Emergence from remote working

Many of you on this board work remotely as a result of the Covid lock downs. Many of you have returned to the office in some hybrid form or another. Others never left the office and have not seen much of a change in working environment.

I worked remotely for 2 years and have recently been working on site with a few new clients in the USA. As an outside consultant who sometimes now works on site, I’m beginning to see how Covid has changed the workplace for ever. There are certain levels of discussion about Covid that are and are not allowed. Many are uncomfortable discussing what went on during their lock down period and many delay their inquiries about vaccines/boosters until a repore is established. This is unique to the USA I am finding. Other parts of the world (Korea, Hong Kong, China, UK) are much more open and frank about discussing details at the workplace or among colleagues and associates.

Many businesses especially are very paranoid about their employees as they have to follow many new regulations that are enforced through HR departments. Working remotely has alleviated some of this new burden, but old habits die hard among the ranks as ID work flow methods creep back into product development because working remotely is just impossible for some aspects of design/development. Remote tools and methods are well advanced now, but I see a new tension growing as those people try to return to the office where executives have laid out an entire new way of working and are eager to begin making it successful. The design education sector is a whole other conversation I’m afraid.

So I’m wondering what others here on this platform are seeing in their workplaces. This platform has a very distinct user base of mostly European and North American practitioners of design. What are you seeing in your circles with regard to the new post Covid work environment? Has vaccine status become an issue in your corporate and consulting environment? What is the near term assessment? Share your stories here if you like…

Peloton recently announced a start date for Tu/We/Th in-office, and your choice for the other days of the week. Giving everyone a ~2 month notification of that schedule starting. Vax mandatory, has been this way for a while. People will need to prioritize what tasks they do in the office; even if its ‘seagull project management’ its better than coming to the office and zooming all day.

Peloton has seen its fair share of strife this year…

Yes, yes, yes, pandemic darlings and all that. Like Zoom etc. Turnaround in progress. Immaterial to the original question.

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I work for a medical device manufacturer with manufacturing. The company does not ask about vax status. I, on the other hand, go to hospitals worldwide for VOC and they all require a vax passport to enter. Although the UK seems not to give a crap at all. Germany stills requires a negative test day of before entry into a hospital.

My office is mandatory M-W, remote Th-F. That said, anyone within a 15-minute radius tends to come in Th-F. I personally like to separate home/work like church/state. I don’t like worlds colliding.

What is a “pandemic darling” slippyfish?


Sore topic, move on.

Pandemic darlings are companies or products that disproportionately increased in value or use because they enabled or facilitated work, communication, health, or entertainment during isolation because of the Covid pandemic.

Yeah this. And I bet (or at least hope) patterns will emerge that prioritize in-person interactions and physical tasks for the onsite days, while making the home days more for focusing.

Pandemic darlings are companies or products that disproportionately increased in value or use because they enabled or facilitated work, communication, health, or entertainment during isolation because of the Covid pandemic.

Right… Thanks Dan Lewis. I rode the DocuSign wave myself.

Stonks, Covid and Design and how they intersect are indeed an additional off-topic for discussion.

Sore topic, move on.


You appear to be in the Covid fight club camp. Nothing to add? Are you being muzzled from the inside?

It appears this is the way forward. Are you seeing any productivity gains with this new normal? My eyesight has degraded considerably due to all of the screen time. Since the pandemic, even low end grocery stores are now selling cheaters PC glasses I’ve noticed.

might be of interest: The future work environment webinar edited.mp4 from WGSN Official on Vimeo

I work in Design/manufacturing in NZ and we’ve just got rid of all remaining restrictions.

We had 2 extended periods of lockdown work. Once the novelty wore off in the second one, I definitely believe I’m more productive in the office due to the increased interpersonal interactions.

Almost universally in the design dept, people prefer coming into the office. WFH is a widely used option mostly for flexibility with family, but occasionally for ‘focussed’ work.

Other parts of the business have more people remaining remote.

Vaccine status is a non-issue. Apart from a couple of vocal opponents, 99% of office got the triple shot, (everyone still got covid) and about >2/3 (including myself) have said they won’t get any further boosters. For the most part people are over it and don’t care so long as you don’t sneeze on them.

The company did track vaccination status and required it for public-contact roles, but since everything was locked down any unvaccinated people could switch to remote.

Most meetings are still via MS Teams and funnily enough, probably more efficient overall.

The biggest change is probably being able to offer WFH as flexible work solution knowing that most will choose to come to the office anyway.

I’m working as a single company consultant (I would have said on-site, but I’m still WFH). In Montreal of course.

Our office was crowded in fall and then the last covid wave emptied it out. The company hasn’t mandated any office days, but most people in product development work at least half the week at the office. Everyone discusses vaccine status, but there is no requirement to divulge. Mask wearing was pretty bad before and is now essentially over.

As for etiquette, most meetings are still online as there is always someone WFH.

I wish the WFH would continue. Honestly, other than a 3D printer, I’m better equipped than any office I’ve worked in. Also, I concentrate better. On the other hand, I’m confident that I would not get a promotion while WFH and I’m OK with that. Also, it’s weird still not knowing people after a year and half because you are on different teams. I used to know everyone in my other offices.