People may quit if forced to work from home - Rishi Sunak

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SHallowvale
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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56535575

They can't be serious, can they?

This sounds like another desperate plee to have everyone rush back into offices so that commercial property owners can make money again.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56535575

They can't be serious, can they?

This sounds like another desperate plee to have everyone rush back into offices so that commercial property owners can make money again.
Particularly if they are slaughtermen.
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Joinedup
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keeping the same salary but not having to fork out for season tickets seems like it's all silver lining and no cloud... But once business gets used to people not coming into the office I think it won't take long before it start wondering if it can get even more of its work done by people living half way round the planet than it already does.
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ThomH97
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He's not wrong. And while his statements are clearly intended as a 'push' towards going back to as we were, he has highlighted some very real issues that employers may overlook in order to cut costs in the short term.

Personally I'd prefer a push towards working from home where possible, as it saves all sorts of hassle. But I can sympathise with people who need to be around others to be effective. From a business perspective, you'd save a lot of money on offices and middle management - the latter perhaps leading to a drop in productivity but then you counter that with the employees being 'fresh' instead of sitting still for an hour commuting in then rushing for coffee.

It has become very clear this pandemic that landlords are, in general, vicious with no regard for the town centre. Still charging full rent when it's painfully obvious that the business located there is not taking in any money, while not actually spending any money on maintaining those properties. This (and Amazon) is the real cause of high streets suffering, not the multinational coffee shops missing out on early morning/evening trade, or other shops hoping workers spend their lunch break queuing up to buy things.
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Pythian
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I think working from home is unhealthy and ultimately counter-productive.

In my previous job, I would never log into my work emails at home. I maintained a separation between professional/working and personal life. There are loads of stories and reports of people working well-overtime and not managing their own times. So, people working at all hours. I think this is extremely unhealthy. I am a huge advocate of people's recognising and valuing their own time: people need to emotionally and physically separate themselves from work. I think the 'work whatsapp' has been a real incursion and now working emails/phone now threaten to take over any semblance of your private personal space.

There have been issues concerning loneliness. For me, part of the pleasure of working was the office banter. In a company, people function within teams and interact with those people. It's a gel. We're not robots and need some real interaction. If you look at Zoom meetings, they're quite good but there's almost no charisma or atmosphere that would, of course, exist in real life. Also, people at the office go for drinks every-so-often for a laugh.

We could also speak and talk to people in the office to ask for help. I could walk into the accountant's office and be there in 5 mins. Of course, that's very difficult remotely. You're on your own.

I think working from home is simply unviable for company performance and employee mental health.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by Pythian)
I think working from home is unhealthy and ultimately counter-productive.

In my previous job, I would never log into my work emails at home. I maintained a separation between professional/working and personal life. There are loads of stories and reports of people working well-overtime and not managing their own times. So, people working at all hours. I think this is extremely unhealthy. I am a huge advocate of people's recognising and valuing their own time: people need to emotionally and physically separate themselves from work. I think the 'work whatsapp' has been a real incursion and now working emails/phone now threaten to take over any semblance of your private personal space.

There have been issues concerning loneliness. For me, part of the pleasure of working was the office banter. In a company, people function within teams and interact with those people. It's a gel. We're not robots and need some real interaction. If you look at Zoom meetings, they're quite good but there's almost no charisma or atmosphere that would, of course, exist in real life. Also, people at the office go for drinks every-so-often for a laugh.

We could also speak and talk to people in the office to ask for help. I could walk into the accountant's office and be there in 5 mins. Of course, that's very difficult remotely. You're on your own.

I think working from home is simply unviable for company performance and employee mental health.
Work/life balance is the only 'objective' concern I'd have with working from home. Doing work outside of work hours has been happening more and more now anyway, including on commutes and lunch breaks, so it isn't just because of Covid home working. This does need to be addressed, and while home working does exacerbate it, it certainly isn't the cause.

When I say 'objectively', it is because there are many people who would prefer being left alone to do their work, dislike the office politics and are happiest managing their own deadlines. Someone with a different personality or skillset may well prefer more concrete expectations, to have more input into their appraisals and more routine.
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L i b
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I've yet to encounter many of these apparently numerous people who are yearning to get back to the office.

From my perspective, it's great. Breakfast and lunch are pleasant times to spend with my partner. I can easily get a few things like loading and unloading the dishwasher/washing machine done throughout the day. And I'm effectively getting an extra two hours in my day to myself. What's not to like?

I expect there'll be more of a demand for home-working, but that employers will push back. There are plenty of managers who think the second they can't see their workers, they'll be skiving off. Little do they realise how much skiving-off takes place in the office environment and just how counterproductive this approach is.

Workplaces won't die out, but they can be collaborative spaces that people go into for a purpose. Not somewhere to sit at a desk for hours on end.
(Original post by Pythian)
I think working from home is unhealthy and ultimately counter-productive.

In my previous job, I would never log into my work emails at home. I maintained a separation between professional/working and personal life. There are loads of stories and reports of people working well-overtime and not managing their own times. So, people working at all hours. I think this is extremely unhealthy. I am a huge advocate of people's recognising and valuing their own time: people need to emotionally and physically separate themselves from work. I think the 'work whatsapp' has been a real incursion and now working emails/phone now threaten to take over any semblance of your private personal space.
That's all well and good, but that's pretty much dependent on organisational culture as well as the individual personalities of management. Plenty of people not only commute in, but work overtime, get home late - and even then, if something urgent comes in, they'd be expected to look at it.

You mentioned a few other things - and one point that I thought was interesting was about talking to colleagues. Some of this is dependent on homeworking infrastructure: yes, I find it more difficult to talk to certain people. In theory, I can email them and arrange a video meeting, but it's not the same as walking over for a two-minute chat. Equally plenty of people are using work mobile phones with rubbish signal at home - and if they don't have a work phone, are not too happy giving out their private number. Work landlines (or VOIP type equivalents) would be very helpful in that regard.

... and hopefully it'd kill the inclination to call a 45 minute long MS Teams meeting for something that can be sorted out with a five minute phonecall.
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by L i b)
... and hopefully it'd kill the inclination to call a 45 minute long MS Teams meeting for something that can be sorted out with a five minute phonecall.
The converse is also true. When people first started working from home, video conferencing was not as popular as it is now. I remember plenty of people saying that all those 'compulsory 45 minute company meetings' could actually have been condensed into emails after all, which they were! 😂
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Pythian
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Work/life balance is the only 'objective' concern I'd have with working from home. Doing work outside of work hours has been happening more and more now anyway, including on commutes and lunch breaks, so it isn't just because of Covid home working. This does need to be addressed, and while home working does exacerbate it, it certainly isn't the cause.

When I say 'objectively', it is because there are many people who would prefer being left alone to do their work, dislike the office politics and are happiest managing their own deadlines. Someone with a different personality or skillset may well prefer more concrete expectations, to have more input into their appraisals and more routine.
(Original post by L i b)
I've yet to encounter many of these apparently numerous people who are yearning to get back to the office.

From my perspective, it's great. Breakfast and lunch are pleasant times to spend with my partner. I can easily get a few things like loading and unloading the dishwasher/washing machine done throughout the day. And I'm effectively getting an extra two hours in my day to myself. What's not to like?

I expect there'll be more of a demand for home-working, but that employers will push back. There are plenty of managers who think the second they can't see their workers, they'll be skiving off. Little do they realise how much skiving-off takes place in the office environment and just how counterproductive this approach is.

Workplaces won't die out, but they can be collaborative spaces that people go into for a purpose. Not somewhere to sit at a desk for hours on end.

That's all well and good, but that's pretty much dependent on organisational culture as well as the individual personalities of management. Plenty of people not only commute in, but work overtime, get home late - and even then, if something urgent comes in, they'd be expected to look at it.

You mentioned a few other things - and one point that I thought was interesting was about talking to colleagues. Some of this is dependent on homeworking infrastructure: yes, I find it more difficult to talk to certain people. In theory, I can email them and arrange a video meeting, but it's not the same as walking over for a two-minute chat. Equally plenty of people are using work mobile phones with rubbish signal at home - and if they don't have a work phone, are not too happy giving out their private number. Work landlines (or VOIP type equivalents) would be very helpful in that regard.

... and hopefully it'd kill the inclination to call a 45 minute long MS Teams meeting for something that can be sorted out with a five minute phonecall.
Thanks for the replies.

I think it also depends on what the job is. If you're making a website and coding stuff, then online working probably makes most sense.

I was managing a team of people trying to hit targets, and I always believed in the mantra that you're only ever as good as your weakest member. I really think having all staff in the same building and same floor is indispensable to performance. You can raise staff morale, spot and address issues without having to send emails, have the usual chit-chat in the office, make cups of tea for everyone. There's a network of people to help you grow in the company who you can speak to instantly. You can also keep your "home issues" at home and have a break from "home" drama. I understand about office politics, but I think that exists wherever people spend many hours of the day. And, honestly, in my experience zoom meetings are really quite depressing. They're very efficient but something a bit sad & deflating. I am now a student, but I can't imagine how I can bring people together to hit targets across zoom and emails. Also, there's the problem of feeling like you're intruding into people's home. Maybe they're cleaning the house?

That's my 2-cents.
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Wōden
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56535575

They can't be serious, can they?

This sounds like another desperate plee to have everyone rush back into offices so that commercial property owners can make money again.
I know a fair few people who have grown sick of working from home and would like to go back into the office. I can understand why, working from home erodes any distinction between your work life and your home life, plus the sense that whilst you are on the clock, your company is effectively in control of what you are allowed to do in your own home must feel pretty invasive for some.
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Mess.
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I’ve been relatively fine with working from home, especially during the summer when I could work from the garden. The issue is, now that I’m busy and need the teams under me to get things done, it is far more difficult to quickly organise groups to do things.

Two of the big issues that almost 100% working from home does create are that it’s next to impossible for new starters to build up any kind of rapport with people and if you are an apprentice/grad you are pretty much left to fend for yourself, as you can’t really shadow people.

In my company it looks around 50/50 of people wanting to be in and those wanting to be at home. The difficult thing is that the majority of those who want to work from home are those who hide and are lazy. They were like that in the office as well but it is harder to manage as they can now just not answer the phone and pretend they were on to a client.

In my old place that wasn’t a particular issue, as they had a strong enough catchment area that they could weed out the lazy ones pretty quickly.
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Rakas21
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While I do suspect that Sunak’s comments are primarily geared around short term and corporate interests (no guarantee that the small sandwich shop owners that open in communities will be more likely to fund or vote for you than the city chains) they are not entirely without merit.

I have worked from home since November and personally believe there is net benefit as I have come to enjoy it however there are certainly negatives that could lead to many seeking other jobs.

1) The lines between work and home become blurred.

Work is still no more flexible for most so you are still after being in bed for 8 hours then at the desk at the bottom of your bed/home space. You have less reason to reject requests out of hours. Many people are not single and so have less escape from partners/children.

2) Work is potentially less socialised/more robotic.

In the workplace through a lot of brown nosing I was able to take on additional tasks, to use my initiative much more, to manage small teams. Now that I work at home the work is a lot more scripted so to speak as projects are developed initially in a more centralised manner among upper management. That is probably not something that can be resolved in many places as new employees especially will be work based statistics rather than people and time communicating will decrease as it becomes more structured. In essence this may impact promotional chances.

For many on TSR who may not have worked before they may look at home working as freedom from the man or commute and I agree that as a single person with good internet access the benefits have outweighed the negatives for me but like most things there are real drawbacks to be weighed.
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by Wōden)
I know a fair few people who have grown sick of working from home and would like to go back into the office. I can understand why, working from home erodes any distinction between your work life and your home life, plus the sense that whilst you are on the clock, your company is effectively in control of what you are allowed to do in your own home must feel pretty invasive for some.
I think it depends on the job and what company you work for. We're also in a pandemic and most people aren't able to do much outside their house anyway, so I can understand why the boundary between work life and home life has become blurred for some.
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barnet1471
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There may be some people who will quit or look for other jobs if they cannot ever work in an office, but I suspect they are in a minority. Nationwide building society did a survey and under 10% wanted to be back in an office full time.
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Napp
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Mmm he seems to have a couple of valid points but i doubt many are about to toss their careers in the bin simply due to working from home..
Then again, personally i quite like working in the office. You get to socialise with the colleagues, abuse the canteen coffee machine and, of course, i have my 3 monitors which i dont have at home :lol: Then again, getting up at 6 can suck a ****.
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SHallowvale
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Working from home has been overwhelmingly positive for me. Not needing to commute saves me both money and time. Being home alone means that I can focus on my work without distractions and avoid a lot of unwanted office socialising / banter. Ideally I would work from home full time but I know my company wouldn't allow that. Thankfully I think we will be granted some kind of hybrid arrangement.

I have never had any issue with the blurring of work life and personal life. The moment I have done my required hours I just finish off what I am doing and switch off my laptop.
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(Original post by Napp)
Mmm he seems to have a couple of valid points but i doubt many are about to toss their careers in the bin simply due to working from home..
Then again, personally i quite like working in the office. You get to socialise with the colleagues, abuse the canteen coffee machine and, of course, i have my 3 monitors which i dont have at home :lol: Then again, getting up at 6 can suck a ****.
I think having what some people call a hybrid working solution is the best one. A day or two in the office enables you to have the social aspect, the work things that are good when done face to face (doorstepping those who otherwise never respond, for example), without having the expense and time of travelling every day. You need to have the right equipment at home though and a degree of peace and quiet when at home. So for some people being in an office all the week is the best option.
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Joleee
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they won't quit because it's better to have a salary than to live on benefits; like you can't even compare the two. how does one afford their ordinary rent (which contractually can't get out of) or mortgage (which contractually can't get out of) when your income has probs been reduced to less than half of what you'd ordinarily make if you lived on benefits - while you still have the usual contractual bills to pay - and while nobody is hiring atm cuz we're in an economic collapse and it's hard/costly/impossible for employers to train new staff via zoom meeting. it's like the Chancellor is completely disconnected to the average working person's experience and financial spreadsheet.
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Blended working is surely ideal for most people - 2/3 days a week at home and 2/3 days in the office
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(Original post by Joleee)
they won't quit because it's better to have a salary than to live on benefits; like you can't even compare the two. how does one afford their ordinary rent (which contractually can't get out of) or mortgage (which contractually can't get out of) when your income has probs been reduced to less than half of what you'd ordinarily make if you lived on benefits - while you still have the usual contractual bills to pay - and while nobody is hiring atm cuz we're in an economic collapse and it's hard/costly/impossible for employers to train new staff via zoom meeting. it's like the Chancellor is completely disconnected to the average working person's experience and financial spreadsheet.
Totally agree about the lack of understanding of the average person's experiences and finances. The whole response to the pandemic also showed a lack of understanding of business.
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