back to article Pyjama bottoms crew, listen up: In 2022 we'll still be at home

The omniscient overlord of IT forecasting otherwise known as Gartner is predicting around a two-thirds increase in working from home compared with pre-pandemic levels. In a study, the analyst group said 47 per cent of knowledge workers would be working remotely come 2022, which is up from 27 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, 31 per …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Thing of the past

    Work in offices was a thing because we didn't have a technology that enables remote working and not everyone could afford a computer nor employers wouldn't trust an employee with an expensive device.

    We live in a completely different world now. Only problem is that we let rich funds exploit the housing market, so they were building flats with investors in mind rather than people living there, so many people don't have a dedicated area in their home where they could carry on working.

    I think we may be looking at a hybrid situation, where employers will be renting out offices closer to workers or we may see more co-working spaces (shared with many companies) where employees would go instead of their company main office.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thing of the past

      yes, so hard to find flats with many rooms... until you realise that you yourself are part of the problem because you make more money per sqm investing in small flats rather than in large ones (easier to rent out, less problems when people moving out).

      But what really grinds my gear is not necessarily the price of a multi-room flat, the maintenance that one needs to pay to go with it... for ever, even though one buys the apartment.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Thing of the past

        In due course there'll be money in doing what was done to C18th & 19th cottages - buying up two or three and knocking them through into one.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Thing of the past

      "I think we may be looking at a hybrid situation, where employers will be renting out offices closer to workers or we may see more co-working spaces (shared with many companies) where employees would go instead of their company main office."

      From all the times I've seen this idea, I think you're very right about what they will do. In my opinion, that is not a good idea, but they will still do it. I predict a completely disorganized setup where smallish offices are rented for the benefits of collaboration or other benefits of working in the office without ensuring that any of those benefits are still feasible. Collaboration, for example, is made very hard if you never know whether your colleagues are in the office or not, where they might be, or even if they go to a different local office now. Many work activities done in offices aren't as easy in a co-working space either because things you had available in the normal office won't be there or will be in use by somebody else.

      1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Thing of the past

        Going back to a co-working room instead of a dedicated company office?

        Awesome! I didn't think there would be a way things could become worse than they were before the pandemic, yet here we are with a winning idea

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Thing of the past

      "I think we may be looking at a hybrid situation, where employers will be renting out offices closer to workers or we may see more co-working spaces (shared with many companies) where employees would go instead of their company main office."

      Where I live it would appear to have been a no-brainer to turn redundant mills into such facilities. Mills and housing were built in close proximity. But those with no brains, the planners, set their faces against such ideas and for decades the policy has been to separate homes from workplaces so now the surviving mill buildings are brownfield sites to be demolished and turned into more homes for people who won't live near their workplaces unless they actually work at home.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Thing of the past

        Some large real estate companies in the EU. And USA are starting to look at mix use buildings like you see in Asia for development. I could easily see space being reserved in them for some co-working offices.

  2. ChrisC Silver badge

    "Other surveys indicate that work-life-balance has gone out of the window since the pandemic with the lines between personal and work time blurred, and some staff want to return to way things used to be."

    For me, WFH has been massively beneficial to my work-life balance, precisely because of how it's allowed the lines to not just blur but to be essentially invisible.

    In before-Covid times, even if I finished work at 5pm on the dot, it'd still be at least 6pm before I got home and was able to start "family time", and it was rare that I'd be able to leave that early on a normal day - more usually I'd not get home until 7-8pm. And once I got home, there'd then be all the little tasks that needed to be done which would further eat into what little time I had left to spend with the family before they all started heading off to bed.

    In contrast, WFH means I can "finish" (more accurately, pause) work earlier in the evening, get to spend more time with the family, and then seamlessly resume where I left off to take advantage of the quiet hours after they've all gone to bed and I'm able to put my night owl personality to good use. In addition, WFH also means that, during the day when I get up and walk away from the PC desk for a few minutes to stretch my legs and give my eyeballs a break, I can use that time to do those little tasks (loading the dishwasher, hanging out laundry, fixing a loose cabinet door hinge etc. etc.) so they aren't still on the to-do list later in the day.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Be careful what you wish for

      Surveillance companies are already selling software to allow micro tracking of WFH employees. They can show what your webcam sees, what's on your screen(s), and what you type.

      It's only a small step to timed bathroom breaks.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        I suppose for those companies who want to get rid of staff without the cost of pay-offs it'll be a good investment. IBM are likely to be a big customer.

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        If you want to quickly sort companies that are good to work for, from companies no one should touch with a 10ft dogshit-tipped barge pole, that kind of invasive surveillance seems an ideal tool.

        Trust people to do their job and mostly it'll happen. You'll quickly identify unproductive workers, because, well, they'll be unproductive.

        Micromanaging staff into a state of paranoid fear is not the way to get good results.

      3. storner

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        Then go BYOD - even more savings for the company beancounters, yay!

        Seriously, with my company going all-in on Microsoft 365 solutions and other SaaS stuff, it is quite rare that I actually need my company laptop for work. Even the company VPN connection is rarely needed.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Be careful what you wish for

          Yep I moved quite a large distance away from my home office. I can't think of the last time I had to dial in on a vpn, couple of years at a guess.

      4. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        Webcams can mysteriously break (and I'm not suggesting anything nefarious here - the number of webcam failures we've seen just in our fairly small team over the past year suggests that whatever cheap and nasty camera hardware laptop manufacturers are fitting these days - even to fairly decent spec laptops - really isn't up to the job of coping with the above-average usage levels WFH has required), and the sort of work I do means there are often extended periods of time where the only interaction I might have with the PC is to passively look at the static information being shown onscreen whilst I scribble ideas on the physical whiteboard by the side of my desk. There's something about the tactile nature of writing on a whiteboard, combined with the knowledge that you can erase/redo with ease whatever you've just written, which seems to make something click in my mind when it comes to figuring out certain types of problems.

        And then there are the times when I just sit back, close my eyes, and let the code or schematic or whatever run around inside my mind as I mentally work through whatever problem there is with it. Good luck trying to infer from dumb keyboard, GPU etc. activity metrics how much work I'm actually doing at any given moment in time...

        Also consider that, if an employer is *that* concerned about their employees slacking off whilst WFH, there's an excellent chance that said employer would be using the same level of intrusive monitoring even if their good little worker drones were all shackled to their desks in the office, because decent employers that trust their staff to do their jobs without being micromanaged every second of the day aren't likely (if they want to retain said high quality staff) to start introducing intrusive monitoring just because those same staff are WFH.

      5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        Well, my webcam sees the back of a small piece of cardboard that flips over the lens when I'm not using it.

        And if they can see what's on my monitor, I'll bet they can't see what's on the monitor next to it, which is connected to my personal PC. Keyboard and mouse run through a KVM switch.

    2. LovesTha

      I think people's perspective is determined largely around do they feel like work is fitting around life or is it the other way around.

      I don't mind doing a few minutes work at 10pm, if I'm not busy. It's when I have to cancel personal plans to do it that there is an issue.

  3. arthoss


    "Workday, among others, has taken a more conservative view. CEO Aneel Bhusri said he was "a big believer that we're going to be back in the office" earlier this year".

    They are still in startup mode of course they need that.

    1. Snake Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Workday

      ""Workday, among others, has taken a more conservative view. CEO..." [emphasis mine]

      A CEO. Playing conservative in regards to wanting to have workers in-house so as to be able to look over their shoulder at every possible second.

      Tell me something new. Like maybe, the sun not coming up tomorrow.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Workday

        I've recently gone through various reports such as Mckinsey, PWC and so on doing a bit of research into this. A lot of them point to there being a bit of a disconnect between workers and CEO level for WFH.

        It's worth saying there are some reasons to have people in an office at times. But not all the time, a hybrid WFH is probably going to be the most common model IMO.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: Workday

          Have an upvote for: "a bit of a disconnect between workers and CEO level"

          The Understatement of the Year Award!

          I wonder how much McKinsey, PWC, et al, charged for that nugget of keen insight?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Workday

      I suppose their products are aimed at supporting in-office working. Follow the money.

  4. Warm Braw

    The all-seeing eye of... Gartner

    Just remember to keep your magic quadrant below the table.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another great demonstration that Gartner doesn't know shit...

    1. elip

      I would usually agree. Gartner doesn't know shit. However, it seems the lightening has struck on this one. They are correct, nobody I know is going back to the office 100% of the time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        On the other hand not many people I know were 100% in the office anyway. What we've seen is that a lot of people are really keen to get back to the office and that seems to be dragging other in too.

        I don't know if there will be some hold outs but at the moment it looks like most people will be back to their pre-lockdown ways as soon as they're allowed. I think a lot of that is down to the social side of eating with colleagues at lunch etc.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          I think it's very much dependent on which part of the office you're looking at/what type of people work in that area - for some of us, socialising in the office ranks somewhere around "accidentally picking up the soldering iron from the wrong end" on the "how much would you like to do this activity" scale, so the thought of being forced back into an environment where *shudder* other people might try to engage with you in some mindless babble about last nights must-see TV, or the footy results, or whatever else they assume you're just as interested in talking to them about as they are in talking to you, isn't one that fills me with any sort of positivity.

          This is one of the seemingly unspoken things about WFH - there's plenty being said about the mental struggles some people are having in coping with the isolation of WFH and how a "return to the norm" can't happen soon enough, however I don't recall seeing much if anything said about the comparable struggles others will have in leaving the blissful isolation of WFH and returning to an environment where we're having to cope once again with constant interactions with others.

          Anyone thinking the last year has been a struggle due to how abnormal everything has been from their perspective, might do well to spare a thought for those of us for who the past year has been a blessed relief from an otherwise entire lifetime spent having to deal with a world in which "normal" feels like anything but normal...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I thought I fell into the ChrisC category and wouldn't miss social contact but to my surprise found that I did... not that I've ever been a great socialiser.

            I suppose it depends on the environment, standing around with other nerds while getting a tea and discussing load balancing strategies, or the problems of Agile stand-ups is OK but inane chat about some TV soap or other... I can live without.

    2. Triggerfish

      On this one I'd say they are probably on the mark. This is a hugely discussed topic nowadays and even if you ignore gartner surveys you can get an idea of which ways the wind is blowing.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "People say we do most of our collaboration by the watercooler"

    Looking back on my time in offices I have vague recollections of their being water coolers but I certainly don't recollect anyone congregating around them.

    Stupid things anyway - just the opposite of what you need to make tea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Won't someone please think of the water cooler manufacturers and suppliers?

      1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

        Most of my colleages are in different countries. Some on different continents.

        Just how *(^&*^% big is that water cooler going to be?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Dammit. Their!!!

      Next thing I'll be putting in grocers' apostrophe's.

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