Working from home: pros and cons

It doesn’t matter where staff are working, “as long as they are effective”.

But the CBI warns commercial hubs risk being permanent “ghost towns”.

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It looks as though, whilst city centres are suffering because we’re all working from home, town centres are doing comparatively well:

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

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It appears then, that most of us, if we can, would prefer to work from home, as reported by the BBC:

Coronavirus: ‘Nine in 10 would continue working from home’ – BBC News

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However, the Spectator considers the downsides of WFH:

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As the Covid-19 crisis gradually eases, it is proving hard to get the British back to work. A survey this week showed a third of young people expected to work from home more or less forever, while another earlier this week showed we were more reluctant to go back to our desks than any country in Europe. The CBI has taken to issuing warnings about the impact on the economy, and the government is already doing its best to get the commuter trains full again. Very soon Rishi Sunak may be offering half-price sandwiches at Pret for anyone willing to clock in on a Monday morning. Even so, it may prove surprisingly hard. Many people seem to enjoy the freedom of laptops and Zoom, and, so long as they can claim it isn’t yet safe, it is hard to force anyone to go back.

But hold on. Employees may think it is great now. But they are making a big mistake. Why?

The work from home brigade should be careful what they wish for | The Spectator

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The Metro carries a government warning:

Coronavirus UK: Brits warned ‘go back to work or risk losing your job’ | Metro News

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And likewise, the Mail put the government’s latest push to ‘get us back to work’ on its front page:

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Boris’s blitz on WFH: PM to launch PR drive to get more people back to the office as remote workers are warned they could be more at risk of the sack – but new survey shows nine in TEN want to carry on working from home

  • Boris Johnson is expected to launch a new back to work campaign next week
  • Government increasingly worried about impact of continued work from home
  • Tory MPs warned city and town centres are facing ‘devastating consequences’ 
  • Labour accused ministers of forcing workers to choose between job and health
  • Came as Grant Shapps said there is a limit ‘in human terms’ to remote working

Boris Johnson to launch major back to work drive | Daily Mail Online

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And the Mail’s leading columnist does not pull his punches:

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: One person’s Working From Home is another’s P45  | Daily Mail Online

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Although the Mail also notes a ministerial lapse:

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‘You’re in your study in Hertfordshire!’: Grant Shapps faces backlash for pushing the Government’s ‘back to the office’ message in interviews carried out in his HOME (in front of a virtue-signalling bookcase)

  • Transport Secretary did a morning media round from his Hertfordshire home 
  • He used it to push the idea that it was good for people to return to workplaces
  • The contradiction did not go un-noticed when he appeared on LBC radio

Grant Shapps pushes ‘back to the office’ message from HOME | Daily Mail Online

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And the health minister doesn’t see it as a problem:

Matt Hancock misses the ‘WFH’ memo! Health Secretary has ‘absolutely no idea’ where his staff are working and says he doesn’t care as long as ‘they’re effective’ – despite Boris’s ‘back to the office’ drive to save the economy

  • Hancock said he had ‘absolutely no idea’ how many of his staff were still WFH
  • CBI chief Fairbairn warns commercial hubs risk being permanent ‘ghost towns’
  • ONS figures show high street rebounding more slowly than shopping centres 

Matt Hancock misses the ‘WFH’ memo! Health Secretary has ‘no idea’ where staff are working | Daily Mail Online

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The Mail is also the owner of the free Metro newspaper, available at London’s tube stations – which is not being picked up because so few of us are commuting:

Daily Mail owner suffers 45% hit to advertising | Financial Times

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And as Private Eye reports, proprietor Lord Rothmere “has apparently been making his anxiety about the lack of bums on seats known to senior executives for some weeks. His desire to get everyone back commuting as soon as possible is understandable” – considering that circulation of the Metro is down 69% “with obvious consequences for advertising sales”.

Private Eye Magazine | Official Site – the UK’s number one best-selling news and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop

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Finally: you wouldn’t expect the New European to be very sympathetic towards Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn:

Daily Mail columnist slammed over Work From Home comments | The New European

   
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