This week’s update comes from the 9th week of working from home. The last time I was in office was 65 days ago. And I have no idea when I will go back. Or for that matter when any of us will go back.
Google is reopening offices in July on a limited basis. It doesn’t plan on joining the companies that have made working from home a permanent thing now, like Twitter and Square.
Twitter and Square both have one CEO, Jack Dorsay and about two weeks ago, he announced these two companies’ employees can work from home forever.
Facebook says it is also working to allow employees to work from home permanently. At least those who can.
A number of companies are also giving their employees work from home stipend so they can put together a comfortable and useful work space, get the right equipment, etc.
An interesting conversation that’s happening because of this move by major tech companies from Silicon Valley is that issues of housing in California may change. With that, it also changes the salaries that employees, and new hires get. Salaries often have a contributing factor to the geographical factor. If one is living in San Francisco instead of Austin, the salary they get and well, require, is quite different. The change in the living conditions, migration, and therefore Silicon Valley’s socioeconomic status will be something interesting to keep an eye out for over the coming months and years. At the same time, if employees of tech companies move to the smaller cities, and in general spread out over the country and the world, that could also mean that those areas get developed more and faster to keep up with the demands of this increase in population.
Working from home has changed the software tools we use for it. I mentioned that in a previous update. And would like to add that this change is more than positive if this way of working continues and even after when things may be more flexible. Better tools are always welcome.
The positive side of working from home has been the possibility of being able to spend time with our families, taking care of loved ones, kids, and pets. It has been easier to eat healthier, get a break from the screen every few hours, and even have a proper break from work related thoughts in between if required. However, with each of us doing this under the looming threat of contacting an invisible virus, this has been stressful.
Working from home might mean we are available to attend to work any time of the day. That also adds stress to the mix of an already stressful situation. Not being able to go out on a run without a mask on, not being able to get groceries sometimes, and always being afraid that you will touch something risky has taken a toll on our mental health.
However, the potential flexibility in where we work from in the future is a good thing. The fact that companies can now trust their employees to get the work done irrespective of their presence on a particular desk changes how they manage their employees. If I can go to the office to attend high priority meetings once or twice a week and work from home the rest of the time, that can make it much easier for me to plan a life that doesn’t revolve entirely around work. A well rounded life can after all do better in all aspects of life and we are less prone to work related burnout. As long as your teams and companies understand that only your work location has changed and not the time you can spend on work, we might be okay.
Talking about going into the office, I can’t not mention the two people who have to go into the office on the International Space Station. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Slated to launch on the 27th of May originally, they are now going on the 30th of May due to a lightning risk. The weather was too 2020 on the 27th, and the mission was scrubbed only 16 minutes before lift off. Their launch vehicle is one of the primary reasons why I have mentioned it here. It is SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is a private company and this test flight is set to change how humans go to space, and commercialize future space travel. Oh and Crew Dragon can dock onto the ISS by itself. Self driving cars are still learning but we are good to go in space.
Virgin Orbit, a small satellite launcher failed to launch a rocket to space during its first test flight this week. The company’s rocket called Launcher One is capable of sending small payloads to orbit. And the most interesting thing about this is that it can launch from underneath the wing of a Boeing 747, specially nicknamed Cosmic Girl. Get into the details of it here.
Coming back to our conversation about working from home, some parts of these two space flight procedures did happen from homes when the coronavirus was at its destructive peak. I think if people can manage to do that from home, we definitely can work from home and maintain an actual work life balance.
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