I miss working from the office


I went into my office yesterday for the first time in a few months to pick some stuff up. We got notified
a couple of days ago to get any personal property out of the office before Thanksgiving or else it’d be
thrown out, so I guess we’re moving out of the office. It was a pretty eerie place to be; even now, 8
months later, most people haven’t been back and it kind of looks like the entire office was abducted by aliens in
early March.

Despite how weird it is, I still miss working out of the office.

I miss having a clean delineation between “work” and “home”.

I miss having copious desk space and a big monitor.

I miss the 48″ TVs on the wall showing Grafana dashboards with key metrics so there was always ambient knowledge of
what was going on with the product.

I miss having meetings in conference rooms where you can see other people and have a giant whiteboard to sketch on.

I miss casual collaboration. Video chat is a poor substitute and Slack is a deeply irritating tool that combines the
worst aspects of synchronous and asynchronous communication.

I miss productivity! Our engineering productivity has fallen through the floor since COVID despite everyone
working longer and harder; I fundamentally do not think remote teams can ever be as productive as in-person teams.

I miss having my employer pay for electricity and heat and fast symmetric multi-gigabit Internet access instead of
shifting those costs to me.

I miss having a plethora of convenient and delicious options for take-out lunch! I miss the gyros and french fries
at Ayola. I miss the chicken pesto sandwich at Working Girls’
. I miss the chow mein and pork buns from Yank Sing. I
miss the katsu curry from Muracci’s. I miss the curry burritos from Curry Up
. I miss the croque monsieur from Cafe Madeline. I
miss the $5 lunch specials from Mehfil.

I miss the succession of friendly baristas at our favorite coffee shop who always knew our orders and put up with our banter.

I miss occasional after-work drinks at the sky bar with the $18 well drinks that we always convinced management to pay for.

Hell, I miss BART in all its loud and smelly glory.

Look, I know, it’s not all bad. It’s a lot easier taking care of a baby while working from home than it would be if
I were commuting 45 minutes each way every day. I’m spending a lot less money on food and coffee and BART. And I’m
not arguing that we should be in the office now; not a single one of those things I listed above is worth the health
risk of jamming 150 people into an open-plan office with a quasi-functional ventilation system. But I
really hope that office-work isn’t a permanent victim of this pandemic, that all the companies pushing for
permanent WFH to save a few bucks on rent reconsider their stances, and that there comes a time when I can go back to
work again.