Let’s weigh up some pros and cons of travelling to work every day. It feels appropriate to do this today, as the rain pours down.
Firstly, if you can work from hone, you’re not having to face the elements. You’re not going to get soaked if you walk to work, or have to stand around at a railway platform. If it’s a searingly hot day, you’re not gonna be baking and sweaty in your stuffy shirt and tie. Either way, you get to be comfortable.
Secondly, you’re avoiding a commute. Whether it takes you half an hour, an hour, or more, you’re not facing spending your time travelling to and from work. There’s no being stuck on a motorway waiting for traffic to move, or being crammed into a train carriage. This also means you can spend more time with family and friends, as opposed to making work journeys.
Thirdly, you get to save a fortune (if you drive or get public transport). No expensive petrol bills, no costly bus or train tickets. You’ll have more money in your pocket.
For some of us, home working isn’t a viable option. For people who can, it should be an option. ‘Wait, what about productivity?’
Ah yes. Detractors of working from home (who oddly enough, appear to be people with ties to office blocks) argue people don’t work as hard when working from home. In fact, the opposite is true. To quote…
A study by Standford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increase productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.
In this same study workers also reported improved work satisfaction, and attrition rates were cut by 50%.https://www.apollotechnical.com/working-from-home-productivity-statistics/#:~:text=Several%20studies%20over%20the%20past,and%20are%2047%25%20more%20productive.
The productivity benefits of homeworking appear to have increased during the pandemic, with employers now more likely to say that the shift to homeworking has boosted productivity (33%) than they were in June 2020 (28%). This is according to new research by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, based on a survey of 2,000 employers and in-depth interviews with seven organisations in different sectors. The survey found employers are also less likely to say that increased homeworking has decreased productivity (23%) compared to last summer (28%), suggesting employers have had a significant net productivity benefit over the period. 38% of employers say productivity has stayed the same (unchanged from June 2020). Overall, more than two thirds (71%) of employers say that the increase in homeworking has either boosted or has made no difference to productivity.https://www.cipd.co.uk/about/media/press/010421homeworking-increased-productivity#gref
So, bearing in mind the evidence, that suggests working from home is an all-round benefit, why are some people still clamouring for offices to reopen?
Andrew Pierce works for The Daily Mail, so it’s unsurprising that he’s divorced from reality, and that he’s quite disingenuous. His focus is on the misleading idea that home-working is detrimental, and somehow linked to rising inflation (he should be concentrating on the Tory government’s woeful handling of inflation, but he’s not gonna bite the hand that feeds him now is he?!). Being an editor for The Mail, it’s no wonder that he wants people to be suffering the commute – people often buy papers whilst heading to and from work, so the chances are, this is about money.
In fact, it’s definitely about money. The people who own office spaces are terrified that they’ll lose money if more and more people are allowed to work from home. If people are allowed to work from home, their employers might question the wisdom of paying rates and rent for office space. The property owners (people like billionaire Lord Alan Sugar, who apparently has a property development business) might not be quite so rich. Their friends (it would not surprise me if they have arrangements with Tory MPs) would not get quite so much in the way of kickbacks. They’d remain filthy rich, but not as rich as they’d like to be. We can’t have that now can we?! I mean, how dare the average Briton be allowed to save money and have a happier work/life balance – how can men like Sugar earn that extra half-a-million on top of their already-staggering income?!
In summary, there’s no good reason to force people to commute. The only benefit is to the already-extremely wealthy property owners, who have hoarded wealth and status for decades. Why is society geared up to helping them, when there are so many people in desperate need? It’s a bit off-topic, but in the UK we now have more foodbanks than McDonald’s restaurants, yet people like Andrew Pierce are inaccurately bleating about working from home being a problem. This is disinformation, and we need to stop swallowing it.