There Will Be Permanent Changes: Apple CEO Tim Cook Weighs in on Working from Home

“Some things actually work really well virtually”; but “the vast majority of us can’t wait until we can be back in the office.”

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, during an interview at The Atlantic Festival, took on work from home, after having long been quiet about it, even as other companies have either jumped on the bandwagon with permanent work-from-home visions, such as Twitter and Facebook, or refused to jump on the bandwagon, such as Netflix’s CEO who called it a “pure negative,” or JP Morgan’s CEO who warned about the negative consequences of working from home.

With Apple having just built one of the most stunning and expensive office buildings – designed for informal collaboration, and not for working from home – Cook’s verdict was mixed:

  • On one side: “I don’t believe that we’ll return to the way we were, because we found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually.”
  • On the other side: “The vast majority of us can’t wait until we can be back in the office.”

Innovation has continued to take place, even as “85 to 90% of the company” was working remotely. “I’m incredibly impressed with our teams and their resiliency,” Cook said. “You can see from the announcements we’ve made this week with the Series 6 Watch, with the SE Watch, with the iPads, and with a new service called Fitness Plus. You can see we’ve continued on the innovation trail.”

But… “It’s not like being together physically.” For creativity and serendipity, “you depend on people kind of running into each other over the course of a day, Cook said. “We have designed our entire office such that there are common areas where people congregate and talk about different things. And you can’t schedule those times.”

“And so, I think the vast majority of us can’t wait until we can be back in the office again. Hopefully that occurs sometime next year, who knows exactly what the date may be,” he said.

Other CEOs have lined up on different sides of the issue.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told the Wall Street Journal earlier in September, when asked if he saw any benefits from people working remotely: “No. I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative. I’ve been super impressed at people’s sacrifices.” And he said, “Debating ideas is harder now.”

“If I had to guess, the five-day workweek will become four days in the office while one day is virtual from home. I’d bet that’s where a lot of companies end up,” he said.

And when? “It’s probably six months after a vaccine. Once we can get a majority of people vaccinated, then it’s probably back in the office,” he said.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said last week that it was time to get people back to the office. “Going back to work is a good thing,” he said. But added, “There will be permanent changes from this.”

Dimon told analysts Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in a private meeting that working from home seems to have impacted younger employees, with Monday and Friday being particularly unproductive, and overall productivity and “creative combustion” has taken a hit. A JPMorgan spokesman then said that the productivity of employees was affected “in general, not just younger employees,” but added that younger workers “could be disadvantaged by missed learning opportunities.”

Numerous social media and tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Okta, and Box, have made announcements about working from home becoming a permanent feature or option for employees. Facebook expects as many as half of its employees might be working remotely in five to 10 years. But Google, which extended its WFH policy at least until next July, has remained ambivalent about permanent aspects of it.

All these companies have a huge footprint in the office sector, owning and leasing humongous amounts of office space that they figured they’d eventually populate.

And what seems to be emerging is a hybrid model, depending on company, and depending on what particular employees do, to where part of the time is spent in an office – this could be four days a week, or it could be two days a month – and the rest of the time can be working from home, with many functions being completely manageable by working remotely.

I do have to say, in my own experience, it’s kind of cute when you talk to a big-company or government employee, and there are kids making noises in the background. We’re just not used to it. But it works, and each time, the job got done. Each time this happens, I ask what they think about working from home, and I usually get a mixed message composed of these elements, with varying weights: “It’s great in many ways, it saves a lot of time, but I miss the interactions at the office, and some things are harder to do.”

So it’s logical that Tim Cook would see opportunity in working from home – “we found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually” – and that for aspects where creativity and problem solving are involved, working in an office would be better, and more enjoyable. But as he pointed out, creativity and problem-solving too were successfully handled by largely working from home over the past six months.

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  158 comments for “There Will Be Permanent Changes: Apple CEO Tim Cook Weighs in on Working from Home

  1. Wim Weber says:

    It seems logical that CEOs are not fond of their staff working from home. You become CEO because being the head honcho is extremely important to you. But well, if you have nobody around you, what’s the point ?
    As for creativity, group work is probably seriously overrated as a means to generate that.

    • Jake Leone says:

      So Management may have a confirmation bias when it comes to valuing commuting to the office. In person communication can lead to more opportunities, more responsibilities, that’s what managers need. Engineers need quiet and concentration.

      Also, when the meme goes out (for example when whats-her-name formerly at formerly-Yahoo said no more working from home), a lot of companies started touting the same meme (even my company).

      Now that we are forced to work from home, many execs are saying work from home is working out fine. Why is that? Because they have had a week or two to come up with reasons to match their confirmation bias. There’s no thinking, or research in this, it is just sloganeering and word-smithing.

      The board rooms have a huge sway on this. If a company is failing (Yahoo was doing okay, but failing according to the investors) the board room starts asking for solutions. An easy answer is to just say, okay let’s disallow working from home (temporarily saved many a CEO’s job). And then they spend a week thinking of reasons why this is a good idea (you know serendipity, synergy all that bologna). They don’t talk to the engineers or anyone who has to commute 4 hours to a cramped up (noisy) office. That would take actual time and work, golfing and tennis are far more important.

      Working from home works for me, as an engineer, I like the quiet, and I save about 4 hours of bay area commuting.

      But no one in management will every ask me that. So I am posting it here, hoping the meme-eaters are listening to some actual fact, not born of confirmation bias.

      • RagnarD says:

        well, it seems to me the only reason anyone would commute 4 hours /day is because they had to. If you can now find work where you don’t have to commute… maybe you get paid less… but maybe you live in a vastly cheaper area…but maybe its nicer overall, so it’s net gain. Seems like such options will inevitably evolve from this.

      • intosh says:

        “Engineers need quiet and concentration”

        And yet, more and more companies adopt the human hen house model for their workers’ work space, which is basically a cafeteria with rows of computer screens.

        These management types don’t really know what’s best for every employee, for every job position. They have tunnel vision; they speak based on their own biased experience (i.e. managers prefer to have their employees in sight, as well as being able to do meetings in person, do their networking and socializing, all of which help their career), and often based on motives from the bean counters.

      • Mike says:

        Jake, you need to explore the market – there are many tech companies hiring now. And hiring remote workers. My teams have hired multiple remote developers the past few months, for example. My company has asked everyone the types of questions you described. And many more in multiple surveys. And those results are being used to figure out how we are going to re-open and in what configuration. We have already told every employee that they can work remote if their job allows it – and many are taking that route and moving out of state (we are in a West Coast tech city/hub).

        To address another response to your message around open space designs, we also had the now typical tech open space configuration. That is being completely reconsidered given Covid-19. Every option is on the table and being discussed. I strongly suspect when we return to the office, a good portion will remain working remotely, and the office will not be an open space design.

    • George says:

      There will never be a vaccine (has never been one for a coronavirus and some have been researched for fifty years!) and people will never be “back at the office.” As I have said before, office buildings are coronavirus infernos. And I have been proved right. Look what happened at JP Morgan! It’s exactly what I said earlier. The iron law of this virus is simple, folks, so brand it on your brains:

      More intermingling = more cases.

      You may as well tear down all skyscrapers. No one will ever go in them again. Period.

    • J.A. Bujes says:

      Absolutely. It’s hard to feel important when you’re not jetting around and waving your big dick in people’s faces. They seriously get off on that.

      I worked for Apple in the nineties when the fad was working from home; so I did, 4 days a week, attending an actual meeting at the office once a week.

      I also WFH for Oracle and Sun, going in every couple of months. Worked just fine.

      Of course, you do have to provide social support to those businesses that get killed as a result. But the air is cleaner, workers have more choice about where to live, and expenses for the company are lower.

      Also, natch, pandemics are easier to contain. I’ve worked in hi tech for 35. years. There is NOT a huge majority who want to go back to work. On the contrary.

  2. Sea Creature says:

    I think its great (WFH), but there will be long term downsides, particularly for people in ‘wealthy’ countries if there is no periodic “must be in the office” portion.

    I am sure I am not the only one thinking if its WFH all / most of the time then why should I stay in California? (or even the USA?). Especially I can move to Cabos, Pattaya or Cancun and WFH from there instead where the cost of living is 1/2 to 1/4 what it is in the US.

    If enough Americans (or Brits..etc) do this, it will have an impact on salaries in the USA as people move to the cheaper countries would likely accept cheaper salaries given the cost of living is so incredibly low in many of these places (which also will invariably go up though too).

    Indian outsourcing was cheaper but had problems because of cultural and language issues, but if you can get a real American at offshore rates and enough Americans move to these cheaper countries, rates in the USA for the same type of work will fall over time… a lot.. Quite a few people would be motivated to move as the standard of living is (often) better for the people who do so, the girls are better, the beaches are nice…etc..etc..yada yada..

    hmmm.

    • Prof. Emeritus says:

      Imho most managers envisions the WFH policy in a way that you are allowed to work from your choice of location as long as you’d like, but if a business partner decides to call a meeting for the next day you are still expected to show up physically and present your part live, not through a low-resolution webcam in your bedroom (even expensive teleconferencing equipments are a piece of garbage despite our technological advancement). So people may be able to move further away from cities, but certainly not to a different country, your home office-allowance is still tied to a certain place.

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        I’m hoping that US companies would have to hire US citizens, who don’t necessarily, have to live in America. That would mean that I could live almost anywhere in the world collecting a US salary from a US job, without foreign competition. Only thing preventing this kind of stuff is lack of will from the 99%.

        • Kaleberg says:

          This is earth. Do you really think they will pay you a US salary. Some companies have already been “adjusting” salaries for people leaving high rent HQ areas. This is a financial site. Companies will pay what they can get away with.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          I did say, I’m hoping, not this will happen.

          While, I don’t expect California money working remotely. Even a much more average paycheck goes quite far abroad in many quite nice places. The question is whether American companies will be required to hire American workers first, like many nice countries already do, and if American citizens abroad would qualify for the must be hired before foreigners, even if abroad.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Home office-allowance? You doan got no home office-allowance. We doan gotta show you no home office-allowance! No allowance for internet either. You like your job, you keep your job – on our terms.

    • Paul from NC says:

      Nah. I’ve been working remote either 100% or 80%+ for the past 16 years. Everywhere I’ve worked generally made salary offers in tune with the local market where I lived. This is nothing new.

  3. Lou Mannheim says:

    “ missed learning opportunities.”

    Translation: get your butts back in your chairs or someone else will steal your P&L.

  4. otishertz says:

    Working from home is the tip of a massive outsourcing iceberg like we’ve never seen. Middle management will get crushed.

    Remote learning will destroy duplication of instruction in education. Teachers and professors will lose work even more than managers.

    • Harrold says:

      Football will be decimated.

      • A2xGator says:

        Uhh, not so fast my friend. The SEC schools exist because of CFB, not the other way around. As a proud 2x Gator (B.A., J.D.) I remember the Athletic Association loaned the university $25 million during the last crash. Too much money in it even if they play in empty stadiums…

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      otishertz,

      Yep, I been saying work from home is a prelude to massive layoffs.

      As for remote learning the real competition is from completely automated online classes with no teachers. There are actually free programming classes online from places like Stanford University that is entirely you interacting with a software program, no teachers at all. In these classes you do actually write a program, which, is then autonomously tested. This could be big for math, sciences, and many other subjects. Courses like history, which, are almost entirely memorizing facts (with some interpretation) wouldn’t stand a chance. These classes would be do easy to host they could be free for all in everything. These classes can be entirely at your speed, but, some may eventually find ways to connect others to learn together in ways that could out compete traditional universities.

      Some things like engineers and doctors would still require mostly in person classes to guarantee safety. Almost everything else, should be scared.

      • J.A. Bujes says:

        Nah. WFH in hi tech was actually quite common until ten years ago.

        As for “free” courses: these are loss leaders to perfect the algos and processes. They will not be free for long.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          The reason many hi tech companies cannot do WFH is to protect intellectual property. Many if not the majority of apple and Google employees would likely fit into this category. For more average workers, this usually wouldn’t be the case, the bigger question is how many WFH jobs could be automated away.

          As for these courses not remaining free, if university spending continues to be cut, it could easily be the case that the federal government or some non profit provides these classes. The bigger deal is if after completing large programs online the individual states or federal government would allow you to take in person exams and get official certificates, thereby replacing universities for most things. These classes could also be downloadable or simply very cheap.

    • intosh says:

      “Middle management will get crushed”

      Most companies employ way too many managers anyway. (Some innovative companies got rid of middle management entirely.) If WFH will make upper management realize this, then so be it.

      As for massive outsourcing, WFH doesn’t add anything new to the equation. Positions that could be outsourced HAVE largely already been outsourced. In fact, an employee who WFH cost less to a business than one who needs an office.

      Education with a live teacher will be a luxury. Education has become expensive. Remote learning is making education more accessible. Some teachers will make even more money (live teaching wealthy kids). while others will be forced to adapt (produce their own online content; freelancing), and of course, some will be forced out of the field entirely.

    • Cashboy says:

      Middle management jobs were going anyway with data bases and software and electronic transactions.

      Middle class and lower class is also a thing of the past as the lower class live on state benefits and middle class struggle on their lower and lower real term salaries often topped up with state benefits.

  5. Petunia says:

    The crisis has also revealed the quality of the outsourced “programming talent” the US has relied on for a generation now. All those unemployment systems which cost hundreds of millions, written by mostly H1Bs because they are cheaper, don’t work, are hard to modify, and are an embarrassment.

    Even California doesn’t have a functional unemployment system. They can’t send out unemployment checks or fix known problems. So much for the reputation of Silicon Valley and the H1B system.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Total rubbish. This is a state funding issue. “All those unemployment systems” were written in COBOL, a language from the 1950s. H1B only came into being in the 1990s. States haven’t been keeping up with modern tech and they had little reason to. Mass unemployment is not supposed to be a thing, but hei we should follow the Republican playbook of everyone for themselves. Then there’s no need for unemployment systems and there’s reason for programmers. Win win.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        I meant “there’s no need for programmers”.

        • Petunia says:

          Florida is one of the states with the worst programming problems and I remember when they fired their American workforce. It was about 5+ years ago. That was the same time frame 5-10 years when many of these systems were overhauled. I heard Nevada, another basket case, was finished only a few years ago.

          None of this surprises me in the least, I expected this outcome from experience.

        • Jon says:

          I came here on f1 visa got my h1 visa , greencard and now a us citizen.
          I can tell you first hand is most of the h1bs visas are not meant to bring niche skill set but to replace us workers with cheaper workforce.
          Going by the true spirit of h1b law, only 20 percent h1b visas qualify for h1b visas. rest are cheap replacement for big corps.

          for h1b visa holder from india, it takes them 10 years plus to get green card and for this period they need to work for same employers as indentured labor. hence big corps love h1bs.. 80% from India of course.

          Trump through tightening the screws really made it super difficult to abuse h1bs and i can tell you first again again its a boon for us workforce.

          I voted for him last tme and I am gonna vote for him again. I find his despicable but much better than biden

        • Jon says:

          A lot of businesses in Silicon Valley were and are started by people who came to US on H1B visa. Without H1B talent, there will be no Google, Facebook, Amazon or any other company based in Silicon Valley. People on H1B are responsible for a lot of innovation taking place in this country. Indirectly they are also responsible for creating thousands of jobs in the country. Many of the doctors and nurses in the US are on H1B. H1B workers are no way cheaper. They earn more than what an average American earns and are among the top 10% of the earners in this country. Unfortunately it is not possible to find qualified people with the right skillset, experience, work ethic and attitude in the US even if we pay top dollars. I am a recruiter and I have been burned several times by American workers.

        • Sea Creature says:

          About 10% or so of issued H1B’s are legit (i.e. the guys that start google..etc, went to real universities..etc).

          Theother 90% or so are just issued to outsourcing and “managed services” companies like Tata, IBM (now amusingly referred to as “Indian Business Machines” by the industry)..etc. to replace run of the mill regular IT guys with cheaper labor from overseas for jobs they were not able to outsource to there for whatever reason (client wants them on-site..etc. whatever).

          The first set of H1Bs above (the geniuses), we want to keep. The rest, need to be cancelled. a solution often brought up (but never implemented) is to “auction” them off.. since if it really is ‘special’ skills, then companies ought to be able to pay (much) more than a regular American for special skills.

          There is lots lots on this topic all over the internet over the last decade. H1B is basically a program to replace American programmers and engineers from India (mostly) as well as from other cheap countries. It has mostly nothing to do with “special skilled” geniuses except in few very edge cases that are repeatedly brought up by shills and lobbyists.

          Real salaries & benefits in IT are down like 50% since the 90s when I got into the industry. Not much of a ‘shortage’ now is it..

      • J Smith says:

        That is 100% correct. Most legacy unemployment systems written a long time. Most rewrites have failed and blown hundreds of millions of tax dollars – Think Deloitte, CGI, etc…Government IT is full of failures for many many years.

    • MarMar says:

      Do you know for a fact that the unemployment systems are largely written by H1B workers?

      Because as far as I can tell large government software systems like UI are complicated, expensive, and hard to modify for several reasons. Among them: it’s just inherently hard to write, there’s a lot of legacy code to deal with (often in ancient languages like COBOL), and there are bureaucratic requirements and RFPs that slow things down and tend to award contracts to large, sclerotic organizations.

      Some of these organizations may use H1B workers, but the poor product outcomes have little to do with them and more to do with the overall environment, methinks.

      • Petunia says:

        In the case of Florida, I know for a fact that was the case because the fired workers were complaining on the news. For the rest of the states, I would bet that was also the case because govt contracts go to the lowest bidders, not to the quality workforce. Most US tech workers won’t work for below market wages, and wouldn’t be hired by the low bidders.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Pet, et al re guv mint RFPs:
          Up to 2009, when the only work in the construction industry was federal, the states being short of money, low bid was it; however, when my company was low bid and didn’t get the work that year, we found out that a new system had been put in place with the name of ”Best Value to the Guv mint.”
          We had put together a really good team for a Design Build project to add a wing onto a VA hospital, but because my owners didn’t have personal experience with VA work, the higher bidder was awarded the project.
          Same thing happened that year with Forest Service and several DOD projects.
          Different company in 2016 was on the other side of that process, being awarded several projects because they had the more experienced with guv management team.

        • intosh says:

          But you just assume that “local” programmers would have done a better job.

          I’m in the industry for many decades and I can tell you great programmers have become extremely rare and competent project managers for IT projects are even harder to find. There is a serious harmful concentration of talents into startups and companies developing addictive and useless games and apps.

      • J Smith says:

        No, they are not and that’s a bogus assumption that the reason governement tech fails because H1B programmers were involved. Utter nonsense. Most other legacy unemployment systems were written over 20-25 years ago by Cobol or PL1 developers and crashed during the Covid crisis due to scalability or experienced major performance problems.

        The State of Mass unemployment system was migrated from their datacenters to AWS by Smartronix (a leading AWS partner) in late 2018 and has been a major success – it works and the yearly OPEX costs are much lower than pre-migration.

    • Seneca's cliff says:

      I went to business school in the 80’s with several guys fresh out of the IBM training program who had been brought in to install, program and debug the state’s (Oregon) unemployment department computer system. IBM payed for them to work on an MBA part time while they accomplished the bigger project. The entire employment computer system ( programmed in Cobal) on IBM mainframes was up and running in less than a year. It has been running the employment department to this day. The state got millions to replace it starting back in 2009 but the project has been taking so long and has so many problems that it is not due for completion until 2013. These guys had first class undergrad degrees, a legendary corporate training program, and wore shirts ( under blue suits) that were so white that it hurt your eyes to look at them. Those were the days.

      • Petunia says:

        IBM was a great company in its day, now they rely on govt subsidies, just like Tesla. They call it Indian Business Machines for a reason.

        • SiT23 says:

          The Big Corporates bosses do not get bonuses for subsidizing employees’ education for long term corporate gain. They get bonuses for borrowing billions and buying back shares at the correct price to get their ” get the share price up” bonus. In this financial year. Maybe next year as well, if they haven’t left, with their surprisingly large termination bonus, to do it all again,at the next Big Corporate. It’s not rocket science.

        • James Mitchell says:

          There was a time when if you aspired to success in retail mgmt you started your career at Sears.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      You’re the computer expert, but I would say this based on my observations and experience: They don’t want these systems to work.

      If I can’t registered, I’m not “unemployed”.
      If I can’t receive my benefits, even better!

      I’ve been in the workforce for about 40 and have busted my ass. I tried twice to dip my toe into this system, as is my right. It was impossible to use (in FL).

      I spoke to a friend in Pensacola re: it. His girlfriend is a do-gooder and has been helping people who lost their restaurant jobs to get into the system (ex. dishwasher, busboy, etc.).

      She helped one guy into it!! I wasn’t surprised to hear “….he was on hold for 8 hours….”.

      Is it bad programming or a system designed not to work?
      My guess is the latter…..

      • Petunia says:

        In Florida, the US workers were replaced to save money. At the time I knew it would be a disaster waiting to happen. Now my biggest fear is that the ability to commit massive fraud has been integrated into the systems. I see the same kind of problems being reported in different states. This is a huge red flag.

      • Jon says:

        No states in USA have system and processes built to handle 20 percent plus UE rate.
        The system is built for certain scale beyond that , it cant scale.

      • Build a real democracy says:

        Incisive insights
        Read David Graeber, the great anthropologist who sadly just died Sept 2 on “ Bullshit Jobs”.

        Too many jobs useless to prop a hierarchy of image for bosses etc.. covid19 may expose this clearly to some of us.
        UBI, massive investment in education/ tech schools as Germany does a bit better…

    • Harrold says:

      A non functional unemployment system was the plan all along.

      Especially in Florida. Make it hard for the unemployed to apply and less people will apply. Saves corporations money. Its that simple.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Petunia,

      US software programmers are still at the top. The Boeing 737 max program employed those cheap India software programmers you seem to be clamouring for. Microsoft hires alot of foreigners as well, and just look how great they make Windows run.

  6. otishertz says:

    The outsourcing resultant of WFH will primarily take the form of turning employees into independent contractors. Just as ride sharing taxi companies use other people’s cars, corporate america will use other people’s personal living space. It’s part of a larger trend of putting the business risk and expense onto former employees.

    Meanwhile. every click will be recorded and corporate control and agendas expanded into the home.

    The savings for companies will be huge and in direct proportion to the lower payroll taxes, eliminated benefits, and eliminated office space that former employees turned into WFH independent contractors will engender. It will be irresistible to businesses.

    A SFO company can easily pay someone in Iowa or India a lot less for the same remote work. People are totally underestimating just how destructive this will be to employment and incomes.

    • Torealdemocracy says:

      Dystopic vision
      Unique. Its possible
      Hope we unite against massive surveillance and offer Snowden a cabinet position in the next administration.. :)

  7. Jdog says:

    Some people can work well from home but they are the minority. The vast majority require the stink eye of a boss watching them to produce at their best levels….

  8. Seneca's cliff says:

    Look like some poor schlubs will have a rude awakening after they spend their life savings on a hobby farm in Trumansburg ( small town in upstate NY) assuming they could pull down the big stock analyst salary at JP Morgan. Jamie will give em all 2 weeks to get back to the office full time and it will be a mad scramble back to a shoebox NYC apartment.

  9. Alex says:

    Reed Hastings has always struck me as a somewhat toxic control freak, so his position is no surprise. Totalitarian groupthink is harder to enforce when you can’t literally loom over a plebe in his cubicle.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      He pays a ton though. A programmer with 10 years exp can expect to take home 500K a year easy. People doing analytics using Big Data, 1 million a year.

      All cash by the way. Netflix doesn’t give out RSUs.

      But then again, the working culture is known to be brutal.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Yeah, right.

        And a Hadoop expert makes a 10 million a year.
        What have you been smoking? Drink doesn’t do that.

        • Mike says:

          No, @MonkeyBusiness is right. That’s the model Netflix uses. Almost no one considers their Netflix job a career position. It’s a job for 2-5 years and then on to something else. They hire the best, pay them huge amounts (in cash), expect them to work hard and deliver huge amounts, and then leave when they can’t do it any more. That is Netflix.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @Mike – I don’t believe Netflix pays any programmer 1 million/year in cash, even including bonus. With stock options/grants maybe, but doubtful. They don’t have to, plenty of top-level developers for less. But sales/marketing? They bring dollars directly to the bottom line.

    • Paulo says:

      I agree Alex.

      See and be seen, facetime, all that used to be code for standing out and looking like a keener. It doesn’t have much to do with actually getting the work done and faster or of better quality.

      While micro managing is just another form of bullying, I’m sure these managers that hate employee independence will simply require surveillance cameras to be installed over the home work stations. No cameras, no pay cheque.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Learn to write tight efficient code, or great power point decks. Guess which one pays the best in the long run.

  10. polistra says:

    Nice to hear plain realism from one of the Tech Big Shots. It’s especially nice that Cook wants to return to normal physical work. His economic importance MAY exert some influence on the infinitely evil and infinitely crazy Demon Newsom, but that’s dubious.

  11. Wendy says:

    Wolf
    Love your site, but is there a way to stop the “your iPhone may be infected, click here” advertisement pop-up stuff that keeps coming up when I am on your page?
    Thanks

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Try clearing the cache of your browser (browsing history). That usually helps. I don’t know what you’re seeing, but if it’s a popup, it’s not something on my site. My site doesn’t use popups. It sounds like it’s on your system (likely in your browser’s cache), and gets triggered when you go to certain sites.

      • IE says:

        I also had the same issue on this website only for some reason. I cleared everything last week and it seems to have worked.

  12. Educated but poor Millennial says:

    Off topic.
    Wolf,
    Election is here and it would be good to cover the economical impacts that the future president may bring to the economy, banks, housing and…
    I know all are liar and they never do what they promised, but this can be a good subject to write about. Thanks.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      No Way!!!
      I like Wolf’s site the way it is. If you want politics, there are a ton of other sites to visit.

      • Keith says:

        Unfortunately, politics has woven itself into economics. Everything from COVID response, RBG and Election 2020 with the relative spins with have an outsized impact on the economy as it influences the markets and the Federal Reserve, sad as it may be.

        • Fed nationalizes the economy, Fed takes orders from Treasury, who takes their orders from WH. Fed tells Congress to spend on consumers, WH takes away the money. Fed buys Treasury bonds to monetize deficit they ran up bailing out banks and Wall St. New money inflates assets not the economy. Stocks goes on another tear. Consumers run out of money, loot stores. Congress sends aid to the stores. (Corporations) President signs that, shoots looters, rinse and repeat.

      • Ken says:

        Thank you Harvey.

    • MCH says:

      Yeah… please not that.

      If I needed politics, I can get that from CNN, Fox, and thousands of other pontificators and bloviators. I like that Wolf keeps his focus strictly on numbers and economics.

      Don’t want one of the few sites I go to for reasonable info to become another one of the thousands of dumpster fires across the internet.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      Take your ‘poly speak’ elsewhere! The comments are perfect as they are!

      • Educated but poor Millennial says:

        I just sugested him to have a glimpse on economics for after election. Nothing political. Just wanted some economic forcasts, again from him.

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          OK, but since they are ‘all liars’, an accurate glimpse would require a crystal ball.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          It’s pointless. No one knows where this is going. Least of all the political sphere (that’s where whichever direction you go you end up back in the same place).

  13. Keith says:

    I have been working from home since 2012 in the .gov sector with two agencies now. I absolutely love it, and I find myself much more productive. That being said, I am introverted and tend to focus on mission accomplishment and not socializing or smoozing with others. The downside I have seen has been due to management; quite often they prefer to manage by being able to see bodies in their seats. This has been especially true in my recent position, where my boss does not know/understand what I do. I suspect that has a lot to do with bosses/CEOs complaining about WFH, thinking management is through seeing bodies, rather than by judging about accomplished tasks and not worrying about counting hours. Just my two cents.

    Oh, I do understand that not every position can be WFH.

    • LifeSupportSystem4aVote says:

      “The downside I have seen has been due to management; quite often they prefer to manage by being able to see bodies in their seats.”

      It would not surprise me in the least if the management most vocal about having their subordinates come into the office are those who rarely saw or talked to those very same subordinates before Covid19. To those managers, it’s about optics and perceived control, not job task throughput or efficiency.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        I’ve been mainly WFH since 2020 and think you hit the nail on the head in that mgmt is who needs to be in the office because (at least in my industry, Telecom Site Development) bring little to the table.

        For example, back in ’08, my Supervisor was downsized. I took over her job and started attending the Deployment meetings for a major US wireless carrier in Tampa, FL. We were working on sites all over the state (new towers, rooftop installations, co-locations on existing towers) and dealing with every type of property owner imaginable.

        Getting rid of my “Supervisor” made my job easier and I was suddenly better at it since I was in the meetings. Removing a single person from the process improved efficiency.

        Some managers do next to nothing and WFH makes it painfully clear. Clearly this doesn’t apply everywhere though.

    • Xabier says:

      It’s simply hierarchical ape behaviour, Keith: the irony is that they think they are advanced human beings….

  14. happy_man says:

    Cook says ““The vast majority of us can’t wait until we can be back in the office.”

    Who is the “us” that he is referring to? Himself and other CEO’s?

    Yes if I had a full staff to wait on me, private office, amazing facilities, someone to drive me to and fro, or maybe helicopter me in, and all kinds of executive perks, and enough wealth to order whatever food I wanted delivered to me anywhere I would probably be eager to work in the office again too.

    • Jgoa says:

      Well said.

      The king’s and queens want court in session with all the pagentry and servility from their workers. They live in an alternate reality. I think it’s called Rich-istan

      • Harrold says:

        At home, I bet those upper mgmt types do not get the respect they deserve from their spouse and children.

        They miss the brown nosing sycophants at the office.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Plus, when they are home, they get to hear all the problems the spouse is having with (the chauffeur, hair salon, Spa, etc) and the crap from the spoiled kids. Th Office is “safe ” place for the CE.

    • Paulo says:

      Happy,

      You forgot the part about workers laughing at all the jokes and waiting for the wisdom to leave the boss’s lips. :-)

      I once had a boss that used to have a calculator on his wrist watch. This was about 1990, so long before modern gizmos. One day, after he tapped away at his watch to summon up some data he needed to make his point, I looked at him and said, “You know what they say about watches, Larry. Big watch little penis”. Hey, I lasted another 3 years so I must have done okay.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Cooks was talking about Apple. So “us” I think would mean Apple employees.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Cook must have a different definition of “vast” as opposed to the popular definition.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Some people count: “1, 2, many.”

          Others count more aggressively: “1, many.”

          And then there are those that know only one number, when it suits them: “many”

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Wolf-thanks for a BIG grin on the visualization of numbers…

        may we all find a better day.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Last company I was at got some serious work at one of the big SV companies in late 16, and our project superintendent came back to office with stories of full spreads of every food available full time 24/7 at that corp hdq for all hands, not just the bosses/c suiters. (And I will add our guys were welcomed to eat there also.)
      Supt also mentioned folks passing by in halls, on stairs and avoiding any eye contact with our skilled trades folks, etc.,,, kinda sorta funny if it weren’t so sad.

  15. Seanny says:

    As a translator of corporate communications for blue chip Japanese companies in just about every industry you can imagine, I can attest that every single corporation I am familiar with is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which now seem to be the primary reason companies do business.

    Further, for the past 3-5 years, they have all been touting coming “workplace innovations” and especially the “digital transformation” that will “disrupt” the way we do just about everything. This includes FinTech (cashless economy), 3D food printers that will do away with kitchens and, of course, the Internet of Everything (IoE), which you and I will be part of (the terms used to refer to humans in this system are “wetware,” and worse, “meatware”).

    I always wondered how such a radical agenda could possibly be realized, especially in Japan, where cash is king, but now it is obvious: covid is the tailor-made catalyst for bringing about the corporate-led technocratic control of the planet, cynically referred to as “the new normal.”

    Working from home has always been part of this plan, and this is only the beginning of the disruptive “transformation” of our lives.

    • Xabier says:

      Don’t be despondent, Seanny: as a species we clearly face a near-term, near-extinction event -a ‘bottleneck’ – and this nightmare vision will never be realised – or if so, not for long.

      In the meantime, Carpe Diem.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Mmmmm. Printed food. I hope the new green is better than the old orange.

  16. A says:

    Our Fortune 100 company has said dependent on position and other factors you can apply to go full time remote within your home country. No moving to Mexico or Thailand.

  17. Xabier says:

    Leonardo da Vinci worked from home: and frankly, he didn’t need to ‘bounce ideas’ off anyone.

    These people are not creative: they produce innovations, very often of doubtful utility: ‘creative’ simply sounds nicer.

    It’s all a kind of self-worshiping masturbation.

    Our species is nearing its end, and will drown in a sea of BS, poisoned by the waste products of innovation. Bravo!

    • happy_man says:

      Xabier your observation about Leonardo Da Vinci working alone is correct. Creative people can work fine alone. I know because i am one of them, although not in the same league as Leonardo of course!

      Cook said “We have designed our entire office such that there are common areas where people congregate and talk about different things. And you can’t schedule those times.”

      This is a setup so that the un-creative lazy employees and managers can get free or at least fairly low cost ideas from the creatives. You only need one or two creatives in the mix to keep all the rest busy with enough ideas to execute. I have been wondering if this thing of having everyone work from home is going to limit the spread of ideas. For example, nowadays I only share my ideas with about one or two people who I talk to on zoom. I’m still super productive on the stuff I am working on, but my ideas are not flowing into other teams like they did before when I was circulating in the office and freely sharing. On a normal day in the office I would talk to 10 or 15 different people about all kinds of projects and tasks people were working on.

      (and btw I don’t agree with everything you said)

      • Yertrippin says:

        “This is a setup so that the un-creative lazy employees and managers can get free or at least fairly low cost ideas from the creatives.”

        In my experience 100% true. Mostly fishing expeditions where the managers etc. harvest ideas from a very few creative people. Their desperation is palpable.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Happy-reminds me of an old joke. 1st person: “…there are only two things you need to do to be successful in life. First, never tell anyone all you know…”. 2nd person: “…and what’s the second???…”.

        Silence.

        may we all find a better day.

        • California Bob says:

          Two dogs are talking. First dog says “I’m really depressed.” Second dog says “Why don’t you see a psychiatrist?” First dog: “I would, but I’m not allowed on the couch.”

          (heard on Bob Dylan’s Themetime Radio Hour this morning)

      • kitten lopez says:

        i love this about the creatives giving others ideas, freely, and it’s the secret to how i think i’m going to help start a new scene.

        in the early/mid 90s, Kris Kovick, my late cartoonist mentor, would have what her one gay friend called “Pork on a Fork,” a Lesbian Barbecue. you didn’t get a plate, you got a fork and stabbed at a piece of chicken and ate it like a popsicle in her back yard.

        she’d sit there while us youngsters were hanging out and in her elder wisdom, she’d size each one of us up and give us the run down on ourselves and challenge us to do a writing or work based on a suggestion she’d give.

        and she populated her Red Dora’s Bearded Lady shows at the cafe with the results. / it was the damndest thing and it MADE me.

        x

        • happy_man says:

          creativity virus

        • kitten lopez says:

          HAPPY MAN:
          new response below. this got long. i stopped hand sewing my brilliant riding pants muslin for James to write this before i chickened out and thought better of emoting to someone new. / but that’s the POINT of times now. gotta REMEMBER… so posting below where it won’t be skinny long…

  18. Marc 60 says:

    Hi all,

    Really how can it be a surprise that Tim Cook sees people being back in the office as a good thing. I mean after Apple have spent all that money on fancy new office work spaces/ buildings they are going to look pretty silly if they all end empty or even half empty.

  19. Minutes says:

    Im in the middle on this. I see the move out of the cities as lasting longer than people think. I do think back to the office will happen much faster than people think once the pandemic ends or herd immunity kicks in. So maybe a hybrid where suburbs do better but not the sticks.

    • Harrold says:

      Not a lot of hospitals in the sticks.

      • Paulo says:

        Unless you live in a Country where it is law that there must be adequate hospital access that every community must be within 1 hour by ambulance transfer. It can take an hour in a city to reach hospital if the traffic is bad. This allows centralization efficiencies but serves the people and supports where they choose to live. Guess what? It isn’t USA.

      • Lynn in the sticks says:

        & some of those are hospitals in name only.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        And not only not many, but some serious deficiencies in vetting of doctors often has led to a situation where incompetent doctors who have been discharged for various degrees of defective performance end up at the little hospitals and small towns until they screw up again and move on to another small town in another state.
        It was a decade or so that I saw that exact situation unfold in the small town of about 4K in an otherwise rural county in flyover.
        Keep in mind that the hospitals estimate approx 125K deaths from errors each year, but the docs groups estimate it’s more like 3 or 4 times that.

  20. Putin on the Ritz says:

    Apple has continued on the innovation trial? Could have fooled me, Timbo.
    Now how many people are using Zoom or MS Teams when working from home rather than iChat or whatever its called?

  21. James says:

    It’s worth noting that a lot of people are also having to take care of their kids while working from home. This will not be the case post-COVID. Some of the problems that some people are allegedly seeing may stem more from the child care/schooling thing than WFH itself, at least for people with kids.

    As for politics, I would not want to see too much of that specifically here, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Wolf’s opinion on whether finance/business types are not fully appreciating the level of political turmoil we could see in the next few months in the U.S. Political risk of all types seem huge to me and Wall Street, etc. doesn’t seem to be registering it much at all.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think everyone in business right now is getting a little nervous, no matter what political direction they’re leaning. But they’re trying to keep calm, which makes sense to me.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        “Never let a crisis go to waste.” – Rahm Israel Emanuel, Obama administration.

  22. DanS86 says:

    America Outsourced: The Final Step to Serfdom.

    • sierra7 says:

      DanS86:
      Yes.
      White paper incoming Reagan administration:
      “American labor must be crushed to a world level playing field so that US corporations can compete in the world.”
      End of discussion.

      RE: getting back to the office:
      One of my daughter’s can’t wait to get back to the “office”.
      And, there are so many other jobs that can’t be done “in the home”. Countless. No doubt that somewhere “down the line” lots of those jobs will be done “remote” or by other imaginative means but until then and the foreseeable future they are there and require the presence of someone to do them.
      I agree with some here that there is a very strong force of “human cohesion” in workplaces (not all) when we people congregate even for a break during our workdays and topics are freely discussed. That really can’t happen “at home”. There is a special dynamic involved.

      As far as Tim Cook and Apple is concerned some of my adult construction workers did the job on the “Apple Spaceship” in Cupertino. I guess it could be turned into a homeless shelter.

      A shot at “politics”: Whatever we have is a product of what came before.
      Good luck with that!
      Stay safe and (mentally) healthy!

  23. Idasa says:

    One needs to also consider commute and the efficiency that’s destroyed by extremely slow commutes on overly congested highways

    Like many, I’m in Silicon Valley and a manager, and I’ve seen efficiency of engineers being greatly reduced when they do not have the option WFH

    Jobs that are highly individualistic (software development for example), but that require technical collaboration can be done exclusively from home now. Jobs in sales, marketing, etc, I don’t know because I’ve never run marketing or sales teams and had to deal with their day to day logistics

    One other consideration, for younger workers, the workplace is often their main source of social activity so WFH 100% may be difficult from a mental health perspective

    • Fat Chewer. says:

      I think that for most people mental health issues are springing from the knife edge existence so many people are trapped in. Social isolation is the least of their problems.

  24. Brant Lee says:

    The bottom line is getting the job done. WFH can be an option to get the most out of someone’s talent. No one size fits all. People are creative in different situations. A good supervisor can assess the performance.

    For grind work, workers probably need to be at the office.

  25. Mkkby says:

    Let’s face reality. Most workers screw around all day and get very little done. If you are even halfway organized and ambitious you can do a day’s work in an hour or 2. If you need the cooperation of your co-workers you will be very frustrated. The larger the company the more this is true. Gov’t employees might as well be at the beach.

    Working from home means they will no longer even try being productive. But you better find a way to stand above the crowd. Zoom meetings can be a guy in India too. Expect telecommute jobs to be massively outsourced over the next decade.

  26. sw dev. says:

    For over 20 years, H1B, L1, etc. replaced local s/w workers for cheaper pay (actual pay divided by hours worked). We trained them because their resumes were stuffed with lies and exaggerated skills, which by the way allowed HR and placement agencies to get H1Bs slots.

    Last 10 years or more, they are replacing entire systems with products built overseas with a few local sales/support/migration/managers (often H1Bs to boot). These products were quickly written spaghetti code javascript and unstructured backend that were full of bugs, performance and security issues. As it grew over time, the codebase would be hard to fix, enhance, scale and side effects made testing a nightmare.

    The cases I’ve witnessed in public organizations is that management lacked the technical skills to evaluate products. Even when staff developers made them aware of these shortcomings they only cared about cost and time. Competent staff left.

    So, yes, many older systems are still on Cobol or even plsql but refreshes (often times they were just a newer front end) may be even worse throw aways / money pits in the long run.

    Outside of a few large tech companies (FANG etc), the focus is on fast and cheap s/w development. Just like how our manufacturing was moved overseas by management, the same has been happening to s/w. It takes time for the damage to show and now you are seeing it in government/public sectors (even Boeing’s 787 flight s/w).

    In time, this country will make less and less and will be fully leveraged on the strength of the US dollar to buy it’s way out. We need to invest in our own people, our own products and focus on quality. Price will go up but this current train of offshoring prices isn’t going to end well.

    Finally, the politicians, ceos, and economic advisors needs to measure the country’s success not only by GDP but also by the success of the American people and their families.

    • Petunia says:

      I also have experience dealing with govt contracts for computer systems.

      You are correct, the govt managers are not technical enough to evaluate what they are buying/hiring. They compensate for the lack of expertise by asking for tried and true technology, which means severely out of date equipment and techniques. They don’t understand the speed at which the equipment and technology evolves.

    • Anthony A. says:

      There’s a lot more work in business going on than coding projects and offshoring technical stuff. We still manufacture many consumer durable goods here and also provide energy, power, utility, food and healthcare services to the U.S. population.

      I understand this website is populated with West Coast folks who tend to work in software, systems and gov jobs. But your points are very clear.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Anyone know how many H1Bs are working in energy, power, utility, and food? I know some are in healthcare services.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Lisa_Hooker,

          I don’t know the numbers, but here is an example of how a utility did it, from my article in Feb 2015 — so this has been going on for a long time:

          In April, 2014, it emerged that Southern California Edison, a utility with about 14,000 employees at the time, was planning another round of layoffs. Most of them would be in its Information Technology Department, which had 1,800 employees and 1,500 contract workers. SCE admitted to the plan but told the LA Times that it hadn’t finalized the number. State Senator Alex Padilla then told the paper that as many as 500 employees and 500 contractors would be let go.

          Laying off workers and outsourcing some functions was part of its “ongoing efforts to act as cost effectively and prudently as possible in operations for its customers.” These efforts at the IT department would “enable an increase in quality, speed and capabilities while lowering costs,” SCE explained. “By better leveraging the knowledge, skills and expertise of industry vendors, SCE will adopt a proven business strategy commonly and successfully used by other top U.S. companies.”

          Namely laying off American employees and bringing in cheaper H1-B visa holders from India.

          SCE confirmed having hired Infosys, in Bangalore, and Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai, two of the largest users of H-1B visas, to provide the H1-B workers…

          Read the rest here:
          https://wolfstreet.com/2015/02/05/the-search-for-cheap-labor-in-tech-behind-the-h1-b-visa-scenes/

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Wolf, many thanks for the link. It figures it was mostly in IT. I was wondering about H1Bs in the oil fields, working on power lines or in power plants, etc. I have the feeling those are very, very few.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          That’s correct. Highly skilled manual labor is not what the diploma mills in India churn out.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Same problem with PE run companies in the end. Middle management takes too much of a cut, leaving very little money to pay for required things.

      But hei, that’s what you get when you have MBAs, lawyers, finance people i.e. all sorts of personnel who are there to cut costs while fattening their own purse.

      Remember, it’s Americans who sent these jobs away.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      sw.dev-outstanding read. Your final paragraph is perhaps the wisest comment i’ve ever read here (Wolf’s reporting has always come from a similar view, imho…).

      Stay safe, well, and-

      may we all find a better day.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        “the politicians, ceos, and economic advisors”, they measure success by the size of their pocket books, not by GDP.

        Not sure why there’s even some confusion there. Also, in the US, people are supposed to be motivated by self interest. Those people having to sacrifice for the general interest is just NOT AMERICAN.

        • Bet says:

          ie. The to mask or not
          There appears to be no civic responsibility or accountability
          It was not unamerican when I grew up. May we hope for better days

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Remember people, there’s a reason why there’s a “me” in American!!!

          Get with the program!!!

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Monkey-probably and hopefully i’m missing your ‘sarc’. If not, hopefully there’ll still be those willing to soldier when the time comes. If ‘me’ Americans are truly ‘getting with the program’, though, I wouldn’t count on it.

        May we all find a better day.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      “You have to move that 6 month deadline on your project up about two months. … Oh, and select 5% of your developers to be redundant in 60 days.” – the Management

      China is run by engineers.
      The US is run by lawyers.
      Unfortunately this issue will continue to into the future.

  27. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Existing home sales highest in 14 years. Everyone’s buying houses since they know WFH will be here for a while.

  28. Fat Chewer. says:

    The return of spaghetti code. I remember last year some guy admitted that he had scripted his job out of existence, and copped a lot of shit for it. It’s no surprise since scripts like that may jump execution to places the parent program has no control over. This can corrupt data already in the system.

  29. Rick says:

    People who bash COBOL have never programmed in it. It’s a geat language – much cleaner and easier to maintain than Perl, Ruby, Python or any other fad scripting language.

    • Petunia says:

      I never programmed in Cobol because it was already outdated when I was in school. However, I have programmed in PL/1 which predates C and is now unknown. Assembler is still my favorite.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        OMG! There is another macro-assembler author.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        The first computer job offer I ever had was writing COBOL for a small accounting outfit. It was on a 360/30 with 20K (that’s kilobytes) of main memory. It was about ’68-69. I went back to school to write FORTRAN instead. Never did learn RPG.

        • Petunia says:

          I learn on an IBM 360/370, got my first job because I was the only assembly language programmer they could find. It was a DEC PDP site.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      To be fair, COBOL only made a transition to Object Oriented pretty late. When you don’t evolve as fast as your competitors, it’s your fault.

      Other things:
      1. Cobol lacks native multithreading support. This would be fine as long as Moore’s law remains valid, but hei multi core is the future.
      2. Writing networking programs in COBOL is a joke. Like seriously?

      • Anthony A. says:

        I took Fortran and Cobol courses in college in my Mechanical Engineering curriculum in 1973! Yeah, it’s that OLD.

        Fortran use useful for me (at the time). Cobol was baloney programming back then.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        The great thing about object oriented COBOL, like all object oriented programming, is you can inherit and use poorly tested, leaky modules blindly. And the bugs may or may not show up. Sometime. And to save time and money reduce required regression testing and coverage.

  30. dr spock says:

    Boeing outsourced the software for the 737 Max to India at $9/hr. How did that work out? I think Boeing was planning on buying Brazil’s Embraer and setting up a large work force there, while terminating Seattle workers in the next few years, but between the 737 and Covid, the bottom dropped out for Boeing.

    • Paulo says:

      What happens when everyone in training and education learns entry level coding as per the current political mantra of the day? Crazy. Many locales don’t even have high speed. The US economy has already been outsourced for profit. Natural resources given away. Wasted. Not everyone will find a home in a cubicle in front of a screen. It sounds like a dystopian nightmare, actually. What ever happened to by the people for the people?

      As the virus ramps up this fall look for zombie bread lines and swelling anger. Violence. And politicians are worried about the next SCOTUS member. Citizen United and no jobs. It is an unfolding nightmare. I suppose there will be jobs for developing more surveillance. And WFH is a worry? Empty offices?

      Permanent Change all right. Empty ‘fridges, and empty dreams. 200 thou and counting.

  31. Michael Engel says:

    1) Tech workers are safe at home.
    2) There is no hiring or firing.
    3) Markets will recover, there will be a low slog up.
    4) Normal attrition will reduce the labor force.
    5) Few stay at home employees will become “contractors”.
    6) Business cannot operate disconnected from a focused industry
    cluster, with a pool of brilliant people, in one small area, competing with each other, destroying each other, inspiring each other.
    7) The global R&D centers compete with each other. New skill have to be develop. Nothing stand still.
    8) Spaced out workers are disconnected from the real feedback.
    9) A top old engineers skills today, will become obsolete tomorrow.
    10) Large or small, businesses cannot train and on conference calls.
    11) The top 20% can be productive at home, but the 80% have to be
    supervised and controlled.

  32. Sydney says:

    Been working at home part or full time as an employee at large corporations for 25 years now. So have many, many co-workers. In fact I don’t even know anyone with a professional job than doesn’t work from home at least sometimes already, pre-covid.

    There’s zero need for face to face for much of anything – not IT, not finance, not marketing, not innovation. Although I suppose extreme extroverts may struggle sometimes. And if you hire good people and manage to results – which any good company does these days – no need to watch people all day. If you need to do that, you hired wrong.

    I suspect once the real estate savings, higher employee satisfaction and ability to source talent nationwide are assessed – and the kids are back in school – WFH will be a pretty popular option long term.

  33. Cobalt Programmer says:

    1. Government bureaucracy is an entangled mess by design. When it gets transferred to a computer, the process is still the same.
    2. Indian programmers or COBOL language has little to do with it.
    3. The whole purpose is to lower the unemployment numbers. So, its not a bug but a feature.
    4. H1b or not, India born Indians have a place and function in the last 20+ years of software revolution. No body can deny that. Also add the doctors, scientific researches and business owners (gas stations, motels etc…)
    5. Indian born Indians will be here (faces and names might change) as any Europeans/Hispanics/Asians/Others.
    6. Usual rhetoric, “blame immigrants/POC/poor”
    7. Soon, this COVID will also be gone…Just an another economic crises. 2000 was digital, 2008 was financial, 2020 was biological.
    8. We will enter a period of growth soon by 2022. Just be prepared.

  34. kitten lopez says:

    to those of you who aren’t paying attention, Happy Man is a Magician like Petunia here. and for the future of this world i hope i also get to meet him one day. no lie. that he knew how we are is a virus dangerous to the status quo, i smiled.

    after i read his reply and was too spooked to write back til now (i STILL get vertigo about most woo woo things). these Jungian moments of synchonicity are happening fast like pages of calendars flipping by in old movies to denote time passing, the world changing.

    (smile)

    but Happy Man is working his own angle but not the “get up old man before i fuck you right there” one; it’s a virus to counteract that old one.

    exciting times indeed! we are already faring better in this current day, if you ask me.

    it’s a new world, indeed and everything’s gonna be okay.

    but remember when i say “okay,” YOUR “Regular People” (non-Magician) Good Times were killing the rest of us shmucks down below in dem fields.

    i see you, Happy Man. and if you’re as addicted to the terror and newness as i think you must be if you love your co-workers platnically for “sport,” then you know i’ve got you and Petunia locked in the same room with a pile of notebooks about how to …well, infect people.

    with new cunning plans.

    i accidentally met a failed lawyer working at Trader Joe’s yesterday. well, i’ve KNOWN him and he’s bored and tall and gorgeous but too young for me. i said, “yes, we can get together for coffee, this is a friend thing.”

    but he’s lost and i’m gonna see if i can catch what makes his eyes spark and then i’m IN.

    and too young is a lie. it’s what i told HIM because i’d already bowed before him on my knees in my pom pom flip flops with my shopping cart behind me, and he never took it seriously with awe. i said THAT’s why i can’t touch him.

    but i can get at that logical disillusioned brain and see if i can twist into his own power.

    yeah, i know who you are, Happy Man, and how you Love!

    we must meet.

    in OUR way. like how you do your co-workers. i want some of THAT for MYSELF. and the world.

    James thinks it’s the leo in me that’s so grandiose. / nah, like YOU, Happy Man, i see how powerful energy is over MONEY and how powerful creativity and enlightened self interest is over control power trips and unfairness.

    i believe even now more because i read that you know you’re Elvis’ hips on 1950s television for where we are now.

    cool…. i’m glad that musicians artists and magicians are starting to make themselves known here. where. i KNEW this was a freaky edgy place when i first stumbled here!

    and sorry if i “outed” you, Happy Man. that was a full-on lesson and unlike usual, we no longer have the luxury of time and WAITING on people to recognize secret lessons and tips.

    this is goofy “love” stuff put into play.

    x

  35. Foreign USA says:

    I think it comes down to individuals at the end of the day. I know, for the most part, the company/employer is in control (to an extent) when it comes to whether employees work remotely or need to be office-based, but many people are actually fine working remotely and thrive in that environment. On the other hand, there are those on the other side that simply cannot function effectively unless they are around other people and really crave the office environment and interaction with others.

    I work remotely, and have done for many years, and I am absolutely fine with it and enjoy it, but when I speak to some people they cannot figure out how I can spend so many hours on my own working and being productive doing so. They say, they would go stir crazy if they had to do what I do!

    I guess, each to their own!

  36. andy says:

    Tim Cook is just talking his book.
    He is out of ideas and his company is long and wrong.
    Apple has just gone long a humongous office donut at the top of the market.

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