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SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited September 6 in General
politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Disruption on the line

Get back to the office! Boris Johnson will launch major drive reassuring ‘the workplace is a safe place’ https://t.co/qA59LcthJ6

Read the full story here

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Comments

  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 3,180
    1st
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 3,180
    I read the first line of the piece and thought, 'that's Alastair Meeks.'

    Re. the previous thread, I think the Dems have played an unintentional blinder by selecting Joe Biden. This is assuming he doesn't have a disastrously obvious senile moment between now and Nov. 3rd. Trump is highly erratic. Choosing an old safe, steady, pair of hands is making for a very effective contrast.
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 3,180
    You'd almost think there was a God against Trump the way events seem to be happening. Just as the disaster of Tulsa set a meme, so the image of his supporters sinking at this latest rally is something which will stick.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2020-54045115
  • Good article, Alistair. Thank you, erm I mean grazie.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 744
    A fine article worthy of starting any sunday.

    London refugees are certainly real, I know loads and the leafy village I’m in is seeing more and more Range Rovers seeking out the picture book house and local church or prep school. In turn the village pubs and farm shops are thriving and since lockdown ended there are now more not less local retail outlets.

    It’s in my view by far a more material and long lasting phenomenon than covid itself. Sure, lots of people have long looked outside of London in their 30s but this feels on another level entirely.

    I find the government position on this a real puzzle. Isn’t this what they just won an election promising? “Levelling up” and all that?
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 3,284
    moonshine said:

    A fine article worthy of starting any sunday.

    London refugees are certainly real, I know loads and the leafy village I’m in is seeing more and more Range Rovers seeking out the picture book house and local church or prep school. In turn the village pubs and farm shops are thriving and since lockdown ended there are now more not less local retail outlets.

    It’s in my view by far a more material and long lasting phenomenon than covid itself. Sure, lots of people have long looked outside of London in their 30s but this feels on another level entirely.

    I find the government position on this a real puzzle. Isn’t this what they just won an election promising? “Levelling up” and all that?

    Anything that removes Range Rover drivers from London cannot be considered to be wholly without merit. Although I'm not sure that relocating the Boden wearing classes from Clapham to the Cotswolds was really what "levelling up" was meant to be about (although with that particular vacuous phrase who knows).
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 53,971
    Good morning, everyone.

    Pre-race ramble:
    https://enormo-haddock.blogspot.com/2020/09/italy-pre-race-2020.html

    Morris Dancer away!
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690
    It's not just 'work' either. I belong to the U3a, the University of the Third Age, where over 55's meet together to learn from each other and enjoy each other's company. It's organised in local groups, and until now we've very much been orientated towards those groups. Now, given the technology that's emerged over the past few months many of our groups are working virtually, and of course there's no need for the local tie-ups. It still seems 'better' to meet physically sometimes of course but horizons have changed.
    The WEA, too, has left the church or community hall and has set up it's courses on line.And they are by no means the only educational establishment to use the new-found systems.

    I know, too, of groups of friends who, separated by life's 'accidents' now use the technology they've been introduced to, to 'meet' and socialise. A. letter or a phone call is a one-to-one; a Zoom group can have five or six people chatting. And they can all see each other, and share photos of grandchildren, etc.

    What this requires of course is the technology, the ability to fund it, and the confidence to use it, and I rather fear that, as we now have people who cannot leave their small communities because of lack of transport, we will have people isolated by technophobia or, as before, by poverty.


  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 27,579
    Good piece Alastair, yes governments need to embrace the changes rather than push back hard against them.

    People aren't going to rush back to their offices just because the government says so, especially not what it's clear that many MPs and most of Whitehall are all still very much working from home - with a civil service union determined to keep it that way.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/09/02/campaign-get-britain-back-work-flounders/
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 28,099
    edited September 6
    An interesting article. Much of the ‘answer’ to the questions it poses is that politicians generally dislike both rapid change and changes they aren’t in control of, because they are disruptive and generate losers and hence create electoral unhappiness.

    Had the trend been happening gradually, it may or may not have generated political issues and concern, but we wouldn’t be faced with wholesale changes to our way of life, to city centres, and to a swathe of the economy all at once.

    An obvious comparator is the progressive loss of bank branches (and more recently ATMs), that has been going on for years driven mostly by changes in the nature of commerce. This has only transiently thrown up political issues, usually in remote areas faced with loss of a facility, but even here, once the matter is done, people move on, and politicians aren’t daily asked what they are doing about it, nor does the issue impinge widely on voting behaviour. Compare the situation if most of the bank branches had been driven to close in a single year!

    Of all governments this one doesn’t have the intellectual or managerial capability to deal with any more complex and intractable problems, struggling as it is with those already on its plate, both external and self inflicted.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 27,579
    edited September 6

    Good morning, everyone.

    Pre-race ramble:
    https://enormo-haddock.blogspot.com/2020/09/italy-pre-race-2020.html

    Morris Dancer away!

    I'm in with you, on Ferrari not scoring points.

    Bottas is 6 for the win, which IMO is worth a pint in what's a two horse race.
    Ricciardo at 9.4 for a podium is another pint.

    For the not so adventurous, LH is 1.1 for a points finish. Given his 40 consecutive points finishes before this race, that seems good value even at such a short price.

    (All Betfair Exchange).
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 15,012
    I guess this government is behaving like most governments would when faced with serious public finance and employment consequences.

    This government in particular does not like upsetting people. Unfortunately for them, over the next few years they are going to have to do just that.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471
    Whilst seeing the individual advantages to WFH for some (there are more perhaps longer term hidden disadvantages as well) I think its fair to say that "front line" jobs (police , teachers, factory work, doctors, nurses , agriculture, plumbing,building houses etc ) cannot be done WFH. Hence most WFH jobs are not front line and therefore I would say are the type of jobs generally that can be phased out or reduced if necessary. (or outsourced to lower wage economies) .

    Having a job that means you can work from home because it involves producing nothing tangible but it involves talking , answering emails , writing reports , inputting data is not really going to be deemed vital as a doctor, teacher or plumber when the economy tanks to the extent that hard decisions need to be made.
  • @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 28,099
    moonshine said:

    A fine article worthy of starting any sunday.

    London refugees are certainly real, I know loads and the leafy village I’m in is seeing more and more Range Rovers seeking out the picture book house and local church or prep school. In turn the village pubs and farm shops are thriving and since lockdown ended there are now more not less local retail outlets.

    It’s in my view by far a more material and long lasting phenomenon than covid itself. Sure, lots of people have long looked outside of London in their 30s but this feels on another level entirely.

    I find the government position on this a real puzzle. Isn’t this what they just won an election promising? “Levelling up” and all that?

    The same in my neck of the woods.

    However a fair few of these are middle aged people who have either advanced (or been promoted actually to implement) their life’s dream, or at least daydream. Thus, playing devil’s advocate, it is possible that this becomes a temporary shift rather than a permanent one; it will depend on the attitudes of the younger generation following behind.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 16,372
    edited September 6
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 15,012

    Whilst seeing the individual advantages to WFH for some (there are more perhaps longer term hidden disadvantages as well) I think its fair to say that "front line" jobs (police , teachers, factory work, doctors, nurses , agriculture, plumbing,building houses etc ) cannot be done WFH. Hence most WFH jobs are not front line and therefore I would say are the type of jobs generally that can be phased out or reduced if necessary. (or outsourced to lower wage economies) .

    Having a job that means you can work from home because it involves producing nothing tangible but it involves talking , answering emails , writing reports , inputting data is not really going to be deemed vital as a doctor, teacher or plumber when the economy tanks to the extent that hard decisions need to be made.

    What you describe has always been the case, but I kind of know what you mean about the powers that be finding it easier to get rid of those now working from home.
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 6,746
    edited September 6
    deleted
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 6,746
    Alistair said:

    Edit: lol, was going to be for the 2012 RNC

  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 15,012

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    One thing that I'd imagine is inevitable is that the civil service will look to scrap London weighting. Whether that's for all jobs that were previously based in a London office or just for those who live outside Greater London, I don't know.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 28,099
    tlg86 said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    One thing that I'd imagine is inevitable is that the civil service will look to scrap London weighting. Whether that's for all jobs that were previously based in a London office or just for those who live outside Greater London, I don't know.
    I had to decide on that when I was in charge of pay for a large public sector company. My view was that if you weren’t either required to travel into a London office or living in the London area, there was no justification for paying LW for a WFH or mobile (travelling) job.
  • As ever Alastair I find myself nodding in agreement as I read your post.. I used to spend £500 a month on a season ticket into London. That's one hell of a saving every month even without factoring in the time benefits.

    What everyone seems to forget is that it is solely the opinion of employers over WFH that matters here. If my employer wants me back in the office I'll be on the train tomorrow. If they don't then I'll stay put. Ultimately neither my opinion nor that of the Government matters much. Government simply doesn't have the tools to effect their calculations very much.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 24,521

    You'd almost think there was a God against Trump the way events seem to be happening. Just as the disaster of Tulsa set a meme, so the image of his supporters sinking at this latest rally is something which will stick.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2020-54045115

    Did you view the video at the bottom of the piece ?
    A brilliant piece of juxtaposition.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 27,579
    tlg86 said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    One thing that I'd imagine is inevitable is that the civil service will look to scrap London weighting. Whether that's for all jobs that were previously based in a London office or just for those who live outside Greater London, I don't know.
    Indeed, and the civil service would do well to take the opportunity of moving as many people out of London as possible.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471
    Stereodog said:

    As ever Alastair I find myself nodding in agreement as I read your post.. I used to spend £500 a month on a season ticket into London. That's one hell of a saving every month even without factoring in the time benefits.

    What everyone seems to forget is that it is solely the opinion of employers over WFH that matters here. If my employer wants me back in the office I'll be on the train tomorrow. If they don't then I'll stay put. Ultimately neither my opinion nor that of the Government matters much. Government simply doesn't have the tools to effect their calculations very much.

    The government and local government though are big employers directly.
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 4,390
    edited September 6
    Formula 1 and USA President betting

    Biden 1.97
    Democrats 1.9

    Trump 2.08
    Republicans 2.08

    The risk premium on Joe Biden is 0.07. That is, you get an extra .07 by backing Biden rather than the Democrats in case he drops out (although that will get messy as we get nearer November and ballots are already printed). Can Formula 1 fans please let us know when Lewis Hamilton reaches 1.07 to win the race? That will give us a comparison: how many laps for Hamilton against how many weeks for Biden does .07 represent.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 24,521

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    I’m sorry to hear about the job.
    I don’t think it’s about what we wish for (and FWIW, it poses risks to my business), but rather the futility of trying to reverse a change which looks inevitable, rather than trying to plan how best to ameliorate its negative consequences.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471
    Personally , apart from the odd day here and there I never WFH until March 2020 but I did change jobs 4 years ago from travelling a lot into city centres by train or bus to driving to a rural located workplace . Late train frustration was replaced by traffic jam frustration so fairly neutral overall there but the thing I missed after a while was that random human interaction (even only visually) you get by working in high population centres .I feel more alive in urban settings seeing the diversity of it all and life becomes duller away from it . Samuel Johnson of course said that when you are tired of London you are tired of life and this is true if you take London to be any diverse ,dynamic , human populated area.
    Society will become duller and more selfish (due to seeing less live examples of human need) if we all progress to a more cocooned life in our houses or villages
  • kamskikamski Posts: 1,283
    Someone posted these figures from Nate Silver yesterday

    Chance of a Biden Electoral college win if he wins the popular vote by X points: 0-1 points: just 6%!
    1-2 points: 22%
    2-3 points: 46%
    3-4 points: 74%
    4-5 points: 89%
    5-6 points: 98%
    6-7 points: 99%

    Which are interesting and worse than I expected for Biden. Does anyone know the methodology?

    Silver's tweet was dated 2 September, when according to 538 polling averages, Pennsylvania was leaning 3.3% more Trumpy than the country. 4 weeks ago Pennsylvania was leaning just 1.6% more Trumpy than the country.

    So if those figures are based on a snapshot, then they are also likely to change again. And, looking at average Trump leans of the swing states, likely to move in the direction of Biden needing a bit smaller national lead to win in EC.

    Possibly.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 5,493
    Scott_xP said:
    Ferguson Marine might come good as they are part of the winning consortium for the T31 frigate so a river of cash as broad and as deep as the mighty Clyde itself will flow there from the MoD.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471
    Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." Samuel Johhson

    the full quote from my reference below - Substititute any major population centre for London and I get what he means in that to fully experience life and world around you you need to be there in the middle of it. Both to change it for the better and to live it. Not sure you can get that if you spend all your life WFH
  • I take with a sackful of salt any "concerns" about home working reported by the dead tree press. Especially the Evening Standard but also the Mail etc too. These papers should but won't declare an interest here ... They get much of their circulation from commuters.

    Trying to urge people into a tin can for 2 to 3 hours per day rather than spending extra time with their family, just to improve the circulation of the dying dead tree press is never going to work. The Government is wise to be ignoring the Siren calls from the press here. I normally am not overly cynical about the press but I am here.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108
    Good, albeit London centered, article. I think in Medium and smaller cities the changes are much less marked.

    Mine is a hands on job, so WFH is not realistic. The only real change to my working week is that departmental business meetings are on Teams rather than in person, and didactic undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on Zoom. 80% of my work week is the same, albeit PPE'd up and Socially Distanced. Apart from some teaching and meetings, I don't expect much long term change.

    Like a fair number of colleagues, in and out of the profession, I have reflected on work life balance, and bringing forward plans to cut hours and wind up Private Practice. Several colleagues have taken early retirement, so there may be a bit more of a staffing crisis as we try to get back capacity.

    Anecdata: The Leics (commuting village) housing market is booming, with more Asian families moving in from the city. This has been a trend for some years, but has accelerated. Mostly middle class professionals with families, and keen on village life, with dogs, pub and all. A decade ago it was a much more urban community.

    Fox jr 2 is moving back to London, to pursue his acting career, and found it both substantially cheaper and a buyers market to rent. A nice 2 bed flat in Chiswick was a lot cheaper than last years lower quality place. He found getting casual work quite easy in a cafe.

    Fox jr 1 works in Law and their nationwide property dept is very busy. Lots of people wanting houses with gardens in suburbs and villages.

    Leicester city centre was as busy yesterday as any usual summer Saturday, with social distancing and mask wearing pretty universal in shops, albeit often a bit ineffective. I picked up some bargain summer clothes.

    One sib in London is WFH, and bored with it (Economic and Foreign Policy Analyst), counting the weeks to retirement. The other is laboratory based and WFH barely at all, but fewer foreign site visits.

    Life goes on and adapts, and outside white collar office jobs, is rapidly resuming normality. I do wonder how many of those white collar office jobs will be still here in a couple of years time. In my hospital we are not missing the middle management at all. Were they really doing anything useful? And I am sure that is true of many other sectors too.

  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690

    Personally , apart from the odd day here and there I never WFH until March 2020 but I did change jobs 4 years ago from travelling a lot into city centres by train or bus to driving to a rural located workplace . Late train frustration was replaced by traffic jam frustration so fairly neutral overall there but the thing I missed after a while was that random human interaction (even only visually) you get by working in high population centres .I feel more alive in urban settings seeing the diversity of it all and life becomes duller away from it . Samuel Johnson of course said that when you are tired of London you are tired of life and this is true if you take London to be any diverse ,dynamic , human populated area.
    Society will become duller and more selfish (due to seeing less live examples of human need) if we all progress to a more cocooned life in our houses or villages

    I rather suspect that what we will see, especially in what once were commuter towns, is small blocks of serviced offices..... perhaps in three or four no-longer-needed containers ...., let by the day to WHF-ers. With an associated coffee etc shop.
  • Nigelb said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    I’m sorry to hear about the job.
    I don’t think it’s about what we wish for (and FWIW, it poses risks to my business), but rather the futility of trying to reverse a change which looks inevitable, rather than trying to plan how best to ameliorate its negative consequences.
    But are the govt trying to reverse the inevitable or ameliorate its negative consequences?

    I shall give them the benefit of the doubt here, focusing on why they are saying things, rather than what they are saying.

    They know the shift is happening but are trying to slow the pace down, precisely because that does give more time for the economy, businesses, jobs and people to adapt.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 6,198
    Another thought provoking header from Alastair.

    Bearing in mind why Mr Johnson told us to stay at home six months ago. It seems foolhardy to demand people return to environments where infection rates could be accelerated, precisely at the moment senior health officials are fearing we could be on the cusp of (at present) localised second waves.

    I appreciate we need to protect the careers of baristas, but if we have to lock the entire economy down again the collateral damage will affect more than sandwich bars and coffee houses.
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 6,817

    I take with a sackful of salt any "concerns" about home working reported by the dead tree press. Especially the Evening Standard but also the Mail etc too. These papers should but won't declare an interest here ... They get much of their circulation from commuters.

    Trying to urge people into a tin can for 2 to 3 hours per day rather than spending extra time with their family, just to improve the circulation of the dying dead tree press is never going to work. The Government is wise to be ignoring the Siren calls from the press here. I normally am not overly cynical about the press but I am here.

    I thought the government were on the side of the ‘dead tree press’ telling people to get back to the office.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690
    edited September 6

    Another thought provoking header from Alastair.

    Bearing in mind why Mr Johnson told us to stay at home six months ago. It seems foolhardy to demand people return to environments where infection rates could be accelerated, precisely at the moment senior health officials are fearing we could be on the cusp of (at present) localised second waves.

    I appreciate we need to protect the careers of baristas, but if we have to lock the entire economy down again the collateral damage will affect more than sandwich bars and coffee houses.

    It's not the working environment, is it; I really, really, don't fancy the buses ATM, and several of my still working friends are dreading the Tube. See Mr Thompson's comment about squeezing into a tin can.
  • Whilst seeing the individual advantages to WFH for some (there are more perhaps longer term hidden disadvantages as well) I think its fair to say that "front line" jobs (police , teachers, factory work, doctors, nurses , agriculture, plumbing,building houses etc ) cannot be done WFH. Hence most WFH jobs are not front line and therefore I would say are the type of jobs generally that can be phased out or reduced if necessary. (or outsourced to lower wage economies) .

    Having a job that means you can work from home because it involves producing nothing tangible but it involves talking , answering emails , writing reports , inputting data is not really going to be deemed vital as a doctor, teacher or plumber when the economy tanks to the extent that hard decisions need to be made.

    How are white collar jobs suddenly now "non-essential" they are done from home instead of an office?
    Some of my family work for call centres and that is really "front-line" talking to, usually unhappy , customers of their clients.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,703
    edited September 6
    House prices will continue to rise in places likes Didsbury, Moseley, Gosforth, etc. People live in these places because of the semi-urban community and critical mass of like-minded, “young” people that leads to edgy bars, shops, and coffee shops. Their closeness to the big urban centres is useful for nights-out and cultural activities like gigs and exhibitions. WFH is not going to lead to these people moving to the middle of nowhere simply because they don’t have to commute “to the office”.
  • Stereodog said:

    As ever Alastair I find myself nodding in agreement as I read your post.. I used to spend £500 a month on a season ticket into London. That's one hell of a saving every month even without factoring in the time benefits.

    What everyone seems to forget is that it is solely the opinion of employers over WFH that matters here. If my employer wants me back in the office I'll be on the train tomorrow. If they don't then I'll stay put. Ultimately neither my opinion nor that of the Government matters much. Government simply doesn't have the tools to effect their calculations very much.

    Why wouldnt an employer want to take the views of employees into account? Retaining good employees is vital for many businesses. It might be the business managers ultimate decision but it will rarely be based on their sole opinion.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471
    edited September 6

    Whilst seeing the individual advantages to WFH for some (there are more perhaps longer term hidden disadvantages as well) I think its fair to say that "front line" jobs (police , teachers, factory work, doctors, nurses , agriculture, plumbing,building houses etc ) cannot be done WFH. Hence most WFH jobs are not front line and therefore I would say are the type of jobs generally that can be phased out or reduced if necessary. (or outsourced to lower wage economies) .

    Having a job that means you can work from home because it involves producing nothing tangible but it involves talking , answering emails , writing reports , inputting data is not really going to be deemed vital as a doctor, teacher or plumber when the economy tanks to the extent that hard decisions need to be made.

    How are white collar jobs suddenly now "non-essential" they are done from home instead of an office?
    Some of my family work for call centres and that is really "front-line" talking to, usually unhappy , customers of their clients.
    Call centres maybe more front line than most jobs that can WFH I grant you . However ,as you say happens, do call centre workers really want being moaned at, sometimes abused in their own homes? I personally would not want that.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 6,198

    Another thought provoking header from Alastair.

    Bearing in mind why Mr Johnson told us to stay at home six months ago. It seems foolhardy to demand people return to environments where infection rates could be accelerated, precisely at the moment senior health officials are fearing we could be on the cusp of (at present) localised second waves.

    I appreciate we need to protect the careers of baristas, but if we have to lock the entire economy down again the collateral damage will affect more than sandwich bars and coffee houses.

    It's not the working environment, is it; I really, really, don't fancy the buses ATM, and several of my still working friends are dreading the Tube. See Mr Thompson's comment about squeezing into a tin can.
    Agreed. It is difficult however to do the one without the other.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 744

    Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." Samuel Johhson

    the full quote from my reference below - Substititute any major population centre for London and I get what he means in that to fully experience life and world around you you need to be there in the middle of it. Both to change it for the better and to live it. Not sure you can get that if you spend all your life WFH

    Why do you think office workers will spend their whole life WFH? That’s not how it will be, you only need to look at employers that have embraced flexible working and WFH to see why. There will be some roles and some employers that move fully remote but this is the exception. Personally I think there will be more WFH and less office time than Alistair’s guess but he is on the right track. 2-3 days a week at home on average will be normal.

    And it doesn’t much matter what No 10 or a Sec of State says. The public sector will follow whatever the private sector does or they’ll find themselves unattractive employers.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,471

    Another thought provoking header from Alastair.

    Bearing in mind why Mr Johnson told us to stay at home six months ago. It seems foolhardy to demand people return to environments where infection rates could be accelerated, precisely at the moment senior health officials are fearing we could be on the cusp of (at present) localised second waves.

    I appreciate we need to protect the careers of baristas, but if we have to lock the entire economy down again the collateral damage will affect more than sandwich bars and coffee houses.

    It's not the working environment, is it; I really, really, don't fancy the buses ATM, and several of my still working friends are dreading the Tube. See Mr Thompson's comment about squeezing into a tin can.
    Agreed. It is difficult however to do the one without the other.
    I think Mr Thompson might be overstating the case a little (we all do!) especially on the advantage of seeing more of your family due to less commuting! Me ,my wife and daughter (16) certainly are a bit sick of the sight of each other day in day out over the last few months. Life is not like the Waltons for most people
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.
  • Stereodog said:

    As ever Alastair I find myself nodding in agreement as I read your post.. I used to spend £500 a month on a season ticket into London. That's one hell of a saving every month even without factoring in the time benefits.

    What everyone seems to forget is that it is solely the opinion of employers over WFH that matters here. If my employer wants me back in the office I'll be on the train tomorrow. If they don't then I'll stay put. Ultimately neither my opinion nor that of the Government matters much. Government simply doesn't have the tools to effect their calculations very much.

    Why wouldnt an employer want to take the views of employees into account? Retaining good employees is vital for many businesses. It might be the business managers ultimate decision but it will rarely be based on their sole opinion.
    Yes of course what employees want will be a factor but I was just pointing out that ultimately it's not the decision of employees or government.
  • FrankBoothFrankBooth Posts: 4,245
    Has there been any research yet on the effect of WFH on productivity? There are of course likely upsides and downsides.

    And what is Johnson's rationale? You can't just tell people 'hey go back to the office' if they don't really want to and their employers are still making a tidy profit.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108
    DavidL said:

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.

    A good article from the Atlantic on the difficulties of youngsters WFH.



    In my own field, I think both Undergraduate and Postgraduate training has suffered massively. I fear that is not being adequately dealt with in the NHS recovery plan. We are going to have some very underskilled doctors in a few years, who have missed out on masses of practical training.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,703

    Has there been any research yet on the effect of WFH on productivity? There are of course likely upsides and downsides.

    And what is Johnson's rationale? You can't just tell people 'hey go back to the office' if they don't really want to and their employers are still making a tidy profit.

    My “absolutely based on nothing and pulled out of my ass” opinion is that employees who are empowered, motivated, and in well managed teams will be just as productive WFH, and those who are not will be less productive.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 6,198

    Another thought provoking header from Alastair.

    Bearing in mind why Mr Johnson told us to stay at home six months ago. It seems foolhardy to demand people return to environments where infection rates could be accelerated, precisely at the moment senior health officials are fearing we could be on the cusp of (at present) localised second waves.

    I appreciate we need to protect the careers of baristas, but if we have to lock the entire economy down again the collateral damage will affect more than sandwich bars and coffee houses.

    It's not the working environment, is it; I really, really, don't fancy the buses ATM, and several of my still working friends are dreading the Tube. See Mr Thompson's comment about squeezing into a tin can.
    Agreed. It is difficult however to do the one without the other.
    I think Mr Thompson might be overstating the case a little (we all do!) especially on the advantage of seeing more of your family due to less commuting! Me ,my wife and daughter (16) certainly are a bit sick of the sight of each other day in day out over the last few months. Life is not like the Waltons for most people
    I fully understand that. I am back to the office primarily because I can't cope with the distractions at home. Some of us are better disciplined in an appropriate work environment. I also understand all the issues of domestic strife. But the lockdown was organised for a reason.

    My point is that Mr Johnson appears not to have thought through a long-term and safe back to work strategy. The notion of 'whack-a-mole' is operating here. Johnson sees a problem, he directly attacks that immediate problem with a blunt instrument showing little regard for any collateral damage that may arise.
  • EssexitEssexit Posts: 1,892
    Agree with much of this but HS2 still has to go ahead. People will always need to physically travel between Britain's big cities and they should get to do it on 21st-century infrastructure.
  • Has there been any research yet on the effect of WFH on productivity? There are of course likely upsides and downsides.

    And what is Johnson's rationale? You can't just tell people 'hey go back to the office' if they don't really want to and their employers are still making a tidy profit.

    My “absolutely based on nothing and pulled out of my ass” opinion is that employees who are empowered, motivated, and in well managed teams will be just as productive WFH, and those who are not will be less productive.
    I agree WFH should empower those with good thinking skills, self discipline and motivation......it undermines those who spend their time kissing arse in meetings and at the coffee machine.....
  • CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 41,922
    edited September 6
    Excellent thread header and I agree with Mr Meeks - this trying to browbeat people back to office desks is foolish - and when it doesn't work will look pathetic - another government failure.

    Off topic - an extraordinary story about the rule of law in the EU:



    https://rozenberg.substack.com/p/eu-lawyer-sues-the-eu

    Sharpston has had her injunction granted.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 24,521
    DavidL said:

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.

    Read Alastair’s guesstimate, though: my guess in the long term is that 50% of office workers will spend 30% less time in their offices than they did previously...
    I think you have to distinguish between the enforced WFH we’re experiencing, and what happens post pandemic. 15% less office working (though granted that’s possibly an underestimate) is not the apocalypse.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    My wife has friends at the college she used to work at. They are still doing all of their teaching remotely but have suffered isolation as well. Their solution is innovative. 3 or 4 of them get together at each other's houses each work day taking it in turn to host so that they can have a shared work environment WFH.

    This wouldn't work for a lot of people but it is certainly working for them.
  • fox327fox327 Posts: 220
    I am not sure that this is the right time to have this discussion. A vaccine seems likely to start being rolled out in a few months time. It will then take months for everyone who wants it to be vaccinated.

    People who have been vaccinated should not have to worry about taking trains and buses, or about sitting closely packed together with other workers in an office. Millions of chairs that are in storage or that are marked "Do not use" will be able to be brought back into use.

    After that we will be in a changed situation, and we will see where we are. That will be the time to discuss WFH and its future. The effect of Brexit on the economy will be relevant as well.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,358
    WFH only makes sense for people who are already established in their careers and companies. For established professionals on this website it makes a lot of sense, for those starting their careers it doesn't. A balance will need to be found.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 27,579
    Nigelb said:
    Worrying but not surprising.

    Russia and China are going to vaccinate all their own populations, forcibly if necessary, and at the same time try and sow distrust in the West so this damn virus never goes away.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,703
    edited September 6
    MaxPB said:

    WFH only makes sense for people who are already established in their careers and companies. For established professionals on this website it makes a lot of sense, for those starting their careers it doesn't. A balance will need to be found.

    Yes. For example I’m struggling to find any legal work experience or shadowing opportunities because everybody is working from home!
  • Excellent article by Mr Meeks.

    I do hope he is right about this being a permanent change. I believe it will be but fear the forces of inertia and the inability of this Government to think more than 5 minutes ahead on any subject means they will spend far too many months struggling against the fundamental changes that are occurring because they are incapable in leading the country in the necessary adaptations that are needed to take advantage of the 'new normal'.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    Foxy said:

    DavidL said:

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.

    A good article from the Atlantic on the difficulties of youngsters WFH.



    In my own field, I think both Undergraduate and Postgraduate training has suffered massively. I fear that is not being adequately dealt with in the NHS recovery plan. We are going to have some very underskilled doctors in a few years, who have missed out on masses of practical training.
    I think the equivalent in my own field is watching others perform in court. When I was a trainee we got sent up to the "Ordinary Court" in which you had to deal with a lot of procedural matters and the odd short contested motion. You learned watching more experienced lawyers who knew the Sheriff and knew how to press his buttons. 30 odd years later pre lockdown I still did this if I was sent to a court with a sheriff I didn't know.

    How do you learn from telephone hearings? How do you realise that you are annoying the decision maker or wasting time pushing at an open door? How can you observe others? If we go on this way we will also have underskilled lawyers plying their trade as well. On the positive side our incompetence rarely kills anyone.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690
    Foxy said:

    DavidL said:

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.

    A good article from the Atlantic on the difficulties of youngsters WFH.



    In my own field, I think both Undergraduate and Postgraduate training has suffered massively. I fear that is not being adequately dealt with in the NHS recovery plan. We are going to have some very underskilled doctors in a few years, who have missed out on masses of practical training.
    There's a lot in medicine, isn't there which cannot be done remotely.
    Eldest Granddaughter is about to start a 'taught' PhD, much of which will be, at the moment anyway, done remotely, where she will have to do casework. She is, understandably, concerned about interaction with subjects, with fellow students and with her tutors.
  • Nigelb said:

    DavidL said:

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago now my daughter has got a position with a regulatory body. She hasn't got a start date yet whilst references and PVG are checked but it should be in the next couple of weeks. I am concerned about how she learns the ethos and support network of her new employment working from home. The regulatory body is not going to have any staff in the offices until after Christmas at the earliest so it will be very difficult for her to form new friendships, fit into the team and get the culture of the place.

    What this brings home to me is that it is much easier making these changes when you are already established, already have those networks built up in person and know the people you are dealing with. New arrivals and those getting training will face much greater challenges.

    If Alastair is right then this is something we are going to have to get used to but I can't really pretend to like it. I miss the casual chats and coffees with my pals, the mental breaks of lunch talking about something different and the camaraderie of a shared environment. Having been quite disciplined and productive in the early months of the lockdown I personally have found my productivity at home sliding. I don't like the fact that work and home are not sufficiently divided and blur one into the other. My wife is also sick to death of having so many people in the house.

    If this is the future I am going to have to change my set up. I will need a work space that I can "go" to and leave, shut away from the rest of the house. Our house is (just) big enough to provide for this, I have sympathy for those that can't.

    Read Alastair’s guesstimate, though: my guess in the long term is that 50% of office workers will spend 30% less time in their offices than they did previously...
    I think you have to distinguish between the enforced WFH we’re experiencing, and what happens post pandemic. 15% less office working (though granted that’s possibly an underestimate) is not the apocalypse.
    I hope and expect it will turn out to be far higher than that.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 76,595
    Nick Clegg speaking on Marr now from his home in California about conspiracy theories on Facebook which he now works for and the tax it pays
  • In my experience office working in London cannot be compared to anywhere else in the country.

    Manchester and Birmingham have the next largest office markets in England yet the commuting experience is not remotely the same nor the cost.

    I think the London experience is dominating a discussion that whilst the vast majority of office workers are London based, the experiences elsewhere will not mirror London as the negatives far smaller of returning to the office again and the positives similar.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 76,595
    Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas Symonds on after
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    Scott_xP said:
    I certainly agree that the posturing by both sides in the current negotiations has been extremely tedious and largely ignored by the other side to little effect.


    What both sides need to do in the time before the transition runs out is focus on what we can agree and leave the areas where there is no agreement to one side. A more constructive approach like this will end up with broader agreement than looking for ever more elaborate trade offs that the other side will not accept. Post transition areas where there is no agreement will come much more sharply into view and again will be better dealt with on a piece meal basis.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    Scott_xP said:
    I certainly agree that the posturing by both sides in the current negotiations has been extremely tedious and largely ignored by the other side to little effect.


    What both sides need to do in the time before the transition runs out is focus on what we can agree and leave the areas where there is no agreement to one side. A more constructive approach like this will end up with broader agreement than looking for ever more elaborate trade offs that the other side will not accept. Post transition areas where there is no agreement will come much more sharply into view and again will be better dealt with on a piece meal basis.
  • FrankBoothFrankBooth Posts: 4,245
    So people don't want to spend 3 hours a day commuting, £100 a week on a season ticket, £20 a week on lunch or if you drive to work £70 a week on petrol and £35 a week to park your car.

    Save Pret, save NCP, save the Shard. Is Keir Starmer saying anything?
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 18,387

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Sorry to hear about the job.

    There are tax issues for companies - and individuals - in working from outside the U.K. for prolonged periods. So it’s not quite as easy as it seems.

    A thoughtful article from Mr Meeks. The issues it seem to me with WFH are:-

    1. How to manage effectively your team, train them, share knowledge and experience etc;
    2. Younger members of the team and new joiners;
    3. Blurring of the boundaries between work and home. I found it at times immensely helpful, indeed, essential for my sanity to be able to close the door to home and go into the office. Equally, I did resent it when I spent time at home having to deal with work issues because this meant that my space, my time were being invaded my work - and that distinction was something that was important.
    4. Serendipity: WFH is good for some jobs but not for others where presence is necessary - and I’m not just talking about the distinction between a lawyer and a plumber, say. The key will be to make sure firms don’t lose what is valuable from physical proximity and the sharing of ideas etc or make the mistaken assumption that a Zoom meeting is always an adequate substitute.

    The government should be thinking creatively and imaginatively about what can be done in city centres: that space can and should be used in other ways.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693

    MaxPB said:

    WFH only makes sense for people who are already established in their careers and companies. For established professionals on this website it makes a lot of sense, for those starting their careers it doesn't. A balance will need to be found.

    Yes. For example I’m struggling to find any legal work experience or shadowing opportunities because everybody is working from home!
    I had a devil that I was training last year. The first half, pre lockdown, went really well with lots of opportunities for us to talk through what was happening and why I was dealing with something in a particular way. The second half post lockdown was not nearly as good. We tried zoom talks and I reviewed his written work but the interaction was much less. My devil is now, along with the rest of his cohort, finding it extremely difficult to get going and pick up work for himself.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,703
    edited September 6
    DavidL said:

    MaxPB said:

    WFH only makes sense for people who are already established in their careers and companies. For established professionals on this website it makes a lot of sense, for those starting their careers it doesn't. A balance will need to be found.

    Yes. For example I’m struggling to find any legal work experience or shadowing opportunities because everybody is working from home!
    I had a devil that I was training last year. The first half, pre lockdown, went really well with lots of opportunities for us to talk through what was happening and why I was dealing with something in a particular way. The second half post lockdown was not nearly as good. We tried zoom talks and I reviewed his written work but the interaction was much less. My devil is now, along with the rest of his cohort, finding it extremely difficult to get going and pick up work for himself.
    I think articles like this: https://theconversation.com/5-reasons-why-zoom-meetings-are-so-exhausting-137404 are good at demonstrating why video conferencing is less satisfying and productive than face-to-face. Could explain your experience.

    There’s not really a good solution. Maybe phone calls rather than Zoom.
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    Cyclefree said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Sorry to hear about the job.

    There are tax issues for companies - and individuals - in working from outside the U.K. for prolonged periods. So it’s not quite as easy as it seems.

    A thoughtful article from Mr Meeks. The issues it seem to me with WFH are:-

    1. How to manage effectively your team, train them, share knowledge and experience etc;
    2. Younger members of the team and new joiners;
    3. Blurring of the boundaries between work and home. I found it at times immensely helpful, indeed, essential for my sanity to be able to close the door to home and go into the office. Equally, I did resent it when I spent time at home having to deal with work issues because this meant that my space, my time were being invaded my work - and that distinction was something that was important.
    4. Serendipity: WFH is good for some jobs but not for others where presence is necessary - and I’m not just talking about the distinction between a lawyer and a plumber, say. The key will be to make sure firms don’t lose what is valuable from physical proximity and the sharing of ideas etc or make the mistaken assumption that a Zoom meeting is always an adequate substitute.

    The government should be thinking creatively and imaginatively about what can be done in city centres: that space can and should be used in other ways.
    An excellent summary.
  • In my experience office working in London cannot be compared to anywhere else in the country.

    Manchester and Birmingham have the next largest office markets in England yet the commuting experience is not remotely the same nor the cost.

    I think the London experience is dominating a discussion that whilst the vast majority of office workers are London based, the experiences elsewhere will not mirror London as the negatives far smaller of returning to the office again and the positives similar.

    That's very true. And the London office experience had evolved itself into an insane dead end before Covid; remember the fuss that the government was making about moving civil servants out of the Westminster Bubble and closer to "real people"?

    Given the high costs of London real estate, the long travel times (1 hour each way turns 8 hours at work into 10), the costs of travel and housing (which London weighting doesn't really begin to cover), would anyone invent the London commuter experience if it didn't already exist?

    Yes, there are problems to be solved in the new world (some easier than others), but many of the arguments for wholesale return to offices full time look pretty thin. Even the one about the risks of jobs going abroad; if a job can be done somewhere cheaper, it probably will be, and adding on the cost of a London desk does nothing for its viability.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 76,595
    edited September 6
    Good article from Alistair. Certainly I expect most people to work at least 1 or 2 days a week from home even if they do return to the office and spend more in their local town or village while reducing spend in inner cities. We are also seeing a fall in property prices in London, particularly for flats, while house prices in the countryside and market towns are increasing, especially in the commuter belt and that will narrow the gap between London and the rest of the country in terms of the price of property.

    In relation to HS2 if we are wfh more there is less need for it, the problem is the costs of cancelling the project
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 6,198
    Scott_xP said:
    Forgive my ignorance, but isn't that going to send them to New York for finance, until such time a suitable replacement for London can be established in Berlin or Paris?
  • EssexitEssexit Posts: 1,892

    In my experience office working in London cannot be compared to anywhere else in the country.

    Manchester and Birmingham have the next largest office markets in England yet the commuting experience is not remotely the same nor the cost.

    I think the London experience is dominating a discussion that whilst the vast majority of office workers are London based, the experiences elsewhere will not mirror London as the negatives far smaller of returning to the office again and the positives similar.

    Doesn't Manchester have notoriously bad traffic and unreliable, crowded trains? I'd have thought the case there would be at least as strong.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,968
    edited September 6
    Nigelb said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    I’m sorry to hear about the job.
    I don’t think it’s about what we wish for (and FWIW, it poses risks to my business), but rather the futility of trying to reverse a change which looks inevitable, rather than trying to plan how best to ameliorate its negative consequences.
    Maybe, but we're deciding awfully quickly that it is indeed inevitable.

    Though at least some people admit there are negative consequences to ameliorate. Others are like evangelists. I'm happy they are saving commuting costs and it probably is inevitable things stay this way to a larger degree than before, but ease up on the euphoria.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 27,579
    Scott_xP said:

    ttps://twitter.com/soniasodha/status/1302517704528719873

    Wow, people who write opinion pieces for the Observer don’t like Conservatives but do like the EU. Who’d have thought it?
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 6,746

    Forgive my ignorance, but isn't that going to send them to New York for finance, until such time a suitable replacement for London can be established in Berlin or Paris?

    Yes
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693

    DavidL said:

    MaxPB said:

    WFH only makes sense for people who are already established in their careers and companies. For established professionals on this website it makes a lot of sense, for those starting their careers it doesn't. A balance will need to be found.

    Yes. For example I’m struggling to find any legal work experience or shadowing opportunities because everybody is working from home!
    I had a devil that I was training last year. The first half, pre lockdown, went really well with lots of opportunities for us to talk through what was happening and why I was dealing with something in a particular way. The second half post lockdown was not nearly as good. We tried zoom talks and I reviewed his written work but the interaction was much less. My devil is now, along with the rest of his cohort, finding it extremely difficult to get going and pick up work for himself.
    I think articles like this: https://theconversation.com/5-reasons-why-zoom-meetings-are-so-exhausting-137404 are good at demonstrating why video conferencing is less satisfying and productive than face-to-face. Could explain your experience.

    There’s not really a good solution. Maybe phone calls rather than Zoom.
    For court zoom, or more typically webex, is critical. There is a massive difference in being able to see a decision maker compared with a phone. But I do agree that prolonged use of video platforms is unsettling and tiring.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 21,970
    Nigelb said:
    Not quite the vigorous, sometimes exhilarating human drama of the space race, is it (though I accept the stakes may be higher)?
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,968
    Cyclefree said:

    @AlastairMeeks writes from Italy and that shows the problem. Employers will take the opportunity to replace expensive Londoners with cheaper Mancunians, Italians and Indians.

    Facebook has already announced that employees WFH might see their salaries reduced in line with their home cities, crushing the dream of Silicon Valley salaries and Boondocks living expenses.)
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/21/facebook-permanent-work-from-home-salaries/

    (Oh, and I shall be made redundant later this month; my job role has emigrated. For the past several years I've been WFH.)

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Sorry to hear about the job.

    There are tax issues for companies - and individuals - in working from outside the U.K. for prolonged periods. So it’s not quite as easy as it seems.

    A thoughtful article from Mr Meeks. The issues it seem to me with WFH are:-

    1. How to manage effectively your team, train them, share knowledge and experience etc;
    2. Younger members of the team and new joiners;
    3. Blurring of the boundaries between work and home. I found it at times immensely helpful, indeed, essential for my sanity to be able to close the door to home and go into the office. Equally, I did resent it when I spent time at home having to deal with work issues because this meant that my space, my time were being invaded my work - and that distinction was something that was important.
    4. Serendipity: WFH is good for some jobs but not for others where presence is necessary - and I’m not just talking about the distinction between a lawyer and a plumber, say. The key will be to make sure firms don’t lose what is valuable from physical proximity and the sharing of ideas etc or make the mistaken assumption that a Zoom meeting is always an adequate substitute.

    The government should be thinking creatively and imaginatively about what can be done in city centres: that space can and should be used in other ways.
    3. Has always been the big one for me personally. Mentally its burdensome to have it encroach. Not that there are no benefits which even I've taken advantage of, there are, but theres a health aspect to having your own space.
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 6,817
    Sounds like the government think all you lazy bastards working from home aren’t really working as they keep referring to people getting back to work not get back to the office. Clearly framing it as a sub optimal, almost traitorous like behavior. But then it probably appears easier to return to the past than to be creative about the future.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,968
    Scott_xP said:
    Note the 'both sides'. I think they enjoy the childish games, making a mockery of their talk of how important it all is.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,358

    Scott_xP said:
    Forgive my ignorance, but isn't that going to send them to New York for finance, until such time a suitable replacement for London can be established in Berlin or Paris?
    No. Investors are quite picky about where they invest. Europe is a very hostile environment for capital.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 76,595
    edited September 6
    DavidL said:

    My wife has friends at the college she used to work at. They are still doing all of their teaching remotely but have suffered isolation as well. Their solution is innovative. 3 or 4 of them get together at each other's houses each work day taking it in turn to host so that they can have a shared work environment WFH.

    This wouldn't work for a lot of people but it is certainly working for them.

    They can only do that outside, technically only 2 separate households can meet still inside at each others homes
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