The grand experiment

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DOUG  By Guest Blogger Doug Rowat
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“How much longer will work from home be a thing?”In a year that’s featured a global pandemic, a global recession and the ensuing onset of massive market volatility and the fastest bear market in history, you would think that the questions from our clients would only revolve around their finances and portfolios. Indeed, such questions are frequent, but surprisingly, what I’m most often asked is simply: when will work from home finally end?

There is, of course, no certain answer to this question and the asking of it is usually based on entirely different motivations—one client may ask because they can’t stand the daily grind of their kids invading their makeshift home office like the zombies scaling the walled city in World War Z, while other clients ask because they simply love sitting in their pajamas at 3 pm not having showered for days. But either way, the desire for an opinion on the future of work from home remains strong.

First, it’s important to be aware of who’s actually able to work from home. According to StatsCan, only about four in 10 Canadian workers have this flexibility. As you would expect, labour-intensive industries such as mining, manufacturing or construction have limited work-from-home opportunities. Similarly, industries that require plenty of face-to-face interaction such as health care or food services face similar work-from-home difficulties. Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.

So, when we speak of working from home, we’re mainly talking about knowledge workers with computer-based jobs. Generally speaking, the more your job strays from this model (a job that requires physical labour, frequent travel or close social contact, for instance) the more the opportunity to work from home diminishes:

Telework* capacity by province and industry

Click to enlarge Source StatsCan; Telework and work from home are used interchangeably by StatsCan

Incidentally, you could reasonably invert this chart if you were ranking worker fortitude and bravery, meaning that the milquetoast finance guys, such as myself, who presently reside at the top of the chart and work away on their laptops from the safety of their back decks are, admittedly, wimps. Labourers and frontline workers put us to shame.

However, in estimating how long work from home may last, it’s the knowledge-based industries that we’re mainly addressing. For financial-service workers in particular, there’s a sense across Bay Street that we’re not returning to the office until the spring of 2021 at the earliest. Anecdotal evidence, along with the official announcements thus far from the big banks, support this:

Canadian banks are saying your home is your workplace until 2021

Source: Bloomberg

At the moment, the primary factors driving the work-from-home decisions at the big banks (I sincerely hope) are worker safety and a responsible desire to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, the longer this goes on, estimating a return to the office may not be based simply on the probability of an infection, but rather on pure economics.

Working from home has been a grand experiment. And the main unknown for employers has been whether productivity would suffer. However, early results seem to indicate that employers have been reasonably satisfied with remote-worker productivity and the majority of these workers themselves also report being more productive. Will this last? Who knows, but what’s not in dispute is the immediate cost savings that this work-from-home arrangement is providing corporations.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, a research firm that studies the future of our working world, work-from-home initiatives during the Covid-19 crisis are saving US employers more than US$30 billion per day. Global Workplace notes that corporations may save more than US$500 billion per year in real estate, electricity, absenteeism and turnover costs alone. This doesn’t even include money saved on utilities, janitorial services, security, maintenance, office equipment and furniture, office supplies, parking spaces and travel subsidies.

The absolute cost-saving numbers would be smaller in Canada, of course, but the source of the savings would be identical. And don’t think for one second that companies, including our big banks, aren’t crunching these numbers. Web-conferencing, cloud technologies, secure laptops, WiFi and so on are allowing our working world to be reshaped in unexpected ways during this crisis. And when technology changes our world, the first to figure out how to save a few bucks are always the corporations. When was the last time, for instance, that you didn’t speak to a bot when you called your bank?

So, you may be perfectly happy sitting in your Ikea home-office, half-dressed and struggling with your Zoom connection, but there’s a good chance that your employer is perfectly happy to have you sitting there too.

Doug Rowat, FCSI® is Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments and Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

 

144 comments ↓

#1 Dharma Bum on 08.22.20 at 9:00 am

Working from home = Effing the Dee

#2 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.22.20 at 9:10 am

Interesting.
I wonder how much less pollution there is due to reduced traffic.
Less car accidents and injuries.
Etc. etc.etc.
Fewer commuters will also mean fewer gate receipts for public transit, less fuel sold, less customers at Tim’s, etc etc etc.
Work from home is here to stay.
I guess we’ll see the ramifications of this play out in the next few years.

#3 Jake on 08.22.20 at 9:13 am

Productivity long term, who knows if the work-from-home stress-free benefits of not commuting will be offset by the mental anxiety of always having to be “on” for work and for some the loneliness of being holed up and lack of physical human interaction.

#4 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.22.20 at 9:19 am

@#237 Byter the Snow Dog
“PS- Do you ever smile? You suck at pictures!”

+++++

Nah he’s just worried he’d look like you trying to smile….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAJ7Xn5vndk

#5 Danforth on 08.22.20 at 9:21 am

I’ve been working from home for 18 years or so, and this is really common in the Tech sector.

In my observation, employers haven’t differentiated compensation levels between In-Office vs. Remote workers, for similar work.

The cost savings in shedding some real estate cost for office space is obvious, that’s low hanging fruit.

The unknown here is whether employers will put a squeeze on salaries of new hires, with the argument that the worker doesn’t incur commuting/wardrobe/lunch/daycare costs like an in-office worker, and therefore gets paid a bit less.

I won’t be surprised if this spins out of this larger re-calibration we’re seeing.

#6 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 9:32 am

Whatever happened to Victoria Real Estate Update?
VREU where are you?
Did you buy a place?
Maybe somewhere in Florida I bet, I remember you used to post a lot of links for homes in Florida.

I tried emailing Smokey a few weeks ago, haven’t heard nothing back from him.

#7 Chilliwack worker on 08.22.20 at 9:33 am

I have been working at home for 12 years now, and have a client list across USA, South Africa and South America. I converted a large room with a deck into my office and set up 3 work areas in it. I spend 10-12 hours a day in it and my family lives on above me. Wouldn’t change this for the world.

Income has tripled since I made the decision never to work for a company again, and the pay is all in US dollars. I leave the house once a week at most, so social distancing has not been an issue.

The virus has meant longer hours, endless work and now with what is going on here, forcing a decision to relocate to escape the inevitable punishment ahead for making too much. Not sure the govt will see this till it is too late.

This is not a short term trend… I am helping financial advisors sell and meet online, teachers and educators teach, seminar companies transition to online as examples. All are growing through this.

Embrace the future, it is liberating.

#8 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 9:46 am

While the ‘mechanics’ of home office (zoom and other tech support) work for many home office arrangements, for some industries other concerns remain. If highly personal and confidential financial information can be viewed in tiny basement offices across the land by’who knows who else’ in addition to the employee of the firm, it creates a security concern.
These companies all have security protocols and training, but the ‘rigour’ will likely break down when professional and personal lives merge.
Password access to sensitive systems could get into the wrong hands by careless employees. Seems like a heavenly opportunity for people with bad intentions, and despite the protestations of many they do walk among us and burglarize homes. They could even be family members. Transparency suffers. You can argue that there are consequences for those employees, but the horse already left the barn on confidentiality and security for the customer. Talk to a person who has experienced identity theft. The trauma remains intact.

Transparency failure also happens when individuals or whole departments are ‘disappeared’ with no notice to other employees. Explanations are usually forthcoming when a cubicle suddenly sits empty, but with remote work not so much. Companies are already implementing additional surveillance methods on home office such as counting key strokes, screen shots, and that will only get ramped up to make sure bums are in seats and not at the golf course. Prepare for your GPS micro chip insertion. Personally I like the idea of a separation of ‘church and state’.
Call me old fashioned, but there is something refreshingly normal about the discipline of getting up early in the morning, polishing up one’s appearance, and bravely going out to face the world, the eyes and smiles of colleagues, strangers, and new adventures. Consider the damage cell phones have already had on human interactions. Mercy.

#9 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 9:49 am

p.s. Where did the Instagram photos go?

#10 MF on 08.22.20 at 9:56 am

I’ve worked from home a few times in the past and thought it was the greatest thing ever. Productivity up. Sleep up. Mood up. Savings up. Healthy behaviours up.

The only negative is the lack of face to face connection. But technologies like Zoom are making that less of an issue.

Everyone I know who is lucky enough to work from home is loving it. I’m expecting this trend to continue indefinitely. Too many positives for both employee and employer to ignore, and the technology will only improve further.

MF

#11 Flop... on 08.22.20 at 9:57 am

“Incidentally, you could reasonably invert this chart if you were ranking worker fortitude and bravery, meaning that the milquetoast finance guys, such as myself, who presently reside at the top of the chart and work away on their laptops from the safety of their back decks are, admittedly, wimps. Labourers and frontline workers put us to shame.”-Doug

////////////////

Hey Robax, don’t be too hard on yourself.

I’ve been working on site throughout this saga, no one gets a medal for getting sick.

Construction, as you said, limited options, there has been work available, I have gone.

In my mind, it’s not the work from home people that are wimps it’s the people that refuse to do any work, anywhere.

What good does that do society?

Also in your post you touched on savings to companies, but not the money pumped into the economy by people commuting.

People working from home don’t need to go to the gas station, maybe grab a sandwich from a cafe, and if your having a bad day something could happen to your car that might need replacing.

Also as far as government collections are concerned, wonder what the hit to road tolls and paid parking is going to do to the coffers long term.

The roads were pretty empty in April and May but it seems back to normal for this time of year around here, but I don’t go downtown much.

Anyway, I cracked a keg to celebrate Garth and Dorothy’s occasion and I’m only half done.

Maybe I’ll be at home Monday when I’m supposed to be at work…

M46BC

#12 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 10:03 am

Front page of the National Post has Chrystia and Justin in an embrace. Hand me my smelling salts, please.
Is it just me that thinks she looks and sounds like Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory.
ok, three posts. Must be my quota. I’m out.

#13 Celine on 08.22.20 at 10:07 am

great post Doug. Thank you. Corporate RE is a huge cost indeed – in the knowledge based area typically second only to staff costs. I expect there will be many examples of work from home being part of the workplace strategies of the future. This would range from full-time at home to a prescribed split between the office and home. Mobile workplace programs have been around for a long while (unassigned seating) but have also seen a lot of resistance to adoption. It seems, there is more acceptance of alternative workplace strategies now that we have evidence that productivity can be maintained within an acceptable range. Corporate culture and team cohesion are also highly important for productivity. Many in the field of CRE see the office being part of the picture even if just to bring staff together on occasion for these purposes.

#14 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:11 am

“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.

#15 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:19 am

On top of my previous comments, the patronizing of the front line workers and the self deprication for people who can work from home commentary is not good.

Not your best work, Doug. You’re usually much better at this. Not even much content on work from home other than a few anecdotes and big banks.

How about the impact to commercial real estate in the core, condos, urban flight, etc.? That’s good stuff.

#16 Alain jeansonne on 08.22.20 at 10:20 am

See …. getting an education is good.
Kids can continue living in mom’s basement and get a paycheck.
Socializing skills not required.

#17 Flop... on 08.22.20 at 10:23 am

#12 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 10:03 am
Front page of the National Post has Chrystia and Justin in an embrace. Hand me my smelling salts, please.
Is it just me that thinks she looks and sounds like Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory.

///////////////////////

Morning Jag.

When I saw Chrystia throwing the tresses around the other day, I knew exactly who she reminded me of.

Miss Piggy had the same hair and swagger.

The only thing to work out is Kermit The Frog, Justin Trudeau, or is it Canada itself she is about to karate chop.

Hiiiiyaaaa…

M46BC

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qfJiPPsHJEQ

#18 MF on 08.22.20 at 10:37 am

8 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 9:46

You are old fashioned, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s all about the pros versus cons.

Productivity is what is measured most now, and it doesn’t matter if it comes from a computer in an office or at home. Getting up and getting dressed is an important activity, but it has no bearing on productivity for many industries. People will still do that, but there will more likely be a blend of work from home and going to the office moving forward. This will tilt more and more towards home work as technology improves though.

The stress of getting up earlier, choosing (and paying for) a wardrobe, trying to catch the ttc bus, being around weirdos, exposing yourself to all kinds of pollutants and germs outside, eating unhealthy food, and paying for it all to get to work and do the same thing you can do at home is nothing but a detriment to one’s health and can be done away with. It also lessons productivity. Oh yeah, and workplace distractions like coworker disagreements/romance/harassment etc. are lessened too.

This is in addition to the multitude of financial benefits Doug mentioned.

There are just too many pros.

On the issue of security, a rogue employee has always been a concern. Doesnt matter if it is in the office or not. The risk will always be present. To sophisticated hackers it doesn’t matter where people are physically working, the network is what is targeted anyways.

MF

#19 hamish42 on 08.22.20 at 10:38 am

I have done the WFH for a few years now, and I think that the honeymoon period for this will end soon. It is one thing to maintain a business when everyone is remote for a few weeks, but trying to change it or grow it will be impossible. How do you on-board people and grow the corporate culture when no-one ever meets in person?? My fear is that a large number of those working from home are about to get chopped.

#20 Tripp on 08.22.20 at 10:54 am

My organization started to contemplate WFH a decade ago, and implemented it on some departments timidly, with control measures and performance indicators in place. This was generated mostly by a lack of trust in the employees, although physical presence at the office is no guarantee of performance and productivity.

After being sent home mid-March, we needed few weeks to adjust (especially the IT fine-tuning the VPN) and now it’s business as usual for 80-90% of us who are still at home. Personally I have fewer distractions than at the office and I am greatly appreciating the decrease in the reports, studies and other paperwork that was always suspected to have little contribution to our organization’s capacity to deliver.

The sudden move left no room to ambiguity and we all had to adapt in real time. Overall, I believe it has been a success and should be offered as an alternative, at least partially, even after the restrictions will be lifted.

If we had to change in an organized manner, it would have taken a year of planning and we would have botched it anyways. Sometimes it’s good to just pursue a goal and adapt on the way, rather than have endless meetings and risk assessments leading to very little progress.

#21 JacqueShellacque on 08.22.20 at 11:02 am

Before the Wu Flu, I had the best of both worlds – WFH 3 days a week, and chose to go into the office twice a week to see and mingle with real people rather than meeting screens. Like everything else, WFH has pros and cons, but the reports on the demise of the office is premature. People still need to meet up, there will still be infrastructure required to do business that has to live somewhere other than someone’s guest bedroom, etc. I think a good way to fleece those companies who think they’ll never need a real office will be to rent office space with provision allowing for subletting, then wait for desperate suckers who suddenly are forced to realize that centralized, collaborative activity (ie, business) often require people to actually be together in the same place.

#22 Harold Oates on 08.22.20 at 11:15 am

DELETED

#23 David l tindall on 08.22.20 at 11:21 am

It is time that the wimps stood up to their employers and said no if we are going to work from home you are going to pay us rent. Nothing is free in this world. So don’t think you are going to get away with this. This goes to show just how much power the elites have over all of us slaves. No more!! The revolution is about to begin so get off your cuffs and stand up for yourselves!

#24 TurnerNation on 08.22.20 at 11:24 am

Trading desks are populating on Bay St again –I’ve been told directly. The team and open communication atmosphere is key they said.

Parents I speak with are outraged at what children will be put through during school.
Enough of the New System already. Even my medical professional stopped playing along as they tell you in private.
This is a global attack on children and their minds make no mistake .
The veil has dropped. As a blog dog mentioned the other day Big Tech – aka fang etc – is bent on capturing and manipulating kid’s minds.
Netflix keeps pushing boundaries with them.

The New System is one of inversion. Every system we trusted has been turned against us.
There’s no science only fear. No education only brainwashing.

#25 wallflower on 08.22.20 at 11:38 am

#8 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 9:46 am

Since you asked, “You are old fashioned.”
Spent the last 22 years working from home.
Retired as a WFH.
Easy transition!!!!!!!

#26 conan on 08.22.20 at 11:41 am

I assume that 500 billion dollar savings assumes these fortune 500 companies do not renew their commercial leases? What does that do, it can not be good.
WHO now saying we have 2 years of this mask and distancing left.

#27 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 11:45 am

#3 Jake on 08.22.20 at 9:13 am

Productivity long term, who knows if the work-from-home stress-free benefits of not commuting will be offset by the mental anxiety of always having to be “on” for work and for some the loneliness of being holed up and lack of physical human interaction.

According to a recent buffer.com report, 19% of remote workers do cite loneliness as their biggest problem. But perhaps the US$4,000/year that the average remote worker is likely to save will allow them to go on more dates.

Regardless, as someone who spent 6 months spraying hot glue in an office furniture factory, employee job satisfaction isn’t necessarily a corporation’s top priority. Many workers may just have to get used to it.

–Doug

#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

Well, speaking directly for my 24-person engineering firm: we find WFH only works effectively for maybe 20% of the people. The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.

So everybody back to the office. Here’s hoping the competition keeps doing WFH.

#29 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 11:56 am

#15 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:19 am

Not your best work, Doug. You’re usually much better at this. Not even much content on work from home other than a few anecdotes and big banks.

No? Well, Meat Loaf tells me that two out of three ain’t bad. Get on with your Saturday.

–Doug

#30 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 12:04 pm

Let’s examine this case study of my office’s monthly accounting.

We have 4,200 sf of office space that triple nets out around $11k/month. Revenues are $300k+ per month, workspaces $6k each all in one-time cost. Payroll $160k.

Everything except payroll is insignificant.

#31 Ponzius Pilatus on 08.22.20 at 12:17 pm

#18 MF
Oh yeah, and workplace distractions like coworker disagreements/romance/harassment etc. are lessened too.
——————
Oh come on, this is one of the main reason why people go to work. The anticipation before opening the office entrance, priceless!
As John Prine (RIP) sang:
“how the hell can a person
go to work in the morning
and come home in the evening
And has nothing to say”

#32 Sunny Days on 08.22.20 at 12:25 pm

“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.

-———————————————————————————————

Agree 100%. If you are under 65 and healthy you have a 99% chance of survival. If you are sick and or elderly you have a 96% chance of survival. Those are fantastic odds. If you get sick, regardless of your age or health, I will bet my house and entire net worth you survive. I will take those odds anywhere anytime in life. Doctors office, poker table, stock market you name it.
If you genuinely believe that you will be one of the 1 percent that die from this thing then you need to stay hiding under your bed forever. You can’t risk driving to the store for groceries or walking the dog. There’s a far higher chance you will die in a car accident.

I have an autoimmune disease. I have a 96% chance of survival. Fantastic odds.

This morning on the (taxpayer funded) Coronavirus Broadcasting (crown) Corporation there was a headline that read something along the lines of “ what you need to know about coronavirus today”. The picture accompanying the headline was of a line of freshly dug unmarked graves. Talk about fear mongering…

#33 Better off homeless than a homeowner on 08.22.20 at 12:35 pm

Is it me or anyone working from home right now is a future potential unemployed due to outsourcing?

Why should employers pay someone 50k+ a year when someone in India can do the exact same job for 7k or less?

#34 dogwhistle on 08.22.20 at 12:40 pm

#29 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 11:56 am

No? Well, Meat Loaf tells me that two out of three ain’t bad. Get on with your Saturday.

–Doug

—————————————————–

I much prefer a socially non distanced Paradise by the dashboard lights.

#defundtheCRA

#35 dogwhistle on 08.22.20 at 12:42 pm

#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

“The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.”

—————————————————-

So no longer collecting corporate CERB?

#36 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 12:45 pm

I reckon with all those cost savings the financial industry should be able to pass on those savings to their investors through lower mers and fees. This could be diverted to all the extra taxes we are going to be faced with going forward.

I guess the work from home also applies to our prime minister and his cabinet as well since they were able to make all those great decisions on spending with little opposition. What’s not to like?

Same with realtors. Look at the money they’ve saved working from home. Can we expect lower commissions from this group?

#37 I believe everything on television on 08.22.20 at 12:45 pm

10 years.
But some remote jobs that can be done in St Catharines and Barrie can be done from Bombay .
Health and safety are the smoke screen
Experiment? maybe. It looks like structural change, ‘Mark Windows on the world’ in his podcasts says its an ‘exercise’. But it’s a move to Communitarianism-Technocrcay and a global health ‘security’ system.

The politicians will never come clean, with them its only the smoke screen- , 3M, a 50billion multi national just got 50 million from T2 and Ford, while the small businesses got ordered out of business.
In 416 the condo construction and cranes are full steam ahead. If you want an example of a communitarian ‘word salad’ here’s one-

https://torontofoundation.ca/vitalsigns/

#38 Dolce Vita on 08.22.20 at 12:48 pm

Look at the bright side, Cannabis WAY UP with all this work from home and apparently, depression virus “gone, gone” RELIEF just a few tokes away.

StatCan June 2019 to June 2020:

Retail Trade Cannabis Stores +119.3%

Wholesale Sales Cannabis +106.5%

———————-

June 2020 Retail Trade EXCELLENT news:

June vs. May 2020 +23.7%

…drum roll

June 2019 to June 2020 +3.8%

Not your eyes, that’s a PLUS sign. Hole filled in.

The Little Economy that Could (and Does) EVEN if there’s a little smoke in the laundry room.

———————-

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200821/t002a-eng.htm

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200819/t001a-eng.htm

#39 @learn2investkid.com on 08.22.20 at 12:57 pm

We will find out when schools and daycares open full time. Many parents right have no choice but to stay home with their kids. Once kids are taken care of then you will see how many people want to return to an office or worksite. The problem with working from home is your day never ends and most of us like interacting with other people and eating out.

#40 Dolce Vita on 08.22.20 at 12:58 pm

28 Sail Away

The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work*.

*June 2019 to June 2020 Cannabis:

Retail 119.3%
Wholesale +106.5%

#41 T on 08.22.20 at 12:58 pm

I’m going to have to burst everyone’s work from home bubble.

Culture and productivity suffer immensely. At first this experiment appeared to work until companies needed to hire and promote. What the data is showing is without the office culture, new hires and those promoted to management are having challenges fitting in and ramping up. In terms of hiring or promoting to management, productivity is being lost amongst entire teams.

Web conferencing works as a stop gap measure but it doesn’t replace the face-to-face meetings and social aspects of working together in the same physical space.

I know of several small to enterprise IT businesses that have let their entire workforce know they will be requiring everyone to come back into the office once the ‘all clear’ is given – and to prepare. One, in particular, has gone as far to tell previously remote employees they will be expected to work from the office as well.

#42 truefacts on 08.22.20 at 1:16 pm

Doug,

I usually like your writings and thoughts, but please dial down the melodrama.

“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

The actual stats don’t show high risk to people of working age. The ones in danger live in long-term care facilities…

#43 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 1:18 pm

#17 Flop

Your best one yet Flopsy.

#44 Bytor the Snow Dog on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

Hi Doug- If they can pay one to work from home, why can’t they pay one to work from home doing that same job for a lot less in, for example, India?

#45 T on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

#29 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 11:56 am
#15 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:19 am

Not your best work, Doug. You’re usually much better at this. Not even much content on work from home other than a few anecdotes and big banks.

No? Well, Meat Loaf tells me that two out of three ain’t bad. Get on with your Saturday.

–Doug

————

I have to agree with Toronto_CA. Not much research here. Hopefully you aren’t advising your clients that wfh is here to stay as it’s not.

#46 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

#14 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:11 am
“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.
———————————————————–
Totally agree and at 74 am one in the supposed risk zone and I have never been afraid of this thing from the beginning. I and many others saw if for what it was. Totally getting sick of the fearmongering which can be attributed to our new media talking heads. Pathetic bunch. If you think things are bad now just wait another few weeks when the regular flu season is upon us. It will be a real sh#t show. Already starting here in BC with threats of fines and policing. Young people are not going to put up with this much longer. We are such bunch of sheep.

#47 KNOW IT ALL on 08.22.20 at 1:55 pm

Don’t you think it would be difficult to TRAIN new young employees in this type of environment who don’t really have any relatable work experience?

I guess only time will tell.

#48 CEW9 on 08.22.20 at 1:57 pm

A major issue with ‘working from home’ that you don’t hear much about is outsourcing.

If your job can be done remotely, there’s a good chance it can be done remotely from overseas at a reduced cost.

#49 jess on 08.22.20 at 2:05 pm

zombie debt

sidesteppers and off ramping
word play : modifiers — “lender,” redefining “lender.”

https://www.responsiblelending.org/media/comment-cfpb-consumer-and-civil-rights-organizations-urge-agency-ban-collection-time-barred
Payday lenders are planning to evade the CFPB’s rule. Evidence shows that payday lenders are making plans to evade the CFPB’s rule, as they have evaded so many other laws. A transcript obtained by a news organization from the March 2016 annual conference of the industry trade group, Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) offers insights into these plans.146

They include consideration of:
1.Avoiding the scope in its entirety by:a.claiming the loan is a retail installment sale, potentially using kiosks in stores for borrowers to purchase products. This “product” could even be a prepaid card, whereby the consumer buys money on credit
.b.partnering with large employers that can offer cash advances as a consumer benefit and assert the product is not “consumer lending.”
c.“grandfathering in” longer-term lines of credit by establishing them before the effective date of the rule

.2.Evading the ability-to-repay determination requirements by:

a.misrepresenting recurring utility costs thanks to “wiggle room” in the proposal; for example, the lender could have the borrower sign an affidavit saying they will cancel their $150 cable bill as soon as he leaves the store, and then remove that $150 costs in the ability-to-repay determination.

b.renting out co-signers, whereby the lender establishes an affiliated third-party that serves as a guarantor on the loan, in exchange for a fee from the borrower.

c.encouraging borrowers to find individuals as co-signers;it is unclear to what extent lenders expect to have to determine those co-signers’ ability-to-repay.

3.Evading the provisions for short-term loans by shifting to longer-term loans, noting that profits will take a little longer, but lenders will make a similar product.
4.Shifting to other products like pawn and rent-to-own

https://www.responsiblelending.org/sites/default/files/nodes/files/research-publication/crl_payday_comment_oct2016.pdf

ILCs are FDIC-insured, state-chartered institutions that can generally engage in the full range of banking activities, such as taking deposits and making loans. But unlike banks, their parent companies are not subject to the Bank Holding Company Act, which means those companies are not subject to any federal supervision, regulations or standards. For this reason, there has historically been considerable opposition to the charter, and both Congress and the FDIC have placed temporary moratoria on ILCs.

#50 Don Guillermo on 08.22.20 at 2:06 pm

#31 Ponzius Pilatus on 08.22.20 at 12:17 pm
#18 MF
Oh yeah, and workplace distractions like coworker disagreements/romance/harassment etc. are lessened too.
——————
Oh come on, this is one of the main reason why people go to work. The anticipation before opening the office entrance, priceless!
As John Prine (RIP) sang:
“how the hell can a person
go to work in the morning
and come home in the evening
And has nothing to say
******************************************
John Prine was awesome!!

******************************************

#45 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm
#14 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 10:11 am
“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.
———————————————————–
Totally agree and at 74 am one in the supposed risk zone and I have never been afraid of this thing from the beginning. I and many others saw if for what it was. Totally getting sick of the fearmongering which can be attributed to our new media talking heads. Pathetic bunch. If you think things are bad now just wait another few weeks when the regular flu season is upon us. It will be a real sh#t show. Already starting here in BC with threats of fines and policing. Young people are not going to put up with this much longer. We are such bunch of sheep.
**************************************
I absolutely agree as well. We must STOP this fearmongering. MSM can’t dial back and CBC is the worst. CBC needs to be defunded and eliminated. It’s like they just don’t want anything to normalize.

#51 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

Work from home not such a great option for me. They keep telling me AI and autonomous aircraft and drones and blah blah blah but they were telling us flying cars in every driveway back in the 50’s and I’m still waiting for mine please. There are more barriers to such things than the tech, that’s actually the least of it.

Plus there’s no office home or otherwise with the view my office had. I look forward to returning in time.

WFH is my idea of hell. As much as I love my profession, home is where I go to rest, relax, and have a change from work. It’s a church/state thing. I can see why it would appeal to those who really hate their workplace and/or their commute but no thank you. But then I’m not one who thinks living permanently attached to a smartphone and laptop represents the pinnacle of life.

Seems pretty dumb to get excited about the chance for employers to offload a bunch of their costs onto the employees and at the same time allow them to demonstrate just how trivial their job is. Not exactly leverage in a wage negotiation.

As far as productivity: on the one hand we have MF pompously lecturing Jaguar again about the theoretical. On the other we have Sail Away reporting actual experience with it as an employer and how it affects most employees.

Guess which is more credible?

And of course WFH is inherently less secure from a technical point of view. A less-controlled environment always has more possible attack vectors if data security is a concern. Weakest link and all that. This is a very real concern for any medium to large corporation. IP is the currency these days.

I’m not doubting WFH is here to stay, if there is 2 cents to be saved a company will try it. But not sure celebrating is as a worker is wise. Unless you look forward to training your replacement in India.

#52 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

@#42 Ronaldo
“Your best one yet Flopsy.”
++++

Yep. Gotta agree.

I couldnt place who Chrystia reminded me of.
Floppy nailed it.

I’m sure the love fest between Trudeau and Freeland will last as long as it takes for the economy and the dollar to tank….then….. beware of buses from behind you Chrystia.

#53 kc on 08.22.20 at 2:25 pm

32 Sunny Days on 08.22.20 at 12:25 pm

“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.

-———————————————————————————————

Agree 100%. If you are under 65 and healthy you have a 99% chance of survival. If you are sick and or elderly you have a 96% chance of survival. Those are fantastic odds. If you get sick, regardless of your age or health, I will bet my house and entire net worth you survive. I will take those odds anywhere anytime in life. Doctors office, poker table, stock market you name it.
If you genuinely believe that you will be one of the 1 percent that die from this thing then you need to stay hiding under your bed forever. You can’t risk driving to the store for groceries or walking the dog. There’s a far higher chance you will die in a car accident.

I have an autoimmune disease. I have a 96% chance of survival. Fantastic odds.

This morning on the (taxpayer funded) Coronavirus Broadcasting (crown) Corporation there was a headline that read something along the lines of “ what you need to know about coronavirus today”. The picture accompanying the headline was of a line of freshly dug unmarked graves. Talk about fear mongering…

_______________________

45 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

Totally agree and at 74 am one in the supposed risk zone and I have never been afraid of this thing from the beginning. I and many others saw if for what it was. Totally getting sick of the fearmongering which can be attributed to our new media talking heads. Pathetic bunch. If you think things are bad now just wait another few weeks when the regular flu season is upon us. It will be a real sh#t show. Already starting here in BC with threats of fines and policing. Young people are not going to put up with this much longer. We are such bunch of sheep.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

100% agreement with these comments…..

Also in BC, and where I work there are 400 of us who battle it out in close proximity to each other. we are not a sickly fool in any of us.

The media is pumping the wrong messages because it is the new religion…. mask up or be discarded as a “spreader”.

we have lost all direction in life. fines? what laws have we broken?

last night wife watched news, i glimpsed it, (first time in 8 weeks) what a load of garbage. after all this time it is still all about the VIRUS and you are going to die… do yourselves a favour and turn it off???

fear mongers and sheep….

#54 Millennial 1%er on 08.22.20 at 2:32 pm

I’ve been working remotely for a year now as a software engineer. Yes, I started working remotely before the pandemic hamstrung our economy. My team is 100% remote, most of them living in the states. In my field, there is a dramatic shortage of qualified workers.

A recent trend that began occurring in the past three years is the practice of large tech startups hiring remotely. I keep a keen eye on the job market in my town (Ottawa) and I’ve been seeing a surge of remote jobs. These tech startups (gitlab, hashicorp, for example) started hiring remotely because they could just not compete with FANG salaries. The adaptation? Geographically distributed teams where your teams are joined by timezone & not city. I work with Argentinians, fly over state denizens & Canadians. As a result, these remote first companies can hire highly skilled workers for “cheap” (not half a million dollars). It was nice having this option, because I was able to work for a solid tech company without having to move to the states.

One thing that this is going to cause in Canada is blow up tech salaries. My last employer, a large corporation, has been losing a lot of people due to them not being able to compete with American tech. As a result, those salary bands are going to creep up. You can see it happen in real time with the government of Canada’s data on CS salary and band (and gov salaries are the bottom 10th percentile). This process has been expedited thanks to COVID.

In my experience, there is nothing that can replace in person meetings. I think the future for tech will be remote primarily, with monthly or biweekly in person meetings. There is just too much bandwidth lost in the video communication mediums. A situation like that leads to lack of trust, and trust is important for team health. My prediction is that we will see teams that are spread across multiple cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal).

#55 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 2:47 pm

#32 Sunny Days on 08.22.20 at 12:25 pm
“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.
///////////////

As per the Toronto Star today.
-35 people in hospital with Covid
-13 of those in ICU
-7 on respirators

these are the numbers for ALL of Ontario.

#56 DON on 08.22.20 at 2:58 pm

@#17 Flop

Thanks for the laugh!

#57 it cant happen here! on 08.22.20 at 3:03 pm

At the moment, the primary factors driving the work-from-home decisions at the big banks (I sincerely hope) are worker safety and a responsible desire to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, the longer this goes on, estimating a return to the office may not be based simply on the probability of an infection, but rather on pure economics.

***

Health and safety is the smokescreen for the looting, exhibit A:
3M corporation, 50 billion multi national get 50 mill from t2 and Ford, on the backs of small businesses ordered out of business

pure economics form day 1

#58 kc on 08.22.20 at 3:06 pm

53 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 2:47 pm

///////////////

As per the Toronto Star today.
-35 people in hospital with Covid
-13 of those in ICU
-7 on respirators

these are the numbers for ALL of Ontario.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

whats the break down of these numbers?

how many are over 75? how many have 4 other health issues like 200 pounds over weight with diabetes and heart conditions?

more fear to pump up the asses of the scared masked population…..

#59 FreeBird on 08.22.20 at 3:10 pm

Lockdown situation and work from home (now officially WFH) incr mobile data usage and reported need for faster/greater deployment of 5G in Canada, US and worldwide. In many countries began early this year (Feb/Mar) and continues. Related REITs have or will prob incr in value.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/fortune.com/2020/07/01/best-reits-coronavirus-investing/amp/

#60 Gyokuro Yamashiro on 08.22.20 at 3:13 pm

IMO, all the whining about lower productivity with WFH comes from weak ineffectual managers who don’t know how to properly squeeze work from their teams.

My experience has been exact opposite. Deadlines and deliverables don’t magically disappear when you work remotely. Work still must get done and if it doesn’t you are history. It’s as simple as that. Any half-decent boss can drive that fact of life home to their team in seconds even if they are on another planet.

Where I work, management style a mix of Joseph Stalin and Genghis Khan, so if anything, everyone in my office has been working much harder than usual. i.e. Precisely because they are afraid people will slack off under WFH, they overcompensate by assigning twice as much work.

So this year is actually the hardest I’ve worked in a decade and same goes for everyone else I know. So don’t really believe any of those fables about performance suffering. In government jobs, maybe. Private sector, nah.

#61 Balucync on 08.22.20 at 3:14 pm

Till next time! : http://highyieldbonds.site

#62 Joe Schmoe on 08.22.20 at 3:25 pm

I think the younger folk are going to suffer most from working from home.

Most people I have helped advance careers in the past 20 years were recognized from casual interaction than actual work. Most people are competent at their jobs, but how do you measure people for advancement? One of my key indicators is someone who asks smart questions and wants to learn about more than their specific job.

Since April, none of my young employees have approached me to ask “smart questions”, so I do not know where the potential lies.

We all know most entry to intermediate jobs take only 1/2 to 2/3 of someone’s time…it’s what they do with the rest that helps them advance.

#63 DON on 08.22.20 at 3:32 pm

WFH is nothing new…and the technology is getting better.

It will work for some firms and not so much for others. WFH will still require daycares for those on the clock. Not everyone chooses to work from home but the option of doing so on a bad weather day etc would be great. Lots of time is wasted in the office environment.

WFH part time may be an option to offer life balance on those days when its snowing hard…icy…car breaks down, hot water tank explodes, etc. Even if I still have to commute on those days, I would appreciate less traffic on the roads, because others have the option.

No need to think in extremes. But the savings will be a definite driver of WFH. Stagger your staff on in office work days…less space needed and you still have a client presence where you can hob kob and go to the downtown pubs.

#64 DON on 08.22.20 at 3:36 pm

Wells Fargo proceeding with pre pandemic layoffs. A significant number. Reuters this am.

#65 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 3:38 pm

#35 dogwhistle on 08.22.20 at 12:42 pm
#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

“The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.”

——————

So no longer collecting corporate CERB?

——————

I don’t see the connection.

Regarding wage subsidy, though, of course we continue to collect our full eligibility. Over $400k so far. Might not be able to collect much longer due to profits, but it sure has been $weet moola.

#66 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 3:40 pm

#58 Gyokuro Yamashiro on 08.22.20 at 3:13 pm
IMO, all the whining about lower productivity with WFH comes from weak ineffectual managers who don’t know how to properly squeeze work from their teams.

My experience has been exact opposite. Deadlines and deliverables don’t magically disappear when you work remotely. Work still must get done and if it doesn’t you are history. It’s as simple as that. Any half-decent boss can drive that fact of life home to their team in seconds even if they are on another planet.

Where I work, management style a mix of Joseph Stalin and Genghis Khan, so if anything, everyone in my office has been working much harder than usual. i.e. Precisely because they are afraid people will slack off under WFH, they overcompensate by assigning twice as much work.

So this year is actually the hardest I’ve worked in a decade and same goes for everyone else I know. So don’t really believe any of those fables about performance suffering. In government jobs, maybe. Private sector, nah.

=================================================

I have experienced a wide variety of management styles all over the planet including “Stalin/Ghenghis Khan”. A culture of fear and loathing is rarely productive in the long term, and uncompetitive with those that don’t require extra bandwidth to protect one’s ass constantly. You also completely neglect to consider sustainability.

Regardless, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of WFH if that was your intent lol.

#67 Flop... on 08.22.20 at 3:41 pm

Well, since people probably use some sort of computer device in between beating themselves at rock, paper, scissors, while working at home, let’s have a look at some numbers from that department.

Old habits die hard, I immediately zero in to see how much Canada is beating Australia by.

Mind the gap

Canada 2 billion in 2019 exports, Australia 688 million, what the bloody hell are they doing down there?

That’s right, selling real estate to each other.

The other main surprise, for me anyway, India.

Only 181 million?

I’ve got relatives there from my wife’s side, I so badly want that place to get its act together for the good of it’s citizens, but my Indian Equity Fund says not much has changed the last decade or so.

I think a year or so ago it was predicted that they would have 7% GDP growth per year through the 2020’s , leading the world, I don’t see that happening, nor do my relatives.

I’ve never been but one of my cousins quipped this line when he got back.

If you love the smell of other people’s urine, you’ll love India…

M46BC

“Visualizing the International Market for Computer Device Exports.

President Trump has repeatedly told Apple to manufacture iPhones in the U.S. instead of China. Even with the coronavirus scrambling international supply chains, Apple doesn’t appear ready to shift its manufacturing from China to the U.S. anytime soon. Part of the reason why is that China dominates the world export market for computer devices, as our new map makes clear.”

*China is by far the largest exporter of computer devices in the world with $148B in annual exports as of 2019, representing over 40% of the entire global market. China’s total excludes Hong Kong ($21B) and Taiwan ($9B).

*Mexico has the second largest share of the market at $32B or about 8.7% of the world’s total.

*The U.S. also has a sizable export market for computer devices, valued at $26B.

*Asia, Europe and North America produce almost all of the computer devices exported around the world. South America, Africa and the Middle East have a tiny presence, if any.

Top 10 Largest Computer Device Exporters in the World.

Country Exports 2019 ($) Share of Market (%)

1. China $148B 40.3%
2. Mexico $32B 8.7%
3. Netherlands $28B 7.7%
4. USA $26B 7%
5. Hong Kong $21B 5.7%
6. Germany $15B 4%
7. Czech Republic $13B 3.5%
8. Thailand $12B 3.2%
9. Taiwan $9B 2.4%
10. Singapore $8B 2.1%

https://howmuch.net/articles/computer-devices-exports-by-country

#68 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 3:45 pm

#56 kc on 08.22.20 at 3:06 pm
53 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 2:47 pm

///////////////

As per the Toronto Star today.
-35 people in hospital with Covid
-13 of those in ICU
-7 on respirators

these are the numbers for ALL of Ontario.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

whats the break down of these numbers?

how many are over 75? how many have 4 other health issues like 200 pounds over weight with diabetes and heart conditions?

more fear to pump up the asses of the scared masked population…..

//////////////////

I don’t think you are getting my point kc, these numbers are ridiculously low in relation to the levels of fear in people.
I bet there are more people in the hospital who accidentally got an object stuck up their butt

#69 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 3:45 pm

Heh – sorry Doug. Seemed to have struck a nerve. I’ll carry on with my Saturday. You’ve built up a lot of goodwill with your posts on my front, I just didn’t like today’s style.

Stay safe fellow milquetoasts.

#70 Keith in Rio on 08.22.20 at 3:48 pm

Expect TPTB (the powers that be) who own the trillions of empty commercial RE and the associated pension funds, banksters, etc, to employ the levers of government power and their presstitutes in the MSM to work to prevent a mass exodus from their concrete cash cows.

We’re already seeing negatively slanted work from home articles starting to appear.

#71 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 3:50 pm

Sorry to further add my thoughts on working from home since I haven’t added anything useful to today’s topic other than being mean to Doug who is very nice…

Survey after survey seems to indicate that both employers and employees want to merge the benefits of working from home with the benefits of working in the office. Why are we presenting a false dichotomy?

Almost everyone who CAN work from home and wants to work from home will do so a few days a week and come into the office a few days a week. It won’t be all or nothing, because it doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t make sense.

This isn’t rocket science. What will be interesting is seeing how much office space will be needed to accomodate ~60% of staff in the office at any time instead of 95-100%; and what will we do with all the spare office space capacity?

#72 PetertheSeparatistfromCalgary on 08.22.20 at 3:55 pm

“And the main unknown for employers has been whether productivity would suffer. However, early results seem to indicate that employers have been reasonably satisfied with remote-worker productivity…”

That is great news for total productivity. However, it is very bad news for those who own office towers, businesses that serve office towers, public transit, and the cities that depend on property taxes from office towers. A big move to working at home is a very disruptive economic change. COVID19 has accelerated this change a lot making adjustment more difficult.

We live in very interesting times!

#73 chris james on 08.22.20 at 3:56 pm

of course the corporation’s will pass on the savings

#74 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 3:58 pm

#44 T on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

Not much research here. Hopefully you aren’t advising your clients that wfh is here to stay as it’s not.

I’m not drawing any definite conclusions. Only surmising that we’re not all going back. What percentage this ultimately amounts to, who knows.

Recent surveys do indicate that slightly over 50% of remote workers don’t want to go back at all. This might change, but will these workers be forced to go back, especially if it’s cheaper for companies to have them working remotely?

As for research, “as it’s not” is zero research. Put some effort into it.

–Doug

#75 The Woosh on 08.22.20 at 4:06 pm

#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am
Well, speaking directly for my 24-person engineering firm: we find WFH only works effectively for maybe 20% of the people. The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.

So everybody back to the office. Here’s hoping the competition keeps doing WFH.

——————————————————

I don’t think I’d blame working from home. Sounds more like someone’s hiring the wrong people to work at your firm.

#76 Don Guillermo on 08.22.20 at 4:11 pm

#71 chris james on 08.22.20 at 3:56 pm
of course the corporation’s will pass on the savings
*****************************************

Just buy their shares and take the win

#77 Mike in Calgary on 08.22.20 at 4:14 pm

I own a smaller software development company and we saw our productivity tank when everyone worked from home.
When it was safe in June we returned to the office and restored the synergies only found working together. We are following all the safety protocols and life is now relatively normal at the office.

I sincerely hope we will not be forced into another lock-down this fall.

#78 Handsome Ned on 08.22.20 at 4:20 pm

#66 Penny Henny
“I bet there are more people in the hospital who accidentally got an object stuck up their butt”

////////////////

It was a million to one shot, doc. A million to one.

#79 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 4:32 pm

#51 kc on 08.22.20 at 2:25 pm
32 Sunny Days on 08.22.20 at 12:25 pm

“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.

-———————————————————————————————

Agree 100%. If you are under 65 and healthy you have a 99% chance of survival. If you are sick and or elderly you have a 96% chance of survival. Those are fantastic odds. If you get sick, regardless of your age or health, I will bet my house and entire net worth you survive. I will take those odds anywhere anytime in life. Doctors office, poker table, stock market you name it.
If you genuinely believe that you will be one of the 1 percent that die from this thing then you need to stay hiding under your bed forever. You can’t risk driving to the store for groceries or walking the dog. There’s a far higher chance you will die in a car accident.

I have an autoimmune disease. I have a 96% chance of survival. Fantastic odds.

This morning on the (taxpayer funded) Coronavirus Broadcasting (crown) Corporation there was a headline that read something along the lines of “ what you need to know about coronavirus today”. The picture accompanying the headline was of a line of freshly dug unmarked graves. Talk about fear mongering…

_______________________

45 Ronaldo on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

Totally agree and at 74 am one in the supposed risk zone and I have never been afraid of this thing from the beginning. I and many others saw if for what it was. Totally getting sick of the fearmongering which can be attributed to our new media talking heads. Pathetic bunch. If you think things are bad now just wait another few weeks when the regular flu season is upon us. It will be a real sh#t show. Already starting here in BC with threats of fines and policing. Young people are not going to put up with this much longer. We are such bunch of sheep.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

100% agreement with these comments…..

I have a bet with Ryan that if I get over 200 comments I’ll win a shiny loonie. Kind of a Randolph and Mortimer thing.

I had no idea that this line would be such a trigger!

Noted for future bets: suggest that Covid-19 presents a greater danger for some professions.

–Doug

#80 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 4:38 pm

#73 The Woosh on 08.22.20 at 4:06 pm
#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

Well, speaking directly for my 24-person engineering firm: we find WFH only works effectively for maybe 20% of the people. The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.

So everybody back to the office. Here’s hoping the competition keeps doing WFH.

————–

I don’t think I’d blame working from home. Sounds more like someone’s hiring the wrong people to work at your firm.

————–

If I ran a govt department, I would definitely convene a committee to examine this in infinite detail.

As it is, being mere vulgar capitalists, we noticed WFH gave less good results than WFOffice, so brought everyone back. And now productivity is back as well.

Result? Problem solved.

#81 Nottawa Housing Bust on 08.22.20 at 5:15 pm

Heres the thing that NO ONE discusses. In terms of WFH, assumption is that if COVID has another outbreak (highly likely) we can just shut back down and everyone WFH.

Well ask yourself, how many people work for companies that provide services that require face to face interaction. Its fine to be an IT tech or accountant and work from home. But if the company you work for has to shut back down and not perform services, where does the income come from??????

The same goes for civil servants. I know everyone wants to be safe, and work from home or whatever. But in reality if you shut down a functioning economy again, no econony on the planet will survive.

We need to learn to live with the virus. We are kidding ourselves of we think we can have a functioning lifestyle with everyone locked in a house surfing the internet. There are consequences to these actions.

#82 VICTORIA TEA PARTY on 08.22.20 at 5:34 pm

NOTHING GOOD ABOUT HOME-OFFICING

Looking at the photo of that laptop serf slaving away alone at home prompted me to file this doggerel for what it’s worth. Not inspiring but tiring.

“HOME OFFICE BLUES” VICTORIA-STYLE

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long,
Don’t much feel like singin’ this song.

Got the Home Office Blues, got the
Home Office Blues. Why?
Well listen here if you want to know.

My boss told me this virus bug will make me free, working from home, yippie!

Promised a raise and let me be, but that’s not true. He works me hard, I’m just a serf and I’m not free.
Just workin’ from home, huntin’ and peckin’ all day long.

What I do doesn’t matter a damn,
toiling for that brain-dead dumb old man.
But he’s in his office, and just watches me, and I’m at home. Just set me free.

He told me today, there’s new rules; I’ll be at home for good so just buck up there and change “your mood.”

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long
my brain poisoned by this very sad song.

Yesterday, boss said I’m part of his team, Zoomin’ around and talking a lot.

But today he told me the AI boys will be here next week so don’t go all bitchy and freak.

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long singing this stupid nowhere song,

I’m lookin’ for another gig, anything please, I’ll even work ’til dawn whatever you need.

But first I must stop singing this song,
huntin’ and peckin’ all day long.

Gotta get outside see what’s going on, blow this pop stand find something new,

But no more huntin’ and peckin’ all day long
singin’ this song, singin’ this song.

#83 Stone on 08.22.20 at 5:37 pm

#3 Jake on 08.22.20 at 9:13 am
Productivity long term, who knows if the work-from-home stress-free benefits of not commuting will be offset by the mental anxiety of always having to be “on” for work and for some the loneliness of being holed up and lack of physical human interaction.

———

If the only “friends” are the ones at work, you may have a problem. The issue is that most, if not all, of those “friend” are not, you just think they are.

#84 The killer second wave run for the hills on 08.22.20 at 5:40 pm

For all the fearmongers..

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8652523/No-lockdown-no-hysteria-DOMINIC-SANDBROOK-asks-Sweden-proof-got-terribly-wrong.html

#85 Man of the cloth on 08.22.20 at 5:50 pm

Hey Garth, have you ever had to delete a post from Doug or Ryan? Asking for a friend.
Also, belated congrats to you and Dorothy on your milestone.

#86 Toronto_CA on 08.22.20 at 5:52 pm

I had no idea that this line would be such a trigger!

Noted for future bets: suggest that Covid-19 presents a greater danger for some professions.

–Doug
__________________

Doug, no one is responding because you’ve said that a job where you can work from home has less covid-risks than a job where you are face-to-face with customers.

What’s objectionable/controversial is the following:

1) hyperbolic language that customer all customer facing employees must choose between their health and safety and a paycheque like they’ve got to go over the trench across no man’s land (” face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”)

2) patronizing language about said workers being akin to the super heroes for going to work (“(when it comes to worker fortitude and bravery)..Labourers and frontline workers put us to shame.”)

3) the unnecessary and odd putdowns to people like me who work very hard at a desk day after day to keep the economy rolling and act as customers (” the milquetoast finance guys…who …work away on their laptops from the safety of their back decks are, admittedly, wimps.”)

HTH. Good luck with your bet.

#87 IHCTD9 on 08.22.20 at 6:05 pm

#49 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

WFH is my idea of hell. As much as I love my profession, home is where I go to rest, relax, and have a change from work. It’s a church/state thing.

—- ——-

I felt some of this during my 2 month wfh extravaganza. I probably should not have set up my “office” in the living room. Turning off the computer just didn’t sever the work-home link that was being laced up as the weeks went by. I was sometimes tempted to fire it up again in the evening to check on a few things. It’d be pretty easy to find yourself semi-working sunup to sundown during an extended bout of wfh.

I thought there were a lot of benefits in my wfh experience, but I’d probably need an office divorced from the house to do it permanently.

#88 T on 08.22.20 at 6:08 pm

#72 Doug Rowat on 08.22.20 at 3:58 pm
#44 T on 08.22.20 at 1:24 pm

Not much research here. Hopefully you aren’t advising your clients that wfh is here to stay as it’s not.

I’m not drawing any definite conclusions. Only surmising that we’re not all going back. What percentage this ultimately amounts to, who knows.

Recent surveys do indicate that slightly over 50% of remote workers don’t want to go back at all. This might change, but will these workers be forced to go back, especially if it’s cheaper for companies to have them working remotely?

As for research, “as it’s not” is zero research. Put some effort into it.

–Doug

————

Thanks, Doug.

You must have missed my post just before this one in which I provided some info on what I’m hearing from others in the field; employees and employers.

You can also do a quick search to find some of the larger employers are openly discussing the pitfalls of this experiment and what their future plans are; Amazon, Google, smaller venture backed projects, etc. I could copy / paste urls all day long but I’m not the researcher or author here.

#89 Nostradamus on 08.22.20 at 6:15 pm

Covid-19 crisis are saving US employers more than US$30 billion per day.

You forgot harassment lawsuits by social justice miscreants who hate an entire gender of men for one adverse incident during childhood.

#90 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 6:18 pm

The second wave of this pandemic is widely expected to transpire now throughout the world.
Concerns it will mutate into a more deadlier pathogen has many scientists worried.
The second wave of the Spanish flu was much worse than the first where the greatest number of deaths occurred by far.
Signs the covid-19 virus could also mutate as viruses can and do are very real.
Restful sleep is a very large factor in maintaining a strong immune system to prevent infection and/or mitigating its more ravaging effects.
Get used to staying at home for another year with the kids or the dog or the cat or who or what ever.
Society needs to focus on coming up with new ways to battle the effects of cabin fever domestic tension loneliness separation anxiety and the like.
This pandemic has not run its course yet.
Those who are perfectly suited to and happy with the isolation are better off than most.

#91 Cdn Mom on 08.22.20 at 6:39 pm

“And the main unknown for employers has been whether productivity would suffer. However, early results seem to indicate that employers have been reasonably satisfied with remote-worker productivity and the majority of these workers themselves also report being more productive.”

As a bank and insurance customer, I call a very big BULLbleep on this. This summer we’ve had a refi (addition), sale of a rental property, and application for a kid for a student credit line for a Masters. In all instances, the bank has moved at a snail’s pace, actually more like a glacial pace.

As for insurance, my local person has been waiting for 6 WEEKS to hear back from head office about an extra payment they withdrew from my account. Previously very speedy response to anything.

Productivity working from home sucks for the customer/client. And is my financial info in all of those homes?

#92 kc on 08.22.20 at 6:40 pm

//////////////////

I don’t think you are getting my point kc, these numbers are ridiculously low in relation to the levels of fear in people.
I bet there are more people in the hospital who accidentally got an object stuck up their butt

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

fully understood your point. what i was also getting at was… how many people have other problems over the “covid” hassle that are affecting their health. I did get the low numbers. and was just expanding the point….

don’t worry we are on the same page and i guess i didn’t fully explain my point.

cheers and have a cold one on me.

kc

#93 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 6:54 pm

With a second wave of corona virus expected, expect unemployment to remain very high thereafter.
Stay at home workers will henceforth soon be replaced by a wave all its own in the nature of outsourcing.
Why should NA employers overpay stay at home workers when enterprising Asians and Indonesians of all stripes can and will do those same stay at home jobs for 80% even 90% less wages.
Consider many jobs to be lost for good very soon as if this were a master plan to ruin our nations from the onset of Covid-19. Weather true or not Eastern nations should be gleeful at the prospect.
There is this guy… who said and not long ago “were gonna make America great again”
There are no nation saviors around anymore.

#94 Canuk123 on 08.22.20 at 6:58 pm

https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-ban-fishing-on-the-high-seas-surrounding-the-galapagos/psf/promote_or_share

#95 Figmund Sreud on 08.22.20 at 7:01 pm

“How much longer will work from home be a thing?”
___________________________

Well, it’s impossible to tell, primarily because we do not have any idea about a seriousness of this virus and subsequent consequences. It’s true, …

Doctors, who are on front lines have a difficulty with it, … have difficulty talking about it, or outright refuse to talk about it. Period.

Well, … one doctor is talking quite openly. American. Texan. From Austin. His talk is augmented by the consultation from two other doctors, one from Houston, one from San Antonio. His kids.

Anyway, … let’s see what this doctor is saying, … a yuuge, yuuge snip first:

I have been talking to people, in the course of doing errands linked to the death and estate of an old friend, with whom I have practiced Buddhism since we both started in spring of 2001. After conversing with another friend about current events and historical patterns, I responded to an email about whether the viral threat is completely fabricated or not.
(Then I tidied it up to be this essay…)

The Novel coronavirus pandemic in the USA is a complex event medically, economically, and humanly.
One faction lives in abject fear, and another faction lives in denial, while they can maintain it.
The factions are incompatible and completely aligned against each other. (That’s not everybody, though.)

3 per thousand people who catch novel coronavirus infection die, and mostly over 60. Older and sicker get hit harder. However, if you actually get diagnosed by a test, your chance of dying is more like 3 per 100.
A majority of people, 80-90% never get tested, and that was revealed by the early US seropositivity studies in California and New York. The number of cases implied was about 10X the number of cases confirmed.
Is that pattern holding? Those seropositivity studies are ongoing, but the ongoing results have been secret since April.
The Texas Governor Knows, but I do not. I see they are tracking the viral penetration of our human population, and slowing it down with masks, and closing bars, when it gets so fast that the hospitals get overloaded. That’s it.
There is a lot of human suffering and a lot of aunts and uncles and grandparents have died recently in our circle of friends and family.
People suffer, and suffering people get secluded and hospitalized.
Effective treatments are being suppressed and information about them is censored, and disparaged in the mass media.
That censorship is not completely effective, is it? …

… continues at: http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/08/pandemic-complexity-musings.html

FWIW

Best,

F.S. – Calgary, Alberta.

#96 kc on 08.22.20 at 7:03 pm

I have a bet with Ryan that if I get over 200 comments I’ll win a shiny loonie. Kind of a Randolph and Mortimer thing.

I had no idea that this line would be such a trigger!

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

just gotta say the right thing….

ps loved that movie…..

cheers

#97 VICORIA TEA PARTY on 08.22.20 at 7:14 pm

NOTHING GOOD ABOUT HOME-OFFICING

Looking at the photo of that laptop serf slaving away alone at home prompted me to file this doggerel for what it’s worth. Not inspiring but tiring.

“HOME OFFICE BLUES” VICTORIA-STYLE

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long,
Don’t much feel like singin’ this song.

Got the Home Office Blues, got the
Home Office Blues. Why?
Well listen here if you want to know.

My boss told me this virus bug will make me free, working from home, yippie!

Promised a raise and let me be, but that’s not true. He works me hard, I’m just a serf and I’m not free.
Just workin’ from home, huntin’ and peckin’ all day long.

What I do doesn’t matter a damn,
toiling for that brain-dead dumb old man.
But he’s in his office, and just watches me, and I’m at home. Just set me free.

He told me today, there’s new rules; I’ll be at home for good so just buck up there and change “your mood.”

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long
my brain poisoned by this very sad song.

Yesterday, boss said I’m part of his team, Zoomin’ around and talking a lot.

But today he told me the AI boys will be here next week so don’t go all bitchy and freak.

Huntin’ and peckin’ all day long singing this stupid nowhere song,

I’m lookin’ for another gig, anything please, I’ll even work ’til dawn whatever you need.

But first I must stop singing this song,
huntin’ and peckin’ all day long.

Gotta get outside see what’s going on, blow this pop stand find something new,

But no more huntin’ and peckin’ all day long
singin’ this song, singin’ this song.

#98 Do we have all the facts on 08.22.20 at 7:16 pm

The rationalization of public sector employment across Canada is inevitable. All levels of governments are facing a financial crisis as revenues decline, expenses increase and debt continues to expand.

Covid 19 has created an opportunity to examine whether the total number of public sector employees can be reduced with a minimum of negative feedback.

When Tim Hudac examined public sector employment in Ontario in 2014 he estimated that 100,000 positions, 10% of the total Number of public service employees in Ontario, could be eliminated without reducing the quality of service provided. The outcry was deafening.

In 2020 and 2021 the fear of higher income and property taxes if cuts are not made might lead to increased public support for a measure of rationalization particularly within the Federal government.

There are over 4,000,000 Canadians that rely on a government, or an institution supported by government transfer payments, for a significant portion of their pay check. Austerity looms and a much bigger problem than the possibility of working from home will emerge as the full impact of Covid 19 sinks in.

We are in a pickle and the scissors won’t be far behind.

#99 Nonplused on 08.22.20 at 7:18 pm

My wife has been working from home for going on 4 years and the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. She works for a national consulting company so the folks she interacts with on a daily basis can be anywhere from St. John’s to Victoria. Therefore taking up space in an office never made sense long before covid.

All her employer provides her with is a laptop and a phone. We fitted her an office with one of those Ikea up/down desks and a couple big monitors, total cost probably $1200. But we saved that in the first year on transit alone and we get to keep them.

And she does work. I can attest since I’m not working from home these days that she puts in all her hours. But the advantage is that she sleeps until 8:30 and then just rolls out of bed and into her office with a cup of coffee from the Keurig. No time wasted on commuting or showering or fancy office clothes. When she logs off for the day it’s straight to the deck with a gin and tonic, again no commute.

Contrast that with my last gig where it was 2 weeks straight living in a hotel on the other side of the country followed by 2 weeks working from home and I’ll take the work from home part any day. I hate living in a hotel. But it was required for the “in person” part. A lot of economic activity is wasted just moving people around and lodging them in this country. I suppose one man’s expense is another man’s livelihood, but certainly we can find more productive uses for our time and resources than flying people all over the place and commuting to work? That was the promise of the internet after all. Well, that and free porn.

Since we both stopped commuting downtown, our cars don’t hardly go anywhere. We never get to the mileage for an oil change within the recommended 6 months. Heck not even in a year. How much money is this saving? Also gone is the parking fees which in downtown Calgary are outrageous. That was $500 a month back in the day. To park. But transit for 2 people was going to be $250 already so the convenience won out.

So, if we want to throw Greta a bone, working from home for those jobs that can be done from home is not only more economic, it is also greener. (Most things that are more economic are also greener.)

I for one would not be surprised if many of the folks who have proven their jobs can be done from home never return to the office. Many of the changes covid brough us were already lining up. Now that the avalanche has come down the mountain, there is no reason to try and carry the snow back up. We are going to find that many of these changes are permanent.

But why would we want to go back to the way things were? Should we go back to horse drawn carriages? What is the point of the internets if we don’t use it?

#100 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 7:25 pm

#37 Dolce Vita
“Look at the bright side, Cannabis WAY UP with all this work from home and apparently, depression virus “gone, gone” RELIEF just a few tokes away.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Wanna get in on a good cannabis penny stock set to move up next week mid week with second quarter financials coming out?
Been watching this company …symbol -TILT- Tilt Holdings for 16 months. Always paid off getting in before the pre-announced releases. Leader in vape technology…right up your alley in regard to your post today. Vaping leads the way with the C-19 around.
At 0.62 cents CAD – Tilt has much room to grow.
TILT Holdings Inc. (“TILT” or the “Company”) (CSE: TILT) (OTCQB: TLLTF) today announced it will report its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, following the close of trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Following the release of its financial results, the Company will host a webcast at 5:00 PM EDT to discuss financial and operational results for the reported quarter.

#101 Tbone on 08.22.20 at 7:26 pm

I was in technical sales . Worked from home last couple of years .
Loved it as there wasn’t anybody left I could chit chat with in the office as they all left.
Now mananagement wants all sales guys to work out of the office as support staff had no mentoring.
I wouldn’t of gone back if I was still there .
I actually worked more when I was at home as I never left anything for the next day

#102 Nonplused on 08.22.20 at 7:40 pm

#5 Danforth on 08.22.20 at 9:21 am
I’ve been working from home for 18 years or so, and this is really common in the Tech sector.

In my observation, employers haven’t differentiated compensation levels between In-Office vs. Remote workers, for similar work.

The cost savings in shedding some real estate cost for office space is obvious, that’s low hanging fruit.

The unknown here is whether employers will put a squeeze on salaries of new hires, with the argument that the worker doesn’t incur commuting/wardrobe/lunch/daycare costs like an in-office worker, and therefore gets paid a bit less.

I won’t be surprised if this spins out of this larger re-calibration we’re seeing.

————————–

Employers never gave a rat’s arse what your expenses are. Salaries are competitive. For example if you are in IT you get paid well because most people cannot code. The “learn to code” meme is a joke. Most people simply cannot do it proficiently. So there is a scarcity for that talent. But whether you chose to drive a Corolla or an A8 is of no concern to your employer. They are paying for your labor, not your lifestyle.

There is some argument to be made that businesses that chose to locate in high cost cities may need to pay more to attract workers because people will tend to want to work somewhere they can afford to live, but I don’t know if the evidence supports that strongly. Prior to the oil price collapse, salaries in Calgary were the envy of Canada, yet Vancouver house prices are still 3+ times higher.

It is an economic fact that labor rates are set in the market and come in at something around 50-60% of the value of that labor (the rest is capital costs, utilities, materials, etc.). What you think you need to afford the lifestyle you think you deserve doesn’t figure in.

Therefore I conclude working from home will have little effect on wages. Companies will be happy to take the savings on office space. That is unless the BA departments at universities actually figure out a “Python for Dummies” course that actually works for dummies.

#103 Nonplused on 08.22.20 at 7:59 pm

#33 Better off homeless than a homeowner on 08.22.20 at 12:35 pm
Is it me or anyone working from home right now is a future potential unemployed due to outsourcing?

Why should employers pay someone 50k+ a year when someone in India can do the exact same job for 7k or less?

—————————–

The folks in India that can actually do the job come here and do it here. I’m literally surrounded by them! They are the nicest folks and extremely smart and well educated, but they didn’t stay in India.

This is the real secret of US (and Canadian) immigration policies. It is meant as a brain drain on the rest of the world. There is nothing charitable about it.

#104 Ponzius Pilatus on 08.22.20 at 8:08 pm

#53 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 2:47 pm
#32 Sunny Days on 08.22.20 at 12:25 pm
“Workers in all of these industries, sadly, face a dire choice: suffer financially or endanger their health.”

Can we please dial back the hyperbole about the actual risks to the health of a working age person?

Good lord. You should know the statistics better. For a small minority of these individuals who have underlying health issues then YES for sure this is the case but it is not ALL workers in ALL industries.

Getting sick of the fearmongering.
///////////////

As per the Toronto Star today.
-35 people in hospital with Covid
-13 of those in ICU
-7 on respirators

these are the numbers for ALL of Ontario.
—————–
How many people would you guess would have died and how overcrowded the hospitals would be now had we not locked down, wore masks, social distanced and washed hands as recommended by the experts.
Stop looking in the rear mirror, the worst is probably still to come with schools opening, and people spending more time inside.

#105 Nonplused on 08.22.20 at 8:14 pm

#87 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 6:18 pm
The second wave of this pandemic is widely expected to transpire now throughout the world.
Concerns it will mutate into a more deadlier pathogen has many scientists worried.

————————-

Well, that is possible but not likely. Pathogens usually evolve to be less deadly because killing your host is not a good survival strategy. Not that pathogens think things through, but there is a sort of “invisible hand” behind evolution too, as in economics. “It is not the strongest that survive, but the best adapted”. So if covid becomes extremely lethal, which is possible because mutations are random, it will kill a lot of people but it will then also die out faster.

There are species of wasps that plant their eggs in spiders and the result of that is the death of the spider. But they don’t kill all the spiders. Then there would be no wasps.

#106 Ponzius Pilatus on 08.22.20 at 8:16 pm

#63 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 3:38 pm
#35 dogwhistle on 08.22.20 at 12:42 pm
#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

“The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.”

——————

So no longer collecting corporate CERB?

——————

I don’t see the connection.

Regarding wage subsidy, though, of course we continue to collect our full eligibility. Over $400k so far. Might not be able to collect much longer due to profits, but it sure has been $weet moola.
———-
Sailo,
In Yiddish we have a word for you: “Schmarotzer”

#107 MF on 08.22.20 at 8:17 pm

49 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

“Pompously lecturing” Jaguar??

He said it himself, he might be old fashioned.

Times change. The technology for WFH has improved immensely in the last ten years, and will improve from hear on out. What we are seeing now was thought of as impossible years ago.

So deal with it. And expect more. That’s not lecturing that stating fact. We’ve gone through this before. Learn the difference.

I also saw you are not a fan of wfh. First off no one cares. Your (useless) opinion doesn’t matter when we talk about pros and cons of wfh in the aggregate for hundreds of millions of people and thousands of businesses. The data shows productivity is maintained or increased and the majority of people who wfh enjoy it, myself included. Productivity and money saving talk. Your personal opinion does not.

MF

#108 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.22.20 at 8:29 pm

@#98 Nonplused
“I for one would not be surprised if many of the folks who have proven their jobs can be done from home never return to the office. Many of the changes covid brought(sic) us were already lining up……

But why would we want to go back to the way things were? Should we go back to horse drawn carriages? ”

++++

Total agreement.
The changes forced upon us by the “covid crisis” have opened a lot of eyes.
White collar commuting to offices?
Pfffft.
Sooooooo 1999.

As for the horse drawn carriages.
Two things say no.
1. You can stop a car with a key…… a horse requires a yank on the reigns, a whip or jump off.

2. Horse shit.
In the 1880’s
Boston and New York City realized that the horse drawn carriage was strangling their cities.
Horse were literally burying them in manure. Tons of manure…..every day…..and no one was officially supposed to clean it up.
And if horses died in the stirrups, they were cut free, pushed to the curb and abandoned to rot.

The Race Underground was a brilliant book written by Doug Most.

It became a PBS documentary….the book is far better.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/race-underground-preview/

New York actually had a pneumatic subway in 1867 that was illegally built and ran as a tourist attraction until shut down by authorities.
The Winter of 1888 (and electricity) changed everything with record snowfall and blizzard after blizzard.

Boston actually built the first subway system but politics (of course) soon took care of the brilliant entrepreneur who created it.

Check out the book.
Its excellent

#109 Nonplused on 08.22.20 at 8:42 pm

#90 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 6:54 pm
With a second wave of corona virus expected, expect unemployment to remain very high thereafter.
Stay at home workers will henceforth soon be replaced by a wave all its own in the nature of outsourcing.
Why should NA employers overpay stay at home workers when enterprising Asians and Indonesians of all stripes can and will do those same stay at home jobs for 80% even 90% less wages.

——————————-

I’m getting repetitive here and going way over quota, but look:

Jobs that can be moved to Asia at a cost savings are going to be moved to Asia whether they were previously “work in office” or “work from home”. WFH makes no difference. Did you think you fooled your employer into not outsourcing your job just because you showed up at the office every day like Wally from Dilbert?

There is a common, I think misconception, running rampant out there that we think everyone who lives in China has a Ph.D. in rocket science. That everyone in India knows how to write operating systems rather than just answering the phone. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of very smart Indians. But do you know where they live? Seattle. Or Cupertino. Or Mountain View. Or Calgary.

There are a lot of Chinese people living in China that have Ph.D.’s in rocket science. Do you know what they are doing? Building Chinese rockets. But they also live 3 doors down from me and we have drinks together frequently. Nicest people. No idea what their birth names are because they choose Anglican names when they came here.

How many people immigrate from Canada to India?

#110 Linda on 08.22.20 at 8:59 pm

Excellent post, Doug. My partner is working from home & absolutely loves it. Doesn’t miss the DT commute, the cube farm or the face to face coworker contact. Zoom provides all the contact & face time required. It isn’t completely without hassles; occasionally computer issues arise which result in much time spent cursing, trouble shooting, rebooting & if required calling up the IT help desk. Overall however a big thumbs up.

I think it very likely corporations will want to continue with employees working from home where circumstances permit. I’ve read some science fiction where education at all ages is accessed via a home computer. I think there is a real possibility that scenario will become mainstream sooner rather than later. Education costs what it does because it provides a twofold functionality. Education yes, but also child care during the work day for minors. Or at least child supervision, even though it may be limited to providing the parent/custodian notification that little John/Jane didn’t show up for class. I’ve read any number of headlines questioning why tuition fees are not being refunded/reduced when remote learning is the order of the day; the expectation that campus based classes will resume shortly may be true for now, but if it can be proved no educational benefit accrues from on campus classes one wonders how long it will be before at home learning becomes the norm.

#111 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 9:39 pm

When i get on the phone to the phone company regarding an outstanding bill or something, better than half the time I’m talking with someone from either India or the Philippines speaking perfect English.

#112 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 9:43 pm

#66 Penny Henny on 08.22.20 at 3:45 pm

I bet there are more people in the hospital who accidentally got an object stuck up their butt

————–

You mean, like, a horseshoe??

#113 kc on 08.22.20 at 9:58 pm

Who owns lead and will back up their true beliefs?

I am one who who be buried for what I believe in. mandatory masks and vaccines will put me behind the barn with a shot gun to the head.

I am not a sheep to go away nor follow the rules. Easier to pull the trigger and check out.

cheers and i suggest not letting these masks are mandatory to enter rules rule you.

#114 the Jaguar on 08.22.20 at 10:02 pm

What a yarn today’s post has been. I found this video of Nonplused and Crowded Elevator Farts when they were still giggling like school girls together…… Leave it up to you to decide who is who. Or should that be which is which?
I would sell my soul to the devil to be able to dance like these two………..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOoNOs8Ql28

#115 Keith in Rio on 08.22.20 at 10:22 pm

WFH to me meant work from hotel.

I spent 30 weeks on the road for 6 years straight. Loved the job. Being in the office was a waste of time.

You had to consistently dodge insecure and incompetent middle managers and executives, as well ad their redundant Dunder Mifflin meetings if you were intent on getting anything done.

#116 The Woosh on 08.22.20 at 10:52 pm

#97 willworkforpickles on 08.22.20 at 7:25 pm
#37 Dolce Vita
“Look at the bright side, Cannabis WAY UP with all this work from home and apparently, depression virus “gone, gone” RELIEF just a few tokes away.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Wanna get in on a good cannabis penny stock set to move up next week mid week with second quarter financials coming out?
Been watching this company …symbol -TILT- Tilt Holdings for 16 months. Always paid off getting in before the pre-announced releases. Leader in vape technology…right up your alley in regard to your post today. Vaping leads the way with the C-19 around.
At 0.62 cents CAD – Tilt has much room to grow.
TILT Holdings Inc. (“TILT” or the “Company”) (CSE: TILT) (OTCQB: TLLTF) today announced it will report its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, following the close of trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Following the release of its financial results, the Company will host a webcast at 5:00 PM EDT to discuss financial and operational results for the reported quarter.

—————————————

Garth…please tell me you’re not allowing stock pumping?

#117 Russ on 08.22.20 at 11:11 pm

Okay Doug & gang.
I think I have this one, for the future…

SARS 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

MERS 2012, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

FEEARS 2020, Far East Europe Americas Respiratory Syndrome

All are CBC (coronavirusbabble) news stories eligible.

Cheers, Russ

#118 Jimmy Zhao on 08.22.20 at 11:44 pm

“…sitting in your Ikea home-office, half-dressed and struggling with your Zoom connection”

Wow ! this is EXACTLY me.

#119 Ronaldo on 08.23.20 at 12:32 am

No distancing going on here.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/karanjot-bal-asian-food-centre-saddleridge-1.5695891

#120 Nonplused on 08.23.20 at 12:57 am

#293 SoggyShorts on 08.21.20 at 10:58 pm

Whew pretty much missed your comment yesterday because so many people, rightly so, chose to congratulate Garth and Dorothy on their milestone.

But anyway my point is that you can use margin to by REITS if you wish to speculate. As for using a mortgage or some other form of leverage to by a REIT, understand they are already highly leveraged. The loan is already in the mix to the extent they think they can service it or they would borrow more. This applies to most companies. This is why it doesn’t usually make sense to borrow money to buy stocks. They are already leveraged as far as management thinks they can be, and as soon as they figure they can handle a bit more leverage they get it and do a stock buy-back.

I know it kind of seems weird to think about it this way, but borrowing money to buy stocks is like borrowing money to borrow money. Trust me the company already has all the debt the banks will lend them.

#121 Al on 08.23.20 at 1:43 am

“other “clients” ask because they simply love sitting in their pajamas at 3 pm not having showered for days”

Man speaks from experience haha

#122 BillyBob on 08.23.20 at 6:47 am

#84 IHCTD9 on 08.22.20 at 6:05 pm
#49 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

WFH is my idea of hell. As much as I love my profession, home is where I go to rest, relax, and have a change from work. It’s a church/state thing.

—- ——-

I felt some of this during my 2 month wfh extravaganza. I probably should not have set up my “office” in the living room. Turning off the computer just didn’t sever the work-home link that was being laced up as the weeks went by. I was sometimes tempted to fire it up again in the evening to check on a few things. It’d be pretty easy to find yourself semi-working sunup to sundown during an extended bout of wfh.

I thought there were a lot of benefits in my wfh experience, but I’d probably need an office divorced from the house to do it permanently.

================================================

Appreciate your honest comments IHCTD9.

I even keep my uniform and any trappings of work separate from my home life, in their own wardrobe. First thing I do in the door is to unpack, literally and figuratively, and transition to “home”.

And that’s not because I hate work, quite the contrary. I’ve just found it far more relaxing, physically and mentally, to keep some clear delineation. The job demands enough of my time and energy, welcoming it into one’s sanctuary seems incredibly self-defeating.

As someone else commented, sitting at home glued to one’s screen will absolutely have negative consequences. Already has. My Gen Z nieces are almost incapable of a conversation face to face in person anymore (great at making TikTok vids though). Zero attention span. My BIL is a sales manager and when he hires younger Millennials in service roles they’re afraid to answer a ringing telephone because they’re not sure what to say. Amazing really.

And the comment that “if work is your only friends” etc is missing the mark. The myriad social interactions we have every day, even outside of important ones (family/friends/partners) are still very important.

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200701-why-your-weak-tie-friendships-may-mean-more-than-you-think?

The study of the psychology of this isn’t new, been around for decades. It’s only our own hubris that thinks we’re different now.

The economics of WFH is only one factor. But hey, as I said, if it costs less, it will happen. Only money matters now.

#123 maxx on 08.23.20 at 7:21 am

@ #19

Agree. A good portion of C-suite conversations likely include prognostications on the evolution of work at home. What a total gift. This money saving opportunity will in no way be wasted and once it is more fully understood, workforce chopping, aka “streamlining” will ensue.

In anticipation of this, corporations ought to beef up cyber security, big time, so as to prevent/mitigate fallout from disgruntled employees/former employees.

#124 willworkforpickles on 08.23.20 at 7:30 am

#106 Nonplused
I wasn’t referring to those working from home pre-pandemic like yourself established 18 years or whatever at what you do. Only those newly created job statistics in numbers directly related to the pandemic from out of the pandemic that are anything but permanently set long term at this point in time.

#125 Citizen 686249 on 08.23.20 at 7:40 am

Doug, nice post! Many interesting points. My observation regarding people working from home is that most I’ve spoken to don’t like it. If corporations want to continue the practice then they should be offering a supplement to each employee for using part of their home as an office on the company’s behalf.

In my opinion, nothing most big corporations do is for the benefit of employees and banks are probably the worst offenders. Treating their staff like peons. Worse still is how they treat clients, but I digress.

Let’s hope that someday corporations will see that they can stand above the rest by actually offering great customer service starting with personable people answering their phones.

#126 willworkforpickles on 08.23.20 at 7:56 am

#102 Nonplused
If you want to get technical we can get technical.
Viruses are the smallest common pathogen. They are so small in fact that many of them actually infect bacteria. They are different from other pathogens because they cannot reproduce on their own. Viruses take over the cells they infect and use that cell’s own processes to create more copies of the virus. I spent 20 years of my life researching biotech/diseases of all kinds. The more you learn the more you discover how little you really know….but this isn’t the type of forum to go into detail much about on that particular subject here.

#127 BillyBob on 08.23.20 at 8:05 am

#104 MF on 08.22.20 at 8:17 pm
49 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

“Pompously lecturing” Jaguar??

He said it himself, he might be old fashioned.

Times change. The technology for WFH has improved immensely in the last ten years, and will improve from hear on out. What we are seeing now was thought of as impossible years ago.

So deal with it. And expect more. That’s not lecturing that stating fact. We’ve gone through this before. Learn the difference.

I also saw you are not a fan of wfh. First off no one cares. Your (useless) opinion doesn’t matter when we talk about pros and cons of wfh in the aggregate for hundreds of millions of people and thousands of businesses. The data shows productivity is maintained or increased and the majority of people who wfh enjoy it, myself included. Productivity and money saving talk. Your personal opinion does not.

MF

===========================================

Who said it did? I stated a fact regarding my job: it can’t be done from home. Not an opinion. As usual your little diatribe makes you just look foolish.

WFH’s accelerated adoption is hardly some miracle of new technology, all most need is a decent internet connection. It’s simply a consequence of a global pandemic. Surely you can grasp that. Ascribing miraculous qualities to it is silly when it’s longterm benefits and downsides are not known as of yet.

As to productivity, I’ll take someone’s actual experience with WFH over your…opinion. Which is all anyone has until large-scale WFH has been in place for more than a few months, ie from “hear” on out lol.

#128 Geoffrey Laudat on 08.23.20 at 8:58 am

What a great article, whether or not its a grand experiment, Employers and Employees are taking advantage of this method of work, its the human interaction with co workers and colleagues that has been curtailed, we are still somewhat social animals by nature.

#129 Penny Henny on 08.23.20 at 9:17 am

Where is TurnerNation?
Has he been abducted?

#130 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.23.20 at 9:31 am

More excellent observations of Prez Trump….. from his sister…. “He’s liar”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/maryanne-trump-barry-secret-recordings/2020/08/22/30d457f4-e334-11ea-ade1-28daf1a5e919_story.html

#131 crowdedelevatorfartz on 08.23.20 at 9:33 am

@#126 Penny Henny
“Where is TurnerNation?
Has he been abducted?”

++++

Nah, busy studying for his PhD in Paranoia…. the test is next week.

#132 Sail Away on 08.23.20 at 9:34 am

#103 Ponzius Pilatus on 08.22.20 at 8:16 pm
#63 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 3:38 pm
#35 dogwhistle on 08.22.20 at 12:42 pm
#28 Sail Away on 08.22.20 at 11:47 am

“The rest tend to miss milestones or show sloppy work.”

————

So no longer collecting corporate CERB?

————

I don’t see the connection.

Regarding wage subsidy, though, of course we continue to collect our full eligibility. Over $400k so far. Might not be able to collect much longer due to profits, but it sure has been $weet moola.

————-

Sailo,
In Yiddish we have a word for you: “Schmarotzer”

————-

Oh, I’m sooo full.

But, yes please, I’ll take another serving. Thanks!

#133 Sail Away on 08.23.20 at 9:36 am

#104 MF on 08.22.20 at 8:17 pm
49 BillyBob on 08.22.20 at 2:10 pm

“Pompously lecturing” Jaguar??

He said it himself, he might be old fashioned.

Times change. The technology for WFH has improved immensely in the last ten years, and will improve from hear on out. What we are seeing now was thought of as impossible years ago.

So deal with it. And expect more. That’s not lecturing that stating fact. We’ve gone through this before. Learn the difference.

I also saw you are not a fan of wfh. First off no one cares. Your (useless) opinion doesn’t matter when we talk about pros and cons of wfh in the aggregate for hundreds of millions of people and thousands of businesses. The data shows productivity is maintained or increased and the majority of people who wfh enjoy it, myself included. Productivity and money saving talk. Your personal opinion does not.

MF

————-

MF, you’re a nasty piece of work.

#134 Sail Away on 08.23.20 at 9:56 am

#120 maxx on 08.23.20 at 7:21 am
@ #19

Agree. A good portion of C-suite conversations likely include prognostications on the evolution of work at home. What a total gift. This money saving opportunity will in no way be wasted and once it is more fully understood, workforce chopping, aka “streamlining” will ensue.

————–

It’s not much of a money saver. Maybe 5% of company costs.

If productivity drops by that much or more, WFH fails.

As we’ve noticed, WFH works for about 20%. The whole Pareto principle at work.

There’s a big benefit to getting people into the office at 8, fully ready to go, social media off and full attention to the task at hand. We tried WFH, noticed major inefficiencies, and binned it.

As mentioned, I hope my competitors continue with WFH.

#135 MF on 08.23.20 at 10:13 am

#130 Sail Away on 08.23.20 at 9:36 am

Perhaps I was a little harsh. Apologies to BillyBob. He’s a tough dude though so I bet he didn’t even notice.

None of this changes the fact that the data still shows most people are productive and enjoy working from home.

The risks, like Jaguar mentioned earlier, are present but they are overshadowed by the benefits. Working from home will only increase in frequency from here on out. Bank on it.

MF

#136 Doug Rowat on 08.23.20 at 10:16 am

#115 Jimmy Zhao on 08.22.20 at 11:44 pm

“…sitting in your Ikea home-office, half-dressed and struggling with your Zoom connection”

Wow ! this is EXACTLY me.

I recommend the Stuva. Dirt cheap and, after all, there are no co-workers to impress.

–Doug

#137 Bytor the Snow Dog on 08.23.20 at 10:48 am

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/this-shouldnt-have-happened-father-attributes-sons-death-to-covid-19-rules/wcm/b794020c-1ad5-4cb8-bc0b-4b93f050fd28/

All virus, all the time gets you results like this. One of many I’m sure.

#138 Paulo on 08.23.20 at 10:48 am

I think that the work from home model is here to stay.
Virtual companies using home based contractors will effectively undercut ones that have bricks and mortar offices in the GTA there will be a significant correction in compensation as companies will not have to figure in paying talent to live in the GTA. there is plenty of talent and it flows to the companies that have the work,company’s with high costs will be left in the dust
plenty of changes coming.

#139 the Jaguar on 08.23.20 at 10:49 am

Why does it (the troll) keep dragging Jaguar down it’s pathetic little rabbit hole? If it wants to post a comment based on what Doug wrote it has the option (though it won’t be read with anything less than complete dismissal or likely not at all ). No need to comment on this posters comments. Keep your distance please.
What a treat to read BillyBob’s remarks. An intelligent and worldly person.
I see also that someone has once again brought up the name of ‘he who cannot be mentioned’. Appears to be some kind of an obsession…

#140 Doug Rowat on 08.23.20 at 10:51 am

#122 Citizen 686249 on 08.23.20 at 7:40 am

If corporations want to continue the practice then they should be offering a supplement to each employee for using part of their home as an office on the company’s behalf.

This is possible, and certainly makes recruiting more competitive.

The CRA is also bracing for possibly millions of work-space-in-the-home deductions next year.

According to “the Google”, more than 174,000 applied for this in 2018 (a total of about $272 million). One can only imagine what this will amount to for 2020.

It’s possible that the CRA will require corporations to, directly or indirectly, share in this outlay.

–Doug

#141 the Jaguar on 08.23.20 at 10:54 am

@#131 Sail Away on 08.23.20 at 9:56 am
“There’s a big benefit to getting people into the office at 8, fully ready to go, social media off and full attention to the task at hand. ”

Sounds a bit ‘old fashioned’. I like it. But you knew that, lol!

#142 Dr V on 08.23.20 at 11:10 am

135 Paulo – this was already happening pre-covid. The “virtual office” can work for some effectively.

#143 Masks really do make some people more attractive on 08.23.20 at 1:47 pm

#136 the Jaguar on 08.23.20 at 10:49 am
Why does it (the troll) keep dragging Jaguar down it’s pathetic little rabbit hole? If it wants to post a comment based on what Doug wrote it has the option (though it won’t be read with anything less than complete dismissal or likely not at all ). No need to comment on this posters comments. Keep your distance please.
What a treat to read BillyBob’s remarks. An intelligent and worldly person.
I see also that someone has once again brought up the name of ‘he who cannot be mentioned’. Appears to be some kind of an obsession…

///////////////////

Who refers to himself in the third person? Who refers to other people as an “it”?

“It rubs the lotion on its skin, or it gets the hose”

Exact same vibe. I don’t want to know what’s in his tickle trunk.

#144 Tony on 08.24.20 at 10:37 am

Unless the DXY dollar index in America hit news all time lows corporate profits will never return for at least the next 20 years or more. The velocity of money is zero and will stay at zero. America will end up in stagflation with the rich (former rich to be) the only ones left to tax all the taxes. This is the end of the supercycle as the baby boomers go completely broke leaving virtually no one with any money.