I have a very good friend who works for an Internet marketing firm. For years I’ve been telling him he has the best job in the world. For one thing, he frequently has to decline invitations on the weekends because he is at a tech convention in San Francisco, Chicago or Las Vegas. Sometimes I text him and he replies from London or Miami where he is meeting with clients on business. Even on a Friday afternoon, he’ll send me selfie‘s from the coolest bar in Brooklyn where his company took an early afternoon road trip to watch a European Cup soccer match. I got to tagalong once when his company rented out Citi Field for batting practice. I worked in a school where the staff all bought tickets together to sit in the picnic area at Citi Field for a Mets game but we didn’t get to step foot on the field, and they certainly didn’t throw batting practice to us. For the record, I managed to rope one over second base that probably would’ve dropped her a single, but I’m pretty slow, I can’t guarantee I would’ve beat out a strong throw from center. And Noah Syndergaard wasn’t pitching either.
His office environment is equally as hip. Once, while driving upstate, we took a detour to Keegan‘s Brewery for lunch. He disappeared and returned with two small kegs of one of their signature beers. Asked what they were for, he said they were for the office. That’s right, they have a kegerator in their office. I think they have ping-pong tables, a pool table, and a bocce court as well. As a public school middle level principal, I probably don’t have to tell you that my work life does not resemble his.
Absent the dynamic and exciting work environments that characterize their work, individuals in the tech field can still accomplish much of what they did in the office from home. My buddy assures me that with a couple of minor adjustments he’s been able to completely adapt to working from home and the quarantine has not significantly affected their business. Another good friend, also in the tech field, shared with me a similar story. He went further, when this is over his company is thinking of doing away with their office space entirely. They don’t need it, and the opportunity to avoid exorbitant rent in Manhattan is a positive consequence of our present crisis. Facebook, Spotify, and other tech giants are moving in this direction as well.
As an educator it’s impossible for me not to compare the conditions we presently face and those of my two tech friends. They kind of miss the office environment, it’s not difficult to see why, but they’re able to accomplish at home pretty much everything they were doing in the office during the quarantine. Educators, students, and families are confronting the remote school dynamic and all that was lost as we left our school buildings and moved school onto the World Wide Web. We find ourselves contemplating all that can and cannot be accomplished without face-to-face interactions. We don’t just “kind of miss” being in the building, in many ways, we’re lost without the face to face interactions we took for granted before all this started.
Have you washed your hands in the past 10 minutes, go to it!