One thing I am particularly interested in right now is what people want things to look like “post-COVID”. For example, you talk about probably not being back in the office full time in the fall, but why should we ever go back to the office full time if there are some things we can do more productively from another space? I’m trying to think outside the box beyond having “home” days and “office” days (which is what I’m doing now while two kids are still in remote school) and imaging a mix of things, like coming home when my kids come home from school or perhaps working from home sometimes while the kids are at school and working in the office in the evenings. In a flexible work environment, there’s no reason (in my opinion) to go back to the way things “have always been”. I am trying to grant myself permission to work the schedule that works best for me. I do have the great privilege of tenure to back me up, but am passing this permission and flexibility on to the trainees who work in my lab as well. I hope we will continue to livestream seminars – of course I’d rather be there in person to get a cookie and socialize a bit (remember cookies and socializing?), but it’s SOOO convenient to be able to tune in wherever I am and listen to the speaker. I love the grocery pickup service offered by my favorite local store and will stick with that for sure. I’d love to hear what others are planning to keep from this past year, or ways they’ll modify “normal” going forward.
I asked my students a similar question– what do they want to keep in terms of teaching. Do they want zoom office hours or the ability to stream in to class when they’re sick etc.
The livestream seminars have been a wonderful democratizing thing– all year NBER has been livestreaming a lot of its conferences and that means you don’t have to be a member of the “club” to see what some of the top economists are talking about and doing. I’ve also been able to attend two conferences at the same time, picking and choosing talks to go to even if they normally would have been on opposite coasts of the country, which is nice for me. I do miss talking with my conference buddies though, even if I don’t miss planes and airports. :/
I like zoom faculty meetings much more than in-person, though most of my colleagues disagree– they miss small-talk. I do not miss small-talk.
I’m not sure if we’ll stick with grocery pickup or if we’ll go back to shopping in person at our regular grocery store. Instacart has been pretty terrible, so we have only been doing that about once a month or so (basically when I run out of Spindrift grapefruit fizzy water or when we need a fennel or gochujung etc.). Curbside pickup is nice, but today we got some brown lettuce and pico de gallo that had gone bad and a personal size watermelon when they charged us for a full size, and the week before last our bag of pepperidge farm whole wheat bread was moldy. And this is the good curbside pickup with dedicated store employees– instacart at the other store is way worse. So we will probably go back to regular shopping most weeks.
I do think I will keep zooming RA meetings so they don’t have to come across campus.
I’m not sure what else.
What about you, Grumpy Nation?