COVID and the future of the Office - Page 2
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  1. #26
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    There's what qualifies...but there's also whether to itemize or not; most people don't. And given recent changes to itemizing thresholds that number is lower than ever. Even before the 2019 changes, it wasn't a majority or filers.


    Deducting things is nice...for the small minority of people whom it makes sense to itemize.
    After itemizing for the last 25 years, the Trump tax changes had me right on the cusp last year. It made sense to itemize, but barely. The whole tax reform was aimed at whacking it to areas with high property taxes/cost of living that tend to vote democrat. My average tax rate actually went up a tad (around 18%).

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    That mostly applies to self employed people. I think a Federal Govt employee would have a hard time trying to get a tax deduction for working at home. And in the DC area, nothing is cheap. My mortgage is almost $3k.
    You donít have to be self employed to take a home office deduction, but the space must be used 100% for work, not personal use. And taking this deduction greatly increases your odds of being audited.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre View Post
    You donít have to be self employed to take a home office deduction, but the space must be used 100% for work, not personal use. And taking this deduction greatly increases your odds of being audited.
    My dining room might just qualify. I can't remember the last time we actually ate a meal in here.

  4. #29
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    retired in the nick of time

    About a year and a half ago, my primary customer (owner of jewelry store) up and died. The store was not doing great since small towns around here don't feel obligated to shop locally, but complain bitterly when they can't get what they want locally after the business closes. Since the store was struggling in the first place the management decided to shutter it. (but not until after the going out of business sale that allowed her to close without huge losses).

    Fact is, if they had made it to covid, it would have killed the business with no chance of liquidating the inventory and recouping their losses.

    This was the first summer since I was 13 that I wasn't working, so I pretty much rode every chance I could get. Cycling is the perfect covid activity, no other people, less traffic and I had lots of time! (4850 miles so far)

    I still wish covvid would go away.
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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  5. #30
    Spicy Dumpling
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    As I mentioned earlier they were considering making us remote only with a lab location with our equipment. Happy to hear today that we're going to have a new location with room for everyone to return to work. I'm looking forward to it. And considering that they are giving office choices on seniority and time with the company I should get a good choice as the longest serving employee at our location.

    I'm working from home now and going in a couple of times a week for a few minutes to check equipment or change cabling. If I get an office where I can seal myself off I may just go back in since there are only 2-3 people working in the location. I need it for my sanity.
    If I were to beat you senseless with a tire iron, what color would you bleed?..The Missus

  6. #31
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    March/April in New York was like a bad sci-fi movie about the end of days. It was inescapable. Everything shut down. Suddenly friends who had commuted into the city for 30 years were no longer doing so. Commuter lots were empty, roads were empty.

    What is stranger--the commuter lots are still empty--whole areas of NYC (where there are no residents) are still dark, and no one is commuting still. Traffic locally is back up--everyone needs to shop for food, more people are driving to and from work, and construction/home reno had one of the busiest summers ever. But everything still seems like it is on hold.

    The combination of good jobs, good restaurants, cultural attractions that made it seem like living in NYC was cool seems to have shattered. Young couples are moving out to the 'burbs to escape the density--and it turns out that a lot of jobs are more portable than people realized.

    I would not want to be a big investor in commercial real estate in NYC right now.
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  7. #32
    pmf
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    Similar in DC. I live in the Northern VA suburbs and used to work in downtown DC. Initially when they sent everyone home, traffic out here was really down. It's slowly picked up, but not to the crawl that used to exist. I took my kid into DC last month for him to take an all day test. Hadn't been down there since March. Drove right up Connecticut Ave at 8:30 AM and did a u-turn. It was completely empty. On a normal day, that would have been impossible. Everything down there looks closed. Sidewalks are empty. Out here, restaurants are open, but mostly for take out. They've been doing this out door dining thing, but that's about to end as it gets cold. I've noticed a lot of them are putting up tents with heaters. How is that different from just eating in the restaurant? Its going to be a long winter.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    They've been doing this out door dining thing, but that's about to end as it gets cold.
    My wife is an escrow officer at a title insurance company and they've been doing real estate closings in their parking lot since April. Clients pull up in their car, they get handed the paperwork, and my wife walks them through it all from a distance.

    We live in Montana and it appears her company has no ideas on what to do when winter hits in earnest. It seems to me that the first title company to build an actual drive-through window will have a leg up.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    My wife is an escrow officer at a title insurance company and they've been doing real estate closings in their parking lot since April. Clients pull up in their car, they get handed the paperwork, and my wife walks them through it all from a distance.

    We live in Montana and it appears her company has no ideas on what to do when winter hits in earnest. It seems to me that the first title company to build an actual drive-through window will have a leg up.
    Is the real estate market booming up there with all the disenfranchised office workers from California now looking for a more affordable home?

    Couldn't she just send them the paperwork and then walk them through it on-line using Zoom or Microsoft Teams?

    I think restaurants with drive up windows are flourishing. Everyone else, not so much.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Is the real estate market booming up there with all the disenfranchised office workers from California now looking for a more affordable home?

    Couldn't she just send them the paperwork and then walk them through it on-line using Zoom or Microsoft Teams?

    I think restaurants with drive up windows are flourishing. Everyone else, not so much.
    We live in Bozeman which had already been in a real estate boom for the past 20 years. Now it's absolutely insane and not just because of Californians. There is very little housing inventory and houses that come on the market go under contract for above asking price within a few hours.

    The problem with Zoom etc. is that (in Montana anyway) a notary has to physically witness the signing process in-person. It will be interesting to see if that changes in response to COVID. I already kinda wonder why my wife's job even exists - but she makes a lot more $ than I do so I just keep my mouth shut.

  11. #36
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    Must be a Montana law. Notaries aren't required in VA where I live. Or in MD where I most recently sold a house we inherited.

    I had a friend who spent time in Bozeman as a college professor. He liked it a lot.

  12. #37
    What the what???
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    Must be a Montana law. Notaries aren't required in VA where I live. Or in MD where I most recently sold a house we inherited.

    I had a friend who spent time in Bozeman as a college professor. He liked it a lot.
    Iowa is the same way. We refinanced this past summer and the hardest part was scheduling a notary to come to our home to witness the signing.


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    Given his penchant for nicknames, and his aversion to reading, I've decided to shorten Donald J. Trump to it's essence: Dump*

    I was "social distancing" before it was cool.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    It seems to me that the first title company to build an actual drive-through window will have a leg up.
    So what is needed is something like a Fotomat for real estate?

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    Like Texas. Thatís why Austin is well on its way to becoming the new Silicon Valley.
    As well as other places like Charlotte, replicating the tech boom and transforming the electorate as demonstrated a few weeks ago.
    I am 100% convinced the internet and social media are not the salvation to human civility.


    My job is to call balls and strikes and not pitch or swing a bat. ... I have no agenda.

  15. #40
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    Covid just rushed along the inevitable. Only a matter of time before communication software improved to the point it's basically the same as being in person and companies realized not paying rent, utilities, insurance ect is pretty cool.

    To those who think it's less productive, I'd suggest giving it a year then reexamine if you really feel that way still or if you were just having problems with 'change'.

    I've been doing to for a few years now and at one time thought it was less productive. Now I actually feel it's far more productive. There are far less unnecessary distractions from co-workers and face to face on a screen and screen sharing documents is just as effective as face to face in person.

    And work life balance has really improved.

    The only challenge I still have is 'leaving' work. Before when I closed the office door I was 100% gone mentally and physically. Now with my office where I live I tend to have one foot still in the office during really busy times at work.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    So what is needed is something like a Fotomat for real estate?
    Yeah, I think so.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Yeah, I think so.
    There are probably thousands of abandoned Fotomat booths that could be repurposed. For anyone under 40 you may have to Google "Fotomat"

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    There are far less unnecessary distractions from co-workers
    Interesting that you brought it up because in Illinois, the occupations that require state license such as engineers, accountant ...etc., is now requiring taking a course in workplace sexual harassment prevention. They never did this before but starting it this year. Perhaps they missed the boat?

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Interesting that you brought it up because in Illinois, the occupations that require state license such as engineers, accountant ...etc., is now requiring taking a course in workplace sexual harassment prevention. They never did this before but starting it this year. Perhaps they missed the boat?
    Two words: Jeff Toobin.
    Donald Trump has never had a wife he didn't cheat on.

    Donald Trump has never won a popular vote in a governmental election.

    There are over 13 million covid cases in the United States (as of Thanksgiving), eleven months after Donald Trump said it was "totally under control," and that "it's gonna be just fine."

  20. #45
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    There are tons of zoom meeting mishap videos posted online, including a dude who thought the zoom is disconnected but only the audio was and he started watching a porn site with a hand cream on his desk. Female coworkers flipped out (actually flipped the laptop down) and left the meeting even though they are still in it. In such cases, they should require taking a course in proper computer operation.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    There are probably thousands of abandoned Fotomat booths that could be repurposed. For anyone under 40 you may have to Google "Fotomat"
    https://www.fotomatfans.com/locations/
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  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Wait, there is a Fotomat fan club? For real?

  23. #48
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    LOLZ! I clicked on the first link to their homepage and the first link was titled ĎChallenges Facing Fotomat. I clicked on that link and I got an article dated 7/27/81!

  24. #49
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    NYC/NJ here.

    All larger companies are completely WFH until Spring/Summer. However, small companies are working from the office full time. My small business (3 people) rents a 1,200sq ft space in a three story building comprised of 100 small businesses. 80% of the building is at work, the parking lot is full, life goes on. So its interesting to hear this doom and gloom about life never going back to normal, when 100+ businesses are going about as normal just outside of NYC in NJ.

    Definitely a disconnect in dealing with folks from large companies and small. I do understand the issues around getting 750 people onto a floor via an elevator at 9AM.

    Facebook is signing leases on huge swaths of office space in NYC, so there's that.

    I'm not sold on this whole not going back to normal ever again when an entire building is operating almost as usual. Yes, open floor plans can be problematic, but I'm starting to think this is more of a liability issue for the corporate giants.

    Finally, I lived through 9/11 here in NYC, was pretty close to it all. And now, some twenty years later, whenever I hear a low flying plane and there isn't an airport around my mind wanders or just asks "hey self, what the fk is this plane doing here?". I notice it. I'm afraid that living through Covid in NYC in the Spring of '20 may have similar PTSD-like repercussions.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

    LOLOLOL

  25. #50
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    As an employee that has trudged to work every day as normal I see it a bit differently. I see some instances where we are finding out how much we really needed some of these employees. They are home, and their absence isn't missed. Worse yet, they email or call and ask you to do things for them since they aren't there. We have an especially large R&D department that was built up under the Obama administration but which could actually be about half the size. Some people are responsive and actually at their desk at home, but some always get back to you later as it seems they are doing other things at the time.

    The whole experience has me jaded. Maybe because I have to actually work for a living
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

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