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Pressure to return to office-based work

Discussion in 'off topic' started by deebster, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Like many of us I started working from home last year and haven't been back into the office since. Lately though pressure has been mounting to return to working there, and today I was asked to come in once a week from next week, for meetings, team-building and the like.

    Despite having spent almost all of my working life in them, having had 18 months at home I've come to the conclusion that I don't much like the office environment and would rather not return to it at all. My work is totally computer-based, with no paperwork, offsite work or client contact, so working from home rather than proving to be counterproductive has been the total opposite - I get more done, feel better about it and have a healthier work/life balance.

    I haven't officially requested 100% home work yet and I'm hoping it won't come to that, but before I make a request I'd be interested to hear of any similar experiences.

    P.S. During a 'virtual senior partner roadshow' today (which on account of him not being a hologram I thought should've been called a 'senior partner virtual roadshow', but I digress) the talk moved to carbon footprint and sustainability. And at that very moment I was asked to come in for a 5 minute meeting with one of the bosses (based in a different office) to be told my pay review for next year. I live 25 miles from the office, he more like 100. Oh the irony.
     
  2. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    I guess it all depends on what’s in your contract and where it states your place of work is.

    I work from home but actually like travelling so I’m relishing being out and about.
     
  3. Euan

    Euan pfm Member

    My wife is the same. She doesn't want to go back in but the company are making noises. In Scotland we are still told to work from home where we can. So the pressure is not as great yet.

    I've told her that if she doesn't want to go back in them tell them you won't be back. There are plenty jobs out there for her where she could work from home 100%.
     
  4. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Talking to some businesses I think the early productivity of people working from home has tailed off as people get used to being able to do the washing etc. whilst 'working'.
     
  5. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Yeah, I can understand that, but being at home and not having to try to concentrate in a noisy office with regular interruptions I find makes me more productive.

    It just feels a bit hypocritical - surely in the end the important thing is the work gets done and I make them enough moolah?
     
    lawrence001 likes this.
  6. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Sort of but a company looks at its overall productivity and it may be better to get people back in than deal with remote, hot-desking etc.

    It does sound in your case it makes no difference and is better for you but just remember companies must take a holistic view, one that may not always be 100% for each individual.
     
    doctorf likes this.
  7. Cav

    Cav pfm Member

    If your employer wants you to attend the office, I am not sure you have many options.
     
  8. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    I certainly can see the attraction to 'working' from home but I'm guessing taken a holistic view it perhaps has a negative effect overall.
     
  9. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    At first I feared I had little choice, but from https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working

    'All employees have the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers.
    Employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible...
    An employer can refuse an application if they have a good business reason for doing so.'

    Comes down to the last point for me. Does pressing the flesh and having meetings constitute a good business reason?

    *edit: Hmmm, though perhaps not - seems it's more as you say Cav. Gonna read my contract.
     
  10. Weekender

    Weekender pfm Member

    One day a week for team-building but since I refuse to haul a laptop in on my cycle commute I have to sit on the opposite side of the office to my team.
    Oh dear.
    What a shame.
    Going down to two and a half days from Jan. (2 day/3day working weeks).
    Can't wait.
     
  11. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    Probably, I can't do my job from home, totally impossible but Tracy has been working from home for nearly 4 years now, she had to apply to HR to get permission and give good reason for the request, no issues whatsoever but others have been turned down recently, those in the London office mainly.
    If I employed office staff I'd want them in the office.
     
  12. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Yes, they can invent any reason which a tribunal would almost certainly accept. They just have to show that a request was given consideration.

    They can also revoke the flexible working arrangements if they are informal. See statutory and non-statutory (which yours would likely be)
     
  13. Jamie

    Jamie pfm Member

    I worked from home for a month or so in lockdown 1, but have been back in the office since. I prefer the office (factory), despite the 22 mile/ 35 minute each way commute. The company had offered all office based staff hybrid working with 2 office days per week, but I will stick to 5 (but the odd day WFH if I have something on like a plumber or something to sort).
    My wife has been working from home since lockdown 1 and prefers it. Her company has now offered hybrid of 1 day per week in the office. She only does 30h Monday to Thursday, so will be doing 3 days at home.
     
  14. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Pah, of course, my contract from 5 years ago says my normal place of work is the office.

    From https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58636439

    'Gill McAteer, head of employment law at Citation, said that if an employee contract said the place of work was the office, employees have no legal right to work remotely.

    "Until this becomes a reality, employees will have to accept their employer's back to work plan or face challenging it through the existing flexible working process," she said.

    However, Ms McAteer said that while it was "relatively easy" for employers to refuse a work from home request before the pandemic, now it is "more challenging" as employees can demonstrate they have "effectively" carried out their role from home during the crisis.'
     
  15. richardg

    richardg Admonishtrator

    As a company owner, I would feel the wheels would fall off due to lack of physical cohesion, lack of face to face communication. I'm an online retailer too so many jobs can be done remotely. But I'm not employing anyone like that. Maybe I'm old school but I still believe more magic can happen than distraction when people are together, fighting for the cause. Luckily, we were all able to attend work during the last two years, so none of us have to face coming back to the office.
     
    Darren L likes this.
  16. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    If people want to skive they can skive just as easily in the office.

    I honestly think a some managers are twitchy just because they don't really understand what their team do and hence don't have any way of judging if people are doing 'enough' work.
     
  17. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I *loved* working from home while it was an option for me. I usually worked longer hours not having the commute grinding me down and I would argue that I was productive for longer just from being in a environment conducive to work rather than a big open plan office where it's sometimes impossible to concentrate.
     
    Snufkin, darrenyeats and deebster like this.
  18. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Booyakashah, check out my avatar...

    Yes. It's easier to measure time in office as opposed to more abstract concepts of 'value added' or 'productivity'. Those require well thought out plans and a clear understanding of how each task directly relates to a benefit, something which is a skill in short supply along with the time to do it.
     
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Indeed. In some IT roles skiving is a sign you are totally on top of things. Only the bad ones run around all day fixing stuff, the good ones get everything working and lock it down so the users can’t break it! I spent countless hours playing Quake, browsing the internet etc ringing-up my contract rate without the slightest guilt as I was delivering exactly the stability and reliability they were paying for! Also, always under-promise and over-deliver. Makes everyone far happier.

    PS I’ve always found wage-slave fixed hours to be an absurdity, but if folk want to pay 8 hours a day for what I could often do it in 45-90 minutes then I’ll take it!
     
    MJS, Snufkin, Dozey and 1 other person like this.
  20. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    Funnily enough I think I would feel much the same in your position. I work in pensions, configuring software to administer occupational schemes, data analysis and manipulation, that sort of thing. It's not often that I need to collaborate closely with someone, and when necessary a call or video meeting is sufficient. Most of the time I'm there just ploughing through large jobs or fixing the latest PICNIC* problem, so it's very much head down, crack on with it work.

    We have video meetings every Friday afternoon for a general chat amongst the 6 or so of us on the team. Relaxed and informal, more like a pub chat, which serves as a nice way to end the week. Most weeks at least one doesn't bother to show up and nobody seems concerned that that is affecting team morale, yet I'm being asked to go back to a place I don't want to be in to have face to face meetings instead.

    *Problem in chair, not in computer
     
    Snufkin likes this.

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