Just Another WFH Saturday

I’m actually not WFH (working from home) today but reading about WFH. And I learned some new things about the world today. One of my favorite tidbits of unsolicited advice comes in the form of this question:

Do you live to work or work to live?

As Gartner research shows, workers want a more “human value proposition,” with 65% of survey respondents agreeing that the pandemic made them rethink the role that work should have in their lives. For all of our talk for decades about work-life balance, people finally feel in their bones what that means. The big question has shifted from “How does life fit into work?” to “How does work fit into life?”

How to Motivate Employees When Their Priorities Have Changed — https://hbr.org/2023/05/how-to-motivate-employees-when-their-priorities-have-changed

Nice to see others coming around to my way of thinking. The strongest motivation I had to establishing a WFH life was to not have work dominate my entire life. Not once have I felt lonely working in my home office. But apparently some WFH people get lonely.

When I first made the switch to working remotely, I was elated. I had been commuting for years, which regularly constituted 12 or more hours stuck in traffic each week and resulted in incalculable levels of stress and frustration. When I began working from home, in addition to regaining my lost commuting hours, I loved my new ability to focus on my work without the distraction of an open-plan office environment.

However, as time progressed, I started to feel lonely. I was able to laser-focus on my work, but my interactions with others were driven solely by virtual meeting agendas or email. I noticed I was becoming less enthused and more withdrawn. I spent too much time scrolling social media because I was silently craving connection with others. I was slowly but steadily becoming isolated.

Is Your Remote Job Making You Lonely? — https://hbr.org/2023/05/is-your-remote-job-making-you-lonely

Maybe you should turn your camera on during meetings.

A recent survey of 4,200 work-from-home employees found that 49% report a positive impact from engagement when their cameras are on during online meetings, and only 10% felt disengagement from turning on cameras. As leaders are figuring out hybrid and remote work, they are facing the challenge of deciding whether to encourage employees to keep their cameras on during meetings. This decision has a significant impact on communication, engagement and trust-building within the team. I can attest to that from my experience helping 21 organizations transition to long-term hybrid work arrangements.

The Pros and Cons of ‘Cameras On’ During Virtual Meetings — https://www.entrepreneur.com/leadership/the-pros-and-cons-of-cameras-on-during-virtual-meetings/450959

Then again, there may be a good reason why people have their cameras off.

May 2022 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimates that the number of working age Americans (25 to 54 years old) with substance use disorders has risen by 23% since pre-pandemic, to 27 million. A figure that’s about one in six of people who were employed around the time of the study. It’s caused a 9% to 26% drop in labor force participation that Karen Kopecky, one of the authors of the report, says continues today.Drug recovery firm Sierra Tucson concluded from a November 2021 survey that about 20% of US workers admitted to using recreational drugs while working remotely, and also to being under the influence during virtual meetings. Digital recovery clinic Quit Genius found in August 2022 that one in five believe that substance use has affected their work performance, also according to a survey.

Remote workers with substance use disorders face ‘rude awakening’ in return-to-office mandates — https://fortune.com/2023/05/13/remote-workers-substance-use-disorders-return-to-office-mandates/

OK, enough about WFH. Time to get back to thinking about retirement because (I am) Flunking Retirement.

Scary Charts 04.11.23

Per the Economic Policy Institute, wages in 2021 “rose fastest for the top 1% of earners (up 9.4%) and top 0.1% (up 18.5%), while those in the bottom 90% saw their real earnings fall 0.2% between 2020 and 2021.”

I Would Love to Have Enough Time and Money to Go to an Office to Work All Day — https://slate.com/business/2023/03/steven-rattner-new-york-times-remote-work-commute-child-care.html

The source article is about WFH vs RTO (work from home vs return to office) and is worth reading.

Emotional Support…Squids and Shrimp

“It has shrimp, it’s great, it’s so relaxing,” they said. “And then at the one hour and 22-minute mark, it gets inexplicably funky for about four minutes, and then goes back to being chill. It’s a whole experience.”

“Wow. This is truly the pinnacle of human creation,” one comment on the shrimp video reads. “The internet was made so I could chill alongside two shrimps.”

https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2022-09-16/monterey-bay-aquarium-lofi-hiphop-squid-jellyfish-shrimp

I’ve got the shrimp playing now. Maybe I’ll do the squid later.

The pinnacle of human creation!

Cheap Houses and Awe Inspiring Tornadoes

You can afford to buy a house in Oklahoma!

Salt Lake City, often popular with younger homebuyers, has the largest share of mortgages offered to Gen Zers. With 16.60% of mortgage offers in the metro going to Gen Zers, Salt Lake City retains its No. 1 spot from last year’s rankings.

After Salt Lake City, relatively inexpensive Louisville, Ky., and Oklahoma City are the next most popular metros among Gen Z buyers. Respectively, 15.86% and 15.34% of mortgage offers in these two metros go to Gen Zers. Oklahoma City fell one spot from last year, while Louisville rose from seventh.

Most Popular Metros for Gen Z Homebuyers – https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/the-most-popular-us-cities-for-gen-z-homebuyers-ranked

Going Back to the Office? (You Can’t. Not now. Not Ever)

People with talent and high-value skills, like most technology workers, aren’t returning to traditional offices.

How to lure employees back to the office? You can’t. Not now. Not ever. — https://www.zdnet.com/article/they-really-arent-going-back-work-from-home-is-here-to-stay/

I started working from home in 2006. I love reading articles on topics I already know a lot about.

The future of knowledge work will be a hybrid. A small percentage (like myself) will WFH 100% of the time and an even smaller percentage will work in an office 100% of the time. Most will travel to their offices a few times a month and WFH the rest of the time.

I drove a 2006 Ford Taurus for nearly 15 years and didn’t pass 80,000 miles. (short commute)

My business casual attire consists of jeans and a tee shirt.

Coffee is cheaper and tastes a lot better than office coffee too.

Need Retirement Income? – (Life Underwriters Need Not Worry)

The total number of life insurance policies sold rose 8% in the first six months of the year and marked the highest such growth since 1983, LIMRA said. And there were other indicators in that same data that pointed to positive signs: Total U.S. life insurance premium increased 21% in the second quarter 2021, the largest year-over-year increase since third quarter 1987; in addition, it was up 18% for the first half of 2021 compared to the prior year.

Life Insurance Sales Are Up, But for How Long? — https://news.ambest.com/articlecontent.aspx?refnum=313837&altsrc=2

I know who you are and I know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have very much money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that are currently in short supply. Skills that I can and will take to the highest bidder.

The Supreme Commander

I last posted about my upcoming retirement in More Retirement Income Ahead!

I need to start referring to my upcoming retirement as What Retirement?

More Retirement Income Ahead!

Total individual life insurance policy sales increased 11% in the first quarter, compared with first quarter 2020. This is the highest growth in the number of policies sold in a quarter since 1983. New annualized premium also experienced significant growth, up 15% from prior year, according to LIMRA’s First Quarter U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Survey.

LIMRA: First Quarter U.S. Life Insurance Policy Sales Highest Since 1983 — https://www.limra.com/en/newsroom/news-releases/2021/limra-first-quarter-u.s.-life-insurance-policy-sales-highest-since-1983/

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson in the film Taken

I had my annual wellness visit earlier this week.

5.10 168 130/84 BMI 24.14 O2 sat 98%

CHOLESTEROL 175 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 69 mg/dL
HDL 65 mg/dL
LDL CALCULATED 96 mg/dL
NON-HDL CHOLESTEROL 110 mg/dL

All of my other labs were normal too.

I have multiple relatives who have lived well into their 90’s. My maternal grandmother lived to 100. I’m going to need another source of retirement income. And for all of my friends and colleagues who never thought I would make it this far…

AST 23 U/L

ALT 7 U/L

GGT 36 U/L (12/2015)

PSA 0.7 (9/2020)

Third Places and Spaces

The term “third place” was first dubbed by Ray Oldenburg, a world-renowned sociologist who wrote The Great Good Place in 1989. In his book, which was a direct response to the privatization of home life that came with the increase in suburb growth, he claimed that if our homes were the “first” place, and our offices the “second” place, then the “third” place was most everything in between- or the more informal places where community gatherings would occur. These spaces are easily accessible by all and serve as anchors to modern society.

The Future Workspace That Isn’t the Workplace — https://www.archdaily.com/960896/the-future-workspace-that-isnt-the-workplace?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ArchDaily+%28ArchDaily%29

A nice look at the future of work from Kaley Overstreet. Kaley has a B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture from Ohio State Knowlton School and is a Senior Contributor at ArchDaily. Third spaces and places have been happening for some time. The pandemic merely accelerates the trend.

How will your workforce work?

There’s Nothing “Radical” About This WFH Plan

This is the latest in a series of major companies having made similar announcements, including Microsoft. But Synchrony’s proposal appears to be more radical in that it:

Allows all its US employees to work from home permanently.

Requires some employees to work from home all the time with no access to an office.

Requires all employees to work from home at least some of the time.

Requires even management with “assigned seats” to work from home at least 1-2 days a week.

In a memo to employees, reported by Bloomberg today, CEO Keane and Synchrony President Brian Doubles explained that Synchrony will have three types of offices:

Virtual offices: employees will work from home permanently, and there is no office they can go to.

Hoteling offices: employees work at home permanently, but if they need to, can book a desk at a nearby office location.

Hybrid offices: employees can work from home but they have an assigned seat at a nearby office where they can work at least three days a week.

Synchrony Financial Disclosed Radical Work-from-Home Plan, Layoffs, and “Office Footprint” Reduction — https://wolfstreet.com/2020/10/20/consumer-finance-giant-synchrony-disclosed-radical-permanent-work-from-home-plan/

I have been a WFH (work from home) warrior since 2006. There is absolutely nothing radical about the plan outlined above. I’ve been patiently waiting all these years for the business world to come around to my way of thinking. To be be clear, a lot of businesses would not adopt WFH without a nasty virus driving the agenda.

Too bad I’m currently a W2 worker. If I was still consulting I would make a MINT advising companies how to do the WFH thing effectively.

And what not to do when you’re on a Zoom call.

Nationwide Moves To Permanent Work-From-Home Strategy

“We’ve been investing in our technological capabilities for years, and those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98 percent work-from-home model,” said Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker.

I’ve been working from home for nearly 14 years.  Social distancing comes naturally to me at this point in time.  It’s interesting to me a virus will be remembered as the Gladwell tipping point for showing the corporate world  a better way of working.

98% permanent WFH!