Solomon came out with this, and it got the hamsters in my brain turning about this whole “new normal” work from home WFH business.
People selling their apartments to move to the country
I count myself in this group as we plan on buying some land and building a home, but I am fully aware that I will be limited in taking contracts that are able to be driven to within a reasonable amount of time.
I’ll also be taking less contracts because a new stipulation of mine would be that I am at home 3 days a week and only 2 days MAXIMUM in the office (wherever that is).
The only reasons why I can do this are:
- I don’t need to work because I don’t really need the money, this is just for fun stuff like a YOLO trip to Japan
- I get to dictate the terms of my contract as a freelancer
- My job allows me to work from home for the majority of the time
The problem is people are thinking their companies will let them be WFH 100% of the time but I suspect this will not last.
Many companies have decided to be permanently WFH but those companies are not the norm; they’re doing it to save millions on rent, utilities and so on, but also because their jobs are covetable and if you don’t deliver, they’ll just fire you.
I’d also say your home setup has to be pretty amazing. We have all 3 of us in one living room right now which was fine before when Little Bun was in daycare, but even with just the two of us, I am really highly annoyed when I hear clinking in the kitchen or talking when I am on a call or presenting.
We need separate rooms, big monitors, a better laptop, better servers to handle all of the traffic, higher internet speeds….
I already spent this year alone, almost $800 in work gear from cables to stands, to a monitor to new keyboards (I need one for French because these accents are killing me).
Companies will ask everyone to go back to the office
In other industries, being in the office is needed 100% of the time.
Even in my job, I will acknowledge that some meetings are better done face-to-face with a piece of paper or a whiteboard than over a call, so while I can do most of MY work at home without being with anyone else, that doesn’t mean that I don’t find in-person collaborations easier.
Managers, are eventually going to want people back in the office. My guess would be that the WFH policies will be relaxed, but it will be maybe 1 – 2 days WFH at best for most companies.
Working from home works now rather than being in the office because of the pandemic, but in the long run, I suspect we will move back to the office if out of pure need/desire to be with other people.
I can already feel myself slowly sliding into becoming anti-social and depressed because of this self-isolation (and we go pretty far, I will say), but this is not a unique feeling I have.
WFH is not a good solution long term because we have a lack of competition now. It seems to me like when you have to compete against other people, it’s when you see them and you feel the need to work harder. None of this matters or feels as relevant the less you connect with your fellow colleagues.
There’s no more team spirit, there aren’t any small bonds being formed outside of work itself like when we all hang out in the cafeteria and chat about ANYTHING BUT WORK, to find out more about each other – none of this is done now, as we don’t do these chats with colleagues as it feels weird like we’re wasting company time.
Everyone will migrate back to city life…eventually
It only sucks now. Even I am sort of wishing I could go to the office at least once or twice a week, and I am certain I am not the only one.
Everyone who has sold off their city apartments to buy homes in the middle of nowhere, may regret doing so because their companies may very well ask them to return to the office, and here comes the long and dreaded commute.
It’s just that now that everything is closed.
People aren’t going out to bars, restaurants or hanging out, but once people get vaccinated (eventually), and life slowly returns back to normal.. as much as it can be, people will be going back out again.
Eventually, like even after a big fire, things will grow grow back. It may take years, but it will happen again.
Humans like to congregate together, and that’s why cities form. They enjoy being with other humans, as this pandemic has painfully outlined.
Not many of us want to live in the middle of nowhere without anyone at all for months on end, we want to be with other people (even if for me, it is only okay for short periods at a time and I cannot live in the middle of NOWHERE because I will go stir crazy).
I like being near people for short doses at a time, and I like being near cities even if I may not really want to live in one any more (I am moving towards my pre-retirement dream maybe, of having a full garden…)
Is a future housing crisis on the way?
When this happens (eventually), will homes basically be sold left and right as people migrate back into the city?
The trends seem to be to try and shift out of living in the city until the cost of homes rises and they are unable to afford it, so they stay in the city.
It doesn’t seem sustainable in the long-term and maybe that’s why some companies are now focusing on real estate to pick them up at depressed prices and to wait it out.