I found working during a pandemic particularly hard. While there are some people who seem perfectly fine with working remotely, it seems that the unease might have to do both with the kind of person you are (introvert/extrovert), but most fundamentally with the nature of your work.
When you work in a team, say in scientific engineering, it seems the biggest challenge with online meetings is the lack of multi-channel conversation and feedback, because it allows to more precisely frame the scope of the task
Asking the right questions is more important than answering them
… to which Benoit Mandelbrot replied “Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.” This is important, because in absence of a well defined scope, it may take much longer to answer a question (a design, a calculation) than you may think, because the task is ill-posed and you can’t reorient the scope (e.g. refine, modify assumptions) to find a solution in due time.
The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
– Bertrand Russell
I’ve learned from a friend that while Amazon initially said at the start of the pandemic that they would be considering more working from options, they now want to bring everyone to office. It is my impression (at least my experience!) that the initial gains in productivity that made them seriously considering WFH might have come from some initial momentum, where tasks were well-delineated, but eventually faded away.
It is possible that zoom fatigue is also at play, or simply the effect of isolation on people, but I believe that the general exhaustion may also come from a general lack of direction.edit June 11, 2021: here’s a interesting article from Gibbs at a. at UChicago:
Work from Home & Productivity: Evidence from Personnel & Analytics Data on IT Professionals
Those who did perceive declines in productivity also experienced lower levels of well-being from WFH. Bellmann and Hubler (2020) find that working remotely has no long-run effect on work-life balance, and that a switch to WFH increases job satisfaction only temporarily. Work-life balance mayalso be affected by decreased commuting time. Barrero et al. (2020) estimate that during the height of the pandemic, WFH reduced total commuting time among US workers by more than 60 million hours per work day.