I’ve read people stating that it should be called “physical distancing” because we’re keeping our physical distance but keep being social. But you’d also say that we’re distancing ourselves but in a social way…
Anyway, I’ve been working from home for more than a week now. Last week Thursday the Dutch government, in a rare moment of vision and statemanship advised people to work from home. This was late in the afternoon, but the next day our whole team was working from home. The team in Denmark had been at home for a few days before.
It’s been relatively painless. I work for an international software company, and we’re already used to remote cooperation. My boss is in Germany, a direct colleague is in Denmark, the programming team in Russia — for them, it doesn’t really matter whether I do the video-call from the office or from home. And we have a terrific home office: I have an electrically adjustable desk, so I can either stand or sit, and my deskchair at home is better than the one I have at the office.
And I love it: I love having lunch with my partner, I love being able to give the cats headscritches, and I love having all my stuff at hand. There’s not much time savings for me for not going into the office: it’s only 10 minutes by bicycle, so that doesn’t matter much. I love being able to focus on my work.
Another thing I love is how everything is moving online and the creativity that brings. People are finding new ways to work together, to teach, to learn, to be social. Meetups I would not be able to attend because of the travel involved are now becoming viable for me to attend.
And I wonder what this will mean for the future of the way we work and socialize. Now that we will learn that remote work is a viable long-term solution, how will that affect the way work is organised?
Teachers and nurses and delivery people got the short end of the stick in regards of salary and job prestige — but right now they are heroes. How will public opinion have changed when this is over? Will people realise that emergency socialism could become everyday socialism if we chose that?
Things could change for the better — the opportunity is there.