How Has Your Work Life Changed?

The nature of work life had been changing, but the COVID pandemic accelerated that change. How we work may never be the same again.

While some companies closed temporarily or permanently, others adapted in ways that may have long-lasting impacts.

Many companies were hesitant to encourage their employees to work from home. There was some concern that productivity would plummet, if workers were at home, where there were innumerable distractions.

However, those fears appeared to have been overblown. Productivity did not take a noticeable hit when employees were forced to work from home, even if they have kids they suddenly needed to provide daycare for. And office space can be quite expensive, so downsizing corporate buildings can have measurable financial benefits.

Even beyond that, quality of life for employees working from home can improve significantly. Commute times drop to zero, and a worker can put in just as many hours at their job, and still have time to devote more time to family. A happy employee is a productive employee.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How do you define success?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’


Still, there are concerns that communication between co-workers may suffer. It is also difficult to build a sense of camaraderie between employees who spend little to no time in close proximity.

As government guidelines change, so companies are requiring their workers to go back to the office, while some are not. Even those that go back may find some things have changed in the year and a half since the pandemic started.

What about you? Are there differences in the way you do your work? Are there differences in the way your business or your company thinks about remote work? How has your work life changed?

Related questions: How do you want this to change you? Work or play? What is your dream job? What is the value of inefficiency?

What Is Waste?

You can waste a lot of things. Time. Energy. Potential. In addition, we produce several different kinds of waste. Environmental. Biological. Toxic.

But what exactly is it? By one definition, it is a substance that is not useful in a particular context. For example, a cell in our body takes in oxygen, and after metabolic changes, produces carbon dioxide as waste. The cell doesn’t need it. The carbon dioxide is taken by our blood stream to our lungs, where it is expelled as exhaust.

But while that carbon dioxide is not needed by our cells, plants need those molecules for growth. In a different context, our cells’ waste is not waste at all.

This cycle is repeated throughout the natural world. What is considered useless by one organism is a valuable resource for another.

So does that mean that waste is simply a matter or perspective? If there is a substance that one being considers useless, is it possible to find another that will make use of that material? Or are there some things that simply cannot be used in any other context?

In addition, there are the other definitions of the word waste. If I waste my time, that time is not a resource that can be retrieved by someone or something else. It is simply gone. Similarly, if an person wastes their potential, that isn’t a resource that is available to others.

Is there a common element to these two different uses of the word waste, between the ephemeral, like time or talent and the corporeal resource, like oxygen or carbon dioxide? In short, is it is just the same word being used for two different concepts?

What is waste? How should we think about our waste? How can we reduce it? Is waste ever useful and desirable?

Related questions: What is the value of inefficiency? What do we owe the future? How do you define success? What do we do about plastic?

What Skills Have You Lost Due To Technology?

As technology advances, the skills we develop to survive go through changes.

For example, when the horse was the primary means of transportation, many more people knew how to ride. Once the horse was replaced by the automobile, horse riding became less important.

In the present day, the speed at which technology advances is enough to make your head spin. Any single person can travel almost anywhere in the world, from the deepest ocean depths to the highest mountaintops.

In addition, we have labor saving devices all throughout our homes, from dishwashers to vacuum cleaners to electric toothbrushes. Our food stays fresher longer due to refrigerators,  we can quickly warm meals in the microwave, and there are even cat litter boxes that will clean themselves.

But by far, the biggest change to our personal lives comes from the digital world, from the personal computer to the Internet to the smartphone. Many tasks that would take us hours or even days can be accomplished within seconds using the smartphone with a connection to the Internet.

So What?

All of these devices save time and make us more efficient. (Or do they?) There can be a downside, however. We learn certain skills that serve us well throughout our lives. But some of these skills are atrophied when we don’t use them, or they may not even be developed in the first place.

For some, it hardly matters. If we, collectively, forget how to wash dishes by hand, does that make much of an impact? Probably not.

Other cases are less clear. As emails and text messages replace written communication, do we lose the ability to compose letters? Does that impact our ability to communicate effectively?

There are many examples of things we used to do regularly that have now been replaced by the tools we have developed. Which skills have you lost due to technology?

Related questions: How have we changed? Are we too busy? What material possession means the most to you? What role does technology play in your life?

If You Had An Assistant, What Would You Have Them Do?

What kinds of tasks would you like an assistant to help with? Are they things you don’t like doing, or would you just do even more of what you like?

Share why if you wish.