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General Chat => Off Topic => : Barrington Boots 22 July, 2021, 10:43:45 AM

: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 22 July, 2021, 10:43:45 AM
I'm back in today, doing 2 / 3 days a week in the office.

It seems a weird decision on the part of my boss: I'm now in here with just four other people, so there's not really the sort of jolly atmosphere that I think they want; I'm working in a less efficient way and I had to spend an hour getting here (I don't want to go into the various Covid risks that no longer seem to be being observed and threaten to derail things, but obviously that's a factor too). From those of us that are in there's a general feeling that it's a waste of time.

I know it varies from job to job but I can't see the benefits to the company of having this massive office sitting 90% empty when they could save money on rent etc and I'm wondering if 'the office' is going to get gradually phased out in favour of home working, regardless of pandemic. What do you guys reckon?
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 22 July, 2021, 10:53:19 AM
Personally, I think flexibility and agility are key. For some people, there is no need to come into an office, but they might want to. For others, there will be some need, but they won’t want to. And then there’s everything in between. The problem right now is companies attempting to fit everyone into the same box by mandating some kind of faux flexibility (like three days a week in, but also stating which days they have to be). Plus, from what I’m hearing locally, rail travel is no cheaper when you head into e.g. London three days a week instead of five.

Companies need to be better. My fear is many or even most will push hard to revert to the status quo, for no obvious reason beyond ‘management’ thinking their employees don’t work unless watched, or through misguided notions about the ongoing and constant (rather than random) benefits of in-person conversations.

Right now, however, I think it’s a very different ask. We are in a pandemic with rapidly increasing cases. It’s reckless to expect people to return to office work, just because a hapless government says it’s OK.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 22 July, 2021, 11:17:26 AM
Right now, however, I think it’s a very different ask. We are in a pandemic with rapidly increasing cases. It’s reckless to expect people to return to office work, just because a hapless government says it’s OK.

I'm absolutely convinced this whole, unnecessary "back to work" drive is being pushed by lobbying from commercial landlords, who are absolutely terrified of a permanent and significant contraction in the demand for office space.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 22 July, 2021, 11:22:40 AM
There’s an element of that, for sure. But it’s also down to government ministers not empathising with anything outside of their bubble and increasingly limited experience (in terms of successive governments). So for them, so much of ‘work’ involves face-to-face and they struggle without it. They then assume that’s the case for everyone. We’ve seen Johnson bang on about this several times now.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 22 July, 2021, 11:39:41 AM
A bit of both for me, I think there's substantial pressure from commercial landlords (i've been told this morning several companies who rented floors in our office block have left over this year - landlord must be sweating it) but also I think both the government and a lot of industry leaders do think 'work' means 'in an office, in a suit, talking to people face to face'. Although my job is essentially IT based, the focus of the company is sales, as thus the higher ups are still in a sales mindset.

Flexibility is definitely key: I want to work at home, but I have a spare room, a garden and a cat, which all make the experience extremely nice. If I was in the skanky Birmingham bedsit flat I once lived in then I might feel differently.

I think / hope we will start to see that shift in working habits that we were talking about at the start of the pandemic, but I have a feeling it'll be a while coming,
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 22 July, 2021, 12:00:45 PM
Flexibility is definitely key: I want to work at home, but I have a spare room, a garden and a cat, which all make the experience extremely nice. If I was in the skanky Birmingham bedsit flat I once lived in then I might feel differently.

I completely get this. Obviously, I've been home-based for over a decade now, but I understand that not everyone's homes are suitable to work from, and not everyone's job can be done from home. The idea, however, that people who can work, and have been working, quite effectively from home should be forced back into the office is enraging.

My wife's employers are doing this right now. She doesn't want to go back — she talks to her staff (all also currently working from home) all the time. There's been zero impact on the functioning of the department she manages, except that she's got 10+ hours a week she wasn't getting paid for back in saved commuting time, and any additional hit to us extra electricity/heating over the last year and a bit is more than covered by savings on travel.

She's ready to actually quit over this because, quite reasonably, she doesn't want to have to get on public transport with potentially maskless people, nor sit in a building with 300 other workers while the air con cycles everyone's bugs (not just covid) around the place. She hasn't been sick a single day since she started working from home.

I've advised her to push back, to make them try and sack her if they want to be dicks about it. What grounds are they going to cite? Her safety concerns are groundless? Tough to make that one stick, especially right now. Negative impact on the business? Hard to make that claim with fifteen months of continuous evidence to the contrary.

None of her team wants to go back, either. Like I said to her, they're not children and "because we said so" isn't a good enough reason for adults to follow the instruction of other adults when those instructions mean significantly increasing the risk of exposure to a dangerous virus.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 22 July, 2021, 12:28:21 PM
That's terrible about your wife Jim, she really should be pushing back. I hope it's resolved in her favour as it sounds like forcing her and her team back is literally because 'we used to do it like that' without any real assessment of the impact on actual work done.

I can empathise as I feel exactly the same. I've raised it with my line manager and it's been suggested that I do this for a few weeks and we review mid-August. Obviously I'm hoping I don't catch anything on the plague-train in the interim, but even without that there's quality of life issues: not wasting hours on a commute is huge and you can do a lot with that extra time. (It's a big saving financially too but I've been wasting all that on comic stuff). I feel it'd be different if there was a business case for it, but it doesn't appear there is one.

I think there'll be a few cases arising of people challenging this reverting-to-an-old-status-quo, I suspect a lot of employers will go with majoroity opinion.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 22 July, 2021, 12:51:50 PM
I feel it'd be different if there was a business case for it, but it doesn't appear there is one.

This is exactly what I've said to my wife: every time they bring it up, ask them what the business case is for doing this. Sooner or later, they'll have to admit that there isn't one.

It's particularly galling because both her manager and the manager above (director level) agree that there's no reason for it but, apparently, the push is coming from the senior exec level and, at that point, it starts to sound a lot like someone just wants to exert their authority because they feel everything should go 'back to normal'.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Woolly 22 July, 2021, 01:07:43 PM
Right now, however, I think it’s a very different ask. We are in a pandemic with rapidly increasing cases. It’s reckless to expect people to return to office work, just because a hapless government says it’s OK.

I'm absolutely convinced this whole, unnecessary "back to work" drive is being pushed by lobbying from commercial landlords, who are absolutely terrified of a permanent and significant contraction in the demand for office space.


This. Absolutely this.

I'm also guessing this is related to the massive push in buying residential properties that investment firms seem to be doing, which is making buying a house *very* difficult for people I know.
The rich have got to keep that rent coming in if they're going to continue sitting on their arses!
: Re: Back to the Office
: sintec 22 July, 2021, 01:10:10 PM
Yeah seeing some of this at my place too. Thankfully I'd agreed to move to home working before Covid hit as I needed to relocate for my partners new job so it doesn't directly impact me.

We've already had one person leave because they didn't want to return to the office and were being told it would (eventually) be mandated. I can see us losing some more before this is over. From what I can see this mandate is largely being driven by one manager who has a tendency to micro-manage her team. She's finding every reason she can to justify getting everyone back in the office despite things having, largely, worked quite well for the last year. There are a few genuine issues but I get the feeling no one is looking for any alternative solutions.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 22 July, 2021, 01:45:58 PM
This is exactly what I've said to my wife: every time they bring it up, ask them what the business case is for doing this. Sooner or later, they'll have to admit that there isn't one.
A friend works for a company that tried to push things, even when there wasn’t a business case. In the end, things derailed when the senior managers all stated they would continue to work remotely, because one of them had moved overseas and rather liked it there. Even so, they’re still trying to stipulate other staff should be in at least two days a week. It’s insane.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Mister Pops 22 July, 2021, 02:54:18 PM
It's all a bit up in the air at my job. There's to be a review in September before the start of the new semester. My manager is quite happy to let us continue as is. In fact she was quite thrilled she was finally able to implement the paperless office the university had been pushing back against for the last few years. The only students we deal with are Visa applicants overseas*, whom we never saw face-to-face before this. However the decision will be made much higher up the food chain. I'd just like to know if it's worth investing in a desk for the spare room, so I can reclaim my kitchen table.

There have been several staff surveys over the course of this pandemic, the results of which have shown that the vast majority favour home working. There is still a sizable minority of absolute psychos who seem way to eager to get back to the office. Included is my former manager, who pushed to get everyone back last September and caused an outbreak which I got caught in.

My commute is the guts of two hours everyday, and this is by no means the longest out of my colleagues. Over the course of the year, morning meetings have commonly involved colleagues expressing relief that they don't have to drive with all that ice on the roads, or sit on a bus/train for an hour in that heat. Belfast rush hour is also hell on Earth. I remember hearing a report that it's actually the worst in Western Europe by contrast in journey time between on and off peak hours. There's a common theory here that the road system was purposely badly designed, so that traffic could be locked down easily during the troubles**.
Anyway, the point I've strayed off is that it seems needlessly cruel to take that free time off workers, just as things open up and we can fully benefit from that free time.

Many aspects of the office seem needlessly cruel, where once they were taken for granted. I would not choose to spend a single penny on the drab uncomfortable clothes mandated by the office dress code. I wouldn't be allowed to sit at my computer topless in shorts like I am today***. And I can also be productive over my lunch break, doing things like housework and posting rambly posts on weird obscure comic book forums. I've had time for proper breakfasts. I have prep time to make proper meals.

Before all this, there were several campaigns and schemes at my job, stressing the importance of good mental health among the staff. Posters everwhere. It will be interesting to see how that will work if the bring us all back in full-time. No I do not want mindful-fucking-ness classes! I want to be working in my nice comfy house, not dreading the commute and having to face chores when I get home.

I have a friend who is a bar manager who has told me to suck it up because he doesn't have the option to work from home. I have told him I am open to sucking it up, but only after I get the same length of paid holiday he got during furlough.






*many of whom are reconsidering coming here because of how badly Bojo's banjaxing it.

**now Bojo is telling all the victims to just draw a line under their dead relatives and move on with your life****. To be fair though, he has got all the parties here to agree that this is a horrifying thing to do.

***and for that mental image, you are welcome!

****This is probably how he will address the 100,000 families who lost loved ones during this pandemic.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 22 July, 2021, 04:29:48 PM
I have a friend who is a bar manager who has told me to suck it up because he doesn't have the option to work from home.
Frankly, that mindset of “I have it worse than you, and therefore we should ensure our experiences are equally bad” can get in the fucking sea. Enough of that kind of thing, world.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Funt Solo 22 July, 2021, 04:50:26 PM
Such an interesting topic, with so many issues:

 - Less commuting is (probably) good for the environment (fewer cars on the roads) and (definitely) good for the soul.
 - The CBD-supporting economy would suffer.
 - Would each household running a mini-office be better or worse than a centralized location, as regards environmental impact? I don't know the answer to this.
 - Sometimes, it is better to meet in person (e.g. much of teaching), and sometimes it's unavoidable (e.g. bus drivers).
 - Anecdotally, Valve are very keen on in-person working as their entire team structure is founded on an organic, drifting, what-are-you-up-to-now-oh-that-looks-interesting approach that rather requires you to be able to wander over, listen in and peek over shoulders.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Richard 22 July, 2021, 10:02:31 PM
it's been suggested that I do this for a few weeks and we review mid-August.

That's just an excuse to restore the old status quo, at which point it will be harder to go back to working from home again.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 22 July, 2021, 10:06:43 PM
That's just an excuse to restore the old status quo, at which point it will be harder to go back to working from home again.

Also exactly what I said to my wife when her work proposed their “just come in two days a week” ‘compromise’.
: Re: Back to the Office
: pauljholden 23 July, 2021, 08:06:01 AM

My commute is the guts of two hours everyday, and this is by no means the longest out of my colleagues.

A 2 hour commute in Belfast ! Good god.(I do believe you. I’m just gobsmacked at it)

Lived and worked here all my life. Longest commute over an hour during the one year I lived in strangford and hitchhiked Down for a Saturday job.

Second longest was when I’d walk into town from the Ormeau road (about 30-45 minutes)
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 23 July, 2021, 09:54:49 AM
It’s also interesting to see the doublethink going on from certain parties. Tories are fearful of city centres suffering yet also demand you support your local stores and outlets. Companies claim to support wellbeing, but want people returning to the office in a pandemic and against their will.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Mister Pops 23 July, 2021, 10:36:32 AM

My commute is the guts of two hours everyday, and this is by no means the longest out of my colleagues.

A 2 hour commute in Belfast ! Good god.(I do believe you. I’m just gobsmacked at it)

Lived and worked here all my life. Longest commute over an hour during the one year I lived in strangford and hitchhiked Down for a Saturday job.

Second longest was when I’d walk into town from the Ormeau road (about 30-45 minutes)

I should probably clarify that’d be a two hour round trip. And I walk from up by the waterworks to Queens. It’s faster and cheaper than getting two very unreliable buses. Or 20 mph germ cans as I shall henceforth be calling them.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 23 July, 2021, 10:38:48 AM
What I want to know is this, where does the flexible work option leave industry workers who can't comply with that option? Hospitality workers, retail staff, transport crew. What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 23 July, 2021, 10:53:07 AM
What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?

That's a question you'd have to ask your employers. I know it seems unfair, but "Because we've got a shitty deal, everyone else should have to deal with the same shit as us, whether they need to or not" isn't a great position to take, TBH.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 23 July, 2021, 10:59:31 AM
What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?

That's a question you'd have to ask your employers. I know it seems unfair, but "Because we've got a shitty deal, everyone else should have to deal with the same shit as us, whether they need to or not" isn't a great position to take, TBH.

Oh no no, please don't misunderstand me. I was directing my concerns more at the lack of general care from society at large and absolutely at the government for failing to enforce any appropriate and mandatory reimbursement for the risk incurred. That wasn't meant to target anyone on this thread, or office workers in general, for any position their employers have taken in mitigating the spread of the virus among their employees. My apologies, I didn't emphasize that enough.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tjm86 23 July, 2021, 11:14:01 AM
What I want to know is this, where does the flexible work option leave industry workers who can't comply with that option? Hospitality workers, retail staff, transport crew. What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?

Well, a world-beating salary and sick pay .... exactly the sort of thing that employers in those sectors generally think are unreasonable ...
: Re: Back to the Office
: sintec 23 July, 2021, 11:21:08 AM
What I want to know is this, where does the flexible work option leave industry workers who can't comply with that option? Hospitality workers, retail staff, transport crew. What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?

Less people commuting should, in theory, lead to a less unpleasent commute for those who can't work from home. Not a huge win admittedly and it will almost certinaly be unevenly distributed. It does also rely on companies not cancelling public transport routes because of lower passenger numbers which given the current for-profit nature of public transport is sadly not a given.

: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 23 July, 2021, 11:35:51 AM
I was directing my concerns more at the lack of general care from society at large and absolutely at the government for failing to enforce any appropriate and mandatory reimbursement for the risk incurred.

I completely agree. What this pandemic has highlighted is pivotal role huge numbers of traditionally underpaid and underappreciated workers in multiple sectors play in keeping what we think of as society functioning. In a better world, they'd all be paid like princes, but people keeping voting in the fucking Tories. :(
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 23 July, 2021, 11:50:50 AM
In microcosm, the attitude was summed up nicely when our town’s toy shop was in deep shit during COVID. They had ~10% income. Very close to shutting down. Yet it’s a great store—small, but packed with stuff. No gender segregation bullshit, instead filing toys by type.

I posted on Facebook. Lots of people said what great memories they had of the store and they were really sad it was in trouble. They’d hate to see it go, because the town has too many closed stores and those that are opening are invariably yet more hairdressers. But they don’t shop there now because they can drive to the next town over to a fucking huge Smyths and get toys for a quid or two cheaper—or just use Amazon.

Money is everything for far too many people these days. We shouldn’t have a minimum wage—we should have a living wage. And everything else should adjust accordingly. If that bumps up Amazon Prime or delivery charges or overall costs fractionally, so be it. As for heathcare staff, some people got very shirty when I said I wouldn’t clap—despite NHS staff I know being against it—and yet doesn’t seem keen to actually support these people with pay rises. It’s all about face—looking like you care, while in reality doing fuck all to help, even to the point of being against basic policy changes that could help everyone.
: Re: Back to the Office
: sheridan 23 July, 2021, 01:09:55 PM
Such an interesting topic, with so many issues:

 - Less commuting is (probably) good for the environment (fewer cars on the roads) and (definitely) good for the soul.
 - Would each household running a mini-office be better or worse than a centralized location, as regards environmental impact? I don't know the answer to this.


For me personally there's a definite environmental saving to my working at home instead of in the office.  Some of the days in the office I've been the only person in that office, which means the lights and air conditioning are for me alone.  If I'm at home then I have a big window right next to me so I don't need light or air conditioning.  Coffee machines at work are switched on all day long (but I'm not the only person using them).  At home the kettle goes on for Rackle's coffee whether I'm there or not.  (Rackle is working from home - in fact my office is pretty close to her office, though she's never been to her office as she started her current job during lockdown).
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tiplodocus 23 July, 2021, 05:55:52 PM
My employer has been rather good about this and have embraced the concept of WFH.  I am designated as a REMOTE FIRST worker which means I can work from home and am only obliged to head into the office 2 days per month. And even those two days are being ignored by local managers if it turns out we'd be going into the office just to spend all day on the phone or Zoom. The offices are now being designed around 40% occupancy (I think previously it was 75%). Our offices are places for collaboration (I.e. big project start-ups or v.important meetings), education (if it needs to be done face to face) and celebration. Changed days from what we used to refer to as "Branch Mentality". Other staff are OFFICE FIRST when their primary role is face to face dealing with customers but can still work from home if the need arises or FLEXIBLE.

You can't believe how appreciative I am to have a job that survived COVID pretty much unscathed, allows me to work this way, a good enough home set up to make it comfortable for me and Mrs Tips - who is in a pretty much identical situation - and a company that does seem to actually pay attention to the changing world.

I do want the odd day in the office - but mainly to go for a pint with some of my mates.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tiplodocus 23 July, 2021, 05:58:21 PM
https://youtu.be/IW3lhfVpLL4 (https://youtu.be/IW3lhfVpLL4)

Oh and linking to this sketch is obligatory for all discussions about Working From Home.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 23 July, 2021, 10:47:23 PM
What I want to know is this, where does the flexible work option leave industry workers who can't comply with that option? Hospitality workers, retail staff, transport crew. What perk can we expect to receive for the added risk and continued daily grind while other industries offer some form of safety net, both financially and from the virus?

Less people commuting should, in theory, lead to a less unpleasent commute for those who can't work from home. Not a huge win admittedly and it will almost certinaly be unevenly distributed.

Alas I work at Manchester Victoria, one of the major public transport hubs for the NW, and can only attest at how especially in the last few months the traffic has actually got WORSE than it was pre-COVID. And now less people are wearing masks, get ratty when you ask them to show respect and distance to other patrons, and in general have returned to treating customer facing roles just as (if not worse) poorly as they had before. And I could get sick off any of them at any time. It's a woeful, terrifying situation to be in.
: Re: Back to the Office
: sintec 24 July, 2021, 09:50:31 AM
Alas I work at Manchester Victoria, one of the major public transport hubs for the NW, and can only attest at how especially in the last few months the traffic has actually got WORSE than it was pre-COVID. And now less people are wearing masks, get ratty when you ask them to show respect and distance to other patrons, and in general have returned to treating customer facing roles just as (if not worse) poorly as they had before. And I could get sick off any of them at any time. It's a woeful, terrifying situation to be in.

That sucks Hawk. I've never understood why some people are such dicks to staff. I've got a friend who works at an opticians who reports similarly toxic behaviour from entitled customers. Have never understood why people think it's ok to behave like that.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 24 July, 2021, 10:30:50 AM
Tiplodocus: your company sounds like a case study for how to reframe office work. If it pulls this off, it will be well positioned for the future and surely have relatively strong staff retention. Good to hear some folks are getting this right.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 24 July, 2021, 12:09:04 PM
Tiplodocus: your company sounds like a case study for how to reframe office work. If it pulls this off, it will be well positioned for the future and surely have relatively strong staff retention. Good to hear some folks are getting this right.

If enough companies break rank from the "back to the office, plebs" push then there may be no putting this genie back in its bottle — people, like my wife who's worked for the same company for the last decade, will leave companies that insist on a return to The Old Ways™ and look for jobs with companies that aren't dicks about this stuff. Faced with the prospect of haemorrhaging skilled, trained staff or just letting the poor bastards carry on working from their dining room table, I think a number of those companies might relent.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tiplodocus 24 July, 2021, 04:44:02 PM
Tiplodocus: your company sounds like a case study for how to reframe office work. If it pulls this off, it will be well positioned for the future and surely have relatively strong staff retention. Good to hear some folks are getting this right.

I'm as surprised as anybody. It does help that the nature of where I work (business change) is suited for this kind of thing. And I do have a fairly understanding hierarchy of managers. I imagine some of our Branch and Contact centre teams might not have the same view as me.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 26 July, 2021, 09:45:20 AM
Back at home today after a couple of days in. On one level being in the office was quite nice in that it was a change of scenery, talking to people face to face that I haven't spoken to in a while etc. On the other hand, commute. Plus the sheer needlessness of it.
The feeling in my place is mild anger / frustration that management have imposed this partial return but it doesn't seem to apply to them. I have a feeling people will just accept it and move on, but hopefully there'll be some pusg back against it. There will be from me, certainly.

Tiplodocus, your place does sound like a a model example of how this should be run.

Hawk, that does suck. I took the train Friday for the first time in forever and the bulk of passengers were masked up although there was an unsurprising correlation between people who were aggressive / drunk / blast music out of their phones and not wearing a mask. Numbers on the trains were very low, but I'm not sure if school holidays and the heat were a factor. I really, really don't want to be getting a train during thos pandemic.

If enough companies break rank from the "back to the office, plebs"..

This is 100% the hope!
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 26 August, 2021, 03:00:45 PM
Yesterday I was in the office all on my own. Not really sure what the point of that was.

There's a mild fear here that if we press the issue on this then the mandate will change back to 'everyone in all the time' but it's a fairly ridiculous situation at the moment.
: Re: Back to the Office
: broodblik 26 August, 2021, 03:47:13 PM
I am so glad that our policy is the reverse, you need a very good reason why you are at the office. We even need to get approval to go to office and you must be very specific on the time off arrival etc.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 21 January, 2022, 05:31:42 PM
Having been back to 100% WFH since the new measures came in in December, we've been told it's back to 100% in the office from end of January with all flexible / hybrid working to be abandoned.

Some of us are pushing back, but I fear minds won't be changed and the outcome will be me getting a new job, which I really don't want to do as I like this one and I haven't been in the job market for a looong time.

I'm angry but mainly so disappointed that after all the platitudes and talk of work life balance and building back better, it's build back as it was before.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 21 January, 2022, 05:56:30 PM
I imagine this will be the way for a lot of companies, some of which will be all shocked when loads of people quit for organisations that are more flexible. If output and productivity hasn’t been affected, why mandate people work in an office? It makes no sense.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 21 January, 2022, 05:56:50 PM
Some of us are pushing back, but I fear minds won't be changed and the outcome will be me getting a new job, which I really don't want to do as I like this one and I haven't been in the job market for a looong time.

I'm angry but mainly so disappointed that after all the platitudes and talk of work life balance and building back better, it's build back as it was before.

Precisely what my wife is experiencing right now. She's trying to push back for the moment, on the grounds that the covid situation is current;y worse than it was when the Govt brought back the WFH advice in December, and that the Chair of the BMA has described the Government's decision to relax covid measures as clearly "not guided by the data"… but I fear this will be a losing battle.

I've suggested that she digs her heels in, simply because insisting on a return to the office right now is demonstrably unsafe and if they sack her for refusing to do it, she can take them to the cleaners.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 21 January, 2022, 05:59:16 PM
If output and productivity hasn’t been affected, why mandate people work in an office? It makes no sense.

Again, precisely the argument my wife is having. Her department (which she runs) has operated perfectly effectively for almost two years on a 100% WFH basis. Where is the business case for forcing employees back into the office when they don't want to go?

The only answer that's been offered is: "It's our business culture to conduct operations face-to-face."

Transl: "We don't care about your increased risk of catching covid, get back in the office because we say so."
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 21 January, 2022, 07:41:47 PM
More like: “We don’t trust you to work fully from home, regardless of actual experience and/or facts” and possible also “We value presenteeism more than productivity”.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tjm86 22 January, 2022, 10:16:14 AM
It would be interesting to see how much of a geographical spread there is on this.  Out west here the tendency seems to be more towards hybrid working. 

My dad works for British energy over in Gloucester.  He was saying that they are selling up their old office and moving to smaller ones.  Staff will homework for the most part but book desks when they do need to actually be physically present.  One of our neighbours works in Bristol and works from home most of the week.

It does feel a little bit like companies closer to London are pushing more for getting folks back to the office.  There is a cynical view that some of this is driven by Tory supporting property developers who are worried about all those shiny offices in London and the South East going empty.

How much truth there is to that, I don't know.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 22 January, 2022, 10:46:56 AM
It would be interesting to see how much of a geographical spread there is on this.  Out west here the tendency seems to be more towards hybrid working. 

Dunno. I think it's more the kind of business, how long its been running, and possibly a generational thing with senior management. My wife's office (the UK head office for the business) is in Nottingham. A friend of mine works for a software company out of their Leicester office. They've completely closed all their other sites (mostly down south, saving them a fortune) and are basically maintaining the Leicester office for people who want to go in and work there. They're absolutely fine with everyone else working remotely as a permanent arrangement — my friend doubts he'll ever set foot in the office again.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 22 January, 2022, 12:08:56 PM
I'm noticing a very worrying trend, really just an evolution in what was already the norm, among hospitality companies. We've become increasingly disposable, and any concerns we might externalize about personal safety is dismissed as "we're doing what the government advises".
33 out of 45 employees across four branches off with positive results? No problem, just pull double or triple shifts. Whats that, those 12 staff members are tired and complaining they want adequate reimbursement for their work? Well they get their hourly contracted so thats not our problem, if they keep complaining terminate them, they're within their six month probational period.

It's so. So exhausting out there guys.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Mister Pops 22 January, 2022, 03:52:32 PM
Hospitality is a real meat grinder Hawk, you have my sympathy and admiration. Your need to vent over mediocre* Marvel movies seems more justified.  I did sixteen years on and off, part-time and full-time, for crimes I didn’t even commit. Hard work is rewarded with harder work. I very nearly got trapped, be careful you don’t. It is the most under appreciated and underpaid trade there is.

*which is worse than being bad
: Re: Back to the Office
: The Legendary Shark 22 January, 2022, 04:56:01 PM

Hear, hear.

: Re: Back to the Office
: Funt Solo 22 January, 2022, 06:08:15 PM
The big surprise for me when I worked hospitality was visiting Australia (this is in '95) and seeing how well staff were treated over there - it was all unionized so you were guaranteed time and a half on Saturdays and double time on Sundays. After something like 10pm, the employer had to pay to get you home, and the wages were decent as well. Back in the UK I had to double check every pay packet to make sure they hadn't stung me on what were already poor pickings. It's a tough gig, right enough.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Mister Pops 22 January, 2022, 07:53:21 PM
The big surprise for me when I worked hospitality was visiting Australia (this is in '95) and seeing how well staff were treated over there ...

In my experience, this is true for all hospitality staff outside UK/US/Ireland. Most other countries treat it as a proper profession, whereas in these parts it's treated as an idiot's job for students. It's the equivalent of treating chefs as idiots who can barely work a microwave. And chefs are treated pretty badly anyways, hence all the alcoholism and drug abuse.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Tjm86 22 January, 2022, 10:26:07 PM
Dunno. I think it's more the kind of business, how long its been running, and possibly a generational thing with senior management. My wife's office (the UK head office for the business) is in Nottingham. A friend of mine works for a software company out of their Leicester office. They've completely closed all their other sites (mostly down south, saving them a fortune)

Possibly but then again it also supports the hypothesis that this is a geographical issue (albeit not limited to us "out west" so to speak).  Perhaps there is something in the tin-foil-hat brigade's belief that it is Tory donors driving this?

Whats that, those 12 staff members are tired and complaining they want adequate reimbursement for their work? Well they get their hourly contracted so thats not our problem, if they keep complaining terminate them, they're within their six month probational period.

... and they wonder why they have a staff retention problem! Crap pay, crap conditions, crap management attitudes.

We stayed in one of Manchesters "premiere inn's" last summer.  Covid had laid off most of the staff and the cleaning staff had told management where to shove their demands that afternoon so half the hotel was unavailable.  About all they could manage was manning reception.  Remaining staff did a cracking job all things considered.

It does seem to be a constant in British business, industry and the public sector: staff are a waste of time, space and effort.  At the same time the biggest complaint is that businesses face a recruitment and retention crisis.  Gosh.  I wonder why.  8-/
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 23 January, 2022, 10:49:22 AM
I do fortunately have experience and transferable skills in other industries, and have been applying like a madman to get out of this toxic pit of exploitation. Oh I'm not saying an office or admin job will be any easier or free of its own problem, but I'll at least have consistent hours, a schedule that isn't ever changing, and some semblance of change.

I do have the fortune of being in a workers union but as folks have previously pointed out, any attempts at making the hospitality workplace a more fair or equitable industry is kind of hamstrung by a broad disdain for it by the British public. Its a catch 22 that I don't think will ever improve, only get tighter until the heat death of the fucking universe.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 24 January, 2022, 08:45:24 AM
Dunno. I think it's more the kind of business, how long its been running, and possibly a generational thing with senior management.

I think this is a major factor. I work in a tech field, and a lot of my friends in similar roles have either fully adopted WFH / hybrid working or have moved jobs to companies that embrace it: a couple of guys I know switched jobs last year when we had our small post-Delta, pre-Omicron lull. In theory you'd expect my place to be the same, but my boss takes an old fashioned view on this and it seems just won't have it. Business cases and the like simply count for nothing, although we've presented one, so we'll see if it washes. Funnily enough the 'government advice' line has been played as a justification.
What's especially crazy is that generally management don't attend the office and we work unsupervised the bulk of the time anyway.

I definitely don't have it as bad as Hawk however. Hope you get out of that field dude - sounds like you're being ground to dust by a very uncaring industry.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Jim_Campbell 24 January, 2022, 09:03:06 AM
Funnily enough the 'government advice' line has been played as a justification.

Yep. The missus is getting this too, despite pointing out that the government withdrawing advice that you "should work from home if possible" is not the same thing as the government saying "you must work in your office".
: Re: Back to the Office
: CalHab 24 January, 2022, 09:04:42 AM
It would be interesting to see how much of a geographical spread there is on this.  Out west here the tendency seems to be more towards hybrid working. 

My dad works for British energy over in Gloucester.  He was saying that they are selling up their old office and moving to smaller ones.  Staff will homework for the most part but book desks when they do need to actually be physically present.  One of our neighbours works in Bristol and works from home most of the week.

It does feel a little bit like companies closer to London are pushing more for getting folks back to the office.  There is a cynical view that some of this is driven by Tory supporting property developers who are worried about all those shiny offices in London and the South East going empty.

How much truth there is to that, I don't know.

Proximity to Head Office is key, I think. WFH/hybrid doesn't seem such an issue in satellite offices, but attendance is expected at HQ.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Barrington Boots 31 January, 2022, 11:14:26 AM
I'm back in today and the place is a seething cauldron of discontent. There's been a serious miscalculation here from management about how this has gone down and it's definitely going to lose us staff we don't want to lose.
Management aren't in themselves, of course....
: Re: Back to the Office
: Proudhuff 31 January, 2022, 12:30:24 PM
of course.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Hawkmumbler 31 January, 2022, 12:47:10 PM
I ended up handing in my notice at work this morning after an altercation with the 'regional consultant' (the area manager. He just holds that title so when shit hits the fan he get the heat taken off him as he's only a 'consultant'. Would you be surprised to hear he's the CEO's step brother?). We've been down to a quarter of the staff again due to positive test results, with no measures being put in place to insure staff safety on an hourly wage, its just not worth it at all and his complete apathy at our collective concerns is telling.
: Re: Back to the Office
: Proudhuff 31 January, 2022, 01:08:36 PM
 I don't think you'll regret it its good to get away from poison like that.. Its the start of something good!
: Re: Back to the Office
: Dandontdare 31 January, 2022, 01:29:07 PM
I hated WFH and have been back in the office since July 2020. It's starting to fill up a bit now, but I'd say we're never more than 25-30% full. Be interesting to see how they attempt to pull people back and what the reaction will be. We're having a "team day" this week when all of our team will be expected to come in just so we can have a physical catch-up after so long apart, but at the moment I'm the only in  team of 12 that works from the office.
: Re: Back to the Office
: IndigoPrime 31 January, 2022, 01:35:38 PM
One company I work with did a team event day in December. This was swiftly followed by “everyone has COVID now” day. Not the smartest move.
: Re: Back to the Office
: sheridan 31 January, 2022, 03:43:46 PM
One company I work with did a team event day in December. This was swiftly followed by “everyone has COVID now” day. Not the smartest move.


Our company did something like that (leaving drinks for a long-standing member of the team).  Fortunately I already had that day booked as annual leave, even before it was announced.  Lucky, as I suspect I'd still have been off sick if I'd caught it as well.