“The genie of WFH is out of the bottle” – a Devon perspective

“During lockdown millions started WFH – and most of us don’t want to go back. In just a few months the landscape of work, family and city life has altered dramatically – but are all the changes positive?”

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LONDON:

Commuters into the capital are not paying attention to what the PM has been telling them – and have not been Working From Home:

Keep calm, and carry on commuting: Tubes and trains are packed as thousands head into the office to save Britain’s economy – despite Boris’s WFH call

  • Thousands boarded public transport for the second consecutive morning since the PM’s national address
  • Mr Johnson said those who were able to work from home should now go back to doing so in a major U-turn
  • Business leaders called the move ‘criminal’, warning billions of pounds and millions of jobs would be lost

Tubes and trains are packed as thousands head into the office to save Britain’s economy | Daily Mail Online

The London Evening Standard is certainly disturbed by the PM’s pronouncements:

Ordering us all to work from home again is the worst thing Boris Johnson could do to London | London Evening Standard

Can London take the stress of another six months of WFH? | London Evening Standard

Certainly, sandwich shops are not happy:

Furious Pret founder savages Boris for ‘spouting Churchillian nonsense’ | Daily Mail Online

On the other hand, the City seems more than happy:

When Will London City Go Back to the Office? Firms Say WFH Is the New Normal – Bloomberg

Banks Shedding Real Estate in Moves to Cut Costs: WFH Tracker – Bloomberg

Barclays will send ‘hundreds’ of UK staff back to WFH after Boris Johnson’s latest Covid measures | Daily Mail Online

.And across the country, it is still the preferred option:

Survey says 74 per cent WFH employees wish to continue remote working – Business Traveller

Most office workers would like to continue working from home – Vision Group for Sidmouth

 

DEVON:

Meanwhile in Devon…

It seems that many have been considering relocating to these parts:

The best UK coastal towns to move to in 2020 | Bricks & Mortar | The Times (paywall)

Which might well benefit places smaller than London:

Working from home: a Sidmouth perspective – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Working from home: reviving town life – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Although good broadband is much to be desired:

Which are best places in UK to WFH? – Tech Digest

Decentralization and technology-enabled home working – Vision Group for Sidmouth

But be careful what you wish for, warned Katie Allsop, resident of Honiton last month:

Kirstie Allsop sparks fierce debate with home working views – Devon Live

Nevertheless, whilst jobs are under a huge strain in these parts:

South West “hit hardest by Covid job losses” – Vision Group for Sidmouth

… there are a lot of jobs being advertised which are specifically WFH:

Online work from home Jobs in Exeter, Devon | Gumtree

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RADICAL CHANGE:

Whatever your views, though, WFH is here to stay and will have an effect on how our towns and communities look in both the immediate and longer-term future:

So writes Andrew Anthony in the Guardian:

Another day not at the office: will working from home be 2020’s most radical change?

During lockdown millions started WFH – and most of us don’t want to go back. In just a few months the landscape of work, family and city life has altered dramatically – but are all the changes positive?

There’s a man sitting at the first-floor window of the house that lies on the other side of my back fence. It’s early August, the weather is sweltering, and his window is wide open. He’s talking on a hands-free phone, laughing in that ingratiating manner that suggests a large payday is at stake. He speaks in a fashionable sales patter that sounds similar to real conversation, but crucially isn’t, and he’s practically broadcasting his pitch to the neighbourhood. WTF? I want to shout, but I already know the answer: WFH.

With the exception of Covid-19 itself, working from home has been the big story of 2020.

   
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