Working from home

Revealed: Whitehall’s £33 million WFH spend

Throughout much of 2021, ministers have been keen to get civil servants back into Whitehall. Oliver Dowden called for mandarins to ‘get off their Pelotons and back to their desks’; his fellow Tory Jake Berry has accused them of ‘woke-ing from home.’ But the civil servants themselves have proved somewhat reluctant to do so, with Dave Penman, the leader of the FDA trade union, suggesting ministers instead should be celebrating the civil service… making the most of new technology whilst making savings for the taxpayer.’ In spite of the government’s efforts to pressure businesses to order staff to return to the office, it appears that such efforts have also fallen short in the state

Google’s war on home workers was inevitable

Tapping out some code in the back garden. Working on a sales presentation while watching the school sports day. Or even better, traveling though a continent or two while still pulling down a ritzy six figure salary.  Over the last year, middle class professionals have bought into the Work From Home Dream – or WFHD as it’s known in HR circles – to create a working life that combines the best of all possible worlds. It is hardly surprising that so many highly-paid workers are happy to stay away from the office on a permanent basis. Forget Zero Covid. The WFH warriors will be aiming for Zero Flu and Zero

Rishi Sunak’s warm words won’t persuade workers back to offices

It will be better for our careers. We will network more effectively, spark ideas off one another, and learn new things from our colleagues, as well as getting a reminder from time to time of how annoying they are.  Chancellor Rishi Sunak took a break today from his usual occupation of dishing out vast sums of free money to remind us all of how much he learned from working in an office. Sunak is urging us all to get back to the skyscraper, shop, warehouse, or whatever, as quickly as possible. But hold on. Sure, there is nothing wrong with a few warm words to that effect – but we need more

Is working from home here to stay?

National Work from Home Day might not be a calendar highlight but it has undoubtedly taken on increased significance during the pandemic. Remote work is du jour and the big question now is: will it become the new normal? Take headlines at face value and we’re living in both a Zoomshock dystopia and a commute-free Shangri-La. We’re selfishly contributing to the hollowing out of city centres, and we’re righteously boosting the local economy. The same ministers now pushing for hybrid working to become the default unless employers have good reason to forbid it were last summer warning absenteeism risked making people more ‘vulnerable’ to getting sacked. We should probably be

Are plans to abandon the office premature?

To what extent will our pandemic lifestyles stick? With ‘work from home’ guidance in place for the best part of a year now, it’s has been assumed that trends towards flexible working are accelerating. Until the guidance formally shifts and employees have complete freedom to return to work, no one is quite sure what the demand to return — or stay home — will be. But the City of London is already preparing, as today the caretakers of the Square Mile announced their plans to convert empty offices into residences with the aim of creating an additional 1,500 homes by 2030. This is a sizable increase given there are only estimated

The WFH community are finally walking their own dogs — with terrible consequences

Every time I get on a horse I have to face the likelihood that a dog, or pack of dogs, will have me off. This issue of idiot dog owners walking their dogs for the first time now they are working from home is a situation that has developed since Covid but as far as I’m aware, no government guidelines have been issued to deal with it. Traditionally, dog owners in the idiot class don’t walk their dogs themselves, delegating that to a dog walker who collects the dog in a van and drives it to a place where it is walked with a load of other dogs. Either that,

How scared are we still about Covid?

Pink and twisted Bernard Matthews, which stopped making Turkey Twizzlers in 2005 after criticism about unhealthy school dinners from Jamie Oliver, announced it is reintroducing the product. It will contain up to 70% turkey, compared with 34% originally. — Bernard Matthews came up with the idea of making twisted pieces of turkey, allegedly as an accidental by-product from a machine which stamped out imitation drumsticks from reconstituted turkey meat. — The name ‘Twizzler’ was also used by a Pennsylvania confectionary company, Y&S Candies, from 1929. The product, still sold in the US, is made from corn syrup, flour and sugar, with strawberry flavouring. Covid courage How brave have the British

I’m imposing a one-woman trade embargo on China

Without making any efforts in that direction, I now know all about a certain telecom firm’s future business plans. My neighbours are working from home, loudly, with their kitchen windows open. I want to scream: ‘I can’t turn my ears off, and I don’t have a mute function!’ Call me old-fashioned, but if they continue to corporate grandstand at the tops of their voices during laptop conference calls without specifically telling me that everything I’m hearing is off the record, then I’m treating them as primary source material. ‘Guys, that’s confidential. Our ears only,’ one of them keeps shouting through her kitchen window. Why not close the window, as a