Returning to work (no more WFH)

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  • Estates have told me that I can’t have a key to the window in my office because it’s a ‘health and safety issue’. I sent them the HSE guidance on natural ventilation vs air conditioning. There was no reply.

  • Ha, classic Estates.

  • At an unnamed northern university...


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  • I do two days a week in the office right now (mostly to send letters which is the one thing we can't really do WFH), but they've announced there's going to be a monthly mandatory non-Zoom team meeting where everyone piles into this big room they've rented elsewhere in the hospital. I don't really see the point and kind of resent having to have lunch early and schlep out there. At least for me it's just north -> east London, but we have a few people way down south who are going to find it pretty disruptive I think.

  • We're about to do our first "hybrid" team meeting tomorrow. I imagine it will be a bit of a shit show where those who aren't in the room will barely be part of it.

  • That's my experience, hybrid meetings just don't work for those not in the room and land up having to choose between is it worth dragging self to the office for or just accepting will miss some stuff

  • In my experience hasn't been quite as binary as that. A lot depends on proportions in person and remote, and who is in which groups. I was recently 'in the room' with 3 others whilst 7 were remoting (and those 7 included MD and head of dept who was running the meeting) - it appeared much easier to contribute remotely, and to speak up from in the room (when you were much further from the camera and the mic) felt like more of a challenge. Obviously, if this was the other way round I'm sure the 4 of us remote would have really struggled...

  • I've done a fair few of those. With the right people it works great, but it's dependant on everyone wanting a fair meeting where everyone gets heard. I've also been in meetings were the in-person-people completely ignore the remote ones

  • What did they do before the pandemic? Daily commute?

    1 meeting per month sounds very fair tbh, even if it ends up being a shit day for a few people

  • I suspect technology is going to be the hang up. Our meeting rooms aren't set up for remote/in person meetings.

  • We can dial in a conference phone into a Teams meeting for people who are joining remotely, but the audio quality isn't great. Not sure how we used to work using conference calls.

  • I've been back working in the building for 4 weeks. We have to show notification of negative LFT to access the building and mask in common areas but in the classrooms I'm still face to face with 80-odd people for hours at a time. So far only one of them has gone off with confirmed covid, with a handful of others off 'sick' at any time. I'm encouraging anyone unwell to get a PCR but only one has sent in a negative result so far. I'm more than a little suspicious that only 1 has covid, given the general prevalence and age range (18-25 with most at the lower end). I don't know if this is because of the ineffectiveness of LFT in picking up cases, or that people aren't doing the tests properly or at all. Obviously you don't actually need to do a test to upload a negative result.

    A couple of weeks ago I cancelled a trip to see my dad for the weekend, he'd just had his booster but too recent to be at full effectiveness. It just feels like too much of a risk. It's a little frustrating not being able to control my own isolation, like I've been used to doing while WFH. After 4 weeks I do still get a bit euphoric and occasionally overwhelmed from being around people.

  • If you're doing hybrid meetings it's worth investing in some good multi-directional microphones and not relying on some poor bastard's laptop.

    We were doing these pre-pandemic and still do them now and if you have good audio kit (we have some spendy Sennheiser shit shrugs) then it makes a huge difference.

    We also have a couple of boxes of these, so people could take them around to desks or different meeting spaces:

    https://www.aurora-multimedia.co.uk/prod­uct/sennheiser-teamconnect-wireless-conf­erence-microphone-set/

    and we had some of these as well:
    https://www.ligo.co.uk/sennheiser-sp-30-­portable-conference-speakerphone

    But I don't remember if they were any good. Maybe a bit better than laptop audio.

  • Yes, turns out IT had one of those puck speaker/microphone things which made it a bit better (although no USB extension cable to actually get it into the middle of the room).

    We just had a standard webcam though which meant that half of the room was cut off from the video.

    All a bit bodged together.

  • Yeah, we have a new office which has proper AV rooms. The old one had little cameras under bigscreen TVs which worked reasonably well. It's the audio that's the tricky part.

  • Yeh audio is a nightmare if it is a long room and the mic is at one end and they are sat chatting at the other end of the table

    We have these new camera's in the meeting room that spin to focus on the source of sound, is a bit disconcerting to begin with

  • As most of my colleagues head back to the office the number of meetings I'm invite to and the endless messages on the teams chat has massively died off. I'm back to a situation where everyone forgets I'm a permeant home working so once again left to actually get on with work.

  • my first day back in the office last Friday since mid-March 2020. Only one day a week and after some initial reservations realised that Friday is okay as it is very quiet.

    It was actually quite exciting to be back even if i did have to drag my sorry arse up to Canary Wharf via train & tube. Felt like a new job although fairly sure I don't want to do it five days a week.

    Checked that everything was still in place for cycle-commuting which it is although I hurt my back at the w/e so unsure if i will cycle this Friday

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Returning to work (no more WFH)

Posted by Avatar for DethBeard @DethBeard

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