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 I noticed I was becoming less enthused and more withdrawn.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.

Kaiser Permanente $4.5B loss in 2022

Nonprofit hospital and health plan operator Kaiser Permanente on Friday posted a $4.5 billion net loss in 2022, compared to a $8.1 billion net gain in 2021, as the integrated system struggled with billions of dollars in investment losses, a rise in care volume and ongoing labor shortages.

Kaiser’s $4.5B loss in 2022 driven by labor expenses, investment losses — https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/kaiser-reports-13b-operating-loss-2022-driven-by-expenses-inflation/642595/


What Middle Class?

Hat tip to Mike Shedlock, a registered investment advisor at SitkaPacific Capital Management for highlighting the following video for his blog readers.

This is the portion of the blog post where I typically add a snarky comment.

Nope. Not going to joke about this.

Management Alert – Do Not Ignore This Survey

A mere 6% want to work entirely on-site going forward. Doesn’t it seem that traditional management and workplace practices are broken if more than 90% of 70 million employees say they don’t want to come back to the office full time?

Returning to the Office: The Current, Preferred and Future State of Remote Work — https://www.gallup.com/workplace/397751/returning-office-current-preferred-future-state-remote-work.aspx

I work in a profession that is perfectly suited for WFH. I’ve worked from home since 2006. Aside from losing most of my social skills…

A Plan is Not a Strategy – Update 08.03.22

A few months ago I was thinking about retirement. The funny thing about life at “retirement age” and still working is you think about retirement a lot. See Thinking About Retirement (or just another fine Saturday Morning) While catching up on news I came across several articles on unretirement. I learned the word unretire is actually in the dictionary. See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unretire. Rather than retire then unretire I decided I needed a plan. The more I thought about coming up with a plan the more I realized I needed a strategy instead.

So now I’m working on strategy only to realize I’ve had a strategy for many years. I’ve just never taken the time to write it down. It might be time to document my strategy. But it’s been too hot to write and Too Hot to Blog.

Take Home Message: A Plan is Not a Strategy.

Update 08.03.22

For an excellent example of strategy read this piece https://www.noceilingsnba.com/p/the-art-of-presti on how Sam Presti the General Manager of the OKC Thunder epitomizes this definition of strategy.

The Labor Force Refuses to Grow – Age Discrimination?


Ageism is a real problem. And it could also be responsible for the low labor force getting stuck at this level. Boomers are now between around 56 and 76. This is a huge generation. And in tech, when the hiring manager is 32, and you’re 56, it’s tough getting that job. And when you’re 62, it’s even tougher just to get anyone’s attention. Some succeed. But many don’t.

Many of these people, often with a superb job history, may never get a job in their field again. Many of them made enough money to where they don’t have to work. They’d like to work, but it’s tough getting ignored or rejected time after time because of age.

And they give up “actively” looking for a job, and thereby they’re removed from the labor force. They were dropped from the labor force due to ageism, not because they wanted to retire. And they might tell everyone, after they give up looking, that they’re “retired,” when in fact, they’d love to work in their field but are locked out.

I Want to Add a Word about Ageism in this Bizarre Labor Market and How it Hits Labor Force & Unemployment Numbers — https://wolfstreet.com/2022/07/08/i-want-to-add-a-word-about-ageism-in-this-bizarre-labor-market-and-how-it-hits-labor-force-unemployment-numbers/

The entire post from Mr. Wolf is worth reading. Obviously there is no data to support ageism as one of the causes for the lack of labor force growth. But it certainly is an interesting hunch.

At last count there were 240 comments on this article.

Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/50-years-ago-houston-we-ve-had-a-problem

I Quit!

In January, a record-breaking 4.3 million employees quit their jobs — the eighth consecutive month with over 4 million workers leaving their roles.

Key Points –

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of US employees are either actively looking or are open to new opportunities in the next 6-12 months.

Beyond compensation and growth, younger workers are looking for something more personal: A place where they belong. Compared to boomers, Gen Z and millennials were twice as likely to state “lack of belonging” as a reason to pursue other opportunities.

In the US, 52% of employees with tenures of 3 months or less are looking to leave.

Lattice Research Reveals Great Resignation Trends — https://lattice.com/library/lattice-research-reveals-great-resignation-trends


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.