Back to the office — when, what and especially why?

If you like science fiction, the last 13 or so months have been interesting. To say the least. Our planet is hit with a deadly, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that spread fast. In addition to killing millions, it upended the lives of many people, cost them their jobs and produced profound political changes in many places. Some occupations may disappear or shrink to insignificance. Now, we think, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. Those of us who are still around and who didn’t lose a friend or loved one are fortunate. And if you are lucky enough to have a job — or an annuity — are you doing it from the same old place? Or are you working from home? Seeing colleagues only by Zoom? Doing things and communicating in ways you never imagined?

A lifetime ago, the idea of widespread teleworking a couple of days a week was pretty much a dead duck. Many agencies cancelled work-from-home programs entirely. Or dramatically reduced the number of days and employees who could work from home. Teleworking had been evolving slowly, but under the Trump administration, swiftly being undone. The election certainly changed or would have changed some of that momentum. Union contracts that called for teleworking would likely have been revived or strengthened by the Biden administration. Even though it would likely have been a slow process. But wham, COVID changed almost all of that overnight.

People are also now slowly trickling back to their offices. Traffic is picking up. For some of us, the cicadas are coming!

So what could possibly go wrong? What could stall our recovery?

How about some more science fiction? Imagine this. Suppose a group of criminal hackers in a foreign country (make it Russia) zaps the pipeline that supplies half the oil to half the country. Oil that used to travel from Texas to New Jersey slows or stops. Gas prices go up. People start filling up their tanks at the very time when many who have worked from home since early last year are or soon will be returning to work. And the freeways. Very bad timing, to say the least.

Officials say not to worry. That there is plenty of oil and gasoline. Just not in your local filling station. Or if they have it, you may have to wait in line. And pay more. Which means everything else will go up too. For a variety of reasons.

So where do you sit (or stand, which is supposed to be healthier) on things? Are you ready go back to work? Do you miss colleagues and having lunch not at your kitchen sink? Do you miss time spent thinking during your commute? Has your production slipped at home cause of too many distractions?

Or…

Do you like the new normal? Are you healthier? More relaxed? Doing more without the added pressure of a long commute each way? Do you notice the air is cleaner? Are you doing more, and doing it better?

What do you think is down the road? For you personally and the country? Will you fight any orders to return to the office? Should your agency mandate that everybody gets the required shots BEFORE returning to work?

When is the last time you went to a drycleaners? Or maybe got a haircut?

What would you like to see happen this year and ahead as the world climbs out of the COVID life change?

What do you think will really happen? Where do you think you, and the country, will be this time next year?

Would love to hear from you. Anonymous or with a byline of your choice. Send them over to mcausey@federalnewnetwork.com.

This could be fun! Maybe educational.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

Despite a popularly held myth among many, shaving your hair does not make it grow faster or thicker. When it initially regrows, because of the razor cuts at an angle, it may appear or feel to have a more noticeable and blunt look but will ultimately grow back at the same rate.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN TICKER

Jun 11, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.0010 0.0118 2.88%
L 2025 11.8636 0.0126 5.61%
L 2030 41.8638 0.0581 7.07%
L 2035 12.5746 0.0193 7.71%
L 2040 47.5920 0.08 8.36%
L 2045 13.0414 0.0238 8.91%
L 2050 28.5761 0.056 9.49%
L 2055 14.0454 0.0342 11.70%
L 2060 14.0453 0.0341 11.70%
L 2065 14.0453 0.0342 11.69%
G Fund 16.6026 0.0007 0.53%
F Fund 20.8552 -0.0126 -2.22%
C Fund 63.6419 0.1249 12.61%
S Fund 85.0474 0.7826 11.60%
I Fund 39.5477 0.0086 10.58%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.