Well over a year into this, the comments in the Wall Street Journal are sad, perplexing, and give pause to what we have done all at the same time:
After more than a year of working virtually during the pandemic, executives in banking and technology are pushing back on the idea that workers should be able to do their jobs entirely from home in the coming months. Though some said they expect more flexible work arrangements to endure going forward, they say there are clear signs of burnout in an era of nonstop video calls.
Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, told a virtual audience of The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit Tuesday that he had personally experienced Zoom fatigue. On one day last year, he said he had 19 Zoom meetings in a row.
The post goes on to report that, “like many companies, Zoom is planning an eventual return to its offices,” phasing in on-site work. The inquiry really should be what is holding these firms back? Many CEOs like that of JPMorgan have observed what anyone over the age of 50 knows:
Remote work doesn’t work well for generating new ideas, preserving corporate culture and competing for clients—or “for those who want to hustle,” Mr. Dimon said, adding he has been back in the office for months.
The technology is wonderful, and for working on specific projects that require a shared document or dataset, Zoom, Teams, et. al., work exceedingly well. But you cannot replicate the energy of face to face collaboration, and I think our culture would do well re-thinking some of what we have done over the last year.
The CDC has updated its official guidelines (for April 27, 2021) on masks for those fully vaccinated (as well as a few for those who are not). The following are noted in the update:
- Clarification that fully vaccinated workers no longer need to be restricted from work following an exposure as long as they are asymptomatic.
- Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings no longer need to quarantine following a known exposure.
- Fully vaccinated asymptomatic people without an exposure may be exempted from routine screening testing, if feasible.
The good, better, best scenarios are shown in the partial infographic:
This is great news, but it was just four weeks prior that we read CDC Director Fears ‘Impending Doom’ and the CDC was still recommending the vaccinated to wear masks in public. I think most would not question the sincerity of such concerns or the excellent news of current progress – but what many have questioned for over a year: accuracy of what appear to be contradictory guidelines. Consider the following on the same page. A fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
- Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible
Today markes the 100th day since the shelter-in-place in the northern California Bay Area, with some interesting reflections in The San Francisico Chronicle on what happened – and going forward:
Wednesday will mark 100 days since shelter-in-place orders were issued on March 17. Experts believe the move prevented thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of infections. It kept hospitals from being overrun and gave cities and counties precious time to learn about this new virus and mount a defense against it.
But more than 500 Bay Area residents died of COVID-19 in that time. More than 18,000 tested positive. And the coronavirus that drove millions of people into isolation remains as sinister and unpredictable now as it was 100 days ago. What’s changed over the past three months is not the virus, but the way the Bay Area lives with it.
…No one in public health really expected [three weeks] would be enough time to suppress the virus and let life resume as normal — but few predicted that 14 weeks later there would be no end in sight to this pandemic.
What is most remarkable is that many experts believe “the world is going to be cozy with this virus for a long while…coronavirus is still here…it’s probably far more widespread now than it was in March,” which certainly gives pause to the last three and a half months. It is further interesting to note that the shelter orders were self described as a “draconian strike,” with profound consequences:
But understanding that their decision would have profound repercussions was not the same as watching those effects play out, said Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health.
…I didn’t really have a full understanding of how deeply impacted so many people would be, and how much it would reveal some of the deep systemic issues that already exist in society – the inequalities and the disproportionate effects.
See the full post here.
Purpose, satisfaction, and relevance have been ongoing topics of discussion in a workplace that has changed over the last several decades but is especially felt in our present time as the Wall Street Journal points out:
Companies may have to address the angst some workers feel about their relevance and the purpose behind their jobs. Decades of research show people crave a sense of purpose to feel motivated at work. Without the coffee dates, meetings and camaraderie of time with colleagues, “you’re left with the work itself,” and if the work starts to feel wanting, it can lead to painful reckonings.
It is probably not a stretch to say that everyone has had extended, contemplative stretches of time as many (if not most) of us have had more time on our hands (even those working) than in our entire adult lives, and it would appear rotating back into the workplace is more abrupt than expected:
“Purpose” has been invoked in recent years by business leaders and employees, who say they want their careers to have meaning broader than the bottom line. Companies have embraced the term as they recruit young employees, casting their work and mission as solving important problems.
In addition to several suggestions, I would add don’t miss this unique opportunity, while it is still fresh in our minds, to contemplate why and how we are not meant to be isolated. See the full post here.