Is this the end of WFH?

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pauljames87

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Much depends on the job in question. My clients want face to face meetings to go through complicated plans and documents, few want to try and do that over zoom etc. Guess that is the same for civil service positions such as some benefits office jobs etc where face to face contact is needed. You also have to be careful that you do not exclude those who cannot use or afford the tech needed. if you do not have the facility to meet face to face, you exclude those who cannot use or do not have at least a semi decent phone or laptop and a reasonable internet connection (which also excludes many rural communities). With civil service positions, you also have the issue of the storage and transfer of confidential data outside of a secure office environment.

On the mental health side, I have the opposite issue to many. Working from home is far more stressful as there is no barrier between work life and home life. I always try to work a bout half an hour away from home so a work and home are totally separate. Take that away and I feel very stressed.

On a final point, I have not seen many reports of how companies are redressing the balance for people working from home. Costs going up, heating on all day, electricity, phone bills, broadband etc all mounts up (our oil consumption went up massively when my wife was working at home over Winter). Has anyone been offered a reasonable annual subsidy to cover these costs. In certain professions, do companies have policies if people start turning up at your house. Someone I know works in benefits, it would not take much to find her address and for claimants to turn up to talk in person (yes they would do that). If your home life is threatend because you have to work from home and people start turning up, are companies obligated to re-house you. So many questions about the broader issue of working from home.
Whilst that cost goes up the commuting cost goes down

Someone could live in Scotland and remote work for London so cheaper cost of living

But imagine you save £200 a month in fuel or rail costs that's a saving that balances some of the others
 

GB72

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Whilst that cost goes up the commuting cost goes down

Someone could live in Scotland and remote work for London so cheaper cost of living

But imagine you save £200 a month in fuel or rail costs that's a saving that balances some of the others
Works both ways in that savings on office costs should then be reflected in costs for the expense of working from home plus I suspect commuting costs would not come in to a union debate on this. Then you have health and safety at work. Who is paying for correct monitors, screen glare guards, professional office chairs and furniture, fireproof fire storage etc. If you work from home, are companies providing all of the IT equipment and a work dedicated phone or expecting people to use what they have. Also does not address the issue of people wanting to meet face to face turning up at your house, potentially at all hours. As I mentioned, a friend works in benefits and it would be easy to imaging people knocking on the door late at night with money issues. Are firms or the civil service paying for home security, numbers to call to get security out if there is an issue etc. I am not saying working from home is bad but I can also see the other side.
 

Orikoru

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My project director says he happy for me to continue to work 2 days in office and 3 days at home. I'm delighted - never would have even considered asking for that kind of set-up before the pandemic. But I've been so much happier this way. Don't feel knackered at the end of the week, not as much time wasted travelling, more time and moments spent with my wife, including more evening activities when you can shoot straight off at 5 rather than 6:30 when you get home.

That said, I didn't enjoy it back when I was working home full time in 2020. Everything became a bit monotonous to the point you didn't know what day it was. The current balance is perfect.
 

HeftyHacker

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My missus works for the civil service (in an estates team coincidentally) and, although she's currently on maternity leave, she's had the diktat from her boss that she'll be expected to be in the office when she returns.

She told them where to go and said there was no benefit to her being in the office when the rest of her team was in London, Coventry, Darlington etc. Shd also brought up the fact that there had never been a requirement to be in the office before the pandemic and that one of the reasons we had moved from Manchester City Centre to our current home over an hour away was based on the assumption that that would continue.

Her boss said that was fair enough and offered to switch her designated place of work to "home" and that was that.
 

Swingalot

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We are starting to see the downside of Wfh in our industry from some of the public sector clients we have.

For me, hybrid working is great for an efficient and well run business, but a potential disaster for any organisation which was not well run before they switched to it.
 

Val

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WFH isn't for everyone, I quite enjoy it but I also have luxury again of visiting customers with a few days on the road. Equally I have colleagues that absolutely hated WFH and are filled with dread at the thought of it.
 

DaveR

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I've dealt with a few organisations recently and been told that they will respond to me in X* number of days/weeks. I've been waiting for the inland revenue to reissue a cheque, 11 weeks turnaround. Never used to take that long, maybe people aren't 'working' from home as much as they claim to be.



*insert large number here
 

GB72

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I've dealt with a few organisations recently and been told that they will respond to me in X* number of days/weeks. I've been waiting for the inland revenue to reissue a cheque, 11 weeks turnaround. Never used to take that long, maybe people aren't 'working' from home as much as they claim to be.



*insert large number here
Add to that phone queues. 20 minutes used to be a long wait, 45 minutes now quite normal with some advising of 2 hour waits. Sine companies have removed personal contact entirely and only accept email with 7 day turnaround.
 

CliveW

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Add to that phone queues. 20 minutes used to be a long wait, 45 minutes now quite normal with some advising of 2 hour waits. Sine companies have removed personal contact entirely and only accept email with 7 day turnaround.
This is a problem I have been experiencing more and more over the past while. For example, for the last week I have been trying to contact my electricity supplier by phone, as my internet is so slow, and I have been on hold for over an hour each day waiting to get through but without success. In the meantime, Business Stream, who I have also been trying to speak to, sent me a text this morning saying they have been trying to phone me but can't get through probably because I'm hanging on to speak to my electricity supplier!

Not everyone has access to the internet, particularly rural locations, I currently have less than 1.0 download at my property and have been waiting since the 4th January for BT to supply me with a telephone line!
 

Orikoru

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Standing on the overpacked met line this morning is making me so, so glad I don't have to do this every day.

Forgot to mention in my post above - my wife's company actually let the lease expire on their office I believe and told her she can work from home permanently, so she'll not be going back to an office any time soon. She does occasionally have to travel to a particular location for a meeting every few weeks, but that's it.
 

Tashyboy

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A pal of Missis Ts is a secretary, accountant, tea maker, etc for a local electrical firm.She ended up wfh. Her son is in insurance, was based in London, now Birmingham. Her husband had COVID in March 2020 and they all ended up wfh. Initially it was a nightmare. The internet was diabolical. And in some areas of the country still is. She is still working mostly from home. And she loves it. Sis in law is a tax inspector, same with her. Mostly working from home and she loves it.
I don’t think it’s one shoe fits all.
 

Fromtherough

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Civil Servants seem to get a bad wrap. No one moaned during the pandemic when they were working at home, not on furlough, keeping the country going. The Department for Education has come under a lot of scrutiny. No one questioned them working from home when they were sorting out free school meals and laptops to keep children learning and fed/watered. The data reported on was taken over the first week of the Easter holidays so is skewed. Schools are off so DfE staff likely take time off too.

Many of these government departments had working from home in place before the pandemic (perhaps 2-3 days per week), where it was possible. In addition, many of the buildings they occupy are probably not set up for 100% of people to attend at any time. Much more likely, there will 6-7 desks per 10 staff to enable meeting rooms, touch down stations and flexible/adaptable space to be included on site.
 

Bazzatron

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Standing on the overpacked met line this morning is making me so, so glad I don't have to do this every day.

Forgot to mention in my post above - my wife's company actually let the lease expire on their office I believe and told her she can work from home permanently, so she'll not be going back to an office any time soon. She does occasionally have to travel to a particular location for a meeting every few weeks, but that's it.
We've done that, got one main hub office that can be used but all the others have been closed.
 

SurreyGolfer

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I work in management consultancy and it's very much a mix and match across our portfolio of clients (FS, Energy & Utilities, Telco, Public Sector, etc). There's a few clients doing a 4:1/5:0 office:home split, a few doing 1:4/5:0, but most are doing 2:3/3:2. A few observations:

- Our company gave us (and now every new joiner) £250 to spend on home office equipment
- In general, more senior (read older) staff are more comfortable working from home as they have the experience needed to do the job, generally have more responsibilities to balance (kids), etc. More junior staff want to be in the office at least 3 days a week, probably due to accommodation, wanting to learn through osmosis, network/have drinks after work, etc.
- I'd say public sector getting a bit of an unfair kicking re returning to the office. If you take financial services out of the equation, they're not any further behind any other industry in terms of migrating back to the office
- It's not just office costs, a lot of companies have spent a fortune on IT to enable remote working during the pandemic to keep the business going, and won't have been set up in a particularly cost-effective or optimised manner. Bills are starting to come through for this and companies will react accordingly

Personally, 2:3/3:2 split works for me.
 

Banchory Buddha

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You are quite right. I should have said a slice of the bigger picture. There are other slices to that picture, as you have pointed out.

As a balance, some much prefer going in and seeing work colleagues, having real contact with people, not just virtual contact. That is also good for mental health. The key is having the flexibility, where possible, so that all parties can choose the approach that is best for them. The problem occurs when what is best for the employer or employee does not match up what is best for the other party. Time to move jobs at that moment............
Absolutely, and I don't disagree. However I am now playing a game of "teach HR". I've been landed (and I say that in the nicest possible way, she's a lovely lass) with an HR assistant in my office of 3, she sits opposite me as it's the back-to-the-wall seat.

She is full of "oh we should have this team building, and that team day out" etc. Also thinks it's for everyone's benefit that we are at least part-time in the office so that we have social contact.

I am trying my hardest to get through to her that not everyone wants that, some folks hate these forced jollies, some folks would work from home 100% if allowed. As you may have guessed she is an incessant chatterbox, and does not agree with me, it's good for everyone to mix. It's not a case of "agreeing" or not, some folks do not want that, they want to come in, do their job, and go home. Or preferably, stay home and do their job. So not it's absolutely NOT good for everyone young lady, it's almost like she's never heard of introverts or social anxiety
 

Lord Tyrion

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Absolutely, and I don't disagree. However I am now playing a game of "teach HR". I've been landed (and I say that in the nicest possible way, she's a lovely lass) with an HR assistant in my office of 3, she sits opposite me as it's the back-to-the-wall seat.

She is full of "oh we should have this team building, and that team day out" etc. Also thinks it's for everyone's benefit that we are at least part-time in the office so that we have social contact.

I am trying my hardest to get through to her that not everyone wants that, some folks hate these forced jollies, some folks would work from home 100% if allowed. As you may have guessed she is an incessant chatterbox, and does not agree with me, it's good for everyone to mix. It's not a case of "agreeing" or not, some folks do not want that, they want to come in, do their job, and go home. Or preferably, stay home and do their job. So not it's absolutely NOT good for everyone young lady, it's almost like she's never heard of introverts or social anxiety
The phrase 'team building' always sends a shudder through me. It suggests getting cold and wet somewhere, somehow inspiring people to work better together. No thanks.

Good luck in your quest :D
 
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