back to article Half of bosses out of touch with reality, study shows

Microsoft's second annual Work Trend Index report is out, and it highlights a massive disconnect between leaders, managers, and employees. The study is based on responses from a survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries (along with what it can glean from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn). The data shows that the Great Resignation (or …

  1. Qarumba

    And the other half will follow...

    "We're not the same people that went home to work in early 2020," the company intoned. "There's no erasing that experience,"

    Yes you are and although no one company can erase that experience, if enough return to 2019 but you're not willing...you're new experience could well be the job centre.

    1. Jonathon Green
      FAIL

      And the other half will bugger off…

      …to one of the many enterprises ((like my employer) which have successfully transitioned to a WFH/hybrid model, ditched the expensive office space and will happily hoover up talent from less flexible ones.

      There. I fixed it for you…

      1. Philip Stott

        Re: And the other half will bugger off…

        Correct!

        Any company that fails to offer hybrid working will struggle to attract the best talent.

        1. Zack Mollusc

          Re: And the other half will bugger off…

          Well, they will only struggle to attract the best talent if they actually try to attract the best talent. How many companies actually try to attract the best talent or indeed recognise the best talent when they trip over it?

        2. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: And the other half will bugger off…

          The arrogance of people on here is incredible. It's very easy to say "Any company that fails to offer hybrid working will struggle to attract the best talent" if your entire working life is sat at a desk staring at a computer screen. But such people do not make the world go round. Try doing that as a nurse or a truck driver or a car mechanic or a plumber or...

          1. Tilda Rice

            Re: And the other half will bugger off…

            Sundog, its a forum full of angry techies - what were you expecting.

            They are all brilliant, and definitely marked as "high achiever" in every talent matrix ;)

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: And the other half will bugger off…

            Sundog, none of those professions work in an office.

            It's offices that are collapsing, not other types of workplace.

            1. SundogUK Silver badge

              Re: And the other half will bugger off…

              His exact comment was:

              "Any company that fails to offer hybrid working will struggle to attract the best talent."

              The company I work for employs @ 400 people ON THE SHOP FLOOR, ACTUALLY MAKING STUFF.

              If we offered them 'hybrid working' nothing would get built.

              People need to stop thinking that the entire world works just like them.

          3. Samantha R

            Re: And the other half will bugger off…

            Yes, you and I both get it. Some other people are out of touch.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And the other half will bugger off…

          I'm sorry, but the actual out of touch people are those that think you can have a running business with stay at home employees. This remote work thing was an experiment made for the whole COVID thing. But actually, employees are just using that as an excuse so they can sit at home and draw a paycheck, while sipping coffee.

          Yes, I'm aware how "old-fashioned" it is to actually have to drive to work. And I'm also aware that I would prefer to make money from what I do at home (I'm an Amazon KDP novelist). But at the end of the day, I have a broken keyboard that has more to do with Windows software (on Linux, it works just fine) that actual breakage. And I can't replace the computer because Windows has become increasingly user-unfriendly. Forced updates, planned obsolescence, there are how tech businesses are out of touch. A typical user living in the country like me, doesn't want the latest thing. They want the compatible thing. They are fed up with forced changes and new computers pricing them out. They are fed up with COVID hysteria and want to get back to work without asking if they've been vaccinated or not, without asking about masks, video conferences, or any of the rest. Are you aware of the cost to the typical taxpayer of setting al this stuff up? And to be honest, if you aren't actually present, you can't personaly see what is going on at the office. You can only see a small part of the room, while you sit and sip coffee, and pretend to be invested in the company. Perhaps the rest of the room has shabby walls, or a leak in the ceiling. But you don't know (or care). Just guzzle down coffee. Why even stay home? Go set up the video conference at a cafe, and while the boss actually has to use their office, you go eat eggs Benedict.

          You have no office building, eventually your business scatters. That's a symptom of being out of touch. When you completey don't know what your employees are doing because they aren't present. Hell, you could even have an employee who doesn't want to work, who manufactures internet "downages" whenever asked to do something hard. "Oh nooo, my video is freezing up!" I'm sorry if you guys think personal connection with a boss is obsolete.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the other half will follow...

      Ah, the voice of the supporters of indentured servitude never cease to reinforce their Master's wishes.

      On a different platform (read: any other besides here) with a larger variety of readers, your comment would have gotten a simple, and less discreet, two word reply:

      "OK, Boomer"

      1. Nifty

        Re: And the other half will follow...

        This Boomer is 100% WFH now, having left the office in March 2020. And will retire before attending an office again.

      2. Tom 7

        Re: And the other half will follow...

        Read somewhere in the last couple of days that boomers (of which I'm apparently one) are the most unhappy of the randomly names generations. The report said it was probably due to excessive competition for resources (including partners???).

        I also read a report suggesting people in the US from the 50s-the end of lead in petrol had IQs 5 points lower on average and up to 9 points. I guess other report was published before that one came out.

        1. Bbuckley

          Re: And the other half will follow...

          On the IQ anecdote - there is far more anecdotal evidence for the opposite - IQ of X-gen is lower and getting more so - e.g. there were no Greta Thurnberg/Extinction rebellion, etc. etc nutters with huge opionions on theings they know nothing about in the boomer populations

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: And the other half will follow...

            "there were no Greta Thurnberg/Extinction rebellion, etc. etc nutters with huge opinions on things they know nothing about in the boomer populations"

            So all those hippies, punks, soviet apologists and anti-nuclear greens were just a figment of my imagination, huh? Tell me, what were *you* smoking back then? Must have been powerful stuff.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: And the other half will follow...

        @AC

        There is nothing Boomer about the desire to force-march folks back into the office. From my perspective, those most inclined to want their minions back under their unrelenting gazes into the office are Gen X'ers.

      4. Blank Reg

        Re: And the other half will follow...

        Being a year one Gen X I'm almost a boomer, but I've been working from home since the last Millenium and have no intention to ever change that

        Any company that hasn't worked out how to handle remote employees by now probably shouldn't still be in business.

        1. Nifty

          Re: And the other half will follow...

          "Any company that hasn't worked out how to handle remote employees by now probably shouldn't still be in business"

          A bit unfair, of course there will still be physically hands-on and creative jobs that robots will never replace. I think you meant, "Any IT company..." which would be correct.

          1. Scene it all

            Re: And the other half will follow...

            Right. TheRegister is about IT, not car mechanics.

          2. Samantha R

            Re: And the other half will follow...

            And what is good about remote IT when your system has a hardware problem? Face it, even in IT, you need to occasionally be hands-on. If your job is nothing but office meetings, then yes, you could probably do this over the phone long before video conferences.Even still, you aren't actually committed to the company this way. You're a pajama-clad coffee guzzler.

    3. PriorKnowledge
      Happy

      Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

      Employers do not have a glut of useful idiots anymore. You can see all the job offers going unfulfilled on job search websites because of how much choice there is, My peers have all outright rejected jobs which demanded visits as infrequently as once a month because it allows them to not have to commute ever again.

      Even offering ridiculously good pay is not enough to motivate folks to turn up to an office. Who doesn’t want to be able to make decent food 3 times a day, have full control over their immediate surroundings and be able to wear whatever they like?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

        Apart from all that, we've become aware of how expensive it is, going to an office. Quite apart from travel costs, there's meals and drinks and social events... I would estimate, my last year in an office, I must've spent a couple of thousand dollars over and above what I would have done eating and drinking at home.

        Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the loudest voices for return to office work are coming from Subway and Pret?

        1. Antony Shepherd

          Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

          Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the loudest voices for return to office work are coming from Subway and Pret?

          Also from the people who own lots of office space and are terrified their property portfolios will drop in value when businesses don't need large offices any more.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

            To be fair, that possibly includes your, and my, pension companies, which might be a worrying thought, now I come to think of it.

            1. Kubla Cant
              Windows

              Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

              True, but I don't see eating lots of sandwiches in order to boost my pension as a reliable retirement strategy.

              1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
                Unhappy

                Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

                Agreed. I should have made it clear that the pension companies may well own and rent out the offices and possibly also the premises for Pret, Subway, Eat, Pizza Express etc. They need long term reliable income to service the pensioners.

                Sorry for the confusion.

                1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                  Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

                  what else do they invest in Blockbuster video? Woolworths?

                  Town centre sandwich shops are going the way of most other things on the highstreet, they need to switch investments.

            2. Bbuckley

              Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

              Pension companies can easily dump commercial property and invest in something else.

              1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

                Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

                "Pension companies can easily dump commercial property and invest in something else."

                How? To dump commercial property you need a buyer, and with people wanting to WFH where possible these days, why would anyone buy a large office block?

                1. eionmac

                  Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

                  Convert plot to affordable houses.

                  Mixing as used to be done living and work premises next to each other.

                  Think: the lads (chopped? knapped?) flints beside the hut fire a short walk from the hellhole flint mines.

                2. Nifty

                  Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

                  "To dump commercial property you need a buyer"

                  Numerous offices in a business estate near me have been under conversion to apartments since early 2021. Planning permission applications actually started in 2020. About 40 flats will come onto the market in the next year.

        2. Tom 7

          Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

          Incidentally, has anyone noticed that the loudest voices for return to office work are coming from Subway and Pret?

          So thats where the useless office staff have gone to work!

      2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

        "Even offering ridiculously good pay is not enough to motivate folks to turn up to an office."

        I used to commute into central London from Reading. It was awful. Travelling 'standard' (i.e. 'Stand-up') class, we were stuffed on trains with people standing on each others feet. I usually didn't get to sit down until around Holborn on the Central Line, unless I gave in and spent a load of money on a first class season ticket. And even then I didn't always get a seat.

        After getting a lob in Reading (easy walking distance from home) I realised that there was no way I would be worth what anyone would have to pay me to commute into London again.

        I am now reasonably happily retired, and I have to say that whenever I feel like getting a job again, all I have to do is read the comments on the Register, and I am instantly cured!

      3. RyokuMas
        Stop

        Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

        ... for now.

        What these manager see - and, ironically the on-the-ground staff don't see because so often managers don't share the full picture - is that as handy as working from home is, it's blocking innovation: with almost all communication now either as part of a scheduled meeting, or following a specific request on whatever messaging service your company uses, the life has been choked out of that spontaneous conversation that solved the problem or came up with the germ of the next big idea.

        For all their faults, senior management know that innovation is business critical: the right idea in the right place at the right time can make or break companies dependent on who gets there first or does it best. Senior management know that if they don't get people innovating again and a competitor does, it could be the death-knell for their business... and all those employees who are currently digging their heels in because they are comfortable in their own spare rooms will be out looking for new jobs.

        If there's one thing that all my years as a professional software developer has taught me, it's that you have to balance immediate practicality and convenience against the long-term view. Yes, it may be that you are working to a tight deadline and despite your best efforts, you have to put in a few hacks - get that client requirement fulfilled then make sure your next round of estimating factors in time to put things right.

        Working exclusively from home - as with pretty much all the measures that were rolled out to combat covid - is a short-term hack that was born out of necessity. As an industry, we are now in a position which is dangerously close to what in the coding world, the developers on the ground are always fighting against while the management are pushing to leave in - leaving the hacks in place for good.

        It'll be very interesting in five to ten years time to see the correllation between which companies have become leaders or bombed, and whether or not they got their teams back to interacting in person or not.

        1. Bbuckley

          Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

          I disagree. Innovation does not come from meetings and 'water cooler chats'. Innovation comes from *individuals* who are smarter than the rest of the team. This notion that innovation somehow comes from serendipitous communication only inside an office has no basis in reality.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

            Innovation can come purely from individuals, but also from discussions between people who have a different perspective or different skills and experience. That is why there were so many academic conferences before Covid where some very smart people got together to discuss their interests and make breakthroughs.

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

              I can't tell you how many different perspectives come through my Teams, Skype, or Zoom portals....

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

            3. Richard 12 Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

              True, however forcing people together into an office every day doesn't achieve that, and never did. In reality, people rarely chat with the cube next door and never with the one down the hall.

              Office workers almost never interact with anyone outside a very small clique.

              The truly useful serendipitous meetings happen when people are brought together to meet and chat about subjects they're personally interested in, not when they are actively trying to do some direct work.

              In other words, what we actually need for that are conferences. Bring together multiple teams for multi-day meetings where the primary goal is not day-to-day work, but instead long-term or even blue-sky cross-department thinking.

            4. Scene it all

              Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

              And since the invention of the telephone 140 years ago, these discussions have not had to happen only face to face.

        2. tlhonmey

          Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

          I can't say as I've noticed any decrease in watercooler chatter just because it's now done via messaging apps.

          I think perhaps the generation that grew up without lots of easy, real-time communication that wasn't face-to-face just doesn't understand how the folks who have been texting each other since grade school can possibly socialize that way.

          It's more a question of whether your people socialize with each other than of whether they do it face to face.

          1. Samantha R

            Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

            I'm from the transitional age between online exclusive and mostly offline. I'm honestly not convinced businesses can have employees that are committed this way. For the same reason you can't give someone an actual hug on Discord. You are virtually working, not actually working, and ought to be paid that way.

            If a computer has a downage, the WiFi guy that is actually on the scene unplugs the wires, plugs them in again, then troubleshoots the connection. The other WiFi guy maybe can fix it if it's exclusively a software thing by uploading a new patch... but that does no good if the hardware needs to be reset. There's really no substitute for in person. Might I preferit weren't thatway? Yes, I'm shy as heck. But it is that way.

      4. Nifty

        Re: Employees hold all the cards, it’s too late…

        "Who doesn’t want to be able to make decent food 3 times a day, have full control over their immediate surroundings"

        I haven't missed the nastily designed office aircon once.

    4. 9Rune5

      Re: And the other half will follow...

      I can't speak for every city everywhere, but around these parts the major cities have a broken down infrastructure that fails to scale.

      Now that most people have realized this, there is no going back.

    5. FIA Silver badge

      Re: And the other half will follow...

      if enough return to 2019 but you're not willing...you're new experience could well be the job centre.

      Why would high skilled IT workers, in a demand heavy market, be going to the job centre to find work??

      Especially with the rise of working from home, there’s plenty of companies taking advantage that staff no longer have to live within a commutable distance.

      A friends company tried to make them all go back to the office. Staff refused, so they sold the office and converted them all to working from home contracts. They’re also hiring. :)

    6. Kubla Cant

      Re: And the other half will follow...

      Yes you are and although no one company can erase that experience, if enough return to 2019 but you're not willing...

      I'm perfectly willing to return to on-site working* as long as I'm paid extra for four hours commuting, subsistence, exposure to infections (not just you-know-what - I've been free from the annual colds and flu since I started WFH).

      * not really, it's just a figure of speech

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hybrid work ?

    You mean going in the office and spend your day in Teams meetings with those who work remotely ?

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Hybrid work ?

      Coming back to the office, just 1 day per week, has worked OK for my team. That day is collectively acknowledged to be the least productive of the week, but it's still nice to chat to one another.

      Main downside is to still need to meet though Teams with all out clients and most other teams we work with - being that the office is a rather worse environment to do it than the quiet of our homes.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Hybrid work ?

        That day is collectively acknowledged to be the least productive of the week

        In isolation there's probably less work being done. But if you look at people's work throughput over the longer period you'll probably find it higher than if they never met in person as their mental health is way better.

        We have to stop measuring a successful work environment as one which enables people to get the most work done. Has no-one ever heard of burn-out?

      2. Tom 7

        Re: Hybrid work ?

        I'd imagine its also the most expensive for them. The price of a single day return is around 3 or 4 days of the season ticket equivalent. And if its short notice....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hybrid work ?

      I'm being encouraged to spend more time in the London office so that I can more effectively collaborate with my team who are all based in Ireland... yeah nah

    3. deadlockvictim

      Re: Hybrid work ?

      Exactly.

      Teams has two great features:

      1. Because Microsoft still has to learn about the concept of the agreeable user interface, meetings on Teams are a mildly unpleasant affair and people can't wait for them to end. As a consequence, meetings tend to be shorter and to the point. It is very annoying that MS have taken away the ability to control the screens of others too.

      2. You can get real work done while others are rambling on. I couldn't get away with this when I was stuck in meeting rooms in meatspace.

      And I'm happy when 60% of the others is not in our open-plan office. It is a lot quieter and there are fewer distractions.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Hybrid work ?

        TBF if I was still working FT the only way I'd go into the office is to set up the Jitsi server. Well I'd set it up at home with a smart arse config file and then test that round a mates and then install it with documentation so when the office closes they can stick it where they want.

        1. eionmac

          Re: Hybrid work ?

          I am eagerly awaiting you published experience on setting up a Jitsi server. My problem, I work from home, do VoIP (Zoom, Jitsi , no MS Teams, as it does not play well with my set up).

          So how cheap to host a Jitsi server / instance and install correct software and stuff for say 3 to 5 persons?

          Are you doing a tutorial? Published - (You Tube or elsewhere)?

          Meanwhile, also have to do Jitsi / email with actual folk who work hands on on machinery in many places.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hybrid work ?

        > It is a lot quieter and there are fewer distractions.

        Except for constant messages to everyone asking 'is anyone in the office? Can you reboot my machine/restart teamviewer/sign for a delivery/etc'

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hybrid work ?

        "2. You can get real work done while others are rambling on. I couldn't get away with this when I was stuck in meeting rooms in meatspace."

        This is a vastly underrated advantage of online meetings. It lets people exercise a bit of discretion and engage with the parts of the meeting that are useful to them and not lose too much time to the bits that aren't. This turns out to be much easier than getting people to plan sensible meetings!

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Hybrid work ?

          On break right now, just had our weekly meeting. A lot of time herding wailing cats, and more or less all of it nothing to do with me. So I mentally twiddled my thumbs and wondered how close people got to the point of "screw this, I'm out of here".

          Well, it's entertainment, I guess. Productivity? Not so much.

  3. Little Mouse

    Bollocks statistics

    "the average workday span (the gap between first and last meeting or chat) for the average Teams user had increased by 46 minutes"

    Since when was the gap between your first & last meeting of the day a meaningful measure of anything?

    Personally, MY "workday span" is the the time I spend in the office added to the time I spend commuting, which has gone down considerably since mostly-working-from-home thank you very much.

    1. Dave Null

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      the thesis is presumably that WFH means people's work days "creep" longer, which seems backed up by the data. That's the point. How else do you measure if people are working longer days in a hybrid world?

      1. NXM Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        I think a lot of people aren't fully used to wfh.

        I've been self employed for (ahem) a long time, and you have to be disciplined about not answering the phone outside reasonable hours or working too long hours unless you absolutely have to. And if you do work too much, be ready for a crash later.

        You don't get another life, folks. Live it while you can

        1. eionmac

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          Funny. Perhaps, when working in office - time spent with others was most useful, easy to review drawings with a draughts-lady at her desk, but then sorting out the papers to be disclosed to client or suppliers was always done from home after getting home. Japan and USA folk just assumed I could answer phone at 2am UK time or 11 pm UK time.

          So what has changed since I left full time employment in 2004?

          Working from home is I assume just the same for hours but without that 'personal comment' by lady in office, "the designer got it wrong but see he corrected badly the drawings", a remark never to be put in writing or overheard in a VoIP chat with many folk.

          Yes there are pros and cons to working from home, it depends on what is needed for that particular skill set.

          Wood carving , painting, metal bashing, shipbuilding needs a workshop of many folk 'on the ground' supported by the office folk. Music needs rehearsal studios or places, apart from the actual live performance.

          To each set of objective products, there is a need for both on premises and off premises requirements, it just varies from product to product, but do not "demand attendance" if it adds little to the outcome, so allow and change habits.

      2. Peter Ford

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        It doesn't take into account the 2 hours in the middle of the day running/cycling/kayaking/swimming during everyone-else's vague definitions of lunchtime.

        I reckon I can do four hours in the morning (starting from the time I'd otherwise be setting off for work), two hours of exercise in the middle, make a bit of lunch to take to my desk, and then do four hours in the afternoon (up to the time I'd otherwise be getting home).

        So if I were in meetings at the ends of that day, it would look like I was working 8am to 6pm...

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          Exactly, my WFH day sometimes starts as early as 4am and ends as late as midnight. That doesn't mean I've put in a 20 hour day, On such days I might very well have stopped working by 9 am and picked up again sometime later in the day

    2. Franco

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      Me too, I used to be 3 hours commuting every day, plus if I arived much afer 8:30 the car park would be full and I had to be very firm on not doing any work before 9am because the other members of my team finished at 4pm and I had to be there till 5 as cover. That being the sort of nitpickery that bosses like to do to justify their own jobs.

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      It may not be the best metric, but they really ought to come up with some way to define the work day objectively in the WFH world.

      There are people who had a net gain by shaving off commuting, but there are also people who are having meetings scheduled at hours that one year before would have been outside office hours, and/or who are finding that their boss expects emails to be answered until well in the evening.

      That stuff has to be defined, and then we can talk about fixing it.

      1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        I only have Outlook and Teams on my phone when the laptop is being flakey. Most of the time I quit Outlook and Teams on the laptop when I finish and then no-one can contact me till the morning. If anyone ever rang my phone they would be told I'm in the pub and can't get home till I sober up (i.e. the morning)

        1. TonyJ

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          "...I only have Outlook and Teams on my phone when the laptop is being flakey. Most of the time I quit Outlook and Teams on the laptop when I finish and then no-one can contact me till the morning. If anyone ever rang my phone they would be told I'm in the pub and can't get home till I sober up (i.e. the morning)..."

          This.

          You pay for me to work a set number of hours and other than the odd pre-planned thing (due to differences for time zones etc) or the odd emergency, that is what you get. Oh and if I have to work outside of my set hours you can bet your bottom dollar I will be adjusting my working week to compensate as well.

          I have a *personal* mobile telephoned. I don't put work email on it (been down that route - stopped years ago). I don't answer work numbers out of hours and I very rarely answer unknown or blocked numbers full stop.

          Nor are you controlling it - nope, I won't put the MS Company Portal onto it so I can use your apps.

          I do not want a work-provided mobile phone. Why do I need one? You can get me during the day on Teams/email or even my own mobile.

          Mind you, I am also at that point in my career where I don't give a toss what managers* think. I am not chasing promotion or trying to better myself.

          *Or anyone else for that matter.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            This.

            I admire a lot about the USA, but I really don't understand their toxic work culture.

            You paid me for forty hours a week (or whatever) and that's what I worked. Outside that time is for very special case and emergencies only. If I'm on holiday - four or five weeks, plus bank holidays, is common in the UK - don't even think about trying to contact me. I won't be there.

            And now I'm retired... well, if you want me, you're welcome to contact me. We can discuss my day rate.

            1. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

              Re: Bollocks statistics

              The general consensus in the US (where I am) corporate world is that if your are paid a salary, as opposed to an hourly wage, is that you are available to work 24/7. Yes, it is a very toxic and demeaning attitude that grinds people down.

              I've had conversations with one of our CFOs (a Brit who doesn't understand the meaning of "time off"), where he states, "Finance never takes a day off", to whit I responded, "Well IT does and we are not answering emails at 6:00 AM on a Saturday!"

              Another issue that is rampant in the US is the abuse of hourly wage office staff. The expectation that you will get work done, no matter how many hours it takes over 40 and that you WILL NOT put that extra time on your time cards. All of this is blatantly illegal and if caught, can cost the company a lot of money in back overtime and fines. Yet, they still do it.

              1. mmccul

                Re: Bollocks statistics

                I've successfully resisted this culture. One way I did is emphasizing every year in "annual goals" that my number one goal is "Maintain gainful employment without significant adverse effect to health or family." When I send someone an email outside what I know their standard hours, I'll put an explicit "When you get in" to emphasize that I do not expect them to respond to the email before their standard day.

                As a consultant, I keep track of my hours and tell the client "I'm going to hit 40 hours billable at such in such time Friday, so I'll be leaving then." I don't ask, I tell. If a client has a problem with it, they can ask the next week if I would be willing to work overtime.

                People with a certain seniority need to lead by example. You may not be a "manager", but if the company values your time and you start emphasizing the work life separation (not balance, separation), others are more likely to follow your lead.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            Why do people start comments with the word ‘This.’ on its own line?

            Is it somehow designed to make me think that what follows is ‘Important.’ ? I shall alas never know, as I skip on to the next (hopefully less self-important) comment whenever the grim This appears.

            1. Mr. Flibble

              Re: Bollocks statistics

              It;s because there's no "+1" option to rate the comment above

            2. Microchip

              Re: Bollocks statistics

              I believe it to be an expression of thorough agreement with the previous post, to be followed by further discussion in context. Self importance doesn't seem to have anything to do with it.

              1. TonyJ

                Re: Bollocks statistics

                "...I believe it to be an expression of thorough agreement with the previous post, to be followed by further discussion in context. Self importance doesn't seem to have anything to do with it..."

                This

                ;-)

                1. Tom 7

                  Re: Bollocks statistics

                  ooooh too much context. This is a discussion forum and if everyone clearly states their intentions we are going to have to rely on spell checkers to keep the pointless arguments going!

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bollocks statistics

              It seems to be the woke equivalent of "ditto".

              I don't know what ditto did that got it cancelled; maybe the connection with Latin and hence a classical education?

              1. claimed Silver badge

                Re: Bollocks statistics

                I don't know about 'woke'.... Its use in this context would constitute a synonym, I think.

                There is no political or philosophical association implied so not sure how the label 'woke' would apply, unless you mean 'new' instead of 'woke', but then I don't see why you're complaining about synonyms ;)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            I have a work-provided mobile phone as the only way they can set up for 2FA, after I refused to use my personal mobile for this. The work mobile is never going to be used for anything else.

            It's a slippery slope volunteering to use your own kit to do your employer's business.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            I read "telephoned" (in a noun context, presumably a typo) as "telephone daemon" --- possibly a sign that I've been spending excessive time on computers?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bollocks statistics

              Debug build of telephone, surely?

        2. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          That is absolutely how it should be.

          Unfortunately, there are way too many jobs where it's not like that. Sometimes the worker can be forced to answer emails after hours. Sometimes they technically can't - but there is enormous informal pressure applied towards it, and no disincentive towards applying such pressure.

          That needs fixing.

          Personally, I'd add to standard employment contracts that sending an email outside contract hours is equivalent to asking the recipient to work overtime while implicitly agreeing to overtime pay should the recipient decide to answer. Same thing for meetings. Such actions should be logged and sent to accounts in an automated fashion - no "oh, but this is just a small thing, it doesn't count".

          1. Tom 7

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            My boss once gave me a mobile phone. When asked why I never answered it I told him we hadn't discussed on-call payments let alone agreed them and until then the chances of me not being down the pub unfit for work or sleeping it off were near 100%. After that he used to call me from the pub when I was at work actually getting some work done while he was out and demanding I come down the pub!

        3. ShadowSystems

          At Natalie Gritpants Jr...

          "I'm sorry I can't talk right now, I'm busy disposing of the body of the last putz that called me."

          Lines like that go a long way to discouraging future annoying callers & cementing your reputation as a BOFH in your own right. =-D

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        There is also the issue that for all those who have gained from not doing a 3 hour commute so are happy to increase the length of the working day, there are others who did not have those long commutes.

        This group a slowly becoming worse off. Does going into the office, help? No, because as other comments have said, you still have to work with all those at home.

        So there is now an expectation growing that one is available for work from say 7:30 through to 7 or 8 in the evening from managers. People say they are more productive but it can vary depending on what you are doing. Some days are better, some worse. That much of the productivity comes from the group who are now using their commute time as work time is not the way forward.

        Commute time is (or was) just that, dead time for most people between home and work. If you fortunate to be able to work on the train then okay but that was choice. The notion of commute time automatically being work time is not great. Going forward that now means that for home workers what is the expectation, 12 hour days? The switch to home working and the gaining of time back from commuting is only valid for those that made it. That many in the situation have chosen to now incorporate that time into work is likely to end up with many of the benefits disappearing.

        Yes hybrid working or 100% home working is great but some of the starry eyes need the glasses off (or is it on) to start realising what some of the potential outcomes our going to be.

        1. DevOpsTimothyC

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          A Work From Home agreement and a Flexible Time agreement are two different things (that people often mash in together).

          If an employer demands that you be available from 9am to 5pm or 6pm then fine I'm online "chained" to my laptop for that time (excluding lunch), Same goes if the employer has "core hours".

          If an employer has a flexi-time agreement then why isn't starting at 7am and finishing at 8pm or 9pm up to the employee? The flexi-time agreement is "the employee does X number of hours a day at a time that suits the employee", just don't expect them to be available with no notice at any point in the day.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        "That stuff has to be defined, and then we can talk about fixing it."

        I think it's reasonable to assume your work day is the hours you are being paid for, based upon how you worked prior to WFH (say, 9-5 or whatever) unless your employer has stated otherwise in writing.

        In sensible countries (such as France), you're permitted to disconnect. Five minutes past five (if you stop work at five), no you do not need to answer the phone. Nor quarter past ten in the evening. If you're expected to handle work related things outside of work hours, that's called being on call, and you should be remunerated accordingly.

        I think, from what I've seen, that the biggest problem post-pandemic is the sort of abusive bosses that don't realise that they aren't that bloody important. The crisis is in their minds and whatever problem has set their arse on fire will be exactly the same at 9am the next day.

        Sure, certain parts of critical infrastructure are important, but if the accounting that's supposed to be complete by the end of the week is off kilter on Wednesday, no you do NOT try to hold a meeting with EVERYBODY in the late evening.

    4. Equality 7-2521

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      "Teams user had increased by 46 minutes"

      Now I am taking 2-hour lunches, instead of 1-hour - so I must be 15 minutes better off these days.

      1. mmccul

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        I never understood how people took an hour for "lunch". Had one employer get upset at me for not working 45-50 hours/week. Their excuse? "You have to take time for lunch". I pointed out that I brought my lunch every day, took under five minutes to heat it if necessary, returned to my desk and kept working. I never agreed to a split schedule of mandatory "really working but pretending not to work for an hour or more every day".

        (Side effect, I saved a lot of money each year by not purchasing an overpriced meal from the corporate cafeteria that really wasn't that good for me anyway).

        1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

          Re: Bollocks statistics

          I never understood how people took an hour for "lunch".

          In fairness, I don't take an hour for "lunch", I take about 10 minutes for "lunch" and 50 minutes for "a nice break from my desk taking a walk in the sunshine"

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks statistics

            Not this time of year *glares at the snow*

    5. iron Silver badge

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      Most days I have no meetings and days with meetings are usually 1 or 2 meetings in the afternoon so according to that metric I work 2 - 3 days a week and never for more than 3 hours.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks statistics

        In the Manager world, all that counts are meetings.

    6. Nifty

      Re: Bollocks statistics

      "the average workday span (the gap between first and last meeting or chat) for the average Teams user had increased by 46 minutes"

      I'm in 2 meetings a week after finishing the evening meal. That lengthened gap could just mean new flexibilities. One is Teams the other Zoom, so really these guys should have merged their stats.

  4. DailyLlama

    I don't know about anyone else

    But they're going to have to pay me a lot more to get up early and sit in traffic again. Time for companies to realise that work/life balance has to include the commute time too.

    1. msknight

      Re: I don't know about anyone else

      Part of the problem is that they're already paying a lot less for people to work from home. At least, from the job offers I've been getting recently, remote working positions seem to be at least 10k down if not more in some cases.

      1. mmccul

        Re: I don't know about anyone else

        Around fifteen years ago, when I had a guaranteed 100% WFH tech position, I estimated I was saving around $5000 per year in costs I could clearly articulate. A significant amount of that cost (but hardly all) was based on the IRS mileage rate for driving myself to and from the office. Approximately 230 days of work per year (50 weeks (two weeks of standard holidays) -> 250 days, but take off 20 or so for vacation days and sick days and a few random days to get a nice round number), it was right around $0.52/mile, so ~$240/mile from the office per year. At the time, I lived around 20 miles from the office, so $4800 just for wear and tear, gas, etc. expenses of the commute.

        Today, I'd calculate my hourly rate and add in the cost of that to the commute for the estimate and yeah, if someone offered me $7500 less per year for a guaranteed "work anywhere in the country"? I could see a lot of people going for that. If they wanted $10k less? I'd probably consider it a negotiation point and go from there -- if I really wanted the position.

    2. anonymeus

      Re: I don't know about anyone else

      Same here. I might go back to London to work from an office for 50% more, but even then I’m not sure.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I don't know about anyone else

      The cost of commuting (especially with fuel prices DOUBLED in many cases, and new cars harder and more expensive to come by) is HIGH, from the amount of time involved to the cost of vehicles, and do not even get me started on the sacrifices often necessary to use PUBLIC transportation... (which in my case became both time AND money even though i could sleep on the train)

      Also worth pointing out, the cost of maintaining an office full of people. It would be cheaper for companies to pay for special high speed internet for each employee. Ditch the buildings, order hardware online and have it shipped to home offices, and pay for high speed internet at those offices, and EVERYBODY wins!!!

      (for when it is practical, of course - it's hard to make a whatsit from your home office when the assembly line and warehouse are at the site)

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: I don't know about anyone else

        Assuming that the employees have a suitable office space at home to work in.

        Most people on El Reg will have proper work spaces with all the appropriate equipment. There are many that don't as Home Working favours those further up the pay scale with larger houses, more rooms etc.

        I have lost count of the number of Teams/Zoom meetings that become unintelligible because of background noise from kids etc.

        1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

          Re: I don't know about anyone else

          There are other reasons as well. Apart from the kids and homeoffice setup not being idea.

          Some, like SWMBO, can not switch off. She works in the living room, refusing to work in the 2nd spare room. But damned if I can get her to switch off the laptop at a reasonable hour. Even when we go out for dinner, she'll be sending the last teams msg as I wait by the door. There is always one more teams or email message to send.

          It was just as bad in the office, but at least when she left - she left. Now if we leave home, i can sneakily turn the electricity off from a remotely wired switch, I presume this was for floor mounted lamps in the past. The fact that the laptop is out of power makes her have second thoughts about logging in again when we get back.

          Personally, I want to go back to the office as much as I want to walk in to a room full of ferrets sans pants. But I understand some do.

          1. Kubla Cant

            Re: I don't know about anyone else

            Interesting that the malaise known as "presenteeism" doesn't go away when working from home.

            1. tyrfing

              Re: I don't know about anyone else

              I read something a while back about that, to the effect that there are three types of employees:

              1. the line workers

              2. the management

              3. the shareholders

              The job of the first is to do the work, the job of the third is to get the profit.

              The job of the second? To show more willing than any of other managers, until you get into the shareholder class or (more likely) quit.

              It's an extremely cynical view of work, but it makes sense. Particularly in those companies that don't actually make widgets, so there aren't a whole lot of the first type.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: I don't know about anyone else

          First thing I bought for WFH was a gaming headset. Padded over the ear headphones and noise cancelling microphone. Mute button on the cord. Best $30 I spent. Made those Hour meetings far more comfortable.

          Also built a nice cozy WFH workroom in my basement with carpet, drop ceiling, lighting and work surface, with plenty of power and wired network (because wifi is shit for Teams). I can't deny that some of the construction was done on company time.

          I retired at the end of last year. Corporate silliness (annual goals and metrics), open plan office and expensive commute pushed me over the edge. I'm an embedded systems EE, will consider consulting after I complete my 6 month decompression period.

      2. DevOpsTimothyC

        Re: I don't know about anyone else

        companies to pay for special high speed internet for each employee.

        Never take this from your employer unless they force you. The network connection is part of the office and so any questionable material on it is grounds for misconduct and termination.

        Most people's attitude to this is "Why pay for a second internet connection" so they will use that high speed one for their personal (or family) use.

        Do you really want to bet your job that no one in your household would never access anything that HR might consider questionable> These days that could include being redirected to a .ru domain.

  5. Roger Kynaston
    Meh

    The onsite/off site binary is stupid here

    There seems to be this perception that an organisation has to adopt a single model. All off site, all in the office, all doing some combination (e.g. 60/40).

    Why? Some roles can be done entirely remotely, some need you in the office/shop/factory all the time. The same with people. some love the office. Some love being at home in their jim jams. Why would an employer feel that they can impose a single model on everyone and expect everyone to be happy.

    I know where I sit on this continuum though I don't wear pyjamas at my desk and I am lucky to be in a role that can be done remotely. Any future job will bear this in mind. I've already turned down a job after initial enquiries found that most of the time would have to be on site in central London

    1. TonyJ

      Re: The onsite/off site binary is stupid here

      Not sure I am seeing the same - there seems, if anything, to have been a surge in salaries over the last few months.

      I used to work 18 miles away from home but the only routes took you through Nottingham city centre.

      It was bad at the best of times - public transport wasn't an option and the route wasn't suitable for cycling for great parts of it. It could often take me 2+ hours each way. And the company had a real hard on for being in the office.

      Then they closed one of the major routes in/out of the city due to structural problems on a bridge and for a few weeks that jumped to 5+ hours - suddenly remote working was acceptable.

      I was long gone when lockdown hit but I know from ex-colleagues that they're still turned on for being in the office.

      I wonder how long it will be before they are struggling to get staff to stay/recruit new ones.

  6. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

    Easing?

    "... tech firms are also easing their staff into office."

    Given their staff's (entirely reasonable) reluctance, perhaps "difficulting" might be a better choice of word.

    I dunno, it's 25 years since I did home working and it wasn't new then. It was a huge success in every way... except that managers don't like it. Their priorities are shoulder-surfing and admiring their empire, they care not a jot about people's well-being and productivity. I've gone through life thinking that any year now the idiot manager culture will come to an end, but it seems to be on the same timescale as viable nuclear fusion.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Easing?

      Microsoft, the maker of the original personal computer software that let you do computer stuff from a personal computer rather than needing to be in the big room with the big computer, and now makers of the team software that lets a team work together from anywhere.

      Is insisting that all their workers must come and sit together in the big room with the big computer ?

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Easing?

        Less people in the office means less managers needed. And you're wondering why the managers want people in the office?

        1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

          Re: Easing?

          At a subsequent job (one where WFH was eminently disallowed in spite of being actually more feasible) our immediate manager flounced off and wasn't replaced for nearly a year. Everything improved, until he was finally replaced... at which point they became even worse than before.

          Ever since that time I've wondered what it is that managers actually do, besides the obvious chaos. I still haven't found an answer. Which I think is an answer in itself.

          1. Nifty

            Re: Easing?

            I had one manager whose most valuable skill was sorting out turf wars to get our team logins to essential resources that our North American peers had, plus get some more timely information sharing. Invaluable, but that ability was mainly needed during one bad phase of reorganisation. The role of middle management is plugging the holes left by upper management.

            1. mmccul

              Re: Easing?

              Two kinds of managers. Those that manage up, and those that manage down.

              I've had great upward managers. They described their job as basically blocking all the flak sent our way. They'd find out priorities from on high, push back on things that would cause us grief, and if they did their job well, we'd never know how much they successfully resisted, because it wouldn't come near us. (Until the casual conversations weeks later where they'd mention what was going on earlier).

              Downward managers are the ones who look down at the team a lot more and provide day to day direction more.

              When I have more senior teams, that's when I usually want an up focused manager. I don't need their daily help, I need them to stop the nonsense, prevent little griefs from being big ones.

          2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Easing?

            I had two differemt managers in my last position. Both were "hands off" and "team leader" types, which is the model I prefer to work under. "First among equals" would work as well. Both were experienced hands on engineers, who continued to contribute technically as well as manage projects.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Easing?

          Why do home workers need less management than office workers?

          1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

            Re: Easing?

            They don't. WFH just demonstrates that office workers tend to be over-managed (often quite severely).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Easing?

          Not very long after they sent us packing for full-time WFH, I remember thinking (hoping) that maybe the big wheels would finally realize what a bunch of useless time-wasting gits most of their front line and middle management seat-fillers are.

          And, subsequently, dump some healthy amount of them in the next reductions, if only to line their own big wheel pockets.

          Alas, it hasn't happened. Presumably because of the big wheels being out of touch as discussed here, perhaps also simply because management protects their own, above other considerations.

      2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

        Re: Easing?

        As a slight variation on a theme, I had a Vax at home. It was only a little one, but even in the mid '90s its electricity consumption was frightening. Summers were also entertaining, sharing the small spare bedroom with the Vax and its accoutrements and the boiler which lurked behind me in the airing cupboard. I never thought about asking for air-con too!

        Er anyway, to address your point, they're not exactly making a case for Teams and The Cloud™, are they? VaxClusers were better anyway; and I liked my '90s-era digital multimedia communications which were limited to 30 seconds' worth of voice storage per call, which was quite handy for keeping our rambling project manager under control: 30 seconds wasn't enough for him to even introduce himself. Video-conferencing came a bit later as I subsequently worked with someone who was developing an early contender, but it needed (at least) ISDN and my KiloStream wasn't fat enough to cope with the traffic. Much better than the 2400baud modem I had at the time though, very useful for browsing the burgeoning interweb at all hours!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's another irregular verb isn't it?

    I've been told to come in five days a week for "essential operational reasons" most of which appear to involve fielding work for people who aren't in today.

    You have arranged a hybrid working pattern which miraculously includes every Friday and sunny day at home.

    He hasn't been seen in-person since it all kicked off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's another irregular verb isn't it?

      I know it's bad form to reply to your own post, but I've realised I used the wrong comedy sketch/series. It should be the "Class System" sketch from TW3 with John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett:

      JC: "I am Upper Management. I am able to work effectively using modern communication techniques. This means I can keep on top of all necessary work from my home in Tuscany. Or my chalet in Klosters. I receive reports from Him [looks left to RB], and have a monthly face-to-face on Teams with him."

      RB: "I am Middle Management. I go into the office three days a week, but can also hold team meetings from my home-office. Or garden, if the weather's nice. I have a daily catchup with Him [looks left to RC] either in-person or on Teams, and send a weekly report to Him [looks right to JC]"

      RC: "I am a Software Engineer. I know my place. Rammed into somebody's armpit on the 06:53 into King's Cross every day so I can have Him constantly breathing down my neck rather than letting me get on with some work. [Looks left at RB]"

  8. Electronics'R'Us
    Holmes

    Flexibility

    As already mentioned, the 'in the office' or 'at home' is a false dichotomy.

    I work from home the vast majority of the time (the last time I was physically in the office was December 2021) but there may be occasions I need to go to the office a few days in a row. That is only if I need to for some reason such as to physically test / repair / commission some equipment.

    Some people need to be at the workplace (production crews, for example) and some others prefer to be there for other reasons (young graduates flat sharing comes to mind) and others need their workday to be very flexible (people with young kids or older dependents fit here).

    I am fortunate that where I work, this type of flexibility has been supported from the top and was the direction my particular division of the company was going even prior to Covid.

    It is even good for the planet - far fewer vehicle emissions, less fuel use (a little more home electricity, admittedly).

    In terms of meetings, my experience is that there are no more on teams (which we have made work quite well*) than when physically present.

    Rather than focusing on time in the office, they should focus on what gets done.

    * The teams I am part of have an agreement that unless the 'do not disturb' notification is on, we are free to call at any time if we have questions or comments.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Flexibility

      It is even good for the planet - far fewer vehicle emissions, less fuel use (a little more home electricity, admittedly).

      Maybe. However <two 20 minute commutes by road> + <sharing heating/lighting with others> can be less damaging than <entire house heated for 8 hours just for one person>.

      So if you used to drive 20 minutes to work each way but now have the central heating on for eight extra hours then you might be doing more environmental damage.

      If you only heat the room you're working in then yes it's better for the environment. In my case it's a small bedroom that even in winter can often be adequately heated by the computer exhaust and when that's not enough I use an oil filled radiator.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Flexibility

        I've worked from home for 12+ years. My heating controller is still set from when I used to be in an office 9-5. ie. 6.30 to 7.30 in the morning and 6 to 10 at night. In a typical year you can probably count on one (OK - maybe both) hands the number of days I need to switch the heating on during the day. Two desktop computers, two 24 inch monitors, a laptop and some other bits and pieces keep the spare bedroom notably warmer than the rest of the house. Even with the door open. One thing I noticed was when I changed the anglepoise from a proper 60 watt to LED bulb. That noticeably reduced the heat into the room.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Flexibility

          I've worked from home for 12+ years. My heating controller is still set from when I used to be in an office 9-5. ie. 6.30 to 7.30 in the morning and 6 to 10 at night.

          Yup, I'm finding the same thing. This winter I've only used the oil filled radiator half a dozen times and on most occasions I switched it off for my lunch break and didn't put it back on. My heating is set to keep the lounge at 19.5c between 7:30 and 8:00 then 17:00 to 21:00 during the week. On a cold day it will come on before 15:00 to achieve that.

          But I also know of colleagues and friends who have just set the house heating to on during the day because they don't like going down to a cold kitchen to make a cuppa. Someone like that may well be burning more in gas then they save in fuel.

    2. fandom

      Re: Flexibility

      Also less food or you get fat very fast

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flexibility

      If every company, from the top down, enforced the notion that work is an outcome, not a location, all of this office/WFH conflict disappears. Everyone then understands that an employee's physical presence, is appropriate to getting the "work" done.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Too many meetings are now bad?

    252 percent increase in meetings for the average Teams user

    So people bitch for years they can't get work done because they're in too many meetings, then they're suddenly able to track it, and SHOCK! people are in too many meetings!

    1. cupplesey

      Re: Too many meetings are now bad?

      I think we need a meeting to discuss the issue of too many meeting.....when are you free?

      1. Blofeld's Cat
        Coat

        Re: Too many meetings are now bad?

        I think we should first arrange a meeting to set the parameters for the working group that will meet to thrash out the agenda for the "too many meetings?" meeting.

        Probably best to make it a "full participation" meeting ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too many meetings are now bad?

      Teams is garbage a full screen nightmare of interruption

      everyone has forgotten how to use email

      it is far too easy to reach out in an instant for anything at all

      constantly distracted as if sitting in the office typically with less important things than what you are already working on

      and then will it will report you away while you are actively using it in a call or in a meeting

      your calendar shows you as busy for a planned meeting no problem it shows you as ready out of office so I'll call you to see if you can help me figure out how to write and email

      1. Nifty

        Re: Too many meetings are now bad?

        Don't overlook the advantage of team channels where an ad hoc group keeps a constant chatter going on a specific topic. Works both on Slack and Teams. This one use of chat has been a productivity boost in itself.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Too many meetings are now bad?

        Email is dead. Killed by spammers and bots. I don't know anyone who can be trusted to read an email that requires more than 30 seconds of attention nowadays, because there are just so many of the bloody things.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Office space

    Well, of course many bosses want their staff back in the office !

    Otherwise, how can the below otherwise ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w

  11. Andy E
    WTF?

    It should be called Team!

    You can only be active in one Team at a time so why its called Teams is beyond me.

    Anyway, in Microsoft's world if your not using Teams then you aren't working. As the best bit of Team(s) is the Meetings I'm not surprised they are using this as their measurement metric.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It should be called Team!

      Retired now, but my former company had bought into metrics in a big way. They were "phasing in" performance monitoring software (Hubstaff), which has some wonderful Big Brother features. All of which seem to be based on you sitting in front of a PC and typing.

      I'm (was) an electrical engineer, which means that from time to time, I end up at a lab bench or under some piece of equipment, poking and probing with a meter or an oscilloscope to figure out why something isn't working. I'm not sure how Hubstaff would manage to record tnat time. Or, alternatively, the time I spent doodling a circuit diagram on a pad of paper (we old farts do tend to still use those old fashioned pencils).

      Teams is fine for what it is, but since it's from Microsoft, there are a few missing pieces, like the ability to categorise and label conversations by topic. It seems to assume you'll remember what a thread was about, simply by knowing who was on it. And, of course, the implicit assumption that all work is done on a computer.

  12. Velv
    Facepalm

    Ironic that a company that produces tools to facilitate collaborative working remotely is looking to get everyone back in the office

  13. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Coat

    Douglas Adams would be proud

    "During a briefing Microsoft's CVP of Modern Work, Jared Spataro, said the statistic "kind of blows my mind""

    Not merely of the title 'CVP* of Modern Work', but that he was quoted as saying "kind of blows my mind". Plus 'worth equation' (whatever that is).

    I am just surprised that there was no mention of a whole 'juju-flop' situation.

    I'll get my coat, it looks astonishingly like a dressing gown.

    *'Corporate Voce-President', I assume

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Douglas Adams would be proud

      Same thing caught my attention too. Oh, the irony of upper management being so out of touch that being shown they are out of touch is mind blowing for them.

    2. Inspector71

      Re: Douglas Adams would be proud

      Yes, he is classic B Ark fodder.

  14. This is not a drill

    WFH - Not with current fuel prices

    When we were locked down in the colder months my heating and leccy bills shot up. And with energy prices going up...... I like (and have) the flexibility to work from home occasionally when necessary. But the rest of the time I'm happy to let the company pick up the bill for keeping me warm.

  15. We're all in it together

    Me thinks we're not going back in full time (at least I'm not)

    Deputy IT director has relocated to Cornwall. Other IT Professionals have moved to Wales, so I suspect the likelihood of being asked to come back into the office full time may be unlikely given its location near Southampton.

    I'm asking myself the question why I ever undertook ridiculous commutes to my various places of work - getting up at 4am Monday to Friday to spend 2 and a half hours travelling each way. 100 miles return trip using two cars and a ferry, to sit at an office desk on my PC programming remote systems. Not least with no option to claim the mileage, but with the old adage of 'you chose to live there'...

    Now I do one day a week in the office getting in for 7am and the rest at home on numerous Teams calls.

    Watching various staff working from home complete with barking dogs, birds cheeping, door bells ringing, and hoovering in the background. Best call was a team member who mentioned their daughter was getting pocket money to clean the house, followed by a broom handle appearing behind the caller in full view of us all. Daughter was crawling out of camera view sweeping the floor. On another call I mentioned it was quiet in her house followed by her pointing her camera down to find a Cocker Spaniel fast asleep on her lap. 'He's well trained' she said.

    Yet the work gets done, the work life balance is great, and we actually had a while when pollution levels dropped. Agile working was the buzzword, and long may it continue.

    I now put various appointments in the calendar including 'my turn to hoover' and 'doing the washing'.

    How times change.

    Might try working from the beach when the weather improves. Just need to find a deckchair that meets DSE requirements.

  16. martinusher Silver badge

    For the relatively few

    Only a relative few jobs can be done from home, software related ones being among them. Most jobs require some kind of physical presence to do the actual work so if you're part of that minority that doesn't need to be physically present then treat this as a bit of luck.

    Of course, it may be a reflection of modern society where "someone else" always does the work and what we call work is just shuffling bits of (virtual) paper around and bothering that "someone else" when things don't happen.

    1. DevOpsTimothyC

      Re: For the relatively few

      Only a relative few jobs can be done from home

      MOST office based jobs can be done remotely. Sales, Accounting, HR? I'm surprised that there's not more "Run your virtual office from here" offers to businesses. "We'll receive your post, and scan it to a shared drive"

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: For the relatively few

        There have been companies that have done that for a good 20 years now.

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    Working from

    home remains a distant pipedream for the likes of me (part time robot wrangler/programmer/fixit guy/weilder of the dread stick of displine*)

    Because its rather hard to fix a production problem on production equipment from 17 miles away... although this remote working thing does give me an idea that was had in the 60's about remote working.... that I can control a robot with all the fixing stuff it needs in order to get things going again(the darkness descends) and replace the obvious tools like a racket with a cattle prod, and the clamp arms with chainsaws and flamethrowers and go on a homicidal rampage against the operators who make my life a living hel... <cough> and fix things when they go wrong remotely.

    *A big hammer ;)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bridge has been crossed

    My employer is based in California and had no choice but to shut down the physical office during the 'rona...but still needed to recruit new staff in almost all departments.

    When management saw how much bigger and deeper the talent pool is when you go beyond some arbitrary radius from The Office, they started hiring nationally. We've also added a few overseas contractors who help cover things like testing and overnight (to the US) support calls.

    Add to that the handful of us who were already remote, plus a few more who relocated out of Cal-expensive-fornia during the 'rona, and really there's no going back. They're talking about bringing some groups back in part of the time, but mostly just executives and specific teams where in-person can actually add some value. It'll never be like it was in the Before Times, though.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      'rona??

      Is that MySha?

  19. Handlebars

    My place wants us in about half the time. I've just negotiated an offer on a new job where I only go in for specific work that can't be done remote.

  20. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Leaders Vs Managers

    Please don't fall into the trap in believing that someone at the top of the management food chain is a "leader". Being a leader and being a manager are two very different skills.

    I would argue that Steve Jobs was a leader at Apple whereas Tim Cook, sat in the same executive position, is just a manager. (A very senior manager, but still just a manager)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disappointed with article

    When I read about "out of touch with reality", I thought it was referring to our CTO (major bank) who yesterday at an update all-hands call was waffling on about the potential of NFTs and - I shit you not! - Metaverse.Fortunately, I only contract there, I don't bank there with my actual money.

  22. Hazmoid
    Devil

    working from the office.

    Personally, I prefer to work from the office, as it is a 20 minute drive from home and I sit here by myself, as the boss works from home or his car.

    Bonus is that I don't have to put up with the other family members calling me for IT support every 5 minutes.

    Add to that the crappy FTTN NBN internet service at home and you can see why I decided to continue working from the office even though I could just as easily work from home.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: working from the office.

      I don’t have have a crappy Internet connection at home, but other than that : I’m with you.

      I could do most of the stuff I do from home. But it took me *years* to learn that I work best when changing environments : my house is where I don’t do crap for work, for my office the other way around.

      Then Covid happened. After 2 weeks I asked my employer for a signed document stating that I’m an “essential” worker, and went back to the office. It was not far from the truth, since my workplace was at the time only populated by warehouse workers, and nobody else from IT was there, so I did the local support for them as well.

      Even now, if I’m on call during weekends, and if solving something would cost me 2 hours, I just go there. But I’m only 15 minutes away, most people don’t have that luxury of course.

  23. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Flame

    "Half of bosses out of touch with reality"

    That's a bloody lie, many more than half of them live in an alternate reality.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitions matter!

    Quote: "...out of touch with reality..."

    A definition might help:

    reality, n. An illusion created by alcohol deficiency

    There.....fixed!

  25. -martin-

    It seems to me that it's all a result of moving further away from reality - virtualising everything, just adds another layer of indirection...

  26. Sir Loin Of Beef

    No SH**

    Tell us something we don't know.

  27. nijam Silver badge

    > Half of bosses out of touch with reality, study shows.

    You claim to be a news site, and yet this clearly not news.

  28. peterw52

    Once upon a time...

    When I started writing programmes in the early 60's I would go into work at anytime of day or night. Admittedly with a batch job turn round of a week to find a miss punched card had buggered the whole compilation it was the only way to make progress. But the main point is I did it because I enjoyed it and getting things right was very satisfying. I was never pushed by my manager to do this although I guess there may have been peers pressure.. I'm sure if I'd had todays remote facilities I would have done things from home ( actually a second floor flat) but I would have still done it!

    Anyway as my career progressed I continued in this way, working whatever hours were needed and still enjoying what I did and the friendship of people I worked with. Maybe if I had ever become a consultant and I would have been a bit more protective of my time but I suspect my early conditioning would have won ! Was I been exploited , maybe, but I have no regrets

  29. Norman123

    Make everyone more efficient/effective/happy. Employees are not prisoners

    Management studies in 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond revealed that employees perform best when left to utilize time fit for them to achieve job objectives provided recruitment, selection, appointments are handled properly. Only essential people who needs to meet and greet public/clients need to be present at the office and they can be made much efficient if rotated with those who work from home.

    Office imprisonment is so pre-21st century. Soon we shall have quantum computing and 5G+. There is a huge gap between the potential and reality. Will the managers of the pre-21st century wake up?

  30. Binraider Silver badge

    I'm not wholly sure a giant survey was needed to prove this. The disparity between "leadership" and "reality" is eminently visible from Government, to Quango, to Business, to Manager, and to Personnel.

    That it's more visible today is a good thing. However, the overflow of information from the field during the 1st Gulf War to commanders proved; being dumped too much data leaves leaders somewhat powerless to act upon it. Post-processing and considering whether the information gathered indicates need for change or not is essential.

    It's also important to consider whether leadership gives two shits about doing anything about the problem. The burden is overwhelmingly on personnel to actually create change in line with the vision of chain of command.

    A lot of "leaders" are happy to run the clock off on their kushy DB pensions while shafting staff and business needs. As long as crap doesn't fail on their watch, there's no problem. Don't risk rocking the boat.

    Taking your own chair to the game of musical chairs is recommended for when shit breaks.

    Clear objectives would aid in setting direction and measuring progress. I'm sure we can all agree the (unwritten) objectives of incumbent and prospective governments are generally, not in the interest of the general public; whatever flavour they may be (blue, red or otherwise).

  31. elawyn
    Happy

    We happy few?

    For those of us who can successfully WFH there would have to be some severe incentives to go back to office work. I've been WFH for over a decade ( as a database designer and guru on several subject areas with 20 years of experience in my field and a further 20+ in IT). No more having to fight traffic, no more having to arrive early to park within a reasonable distance (the office was on a corporate campus with a dozen parking lots up to a half mile away, no fun in the winters to trudge half a mile in a blizzard to try to get the snow off the car when I'm already frozen from the walk!).

    No more having to rush from one meeting to another at the opposite end of the campus and back again afterwards for the next one. No more going down 3 floors and across the courtyard and up 3 more only to find a note on the door to say 'Meeting moved' or 'Meeting cancelled'.

    Manglement is almost figuring out that meetings shouldn't start and finish at the top of the hour either instead they're warming to the idea of starting 5 or 10 after the hour and finishing 5 before. I just wish many of the would make that inviolate.

    I am one of the lucky ones, I am within shouting distance of retiring ( which I'm delaying because Covid stopped me from traveling to find a place to retire to with the amenities I want nearby).

    Not everyone has all the same luxuries of choice tho, which is a shame , especially if their management *insists* of going back to a Victorian indentured labor style.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've worked from home for almost 20 years now, in real information security (that is I actually know what I'm doing, I don't have a background in some other field and hold a meaningless CISSP or a primary school level CEH certificate)

    I've already devised a plan to decide who should go back to the office. Anyone who uses the acronym WFH are top of the list. Acronym users belong back in the office along with all their colleagues 'going forward' - the last time I checked you couldn't go back.

    Second on the list are those who use the word issue when they mean problem. This annoying Americanism should be punishable by removal of the tongue, but unfortunately sending staff back to the office is the sharpest tool we have, so let's use that. And also buy them a dictionary.

  33. Rattus
    Thumb Down

    State the obvious to imply somthing else

    "That said, remote or hybrid work is hardly a walk in the park. Microsoft pointed to digital overload, with meetings gobbling up more than their fair share of time.

    The report highlighted a 252 percent increase in meetings for the average Teams user since February 2020 (although it did not specify how much of that was spent cursing at recalcitrant webcams and frozen apps or repeating "can you hear me?") and a 32 percent increase in chats sent per person since April 2020.

    Microsoft also noted that the average workday span (the gap between first and last meeting or chat) for the average Teams user had increased by 46 minutes since March 2020."

    No not digital overload, no not more time in meetings, just the meetings are now online not IRL.

    Sure this has increased since March last year, back then many businesses were still in lock down - they had pretty much stopped working altogether

    (damn I am in the wrong industry - I was still commuting into work because my job involves hardware and test kit that really couldn't be moved, and for some reason was considered 'of national importance' but that is another story - still the fact the rest of the world was on furlough or WFH did reduce my commute time by 50%)

    Fast forward a year and most business' have mostly worked out Hybrid working, but that means that meetings are now largely online - or at least with some remote participants....

    gee who would have thaught it?

    /Rattus

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