may be short lived.
You're projecting.

I know that "sales" is distinctly different from "presentations." If you're in the building looking for outlets and AV resources then the hard work of sales was already done by someone else. Presentations are given by engineers. The REAL salesperson is the one who got you through the door. Same principal applies to a Zoom presentation. Sales is about opening doors. Presentations are at best the second and third pitch.

Zoom meetings typically run too long because the communication is not truly interactive - it's a sequential exchange. The ideal WFH candidate is an information processor. That's why so of much customer service is outsourced around the world. If you're an engineer you may not need to be physically present to assess a certain applications or issues, but for an outside salesperson finding and converting leads is always a contact sport.
 

Jeff Romard

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Sep 4, 2006
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You're projecting.

I know that "sales" is distinctly different from "presentations." If you're in the building looking for outlets and AV resources then the hard work of sales was already done by someone else. Presentations are given by engineers. The REAL salesperson is the one who got you through the door. Same principal applies to a Zoom presentation. Sales is about opening doors. Presentations are at best the second and third pitch.

Zoom meetings typically run too long because the communication is not truly interactive - it's a sequential exchange. The ideal WFH candidate is an information processor. That's why so of much customer service is outsourced around the world. If you're an engineer you may not need to be physically present to assess a certain applications or issues, but for an outside salesperson finding and converting leads is always a contact sport.
I work in radio. Last summer my family had a Covid scare fortunately it turned out to be nothing but we were in quarantine for 2 weeks. I was dropped off a small case with a laptop, Ipod, Irig and a microphone and worked from home. I attended all meetings by phone/Zoom it was like having a vacation where I got up early every day.

All our programming and promotions meetings are done by phone now with our head office they are all shorter and to the point as opposed to 10 minutes of chatter and the problems Sawdust described. Most times I attend meetings in my truck on the way home before I get home the meeting is over

There's very little that can't be done offsite IF you hire the right people
 
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Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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All of your assessments are being projected while still in lock down with everyone subject to same leveling conditions.

Eventually, this will end and the reality of more effective personal responsiveness an physical presence in real world competitive conditions will have you singing a different tune.
 

IceBurghDJ

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Apr 17, 2015
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Much will still be done from home - cheaper for the company to do it that way.

Will the lockdown allow homeworkers to be 'less' productive? Right now you don't have many options but stay in and work, right?

What about the social aspect? I've been home based for over 15 years and while I've adjusted, there is no substitue for going out for coffee, lunch, meeting for breakfast, going for drinks after work with your co workers.

That of course is offset by a HUGE reduction in loafing and gossiping, right? Fewer workplace romances, brown nosing, etc.

So will that make for better, more loyal happy employees? Or will some leave for in-office jobs, or will every job and company culture be the same, so less loyalty?
 

IceBurghDJ

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I don't know how they measure it - but from what I"ve seen on several new stories is people working from home are actually working LONGER hours than when they were in the office - of course that is offset by the commute.

In the past few weeks I've dealt with several people from godaddy, UPMC (health insurance), Aetna health insurance, Dollar Savings Bank, teh state of pa (2 departments), and several customers all are working from home.

I have talked to a few that are in the office...but only when I call the office...if I call some 800 number I'm always sent to someone at home - either they mention it, I hear a cat/kid/dog and ask, or it comes up in teh coversation.

Apparent...ok.
 

djrox

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Aug 12, 2006
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I don't know how they measure it - but from what I"ve seen on several new stories is people working from home are actually working LONGER hours than when they were in the office - of course that is offset by the commute.
They may be logging longer hours but I doubt their productivity is increasing.

...I hear a cat/kid/dog and ask, or it comes up in teh coversation.
Sounds like a truly professional productive environment. I bet you hear television shows, children playing and lots of other sounds that indicate produtivity.

In case you missed it, ^IRONY ABOVE^