WFH until July 2021

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nativtracker

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WFH until July 2021

Post by nativtracker » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:05 pm

For those not aware, Google appears to have extended its WFH policy until July 2021. There is speculation this "might be the new trend." Does anyone have insight as to whether or not this might occur in the world of Biglaw? To be honest, not sure how much more WFH with my parents I can take.

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4LTsPointingNorth

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by 4LTsPointingNorth » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm

My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.

Curious what others think, but I also think we will start to see full mandatory returns to the office within a month or so after a vaccine is widely available.

I would be surprised if any firms proactively announce a continuation of WFH until next summer.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by ghostoftraynor » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:31 pm

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business- ... te-working

Relatedly, I wonder how many firms will switch to a permanent WFH option. I doubt many of the top firms will do it, but in concept it makes a lot of sense (other than being a nightmare for the firm's tax department).

inter-associate

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by inter-associate » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:01 pm

ghostoftraynor wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:31 pm
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business- ... te-working

Relatedly, I wonder how many firms will switch to a permanent WFH option. I doubt many of the top firms will do it, but in concept it makes a lot of sense (other than being a nightmare for the firm's tax department).
Seems very unlikely that WFH will become permanent at most firms. There may be a few that decide to cut expenses by reducing office space and related expenses, but long-term and widespread WFH doesn't seem that manageable as things get back to "normal." Various activities like recruiting/summer programs would be difficult, and I get the sense that some juniors are really struggling without the ability to get at least some face time with more senior attorneys.

I say this as someone who would like to never return to the office again, as I have been able to put commute and settle-in time to really good use for my personal life. I may be too narrow minded, but it really is hard to imagine this being sustainable for the long-term.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:07 pm

I am praying that at least voluntary WFH is extended for awhile. I'm an incoming first-year and I would LOVE to knock out some of my biglaw tenure at home. I absolutely love working from home. Time spent commuting and getting ready for work is wasted time. I love being able to take my dog for a mid-day walk, hang out with my SO while we work, etc.

In fact, the main thing I am dreading about biglaw is not the hours, but the facetime. I think I could pretty easily work tons of hours without much effect on my mental health if I could do most of the hours from home, especially since I'm not doing anything due to COVID (no plans to be canceled last minute, etc.).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:18 pm

As someone who works at a V10 right now, I think it would make sense to allow a voluntary WFH policy for everyone and allow those associates who volunteer to relinquish their office space. It saves the firm a ton of money and it would satisfy a lot of associates. I myself would have no problem relinquishing my office for permanent WFH. From speaking to others, it seems some would even relinquish the opportunity to make partner for permanent WFH ability. If you think about it, you could save thousands a month in living expenses, see your kids and SO more often, go outside and get fresh air, take mini-breaks throughout the day, and lead an overall healthier lifestyle. Lots of people would take that over the slim opportunity to make equity partner. I'm completely in favor of the option.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by SLS_AMG » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:23 pm

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.

Curious what others think, but I also think we will start to see full mandatory returns to the office within a month or so after a vaccine is widely available.

I would be surprised if any firms proactively announce a continuation of WFH until next summer.
How does one measure vaccine availability? We're already hearing whispers of potential distribution issues even if the Moderna/AstraZeneca/etc. vaccines pan out. I think it's gonna be hard for any employer to pressure an employee to return under the banner that a vaccine is unequivocally available.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by PMan99 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:26 pm

I strongly suspect that for associates, like everything in biglaw, it will be a race to the bottom at most places that are "voluntarily" reopening their offices. If you don't go back and do the whole facetime thing, others will notice, and you'll fall behind in the up-or-out competition.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:35 pm

PMan99 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:26 pm
I strongly suspect that for associates, like everything in biglaw, it will be a race to the bottom at most places that are "voluntarily" reopening their offices. If you don't go back and do the whole facetime thing, others will notice, and you'll fall behind in the up-or-out competition.
I suspect this might be the case as well. I'm worried because my SO has an autoimmune disorder, and with the way that my office is set up, if someone comes to work with COVID-19, I don't see how a huge outbreak *doesn't* occur. Associates should not have to choose between their health and their careers.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:38 pm

Honestly, I don't see how America is gonna do with the pandemic. It's only getting worse. Half of the people are reluctant to the vaccine even it proves to be effective. And the effectiveness of vaccine is highly questionable.

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4LTsPointingNorth

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by 4LTsPointingNorth » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:05 pm

SLS_AMG wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:23 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.

Curious what others think, but I also think we will start to see full mandatory returns to the office within a month or so after a vaccine is widely available.

I would be surprised if any firms proactively announce a continuation of WFH until next summer.
How does one measure vaccine availability? We're already hearing whispers of potential distribution issues even if the Moderna/AstraZeneca/etc. vaccines pan out. I think it's gonna be hard for any employer to pressure an employee to return under the banner that a vaccine is unequivocally available.
My sense is that a vaccine will be considered "widely available" once a firm is able to schedule a day to offer doses of the vaccine to its employees at its offices the way some firms do with seasonal flu shots.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by TUwave » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:07 pm
I am praying that at least voluntary WFH is extended for awhile. I'm an incoming first-year and I would LOVE to knock out some of my biglaw tenure at home. I absolutely love working from home. Time spent commuting and getting ready for work is wasted time. I love being able to take my dog for a mid-day walk, hang out with my SO while we work, etc.

In fact, the main thing I am dreading about biglaw is not the hours, but the facetime. I think I could pretty easily work tons of hours without much effect on my mental health if I could do most of the hours from home, especially since I'm not doing anything due to COVID (no plans to be canceled last minute, etc.).
:lol:

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:46 pm

nativtracker wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:05 pm
For those not aware, Google appears to have extended its WFH policy until July 2021. There is speculation this "might be the new trend." Does anyone have insight as to whether or not this might occur in the world of Biglaw? To be honest, not sure how much more WFH with my parents I can take.
I'm hoping that it'll at least normalize WFH more often throughout the week. I had a brief stint in government where people would WFH on Mondays and Fridays, and only came in T/W/Th. It was amazing. I could see something like that being pretty doable in most practices.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by JusticeSquee » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by sparty99 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:59 pm

JusticeSquee wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.
Nah. Unless you live in a southern state. The virus is still rampant and won't slow down without another lock down.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:41 am

sparty99 wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:59 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.
Nah. Unless you live in a southern state. The virus is still rampant and won't slow down without another lock down.
Lockdown is actually not necessary so long as people wear masks. Just don't understand why so many people are not willing to wear masks.

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JusticeSquee

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by JusticeSquee » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:55 am

sparty99 wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:59 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.
Nah. Unless you live in a southern state. The virus is still rampant and won't slow down without another lock down.
I’m just telling you my firm’s current policy. We are open now (on a voluntary basis) with plans to return everyone to the office in September. Other NY firms have similar policies in place. I think most AmLaw firms are open on a voluntary basis in New York. Texas is a different story though. The numbers no longer support mandatory WFH in NY.

Excellent117

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Excellent117 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:34 am

JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:55 am

I’m just telling you my firm’s current policy. We are open now (on a voluntary basis) with plans to return everyone to the office in September. Other NY firms have similar policies in place. I think most AmLaw firms are open on a voluntary basis in New York. Texas is a different story though. The numbers no longer support mandatory WFH in NY.
And ending WFH policies/implementing normal office policies in mid-September (at the beginning of cold/flu season and before a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19) is how you accelerate a second wave. It's incredibly naive to think otherwise.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by ghostoftraynor » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:41 am
sparty99 wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:59 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.
Nah. Unless you live in a southern state. The virus is still rampant and won't slow down without another lock down.
Lockdown is actually not necessary so long as people wear masks. Just don't understand why so many people are not willing to wear masks.
One of the biggest problems is elevators. You can’t put more than four safely, even with masks. And at many offices that would mean people are just waiting in line for the elevator all day if we reopen at full capacity.

You can’t get around that problem. Even putting everything else aside, I can’t see mandatory return to the office until a vaccine is widely available.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by cisscum » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:28 pm

JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:55 am
sparty99 wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:59 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:41 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:11 pm
4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:26 pm
My guess is that a large number of NYC firms will begin "voluntary" re-openings after Labor Day. I expect less than 5-10% of employees will actually return, and firms probably won't start pushing more people to "voluntarily" return until the beginning of 2021.
I understand several have already re-opened to volunteers. Mine is doing so next week and I'm not expecting to see more than a few people on my floor on any given day.
That's right. My firm has been open to volunteers for three weeks now. I think many other firms are in the same spot. I think the WFH policies will end and normal office requirements for staff will return mid-September.
Nah. Unless you live in a southern state. The virus is still rampant and won't slow down without another lock down.
I’m just telling you my firm’s current policy. We are open now (on a voluntary basis) with plans to return everyone to the office in September. Other NY firms have similar policies in place. I think most AmLaw firms are open on a voluntary basis in New York. Texas is a different story though. The numbers no longer support mandatory WFH in NY.
Mandatory return to office in September? I'm at an NYC firm and this is news to me.

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askmeanything

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by askmeanything » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:43 pm

Elevators aside, the issue in a place like NYC is the commute. You can't be forcing people to take public transportation right now, so unless firms are going to reimburse for ubers to commute, seems unreasonable to require people to come into the office for quite some time.

Best

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by Best » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:49 pm

My TX firm is voluntary WFH/office, but the office is pretty empty. Voluntary return might only be an option because the firm knows most people are going to continue working from home.

Even though Texas is pretty bad right now, there isn't much risk taking my own car, parking, taking my own elevator up, closing my office door, then sanitizing my hands.

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by MarkmanPapers » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:40 pm

Best wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:49 pm
My TX firm is voluntary WFH/office, but the office is pretty empty. Voluntary return might only be an option because the firm knows most people are going to continue working from home.

Even though Texas is pretty bad right now, there isn't much risk taking my own car, parking, taking my own elevator up, closing my office door, then sanitizing my hands.
Depends on how the HVAC system is in your office. Anywhere you're having large enough groups of people gather indoors can be a weak link.

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog ... ronavirus/

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parkslope

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Re: WFH until July 2021

Post by parkslope » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:01 pm

MarkmanPapers wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:40 pm
Best wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:49 pm
My TX firm is voluntary WFH/office, but the office is pretty empty. Voluntary return might only be an option because the firm knows most people are going to continue working from home.

Even though Texas is pretty bad right now, there isn't much risk taking my own car, parking, taking my own elevator up, closing my office door, then sanitizing my hands.
Depends on how the HVAC system is in your office. Anywhere you're having large enough groups of people gather indoors can be a weak link.

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog ... ronavirus/
I think there are a couple of important considerations here:

(1) Transmission from touching surfaces is actually pretty uncommon and Covid doesn't transmit well on surfaces. All the performative scrubbing is just that, performative. It's "hygiene theater": https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... er/614599/

A corollary to that is that the threat on public transportation with very high mask usage is probably pretty low. Tokyo's trains are notoriously packed, people are still going to work, and there has been nothing like what happened in New York there. But people wore masks.

(2) The bulk of Covid transmission occurs indoors, person-to-person. That is why dining outside is significantly safer than indoors, because there is much more air circulation. So I would be pretty wary of any sustained period indoors with other people, especially when they aren't wearing masks. That includes offices.

My take is that law firms in blue states won't force employees to come in until there's a vaccine. How will the situation be any different in September or November or March without a vaccine? It will be as it is now, maybe worse.

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