back to article More than half of UK workers would consider jumping ship if a hybrid work option were withdrawn by their company

Research has shown that over half of UK workers would consider quitting their job if, in the future, a hybrid work option were pulled by their employer. The figures, produced by YouGov and published by Microsoft, come from a survey of 2,046 employees taken online over 7-15 October 2021. 504 "HR Decision Makers" (HRDM) were …

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Meh

    At our place, most people want to spend most of the time working from home, with the odd day working in the office. Nobody wants permanent work from home or work in the office.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same. You can see companies now starting to compete on the 'type' of WFH benefits. Our company is already talking about how many weeks/months you can spend overseas while you WFH on top of things like furniture purchases to help WFH.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      People say they want to have an "odd day working" in the office, actually mean they just want to meet with colleagues for lunch or something or just pretend they are okay subjecting themselves to the commute and all this dance once in a while to show loyalty to the company.

      It's all bs.

      People who really want to work in the office are those with not so great circumstances at home and they treat it as an escape. They are often the loudest advocates for coming back to office because they are afraid of being stuck at home if company decides to close the office.

      Companies should recognise that and perhaps fund hot desking space for them.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Yeah, I remember having a very young child at home. Office was a welcome calm environment, no one ever screamed at me demanding to be fed and changed NOW

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Trollface

          I dont know, at least some of my colleagues are a bit like that.... And there's at least one manager who....

      2. iron Silver badge

        For younger colleagues entering the workplace, working in the office can be useful and even important.

        As for me, if I can't work from home approx 100% of the time then I will walk. I changed jobs during the pandemic (getting into catering software 3 months before a pandemic was apparently a bad idea!) so another jump won't be a problem. So far I've never even seen my employer's office building and have managed to avoid a couple of pub based social events.

        I'm not just a misanthrope (although fairly guilty as charged), I'm also safeguarding my partner who has health problems which make everything a huge risk atm.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          For younger colleagues entering the workplace, working in the office can be useful and even important.

          In a way yes, they should experience the bs of work in the office. Compare how little money they make with lavish but idle offices they are shoved into. See for themselves the expensive suits, watches, gadgets, talks about that time private jet had engine malfunction before take off and they had to do with Soho bash instead of Magaluf. Then listen how tough it is and they are lucky to be hired by such a great company... then company drinks and people fishing for your life stories, so they can backstab you in a least expected way... and so on.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Agreed in general ElSergio, but (in the UK at least) unless they've been sent to the right schools and daddy has had a word in the right ears, young people won't ever see those company high-flyers. All that happens on the top floor, where access is forbidden to the plebs. They won't even share the same lift with the gods.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              I guess it depends on the industry. Some high-flyers like to mingle with commoners. Mainly because they feel guilty of their privilege.

              It's funny when the environment is like you describe and the CEO or a board member announces their visit - the whole floor prepares like for the second coming. Desks are cleaned, monitors straightened, dashboards on every large screen, everyone is mandated to come to office, business casual, everyone is smiling, happy clappy... they already know, most will call in sick the next day.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                It was like that in the Civil Service for ministerial visits. Real work stopped so that demonstration material could be set up.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                When I started work I had a company car - the boss borrowed it when his was getting its tires changed late in the day. I got my car back the next day and found high-heeled shoe prints in the roof over the back seat...

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  I'm not sure that was the sort of mingling the OP had in mind.

        2. DrewWyatt

          I can fully understand safeguarding your partner, as that is what I am doing too.

          It also doesn't help that during lockdown my commute has gone from a mile to fifty miles, due to the business I was working for got bought and merged.

        3. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          For younger colleagues entering the workplace, SOCIALIZING in the office can be useful and even important.

          --

          FTFY

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        People who really want to work in the office are those with a short, easy commute. The bigger the city where work is located the small the percentage will be.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...

        "People who really want to work in the office are those with not so great circumstances at home and they treat it as an escape. They are often the loudest advocates for coming back to office because they are afraid of being stuck at home if company decides to close the office."

        This is also BS. There are a broad variety of reasons both ways, and reducing arguments on either side to this level of cobblers either way does nobody any good.

        ...And from my own experience, your reason here applies to exactly one person I have dealt with in a 35+ year career. Beware of projecting your opinions on to other people.

        My own immediate experience is that my entire team want to be back in the office. We don't miss the commute, but we do miss the co-operation.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: ...

          I have a fully outfitted home office, a separate room with 2 desks in an L-shape, professional office chair and fast enough DSL. I have a 43" 4K display (I got my company to buy me the same one for the office). But I also have my private PC, which means easy distractions - I have gotten into the habit of turning it off, when I start work.

          I like working from home sometimes, but I do miss being in the office and having other people around me to talk to. Even with Teams, you miss out on so much of what is going on, when you aren't in the office on a regular basis.

          During most of the year, we have been on a 50% presence system - half the team in the office, half in home office. That way, if one part of the team gets infected, the other half can still cover. Now, with rising numbers, again, we are down to 1 person on site, the rest at home.

          I'd like to go back to normal, where we can all be in the office if we want/need, but also keep the option of working from home - for some tasks, being alone is useful, other times, having someone to bounce ideas off of is more useful.

      5. ChrisC Silver badge

        "People say they want to have an "odd day working" in the office"

        It's not *all* BS, because for some of us, that genuinely is what we mean...

        I find anything more than the briefest of social interactions with anyone outside my close circle of friends/family mentally draining, so wanting to pop into the office just for a chat/lunch/A.N.Other example of socialising wouldn't cross my mind. However, if the sort of work you're doing means that you can do *most* of it just as effectively from home, but *some* of it would be less effective, if even possible at all, to do from home, then there will be the odd times when you do want to head into the office because you know that, for the bit of work you're trying to get done, that really is the best place to be that day. You might only even bother seeing who else is in the office that day if they're relevant to the bit of work you're trying to do, otherwise it's not the fact that you're in the same place as your colleagues that's important, merely the fact that you're in the same place as the stuff you don't have access to at home.

        Note that for the purposes of this comment, I'm using "office" as shorthand for "the business premises where you used to work full time pre-pandemic, and which still houses all the R&D kit which isn't feasible to replicate in your home office setup".

      6. My-Handle Silver badge

        I can't say I agree.

        I, personally, prefer working in the office most of the time. I find I have a really hard time motivating myself at home. I find that changing to a more "official" environment has a focussing effect on me. I also find I am more productive when I am able to get up from my desk and go and talk through a problem face-to-face. Phone calls / video chat doesn't seem as effective.

        I currently work from home one day a week, by choice. I will freely admit that others have their own preferences and will find their own balances. If my circumstances changed (job type, commute, home situation), I might well re-evaluate.

      7. Triggerfish

        i disagree there, some people definitely get more from working together and work better doing so. Our office is sort of split with some of us being happy to work fully remote and others finding they get better work done as a team across a table. But yeah some people as well just don't have the luxury of an actual workspace at home and for them an office is probably essential to being able to work comfortably also.

        The idea of hotdesking though is something you may start seeing changing a bit. As someone who has top look into these sort of developments, there is a few property developers looking at the workspace solutions being not the traditional areas (for example a WeWork in the middle of a city prime location) but instead in more suburban areas so as to mean there is no commute, and a few mixed usage building and residential developers starting to think of putting the same in their new developments.

        Hybrid WFH is probably going to be the prevailing model for most companies though IMO.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >but instead in more suburban areas so as to mean there is no commute

          Problem with "surburban areas" is that there often is a bigger commute and it has to be by car.

          Office in central London = everybody can get there.

          Office on a business park somewhere off the M25 = everybody has to drive there.

          Turned down a job here because it was in a business park 10miles out of the city. After watching people spend an hour after work trying to merge out onto the single road along with the other 5000 people who work there.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Think more local than that. Think walking distance. Here in the old textile area of the Pennines (sub-rural rather than suburban) the mills were built in the valleys (water power initially) and housing built around them. That housing represents the heritage that the areas are so proud of. OTOH the houses weren't built with car parking in mind; I don't know how anyone who lives in them is going to cope with charging EVs but without the mills on the doorstep the places to which they commute are so diverse that public transport is s non-starter.* There's such a location near me, cars parked nose to tail on both sides of the road overnight but with a large empty mill a few hundred yards away. That's scheduled to be used for more houses. It could well be re-purposed or replaced by some form of small workspaces. By the time that planners actually see the non-sustainability of what they've created they'll end up looking for greenfield sites for workplaces and there aren't many of those left in Pennine valleys.

            *My last client before I retired was about 40 - 45 minutes away by car; I worked out the public transport timing: 2h 35 minutes and that assumed the there would be no motorway holdups to wipe out a 4 minute gap for transfer between buses and would still have been 10 minutes late for anyone needing to be at work promptly at 9 am.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              That works if everyone who has to go in really lives in that town, which might be possible for a few types of work, but isn't going to happen if the office is big or the people have lots of options. I wouldn't want to choose the place I live because I essentially have to in order to work at my job, because if that job stops being available, I've probably greatly increased the difficulty when I have to commute to wherever the new job is. Jobs in a city entail a commute, but a predictable one even if I switch from one place to another. This is less of an issue if you're renting your housing so there's less inertia involved if you have to move. It's also not an issue if you have some certainty that the job will continue to be available and what you want to do for the long term (if it's your business, for example).

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                I think the idea would be that the mill would contain lots of small spaces and semi-private desks, such that those living in the village could all just walk in and work for their respective companies there. Similar "work from close to home" spaces would be set up in other nearby villages.

                So the idea isn't to get all employees from one company out into this remote little village deep in the pennines, but to create the space for the people in the village to do work remotely for whatever company they work for without having to commute.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  That's right.

                  My old firm was in Leeds with a big office which largely became call centre. Then they spread out to several other big call centres, all in cities spread over N England. There's no reason why, given suitable premises in which they could have taken small spaces, they couldn't have set up multiple small centres and recruited locally to them.

                  This big centre, long commute model of working isn't sustainable. The longer it takes that to sink in the worse will be the problems of sorting it out. An intelligent government would be looking at tax incentives to drive working at home or locally but those are rare and the current one seems to be on the less intelligent end of the spectrum.

                  The planning policy which has dictated the present situation was a response to C19th slum dwellings clustered round heavy, polluting industry. By and large that's not the problem now but the policy hasn't changed.

                2. doublelayer Silver badge

                  In that case, I don't think it matters much. Having such a facility wouldn't do very much over working from home. They could provide some amenities for the office workers that are shared among the remote working spaces, but there's little need to do so. Meanwhile, the benefits of office work with physical proximity among team members, availability of equipment or facilities that wouldn't be installed in a home, etc. are still not going to happen.

                  For a company, it is just a slightly more limiting (only hiring near the locations they've rented into) and expensive (rent an office rather than buy a chair and desk for an employee) method of getting the same thing they can do right now by having people work remotely from wherever they want. For a worker, it's also slightly more limiting (they may have to move to one of the suburbs with the office in it if they're not allowed to work from home) method. A worker who prefers remote work gets little from this. One who prefers to work in an office gets an office environment, so if they only care about a separate work environment, there's a little value but no other benefits.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "a few property developers looking at the workspace solutions ... in more suburban areas so as to mean there is no commute"

          I think this should be the future. There would have been a good many more suitable sites for this if the planners hadn't spent years scheduling ex-industrial premises as brownfield sites to be built on as housing. These would have been the sites big enough to build such places even if the existing premises couldn't be converted. Once they've been split up into multiple house plots it would be a nightmare putting them bag into bigger units.

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            To be honest, I have rather a liking for the proper old brownfield sites, small oases of grass and nettles with extra-added rubble, left alone by planners and developers; things in themselves, to add nature to the mix and remind us of mortality and rebirth...

            1. Triggerfish

              @ DrSyntax

              I agree, all those old factory and industrial buildings its just ripe for repurposing them into a more modern usage.

              It could be interesting to see what happens land values wise in the next few years. I think there's a possibly a tipping point or ratio that may emerge, where land that might be considered prime now, such retail space for convenience supermarkets as right near a train station in a city, drops in value depending on commuter usage vs retail space for the same in smaller towns. Office space in cities may go the same way. (Not saying it's going to crash completely but I think it's not going to be as valued for sure).

              @Calverhouse

              Depending on hows its done, it could actually be made somewhat of a boon for nature. If you take a brownfield site and you are say using a mill, yeah that gets done up and also the car park, but there is on some of those sites a fair bit of just empty space also,if planning is done right you turn that into a nature space, there's probably no reason to build extra buildings. If it's redeveloped for housing it's usually maximize all available sqm of land space and best you get is a thin strip of grass.

      8. idiot taxpayer here again Bronze badge

        Down vote me now, you don't want to read my post, as if

        @elsergiovolador

        I have read your post and my reaction is just, wow. I ask you, just where do you get all that bullshit from? I mean..

        "People who really want to work in the office are those with not so great circumstances at home and they treat it as an escape". Fucking hell, have another "wow".

        Then there is this..

        "Companies should recognise that and perhaps fund hot desking space for them"

        So how would this work for people who are not office "workers?"

        I don't see this working for people who work on a factory shop floor, Doctors, Nurses, Bus/Train drivers, you know, all the people that do real work, not just prat around in an office whingeing about "Manglement". If they know so fucking much, why are they working for such "Manglement"? Why are they not running their own business?.

        Case in point, I have a small business and employ three people. And they now demand, yes demand that I let them work at home like last time. Oh and they also expect me to install their work computers in their home, pay for the insurance and (as my production machines are never connected to the internet but will now have to be) pay for their fucking internet connection, not to mention (but I will) pay for the increase in their council tax as part of their home will be classed as a business? Then there is physical security. My production machines cost around £60,000 each. And I am going to let them take them home? Again? Am I fuck. And did I mention that I spent a cock hair short of 20,000 quid on aircon complete with some sort of uv thing that kills viruses? And no, it is not entirely recirculating. It sucks in 30% of outside air. And up goes the heating bill.

        In short, fuck it. I have done the sums and it is not going to happen. Tomorrow, (Friday) I am going to video call (well I can't meet them in person can I?) each of them and tell them I am shutting down. It's easier just to give them 90 days in lieu of notice and whatever else they are entitled to.

        And, yes. I know they are worried about getting the fucking plague. Thing is, so am I.

        Moral, be careful what you wish for...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Down vote me now, you don't want to read my post, as if

          "Moral, be careful what you wish for."

          Indeed.

      9. martyn.hare
        Thumb Up

        Complete WFH or bust

        I'm willing to walk away from companies offering "hybrid" if it's even so much as subtly implied that it's a requirement that people should go to the office. There's nothing better than having full control over your own working environment, no more need for a car or other vehicle and the ability to socialise completely on my own terms.

        WFH will really start to shine this coming summer, as the lunch hour becomes an easy way to (safely) enjoy the local park, proper morning runs for personal fitness will become super convenient with the ability to shower at home... plus having friends over rather than going to noisy bars/pubs/clubs is still cheaper, even if you pay for all the drinks and most of their taxi fares.

        I'm in my early 30s now, I'm not some newbie junior gopher who needs to learn the most basic of the basics from my elders any more. Sod the next generation and their training needs; this is exactly the sci-fi dystopia I've been craving and I'm not afraid to tell it as it is!

      10. jh27

        > People who really want to work in the office are those with not so great circumstances at home and they treat it as an escape.

        LMFTFY - People who really want to read The Register in the office are those with not so great circumstances at home and they treat it as an escape.

      11. imanidiot Silver badge

        "Companies should recognise that and perhaps fund hot desking space for them."

        Downvoted for mentioning hotdesking. F*ck that shit sideways with a hot poker.

        If I come into the office I expect to be certain that there is a desk for me, that I can sit there and that I don't have to worry about finding a place, whether or not the right equipment will be there or about whether or not it's still there after a meeting. I also detest having to adjust my desk and chair every single time I sit down in the morning.

        In my line of work (engineering) working in the office is sometimes just the faster and easier way to communicate. Teams (or whatever other method for communication used) just isn't as effective sometimes as just being able to get up, walk over to someone to tap them on the shoulder and point to a paper drawing to ask questions. I've done wfh basically full time from roughly december 2019 to September 2020 and I found the lack of social interactions (all my other hobbies that involved seeing other people were also shut down) to be demoralizing and depressing. I'm prone to mental health issues anyway and I find I'm STILL struggling with hitting my stride again after a long period of not having any issues. New lockdowns now or "mandatory" remote work are not helping.

      12. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >They are often the loudest advocates for coming back to office

        Also the most amplified by business heavily invested in commercial space and servicing commuters. I've been hybrid working since 2001 - live 300 miles from London where most of 'my offices' have been. I don't really understand carbon offset, but in commute terms I must have saved/planted a small woodland at least.

        Inability to support and benefit commercially from hybrid working is the most reliable indicator of failing performance/output measure and generally poor management I've encountered. Really needs turning on it's head - 'why is your company management failing so badly?'

        I don't understand the social/MH arguments either - use the hours and energy you save commuting to hang out with people you like, most of whom you probably didn't meet through work anyway .

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          "I don't really understand carbon offset, but in commute terms I must have saved/planted a small woodland at least."

          It wouldn't count as carbon offset, but good to do anyway. Offset has to be a carbon-negative activity like sequestration in a new plant so it can be used to reduce the emissions from some carbon-positive activity elsewhere. You have reduced the amount of carbon-positive activities you're doing, so it obtains a similar end result.

    3. Khaptain Silver badge

      Not me

      Personally I like coming in to the office.

      Working from home makes me feel like a office drone. At work there is real world social interaction, we discuss our work in a different manner, we have coffees together, we eat together at lunch time adn quite often we go for beers together ( maybe a little too often :-) .

      Sitting at home is fine for a day or two as it makes "non work related" chores much much easier.

      If I could never work from home again,it wouldn't worry me.

      If I could never work from the office again I would probably go crazy.. Not meeting people in real life will lead to a lot of pyscological problems down the line...

      We are after all social creatures...

    4. Persona Silver badge

      What will be interesting to see is how the promotion prospects pan out for those who are normally out of the office compared to the ones who are in.

      It's also going to be tough for managers at home when their boss and some of their staff are in the office. Before too long the home working manager gets cut out of the loop and forgotten.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        It works well for everyone remote, or everyone does a few days home / few days in the office.

        But if you have a couple of people who are always remote, unless they are so specialised/important that they are effectively full-time contractors, they get forgotten about for new projects / not invited to meetings etc.

  2. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I'm not sure if I would jump ship immediately if they removed remote working in my firm, but I certainly would be looking around for a new job. Thankfully, my firm seems to have realised that people like hybrid working so isn't pushing to get people back full time in the office. Well, at least not in my department...

    I would also think that the best way for new staff would be to start in the office for at least a month before starting remote working. That way they get up to speed, and IT don't need to start shipping out hardware before someone has actually passed their trial period.

  3. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

    I had 2 employees take that gamble with me when furlough came to an end. Neither of them have a job now. For this to work there has to be either a source of plentiful jobs in the market for them to go to, or the government is supplementing your income somehow. People can't live off nothing. In the shot term a talented few will be able to pull off this trick, but those jobs are relatively scarce. For everyone else, stop coming into work, you'll be out of a job, no matter what you read in the media.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Whatever the reasons, most people would be mad to jump ship before having sorted something else anyway.

      I don't think many people will be in a hurry to leave without having found something else, per normal, but they will start looking.

      And I'm not sure about the scarcety - the job boards are full of remote/hybrid working.

    2. Salts

      The question is, have you replaced them? I would, as many others, have said would wait for the right ship to sail past then I would be bidding you a not very sad farewell.

      1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

        Yes, lots of people out there are still desperate for a job. The only people that can afford to wait for the right job, are either those people with sufficient savings, or have other income (therefore they are not relying on the job anyway). The vast majority of people do not have that.

        HR will become very adapt soon at identifying those people clearly willing to jump ship. Why invest time and money in someone that demonstrates on their CV that they will have no company loyalty. Covid has created a false sense of job security due to furlough and a benefits system that has had the enforcement side of it's operations suspended. That money pot can't last forever, and in the UK there's a full-steam-ahead movement since brexit to strip people of their employment rights. There is going to be a very sudden switch from this work-when-you-like utopia we seem to be in, to a sudden panic for financial security when the government attitude switches tack to claw all the money back it is currently spending to keep people out of work. Got a pension pot? We'll tax that. Got bank savings? We'll tax that. Own your own home? we'll tax that. Not got a job? Your benefits will stop unless you can demonstrate a willingness to work.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Neither of them have a job now.

          Sounds like a shitty environment anyway, they are better off out.

          No such problems from either of my employers, both happy for anyone to continue to work from home indefinitely. All my working life I've looked at commute journeys as idiotic wastes of time and so it as come be to proven.

        2. batfink Silver badge

          Due to my mixture of permie and contract work over the years, my CV wouold be one of those that would show "no company loyalty". However, I consider that I've been much more loyal to the companies I've worked for than they have to me.

          It works both ways.

        3. call-me-mark

          Company loyalty?

          What makes you think you can expect employees to be loyal to your company when you show your employees no loyalty?

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: Company loyalty?

            Indeed.

            Company loyalty disappeared right around when HR demonstrated that humans were just resources - to be used and disposed of.

          2. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

            Re: Company loyalty?

            What makes you think I haven't showed my staff loyalty? You don't even know me. All my staff got their desired working hours and days. I paid for their NVQ courses out of my own pocket, without asking for a retainer. When they wanted to be provided with additional working clothes, I provided them. Overtime was provided on a self-reporting basis. If you want to do overtime, just clock out later. Average holidays is 8 working weeks, up from the statutory 5.6. All remaining staff have been with me 25+ years, I'm a bloody good employer.

            1. My-Handle Silver badge

              Re: Company loyalty?

              If true, that is clearly a good thing and something that we don't see very much of these days.

              However, as others have said upthread, most people will look for a place to land before jumping. And they will usually have a reason to start looking in the first place. This may be circumstantial (e.g. moving area / retiring), but can also indicate dissatisfaction with their current employer.

              Your previous comments seem to be leaning heavily on the "it's a bad idea to move, no-one wants to employ you, you're better off working from the office" vibe. It misses the point of the article, and doesn't put forward the best of impressions towards people who, as you say, don't know you.

              Also, "I'm a good employer" is one of those statements alongside "Trust me, I'm an honest person" and "I'm a genius". People who are those things don't usually need to say it.

        4. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          No loyalty

          HR will become very adapt soon at identifying those people clearly willing to jump ship.

          Either you have a crystal ball or you have a confidence I don't share. The average length of permanent employment for people working in IT prior to COVID-19 as 18 months.

          I appreciate that IT is a small part of the economy, however El-Reg is traditionally considered tech focused. Why would anyone have loyalty to a company when most companies do not have loyalty to their staff? Most companies will offer new joiners market rates but will give small if any raises to existing staff. It is not uncommon for a new starter to be on substantially more then the longest serving members of their new team

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: No loyalty

            Even the John Lewis Partnership outsourced its IT functions recently. Those IT "partners" were of course TUPEd across. Nice to know that even the mutuals don't think of us as loyal servants.

        5. tiggity Silver badge

          @Phones Sheridan

          Tell us the name of your company - I'll make sure I don't apply for a job there.

          I do have the ability to pick & choose what I do* & an office all (or most of) the time scenario would get a big no from me.

          Most IT jobs don't need much office attendance

          As you get older a long commute becomes more of a physical and mental drain, and (as I live out in the sticks, as that's what other family members prefer, so have the luxury of lots of green space around me, but dismal public transport options, then most IT work is a long commute)... Compared to when I was younger & happy to drive lots when I was rejected from a job as it was a 50 mile drive commute & they though that too far (ironically it had good fast routes from where I lived then so only about an hour, compared to nearer journeys of 25 miles that could easily take 2 hours each way due to jammed roads)

          I'm sure a half decent employment lawyer could argue that office all the time was discriminatory towards certain people who faced a long commute & effects of enforced daily long commute bad for their health as employer has a duty of care.

          *household could cope with me just doing a part time hours minimum wage job if periods of no suitable IT jobs. Current role is hybrid, just occasional office visits, which is mainly for a bit of "in person" meet up & typically I find "in office" work far less productive as get disrupted a lot more by people strolling up for a chat etc... working at home I can just disconnect from network for a short time when I need to work focused & 100% disturbance free.

        6. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          @Phones...

          "...to a sudden panic for financial security when the government attitude switches tack to claw all the money back it is currently spending to keep people out of work"

          What kind of timescale do you see for this bright and welcoming future? Might make the next (few) general elections interesting if timed incorrectly,

          Icon: oldie, survived the Thatcher era mostly in one piece.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Neither of them have a job now.

      If I was going to quit, I would have taken few months off. Maybe take time to learn some new skills or do some travelling.

    4. wyatt

      I agree, this only works if there is a job available in a company that is WFH that you get.

      I am of the opinion that as Covid becomes accepted as here to stay, businesses will slowly return to on site activities, probably not at the same scale due to cost but some will be back in the office.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        One of the things that will be a necessary part of accepting Covid as here to stay will be accepting new approaches to work that don't involve commuting by crowded public transport into crowded offices. Thinking about what to do with that massive amount of city centre property will be another.

        1. Triggerfish

          Quite interestingly at the moment the gov has been doing a big push on rejuvenating Town Centres (lots of funding out, reclaim high streets etc). If office space drops and people end up staying in these Towns more to work, then this could be a big thing that helps.

          Just a pure throwing out there bullshit level hypothesis,

          If you start taking all the towns that became run down because of no work and hard commutes, and they become more attractive (i.e rejuvenate everything, schools, shops, infrastructure), and enough people started taking up the thought they ca now work from home and they'd rather raise their kids in a small nice Town than say centre of a London suburb that isn't so nice. You might get people migrating back out of cities like a reverse industrial revolution.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            I agree. There could be a situation where people live in urban centres, suburban centres or rural centres as it suits them with all of them able to work locally.

    5. iron Silver badge

      Based on the speed with which I changed job 12 months ago and the number of recruitment agents who still contact me on a daily basis, despite me not looking for work, there are plenty of jobs available.

      I also have a largely unskilled friend who is looking for a job atm and he has turned offers down for ethical resons. So its not just the `talented few` who can pull of the 'trick' of changing job.

      Sounds like they are better off on the dole than working for you anyway.

    6. BeerFuelledDude

      Why did you not offer hybrid/remote working anymore?

      1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

        Because manual work doesn't do itself, and they had already had the jobs created for them with their desired working hours and days. They got used to getting furlough for around a year, plus my topping it up to 100%, and didn't think that I would let them walk when they decided to push for more concessions than I had already given them.

    7. Nifty Silver badge

      "People can't live off nothing. In the short term a talented few will be able to pull off this trick"

      You've overlooked those within a decade or so of their official retirement date. That will include a lot of minders of critical legacy IT infrastructure. This group of people have financial options and maybe paid off mortgages.

    8. RobLang

      Context?

      Is there a context problem here? Do you employ a lot of IT professionals? In the context of El Reg, most will be reading this from the perspective of IT professionals, which is a world away from industries where there is manual work or work wear.

  4. TonyJ Silver badge

    We've been saying...

    ...for years that the technology to work from home has actually been available.

    But of course, it hasn't been the technology, it's been the idea that managers cannot watch what their staff are doing and that lack of trust.

    What lockdown has generally proven in my experience though, is that without 2+ hours a day commuting, people will work far more flexibly - they are free to drop their kids off at school before they sit down and can nip to the post office to send that parcel, for example. But they tend to be more productive overall because when you can get out of bed a bit later, you feel fresher from the get-go.

    The only people who really want to push for people to be back in the office (notwithstanding those jobs that need someone to be in a specific place, of course, due to the very nature of that work) are those very same managers who must be wondering what their job is actually for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've been saying...

      If people had that flexibility remotely, why wouldn't they have it in the office?

      I've always done post office runs and such, why would a business allow this whilst remote if they weren't doing so in an office?

      I do feel people would rather not have the commute, than have to simply work in an office.

      1. Martyn Welch

        Re: We've been saying...

        Because your office may not be around the corner from a post office?

      2. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: We've been saying...

        Don't take the previous post quite so literally. It's not *just* about popping out to the post office, it's about having the flexibility to do pretty much *all* of the stuff at home which otherwise would either have to be deferred until you get home in the evening, until the weekend, or something for which you'd end up taking a day off work just to sit at home all day waiting to do at the particular (but not able to be defined precisely in advance) time it occurs - e.g. being available to take delivery of something for which the best estimate the delivery company can give you is "will be delivered between 8am and 6pm"...

        So, you might be able to pop out of the office to post a letter, but can you pop out of the office to stick a load of clothes in the washing machine, or unload the dishwasher when its done, or answer the door to the delivery person, or do a quick bit of DIY (oiling that squeaky hinge, tightening up that wobbly shelf bracket etc.) that you keep forgetting to do once you're home from the office but which manages to bug you FAR more when you're spending all day at home?

        For sure there's going to be some level of personal variations here - e.g. if you live alone and don't therefore generate a basketful of laundry every day, you might not see much benefit in being able to keep the washing machine and clothes line busy throughout the day tackling the backlog, whilst those of us with families at home might see far more benefit in being able to get all of these "background" domestic activities running in parallel with our daytime work, so that we get to maximise the amount of evening/weekend time we've got to do all the other stuff that comes with being part of a family.

        Personally, WFH for me was an utterly liberating experience, and it made me realise just how much family time I'd lost over the years due to not getting back home until godknowswhattimemostdays. It's often the little things you don't even necessarily think about - e.g. pre-WFH, the only times I'd ever see my kids coming home from school would be on those odd days off I'd take outside of the school holidays, whereas now I get to experience that on a regular basis. And it's bloody nice.

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: We've been saying...

      Well, the joke's on the managers then. I can browse pron The Register all day from my office as well. Though ElReg does count as IT material, as I only read it for the reports about CVEs etc.

      I feel I'm actually more honest about my time keeping at home, as I am not constantly running into colleagues I have not seen in ages and have to chat to them...

  5. Peter2 Silver badge

    More than half of UK workers would consider jumping ship if a hybrid work option were withdrawn by their company

    If they could find another job offering working from home with the same pay.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Or paying the same available income after paying tax and commute costs.

      The most interesting side of it is that 'down South' salaries are now available 'up North' for remote workers, so some people (including me) get paid rather more than the last job and have no obligation to ever visit the office.

      (Although I do try and get down to it every couple of months, 2-3 days with the company paying for a hotel. As discussed elsewhere on here, it's good to meet with people)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'down South' salaries are now available 'up North'

        If it is of interest, it is also true that 'up North' salaries are now available 'down South', although this is perhaps not as helpful :-)

    2. Nifty Silver badge

      "If they could find another job offering working from home with the same pay"

      The cut in commuting costs (that come out of post-tax income) and better child/pet/parcel minding opportunities are worth about 25% of your gross salary IMO.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        This presupposes that your working in somewhere like London and have to commute in from outer Mongolia because the house prices where you work are a thousand times your annual income for a property roughly the size of a shoebox.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          One of the factors that can affect commute is the possibility of different members of the household having to commute to widely separate locations. There might be no good location where everyone can get a short journey to work whatever the house prices. But, yes, with successive Chancellors following Gordon Brown and ignoring house prices as part of their preferred measure of inflation the cheap money they've bribed electors with has force house prices up and up so it's going to force unsustainably long commutes as a consequence.

    3. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      If they could find another job offering working from home with the same pay.

      The kicker (to most companies) is that the new job will probably pay more because the last few years you've been getting little to no annual increase in salary while the job market has meant employers in general are offering a better salary for that position.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work for a 24x7 emergency service and pre-pandemic the business justification to have have IT staff in the office was in case of problems (e.g. network/server).

    (A) The business is 24x7

    (B) IT are only onsite around 23% of the time annually

    (C) Lots of the businesses busiest and most critical times there's no IT there (Friday nights, bank holidays etc)

    Given the above, the reasoning for having IT physically onsite was always flawed and WFH during Covid has had no impact at all on delivering IT services and fixing the occasional problem such as a physical switch reboot.

    Prior to the current recommendation of WFH which started yesterday, the new IT justification for trying to get people back into the office was that they we're worried they'd lose the desks/office space. Err, these would the same desks that would no longer be required if staff were working from home!

    I'm a grumpy old BOFH who never left his desk and never talked to anyone when I WAS in the office, so there's no detriment there AND the office is on an indistrual estate in the middle of nowhere with sod-all external services such as coffee\sandwich shops; shopping or pubs - so WFH also has no impact on local businesses either.

    A proper permanent WFH policy would allow us to recruit talent from outside of the local 50 mile radius we current use which means we really struggle to recruit in IT - we have medical staff who work 350 miles away and never come into the office, yet IT who implement the technology allowing the business to do this are expected to pointlessly commute to the office every day.

    I'll be voting with my feet and P45 before wasting 2 hours a day of my own time going back into the office.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This seems all backwards really, IT has been working remotely for decades without it being considered "WFH".

      Especially out of hours work.

      Having someone onsite at all times as remote hands is a good compromise though.

      I have always felt that these long commutes are generally self inflicted though.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        This is true, when I go on meetings with colleagues in the USA or Eastern Europe they have no idea if I'm working in an office or at home, and neither do I for them. This is the same as it was 2+ years ago when I would do 2 days a week working from home. Location is an irrelevance.

        As for managers monitoring staff. I've encountered plenty of lead-swinging from people who were doing 11 hours in the office. It's what you actually produce that is the tell, not where you are sitting.

        1. DavyPaul

          i've seen my overseas co-workers ...

          ... more since we rapidly rolled out TEAMS .

          we have implemented 30:20 onsite:wfm and ocviously, when we have to install something or have an on-prem commissioning.

          I do miss the travel to Amsterdam, Cologne & Barcelona.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I have always felt that these long commutes are generally self inflicted though."

        True, but after a while you get tired of living under Waterloo Bridge so you can be close to the office.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          This is the great benefit for most of the country of COVID: It's finally getting jobs out of London so that those of us with enough common sense not to commute into that rancid hole can more easily find work.

    2. Plest Bronze badge

      I feel you.

      We've worked 24hr support/cover for about 20 years, WFH or office, made no difference, we still covered it just as well.

      The only IT people needed on any site are hardware techs for obvious reason, network kit engineers and PC support bods repairing laptops. My shop has started moving to more cloud tech for the exact reason to allow the network boys as much time WFH as the other techies such as devs/infra/ops/admin bods.

      10 years ago we had a "big white chief" who refused WFH under any circumstances, there was no justification, "you want to work and be paid then be present!". Utter rubbish! I was doing dial support back in 1993 with no issues, let alone 2010.

      Now all changed, the current company CEO ( a very young 38! ) has pushed down hard that he wants a more flexible and agile workforce, that means everyone from temp/contractor to permie gets a company laptop without fail. You want monitors, chairs, keyboards, anything, just ask and we'll find the money so you can all WFH most of the time. You want to come into the office? Just online book a spot, bring the laptop we gave you and plug in when you arrive.

      Of course the real drive for us WFH is the huge saving £20k/sq ft per month on office space costs! Ha ha!

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Windows

        "£20k/sq ft per month"

        Is that a typo? Did you mean a total saving of £20k/month?

        If not, that must be some office!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Of course the real drive for us WFH is the huge saving £20k/sq ft per month on office space costs! Ha ha!

        This was the saving grace at the start of the pandemic for a very-well-known major retail bank I do a lot of work with.

        About five years ago they could spend £X million on new/refurbished/expanded office space to accommodate their projected headcount, or a number a lot less than X on new laptops, VPN endpoints and Webex subscriptions and tell everyone they were only expected in the office 3 days a week.

        Come pandemic? You're only expected in the office 0 days a week and almost everything just kept ticking over.

        Businesses fail for many reasons, but being more adaptable and more flexible is almost never one of those reasons.

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Losing

    Losing two hours per day on commuting, morning for dressing up - you have to look sharp, then whole day pretending you are working so micro managers can have their hard on.

    Then losing another hour on mandated lunch - having overpriced processed food in stuffed cafe or queuing to company microwave praying someone is not going to heat up their smoked fish before you.

    Then there always going to be that guy, usually a manager, who is tired of his family at home and will be pestering everyone to join him at the pub after work "for a quick one" - and people will be joining in hope he will look favourable at their quarterly review and maybe they get that dreamed 1k raise.

    Haha no thanks.

    Don't get me started on employers not compensating workers for use of their homes as a company office.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Losing

      "...Don't get me started on employers not compensating workers for use of their homes as a company office..."

      But they don't usually compensate for commuting, clothing (where there's a dress code, even smart casual) etc.

      In the scheme of things I bet most people spend less working at home than they do for all of the above.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Losing

        It's apples to oranges, but workers seem content with the extra money they have from not commuting - train tickets cost fortune...

        1. Plest Bronze badge
          Happy

          Re: Losing

          The money I've saved not communting each month over the last 2 years, about £300/month. is going into an ISA for my daughter's college fund then she can't come on the cadge when she heads off to Uni next year!

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Losing

            Mmm. While I thoroughly support what you're doing, £300/month for three years may not even cover her rent, let alone living costs. Don't even ask about fees, books and all the other fun things.

            Which isn't a comment on you or your daughter. I was the last annual intake to get a student grant, from back when universities were places of learning to aspire to and students were financially supported to go there.

            Now they seem to primarily be creches for the perpetually offended, who have to pay eye watering sums to be taught grievance politics.

            Hopefully your daughter will enjoy a better experience that though :)

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Losing

              I, too, date from the era of student grants but if you think there were no perpetually offended people alongside you then you must have spent your student days in a coma.

              1. SundogUK Silver badge

                Re: Losing

                Compared to today? You have no idea.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Losing

      Don't get me started on employers not compensating workers for use of their homes as a company office.

      But they do, and the government in the UK does too.

      Desk and chair, computer, multi-monitors and docking station are all supplied, as is broadband allowance and mobile phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Losing

        I know one chancer who tried getting his employer to pay for A/C installation in his loft conversion "office" last summer.

        1. DavyPaul
          Thumb Up

          Re: Losing

          if you don't ask, you don't get :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Losing

            Like duck houses & moat cleaning, eh?

    3. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

      Re: Losing

      "compensating workers for use of their homes as a company office.

      If this happened there would be an awful lot of people unhappy as they started to get taxed on capital gains, not to mention being on the receiving end of business rates bills as working from home is officially acknowledged.

      WFH is a financial perk that is flying under the radar at the moment but it isn't un-noticed. That loss of business rates that will occur as businesses close down unused office space, will quickly be passed on to the workers to make up the difference. We're living in a Covid funded bubble at the moment. Once that funding stops the authorities will scramble to make up the difference.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Losing

        Fair point!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Losing

          It is indeed. But any government that tried raising taxes that way would discover it to be a vote-loser.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Losing

            And hiking NI isn't?

          2. The Onymous Coward

            Re: Losing

            And that is why successive UK governments have cut taxes to hitherto unknown lows - oh wait.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Losing

              Trying to block a sea-change in working practices that has mass-appeal. In practice it to dawn on governments at some point that working at home or locally will be a part of meeting their carbon-neutral aspirations.

      2. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Losing

        More or less. Really depends on where you live and the company you are working for.

        Here in Germany we can claim "home office" operating costs back from taxes, the amount depends on whether you have an office (separate room!) or are working on the kitchen table (allowed due to the pandemic). Our company also provides furniture and equipment (desk, chair, screens, docking station - and of course the laptop) - if you want it / need it. It will be collected again when you leave. All of this is regulated quite heavily (it is Germany after all), so we are not under the radar.

        So... yeah, the company does not "rent" your home office from you. However, we do get a ticket for local transport (bus, train, tram), which we currently do not have to pay taxes on, the company does pay our "income tax" on the price of the ticket (I guess due to green washing).

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Losing

          Here in Germany we can claim "home office" operating costs back from taxes

          Yes, we also get a tax benefit for working from home in the UK.

          And I think in all European countries.

      3. Martyn Welch

        Re: Losing

        You might be "living in a Covid funded bubble", though there are some of us that have been home working for years. As far as I know, the company I work for took no furlough money. We have offices, those workers who mostly *chose* to work in them were given support to work from home. The offices were closed before it was mandated. Very little changed for us, we just kept working.

        I shall take your previous comment "In the shot term a talented few will be able to pull off this trick" as a complement, thanks.

        Sure, not going to be true for everyone, some jobs do require access to some fixed infrastructure. Mine doesn't. As a result the company I wok for employ globally and as a result I get to work with an amazing and outstanding group of diverse individuals. I've actually moved further away from my closest office this year, something that the company has no issues with due to our globally spread workforce.

        By requiring office working for all your employees you are limiting your talent pool, either geographically or by not enabling potential employees to work around other non-work commitments. Might be working for you at the moment and I hope for your sake that doesn't change, there are still plenty of people out there which would seem to prefer working in an office. But I recon you have a few employees that are actively looking for other options given the stance you seem to have taken, even if they won't admit that to you.

        I'm happy not to be commuting and clogging up the roads for those that don't have the choice. I'm happy to be able to support local businesses where I live or make myself a decent fresh lunch at home in my kitchen, rather than the type of options which I can take as a packed lunch or are available a in business park. I love the fact my kids get to see a bit more of me. I'm glad I can spend my non-contracted hours and wages on things that matter to me, not commuting costs.

        If in the long run I end up paying a bit more tax, so be it. I still think I'll be in a better place as a result and so will the environment.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Losing

      "praying someone is not going to heat up their smoked fish before you"

      The way round this is being the one who heats up the smoked fish.

    5. The Onymous Coward

      Re: Losing

      Perhaps you're being micro-managed because you are pretending to work. And a post-work swifty is basically a British institution. You clearly don't like to socialise, but has it not occurred to you that some people do, and may go to the pub to have a laugh with eachother, not because they want a pay rise?

    6. The Basis of everything is...

      Re: Losing

      But you can claim a weekly tax deduction from HMRC for enforced working from home - as in your employer has said you should, regardless of what BoJo has decreed.

      And not having to pay petrol/fares is also a nice saving too.

  8. BeerFuelledDude

    I wouldn't be pleased

    Enough people, where I work, want to continue working this way. WFH primarily with the choice of going to the office sometimes. I switched companies during lockdown and have been there for 1.5 years now - been to the office three times. Love it. If they removed hybrid I would look for other roles that offered it...but I wouldn't just quit without getting another job first.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My company is dragging everyone back to the office no flexiability on offer, we all hate it, we have no choice and talent is starting to leave because of it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "talent is starting to leave because of it."

      So management will stay on?

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        That goes without saying.

        Those that Can do, Those that Can't teach, and those that Can't Teach manage...

        1. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

          Close, but nearly 15 years in the education sector taught me that it goes like this:

          Those who can, do.

          Those who can't, teach.

          Those who can't teach become OFSTED inspectors.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            The two might not be incompatible. Those who can't teach or manage become OFSTED inspectors.

      2. batfink Silver badge

        IMO those managers who insist on being able to micromanage people are those who would skive off themselves given half a chance, so they assume everyone else is the same.

    2. Plest Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      If you can, join 'em!

      Lucky my shop is the complete opposite, they almost want to keep people out, sending us any office kit we need to work safely from home. Guess I got lucky when I read stories like this.

  10. The Onymous Coward

    Love being at home, hate working from home

    Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, but:

    - I love my commute. It's a 10 mile cycle ride through north London, so hardly a pootle through the Cotswolds, but it wakes me up and means I do at least an hour of exercise every day without even thinking about it. And, apart from the cost of tyres, chains and cake, free!

    - I love working in the office. My actual job is slightly better than tolerable, but the people are a friendly, interesting and funny bunch.

    - I hate working from home. I don't have a home office, but I do have two very young kids. It breaks my heart to tell them I can't play with them, because my laptop is more important than they are for ~7 hours of the day. Being at home is great. Adding work into the equation sucks.

    So, for me, having an office to go to is the deal-breaker. Obviously, I like the flexibility of being able to work from home when I really _need_ to, and I really couldn't care less what my reports do, as long as they are productive. But WFH is rubbish for many people and, in my experience, largely enjoyed on a full-time basis by misanthropes and lazy feckers. Flame me.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Love being at home, hate working from home

      "It breaks my heart to tell them I can't play with them"

      But you can't because you have to get on your bike & cycle into work. When I worked in central London it was about an hour and a half each way on a good day so I didn't see much of my children. We weren't living like that for more than a few years but I think something got lost during that time that could never be got back.

  11. EmilPer.

    commute

    the commute is often the problem, not working in the office

  12. AndrueC Silver badge
    WTF?

    33 per cent felt they need a manager "in the room" as they got started.

    I've never wanted my manager in the room other than to occasionally throw things at them.

  13. msobkow Silver badge

    Remote work with very flexible time is the only way for me to work at all, due to personal issues that developed as the years went by.

    I'm just lucky to have learned enough while I was on site and working the big contracts to have the experience and education to be able to work remotely; a lot of people in this world are not so lucky.

    Nor are they lucky enough to have a job where even in a cube, I was a mere pair of headphones away from rockin' out all day in front of the computer, coffee at hand. I do love my job; always did. I just can't put in as many hours as I once did. Not that I would now even if I could; 60-70 hour weeks for months at a time was kinda nuts, even at the time.

    I wouldn't trade the experience of those overtime years for anything, because I made enough money at the time to eat out at the finest of ethnic restaurants every night, working in areas populous enough to have a good selection of same, and have probably tried 40-50% of the planet's nations' major cuisines. (It is a big planet; I don't delude myself that I made much more of a dent than that in the 15 years I was "living large.")

    *burp*

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I'd love

    to work from home.

    Sadly my neighbours are rather against it due to the noise of the air compressors, the disruption to have 3 phase supply put in.... and the minor annoyance of a 5 &1/2 ton machine tool coming through their ceiling....

    Thats not to say there are aspects of the job that can be done from home, the programming and design work for one. but when you need to be on-site at all times to deal with any problems that may happen (tool failure/machine failure/mangler failure) then its not sensible to be a 40 min drive away .

  15. steviebuk Silver badge

    Working from home....

    I very much enjoy. Built ourselves a table out of birch plywood for the spare room. But, although I do really enjoy it and if I had a long commute it would be even better (its only a 15min walk away), I do question the cost of electricity and broadband costs. All being used and not getting any extra pay for that. That's the only issue.

  16. oldtaku
    Mushroom

    I definitely will quit

    If my workplace mandates physically going back to work 5 days a week I will quit. If they mandate going back to work more than 1 day a week (or as necessary, I'm always willing to go in if necessary), I will quit.

    I'm demonstrably more productive from home. And being in tech, I get 5-8 job inquiries a week, so finding a new job will not be a problem. There is absolutely no reason for me to go back on a daily basis other than for management to pretend they do something useful, and I'm not going back to those dark ages.

    1. jollyboyspecial

      Re: I definitely will quit

      Don't slam your door on the way out.

      However as more and more companies are stating that they are expecting workers back in the office the trick for you will be in finding a new job that suits your working requirement.

      Furthermore some employers have stated that they absolutely do not mind a number of employees quitting and are using the threat of forcing employees to return to the office as a means to trim down the workforce without the need to go through redundancy procedures.

      Bear in mind that nobody, but nobody, is indispensable. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people think they are right up until the day they hand in their notice.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I definitely will quit

        No single person might be indispensable. The workforce, or a big enough chunk of it is. The manager who drives that chunk away may then have to reflect on that first statement.

        "But it never ceases to amaze me how many people think they are right up until the day they hand in their notice."

        Oddly enough there was a time when I handed in my notice and was promptly offered the promotion that had been withheld for years. None of the usual formalities such as boards at least not obviously although they might have appeared if I'd accepted. I didn't. Obviously I wasn't indispensable because things didn't collapse when I left. But employers can take people for granted just as much, or even more, than employees take their supposed indispensability for granted.

        1. jtaylor Bronze badge

          Re: I definitely will quit

          "employers can take people for granted just as much, or even more, than employees take their supposed indispensability for granted."

          Indeed. I summarize this as "Who would recover/be happy first: the ex-employee or the ex-employer?"

          At most of my jobs, and I suspect many other IT positions, the person leaving would have a new job (with likely higher pay), before their former position would be filled (also likely at higher pay.)

  17. Binraider Silver badge

    Why would anyone want to return to the permanent commute, inadequate roads and trains for the number of users, and insignificant productivity differences over the advantages of WFH? We all have better things to do than repeatedly burn petrol for an hour+ each way; to say nothing of the time wasted and environmental damage linked to that.

    Lots of offices were oversubscribed with more staff than desks and parking facilities being the norm.

    Yes, by all means I need to go in occasionally for the social aspect of work, but majority of office jobs don’t need it.

    The one area where there is a weak link in WFH is training up new starters, who are of course unable to learn by osmosis remotely.

    In spite of brexit, the reality of WFH as the new normal has opened up new jobs offshore. Considering joining an outfit HQed in Liechtenstein. No need to move to do so either. Win.

  18. Jim Whitaker
    Facepalm

    So where would they jump to?

  19. Mog_X

    I came into my work office today, solely so I can pick up a new chair (my company closed an office and are allowing us to have one in return for a charity donation)

    It took nearly an hour to drive in. Now sitting at a desk which has far worse monitors than I have at home listening to a couple of 'colleagues' in the next section natter incessantly (including playing phone video clips of their kids to each other)

    Now why would I want to return to this full time?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It’s funny how some view personal opinion or experience as something that they can disagree or argue against*.

    Personally I feel that wfh is the best option all round for me about 99% of the time. I’m autistic and sensory overload is a very real problem that I no longer have to deal with on a day to day basis meaning my overall health has massively improved.

    We all have colleagues who may be very loud, lack appropriate personal hygiene, push the heating/cooling to maximum - none of which are there to bother me. Yes my overall working hours are longer but my productivity is higher too.

    The only fly in the ointment is the temptation of whatever is in the cupboards or fridge.

    I know a lot of people hate working alone and lot love working from home on their own. As long as output matched expectations I don’t think it matters where you work if it’s what you want.

    *argue as in reasoned discussion/debate.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The only fly in the ointment is the temptation of whatever is in the cupboards or fridge."

      Mmmm. My team used to sit next to an office that was often used for lunch-time meetings where the emphasis was on the rather good lunches. That was one thing that was missed on moving elsewhere.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pros and cons

    Hey!

    My name is Jared, and I work in the Teams User Experience Enhancement Team for Teams at Microsoft!

    Yes, we're the 763 (at last count) folk who make it possible for you all to work at home using the power of Teams for Office 365 Teams Cloud platform. I and fifty colleagues from all backgrounds (US, middle class, voted for Biden) and ages (<35) work in the Cartooning UX Squad - when Teams has an internal error, the sad yet happy yet pouty definitely not white but ethnicity undefined identifies as female face that pops up - the third from the left in the second to back row - that was me!

    It's a fulfilling job and my greatest aim is that one of my cartoons ends up on the login screen somewhere, surrounded by other happy cartoons.

    Anyway working from home definitely has its drawbacks; because we haven't the budget for Teams for Enterprises (Enterprise Office 365 Edition) for Sharepoint for Teams for Windows, our meetings are limited to 15 people and the video is a bit blocky (no audio either, except for dogs barking - one for the Bandwithisation Squad) so we tend to use Zoom for all of this. Oh and since we updated our Surfaces(tm)(r)(c) to Windows 11 for 365 for Teams for Office, they all stopped working - something to do with "DRM in the floppy disk driver", so we have to use iPads.

    I tried to interview at Apple, but they thought I was there to fix the coffee machine in the foyer. Shame I didn't get the job (too many buttons) - would've been a pay rise - Seattle Chai prices are getting insane. And rent. My team is being re-purposed to provide Huddle and Sprint opportunities to other firms who aren't Microsoft and Cartooningisation is to be done from somewhere in Mumbai. I strongly support this for diversity and please visit my gofundme page (rent and medical bills, Chai).

  22. jollyboyspecial

    Nonsense

    "The report is timely considering the UK government introduced its "Plan B" restrictions last night, which include advice to work from home where possible. Clearly for the time being employers cannot pull the option."

    This is utter nonsense for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly the government have made it very clear that "work from home if you can" is only advice and not law - this is why they are not putting it to a vote in the house next week. That being the case there is nothing in law that means your employer can't insist that you work from the office.

    Secondly most people who started working from home because of the pandemic and haven't yet returned to the office (and city and motorway traffic in the rush hour suggests that the vast majority are back in the office) do not have any contractual arrangements in place. As such most folk's contracts will still have them down as office based even if they have been working from home since last March. As such there is no legal basis for them to refuse to return to the office as there will be no contractual change. So quitting will be the only option - and if that means working your notice period from the office then that's what it will take.

    Remember even if your contract says you are a home worker changing you to an office worker is just like your employer moving you from one office to another. In other words depending on the mobility clause in your contract your employer simply has to announce the intended change and what (if any) financial package will be offered and enter a thirty day minimum consultation period. At the end of that period you have the option to accept whatever package is offered or decline it and take redundancy. If your contract does not give your home as your base of operations then no consultation or offer of redundancy is legally required.

    Cue people checking the mobility clause in their contract of employment.

  23. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Flexibility

    Some want to work in an office, others want hybrid working, others want to WFH full time. All of these are possible in many modern working environments but depend on the nature of the job, the individual, the commute, their home environment, and many other variables. The sensible companies are flexible as to the working environment and will in the longer term be those that attract the best people.

    The old way of having absolutely everyone in the office full time is over for many. Many people seem to be incapable of comprehending this and are still saying that we have to force everyone back to the old way of working because they personally want everyone else around them. Yes, legally companies can force their staff back to work, but if they do they will pretty soon start to haemorrhage staff as the staff manage to find work with companies that are willing to be more flexible.

    I know I would start looking immediately if my company decided that I had to be in the office 5 days per week. I was contracted to WFH 2 days per week before Covid and thankfully my company is very flexible so I will probably be in the office 1-2 days per month even after Covid finally fades away. We do have new starters and getting them up to speed whilst working remotely is occasionally difficult, but mostly just different. One benefit of recruiting people who WFH all the time, is that there is no need for relocation and that opens up the pool of potential recruits substantially.

    As to cost of WFH, personally the financial savings made by not commuting are substantially more than the cost of electricity/heating/furniture/equipment. In terms of personal time gained by no longer commuting, that is also substantial. Since wages are rising due to high numbers of unfilled vacancies I would imagine even new starters are better off financially.

    Due to Covid we have seen an acceleration of the changes in how we work. These changes were coming anyway but have now happened quite quickly. These changes are not going to go away, no matter how much some people want them to.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Social & Legal Contract of Employment is long gone...

    The social contract between employees & employers is dead and employment contracts these days are worthless, they can be effectively ripped up/changed at will at pretty much a moments notice (ok under the guise of a meaningless 30-day consultation - we listened..we ignored you and did it anyway)

    Things like paid overtime (x1.5 after 6 pm, x2 at the weekend) are relics of the past. Pay raises have been non-existent for a number of years, and when you do get paid more, most of it just disappears in new taxes & price increases.

    There is no reward for working hard anymore...capitalism is dead....its now work or starve...instead of work for reward.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: The Social & Legal Contract of Employment is long gone...

      That is a very, very fair assessment for maybe 95% of jobs. Living by paycheque-to-paycheque is absolutely the norm; with few opportunities to break the cycle.

      Taking the risk to go off and make your own business versus mortgage payments bearing down is nigh impossible. So power concentrations tend towards pre-existing company bosses.

      The Tories claim to be pro-competition, however, in reality they are pro-look-after-their-mates. It's not an accident that there are a pile of former nationalised businesses with convieniently appointed ex-Tory chairmen at the helm.

      Another observation. The higher tax rates are kicking in for an awful lot of middle professional jobs, a sector it was never originally intended to cater for. It is a sign of the difference between inflation and lack of change in salary that even those said professionals are unable to buy anything more than a very average property unless they have a fat inheritance they're sat on top of.

      I'd say "nicer problems to have" but reality is the lack of stuff to go round versus too many people demanding stuff is putting pressure on traditional capitalism. Those without hate it. Those doing "OK" are realising it's "unsustainable" and craps all over people without - so "we" hate it too. And that leaves only an isolated few at the top crapping on everyone else.

      I, and others have had enough; it is time to re-invent it. Marx is as relevant a read today as it was in 1920; though not the only solution.

  25. Duffy Moon

    I can only dream of working from home, or a decent wage for that matter. *sigh*

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