Britain isn’t making an economic comeback until we get people to actually go to work, and that means ditching the pyjamas and going out of the front door in the morning!
From the very early days of the pandemic, it was clear to me that ‘working from home’ was going to be a problem, but even I never dreamt that its legacy would still be haunting us three years later. But the sad truth is that a generation of workers have decided they’re entitled to work from home (WFH) for life, and nothing bosses have tried so far seems to be getting them back to the office. Now UK PLC finds itself in a position where business owners and senior executives are realising they cannot run their business by remote control indefinitely, with staff scattered all over the countryside.
Companies are now paying the price for capitulating to snowflake-ism during the pandemic with staff determined to make WFH their ‘new normal’. And I have to say that many bosses are responsible for making a rod for their own, and the rest of our, backs by singing the praises of working from home. Talk about short-sighted, they may have saved money running their offices, maybe even getting something off the rent, but what a monster they have created.
The naked truth is there is no way employees are as productive at home as they are in the workplace. Companies are called ‘companies’ because to be successful you work in the company of others! I’m sure there are exceptions but most people who are not self-employed work less, and less hard, when at home, as compared to when they used to turn up at their desk each day. Plenty of people will shout me down over this, but these days it’s not the bosses who are telling me I’m talking rubbish.
The reality of the situation is; if we’re going to dig ourselves out of this current economic hole, we need to get people back into their offices and get down to some hard graft. There won’t be so much sourdough on the menu at dinner time but our businesses might stand half a chance of surviving. I’ve never been one for bribes, but maybe firms might consider some sort of in-kind bonuses for those who stop the WFH nonsense and turn up for work?
When I ran Pimlico Plumbers, I built a free staff gym; a subsidised canteen with a chef making food to order; there were summer barbeques at work, and a huge Christmas and Summer party. I didn’t see this stuff as bribery just making the workplace somewhere people wanted to come to. `Perhaps there are things to make staff feel more enthusiastic about being in the office? And while I think those who are demanding more money to get on a train, even three days a week, shouldn’t get a penny extra.
Maybe the new deal-sealer could be private medical insurance? Could a way to draw people back into productivity be to make private medical insurance standard for all those who are prepared to get off their arses and turn up for work? It would also take a bit of pressure off the NHS, and since it looks like the days of healthcare being free (at the point of delivery) are numbered. Maybe linking work to healthcare like in the US might be the answer?
What I do know is that when my family goes back into business as we inevitably will at some point soon there won’t be anyone working from home day one.