back to article Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

A mouse mat is delivering a speech. "I would like to thank my mom and dad, my trainer Brian, and to my recycled polyester silky surface that ensures unobstructed mouse movement." Sporadic claps and whoops punctuate the hush from the auditorium. "But most of all, I would like to thank you. I love you all!" And with that, the …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    Pint

    Genius

    "talking anachronistically convoluted bollocks like an overacting steampunk cosplayer after three pints of Theakston's Old Peculiar."

    Pure genius description.

    Merci M. Dabbs.

    Luckily here in France many employers have out acquiesced to new contracts to enable hybrid WFH.

    (Previously French employment law was very concerned about "lieu de travail" and working from home could be more-or-less proscribed by one's contract.)

    1. John D'oh!

      Jacob Rees-Mogg

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_the_Softy

      What more can I say?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cabinet of Curiosities

        They're all a bit "dysfunctional", anyone remotely normal has been hounded out by now. Which reminds me:

        - What's the only dog they let in to the Carlton Club?

        - The Groperman Pincher!

      2. Nematode

        Re: Jacob Rees-Mogg

        What more can one say? This! From that link.

        "In April 2018, Beano Studios issued a cease and desist letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent British right-wing Conservative MP with upper middle-class mannerisms, asserting that Rees-Mogg was imitating Walter"

        1. sniperpaddy

          Re: Jacob Rees-Mogg

          Loads of material for Viz

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jacob Rees-Mogg

        He's probably in line to replace PM Johnson. He has the Alt Rright credentials to be the dictator Lleader. Johnson has opened the Pandora's Box of ignoring such details as checks & balances, laws, and human rights. Now see the Ark of The Covenant go into action under JRM's divine guidance.

    2. Just Enough

      Re: Genius

      Steampunk is modelled on technology at least a century too late for JRM. The guy really has a fetish for pre-industrial life. The landed-gentry part, of course.

      Other pedantry; what is up with Dabbs' spelling of "Worst Neighbor" ?

      1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

        Re: Genius

        >> Worst Neighbor

        Reg house style is now North American.

        1. BenDwire Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Genius

          Please tell me that was a joke ...

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Genius

            Unfortunately it is not. It's also the reason the main domain is now the .com and no longer .co.uk

      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: Genius

        And fiber FFS!

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Genius

          I was surprised to see Alistairs name on it, his style but really weird difficult to read spellings.

    3. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      imagine somebody […] talking anachronistically convoluted bollocks […]

      That is one of the few true perquisites of aging — speaking in a perfectly straightforward manner for one’s generation without the whippersnappers cottoning on to what was said. (Once the hearing hardens, the bright young things’ replies become correspondingly moot.)

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Genius

      Any non-Brits wanting to get a different insight in The Right Honourable Jacob Rees-Mogg MP might want to Google for the names of his children too,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Genius

        Apparently the etymology of some popular first names in many languages is surprisingly simple - even ordinal.

        So you get "son" or "daughter" for first-borns. Then there is the possible(?) translation that gives "number one son" and "number two son". A friend's father used to refer to me as "number two son" because I helped on his house renovation.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Genius

          "A friend's father used to refer to me as "number two son" because I helped on his house renovation."

          Is that an oblique way of saying you installed the toilet?

  2. Ol'Peculier

    Without wanting to be pedantic, it's Peculier

    </pedantic>

    1. m4r35n357

      Without wanting to be pedantic, you really ought to open tags before closing them ;)

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Now all the HTML is leaking out of his top...

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      I can’t remotely think JRM would know what to do with a pint of (Ugh. Northern) OP.

      With where his Parliamentary Constituency is I would peg him as a Somerset Pomona man with a Local Drink for Local (Gentlemen) People.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Scheme

    1. Set up an offshore company owned by another offshore company owned by another offshore company owned by another offshore company owned by a trusted friend

    2. Buy an office building, put some fake art, counterfeit furniture

    3. Move your onshore company to it and charge excessive rent

    4. Make sure people are actually working in the office, so that when there is highly unlikely visit of a tax inspector, they can see it's not a trap house but a legit enterprise

    5. Enjoy tax free profits and pats on the back from neighbouring owners for keeping rent prices high.

    This is not possible if every office worker works from home.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Scheme

      Go on then. You first.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge
        1. ChrisB 2

          Re: Scheme

          History repeating itself.

          cf Mapeley Steps - as part of the STEPS programme HMRC sold almost all its freehold property to Mapeley and immediately leased it back, Mapeley taking on the building/facilties management and, of course, getting lots of lovely rent from HMRC.

          Unfortunately Mapeley's ownership chain ended offshore and through a series of sub-contracting arrangements no "profit" was made within the UK so no corporation tax was ever due in the UK.

          There was, of course, tons of profit and it ended up offshore and tax free.

          See Eyes passim for details, read this https://www.accountancyage.com/2010/04/14/mps-slam-hmrc-business-acumen-over-offshore-company-deal/ or just Google Mapeley Steps.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            "cf Mapeley Steps - as part of the STEPS programme"

            Was that related to the MoD selling of all it's housing stock for the military to a Japanese-owned company? That didn't go down well with people of a certain generation.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Scheme

          There's a lot of local talk about that. Why are they moving so many civil servants just a few miles from low rent, easily accessible, park/campus-like place with lots of car-parking and excellent public transport links that was only redeveloped about 15 years ago to a prestige, city centre, high-rent new build with little to no parking facilities?

          The vast majority of the staff are moving from the Longbenton DSS complex, which is quite modern and in pleasant surroundings. The rest are being moved some distance from a 1960's Washington office desperately in need of demolishing, true, but they are being moved to somewhere that is going to add at least an hour onto the daily commute for many.

          Newcastle is in the process of bringing in a low pollution, "clean air" zone too. So why move 1000's of jobs from out of town to the citys new clean air zone? By keeping them spread out a bit, you reduce the pollution. Transport isn't the only cause. The "support" for those 1000;s of extra people, extra transport into the city, more sandwich shops and all the other stuff that goes with people tightly bound into small areas.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            But how else are the politicians, high-level civil servants and their cronies going to make a profit?

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Scheme

      I think maybe some of the readers here don't understand irony.

      Show me anyone who is really keen to get workers back to the office, and I'll show you a commercial landlord, or someone whose budget depends on buildings and maintenance.

      1. GlenP Silver badge

        Re: Scheme

        Or as Dabbsy alluded to, some jobs need to be done from the office.

        For Government departments to still be using the excuse, "We can't process paper applications as there's nobody in the office to open them" is unacceptable. It wasn't acceptable during the lockdowns either.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Scheme

          If they are jobs that need to be done from the office, or which are vastly easier to do from an office environment, then the impetus to do them from the office will be from the people doing them. No need from a top-down edict.

          Such edicts only indicate that there is no need for office presence, otherwise they wouldn't need to be making them...

          Similarly, if there are jobs that can only be done from an office, and which are vital for the functioning of the organisation, then that would have been an exception during lockdown, and would have been happening, and still will be. For instance, an ambulance driver can't work from home, and never did, so the "some jobs have to be done from the office" argument is a bit hollow. What is particularly disingenuous is where you see this argument used as a justification for getting everyone back into office buildings, often at a hit to actual productivity.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            ...the "back to the office" brigade seem to be labouring under the false memory of lockdowns as well. There were relatively few times, and relatively short periods, early on in the pandemic, when people were instructed to actually not work from offices. For a lot of the time over the last two years, the "official" advice has been "work from home if you can". At all other times, those who could not work effectively from home, or who find it easier to work from an office environment have been able to do so, provided there is an office environment open for them to work from.

          2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: "The office"

            The fact that the thing we are working away from is "the office" (not the factory ,or the site, or the field ), and the fact that the work can be done remotely, just shows that we are all secondary , support , admin / parasites really .

            People taking care of the basics: food, warmth , shelter , (or actually "making" something - remember that? ) and supplying that stuff and then carting the leftovers away are the real workers. And ironically , probably getting paid the least.

            ooh I've come over all commie. Seize the means of production!

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: "The office"

              People taking care of the basics

              Usually, where the offices are located, these people work for big corporations paying minimum wage and relying on the tax payer to top up their wages via Universal Credit while themselves using elaborate tax avoidance structures to pay next to nothing.

              Now with WFH, if people decide to eat out during lunch, they are more likely going to use a local owned small cafe or restaurant that has no affiliation with the big guys and also paying proper taxes (well, they wouldn't be able to afford a decent accountant and a structure that would make sense with their margins anyway).

              This of course pisses the big corporations off and they pressure politicians to force people in so they spend their hard earned money in their establishments.

              If anyone, commies (the true ones, not the champagne commies representing big corporations), should support WFH the most!

              1. Nifty Silver badge

                Re: "The office"

                "Now with WFH, if people decide to eat out during lunch, they are more likely going to use a local owned small cafe or restaurant".

                Known as our kitchen. We're working on the circular economy here.

            2. Tim99 Silver badge

              Re: "The office"

              ...we are all secondary , support , admin / parasites really BullshitJob:Wikipedia

            3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: "The office"

              Obviously another old fogie like me who happened to work in the manufacturing sector rather than one of these new fangled "its all on the internet" types.

              I often wonder how much more productive companies are with all these "secondary , support , admin / parasites" staff.

          3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            an ambulance driver can't work from home, and never did,

            Er, my late father worked for many years as an ambulance driver - from home. Admittedly, he lived at the back of beyond and a good three hours from the hospital, even with blues and twos, but the ambulance lived on his drive and he worked from home.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              Yes. Working from home and working at home are two different things.

            2. david 12 Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              My bus driver was the same when I was a kid. Last bus out from the city terminated at his shire residence. First bus into the city in the morning started from the same place. (Split shifts, as many transport workers had at the time)

            3. Handlebars

              Re: Scheme

              When I was an ambo I lived down the road from the station, and control still let me 'respond from home' if I asked.

              Come to think of it, the control staff could work from home if the tech was very reliable. But they have a tech disaster plan which involves going over to whiteboards so...

          4. usbac

            Re: Scheme

            At my former employer, my boss dragged everyone kicking a screaming back to the office last year. There were some workers that could not work from home, and management thought "it would be unfair to the people that have to come in to work". So, they demanded that everyone come back to the office.

            I was able to work from home with only the occasional trip in if I had to work on something physically. I was willing to come in any time there was something I needed to do in person. But, no, you must come back full time to the office.

            That is why they are my former employer. I guess I was part of the Great Resignation.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scheme

              I was the opposite case. My employer kept putting off the return to the office. Although WFH was useful to avoid the rush hour traffic and to work with US colleagues at awkward times, I missed the interaction with my colleagues and the brainstorming at workshops. In the end I got so bored that I took early retirement.

              1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                Re: Scheme

                How retirement mitigates your boredom?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Scheme

                  It's brilliant. I'm so busy doing all the things I want to do, it's hard to imagine that I ever found the time for work!

                  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
                    Thumb Up

                    Re: Scheme

                    How many time have I heard that... and have also been saying it myself for a few years!

          5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            If they are jobs that need to be done from the office, or which are vastly easier to do from an office environment, then the impetus to do them from the office will be from the people doing them.

            If only. In civil service thinking, if the job needs to be done from the office, then not being in the office obviously makes it impossible to do the job, therefore WFH has the twin advantages of getting paid, while not having to do any work. Win-win, unless you're a victim^H^H^H^H^H^H customer.

          6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Scheme

            often at a hit to actual productivity

            This may well be because "productivity" is actually a measurement of inputs,* In such cases inputs are hours of bum-on-seat time and this can only be measured when the seas are in the office. A manager of inadequate competence will thus perceive productivity as having fallen to an unmeasurable level when working at home prevails. Assessment of the adequacy of Rees-Mogg is left as an exercise for the reader.

            * When challenged that nothing is being done about $ISSUE governments will inevitably reply by how much is being spent on dealing with $ISSUE, not on what results are obtained. Extra points are gained by declaring what is proposed to be spent rather than what is spent. Extra extra points for declaring the same spending multiple times whilst giving the impression it's additional money every time

          7. Justthefacts Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Scheme

            Sorry, but that’s not actually true. A lot of people *themselves* mistake activity for productivity, which leads to two things you often hear:

            “I’m really overworked, and now I’m working 8am to 8pm or later sometimes. And you want me to add a commute into that, do the same work, and get paid the same? Take a hike”.

            A: No. we want you to do *less work*, while still achieving the output we care about. Please stop arranging (time-slotted) Zoom calls for stuff that could have been sorted in an eight minute face-to-face chat. Think about it: when did you last have an *hours in-person conversation* to sort out an issue? Even *half an hour*?

            But it’s also: Zoom calls are “meetings”, and meetings generate “actions”. Like “make a spreadsheet to analyse X”. What would people have done thirty years ago? They’d have pondered for a bit, made a decision, and that’s that. No spreadsheet done. Zero “work”. The most efficient code you will ever write is lines you don’t write. Work is like that too. But remote work means meetings which means formalised admin. That’s a killer.

            “I’m getting all the work done. And quicker than I would with interruptions. Leave me alone”.

            A: No, you got all the *lines of code written* that we asked for. But does that make a great product? Remember, if all we wanted was the screenful of code that we asked for, we could have had that done in India at half the price. *Your Job is not writing lines of code*. Your job is making a great product.

            And even more importantly, the job of your team is coming up with the *next* great product. What I see an awful lot of…..is products and projects *completed* during the pandemic. New ones started? Not so much. Home workers are in serious danger of reaching the end of their “assigned work”, turning to their boss and asking where the next one is only to hear “well, there doesn’t seem to be any, no market for it, bad economy mumble mumble, redundancy”.

            The economy isn’t bad, not even with pending nuclear war. But the remote workers have completed the work in pipeline, while shirking the *responsibility* to ensure their company has an ongoing business. “Not my responsibility”? Fine. Then get made redundant as the company goes broke. But you can’t go sheltering under another tree indefinitely, the storm made all the trees wet.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              Despite the downvotes (I didn't vote at all), you do make some points.

              Some people can work well from. Some people can't. Some people want to be in the office and get face-to-face time because, as you say, often a 2 minute conversation, or even overhearing someone elses conversation, leads to a solution or resolution that might take a lot longer doing on-line meetings (which frequently veer off course due to people meeting for the first time in ages and gossiping). On the other hand, many people want to continue WFH not because they can do a better job, but because they prefer it and can maintain "productivity" and quality. There will also be a minority of lazy bastards who've realised they can get away with doing even less work from home than they ever managed to skip out on when in the office.

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: Scheme

                Our group of about a dozen people handle second-line support for a variety of applications, although those are all related to trains moving from A to B at time T, and not ending up in C and/or at B at time T plus or minus $ANNOYINGLY_LARGE_DELTA.

                Not every one in the group is equally knowledgeable about all the applications and the platforms they run on More than once I've heard a colleague take a call on a matter he was not very familiar with. Overhearing that, signalling a short interruption and bringing him up to speed or transferring the call was standard procedure at the office in such cases.

                In contrast, somewhere the past week there was an incident caused by a disk reporting imminent failure[0]. The guy who handled it (both he and I WedFH that day) duly answered all the scripted questions the 'engineer' at HPE Bangalore regurgitated, taking over an hour to collect several MB of irrelevant data from half a dozen sources where I would have sent them the one logfile that really mattered with any repeated request for the other data flatly declined, and would have instructed my colleague to do the same had I known about the incident as it came in.

                [0] nah. It's a RAID1 set with only a local swapfile on it (there's a much larger swapfile on the SAN), and the system is slated for decommissioning.with no active applications running on this cluster member any more. So urgency is roughly nil.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Scheme

                  I saw what you did there!

                  related to trains

                  the platforms they run

                  signalling

                  up to speed

                  the 'engineer'

                  :-)

                2. Nifty Silver badge

                  Re: Scheme

                  "[0] nah. It's a RAID1 set with only a local swapfile on it (there's a much larger swapfile on the SAN), and the system is slated for decommissioning.with no active applications running on this cluster member any more. So urgency is roughly nil."

                  Quite a persuasive argument for moving IT to the Cloud.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              "Zoom calls for stuff that could have been sorted in an eight minute face-to-face chat."

              Could also be done with an exchangeof emails - and have them to hand to refer back to instead of wondering if you rememered the face-to-face chat or the Zoom call correctly.

              1. ThatOne Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Scheme

                > emails

                OMG that's so uncool! Luddite! No self-respecting young person in 2022 would use an outdated technology laid down in the 80ies, and already used by his/her grandparents! You just have to use some new, hip technology, something which shows you're cool and keeping up with (if not being ahead of) the times.

            3. Zack Mollusc

              Re: Scheme

              Sorry, Justthefacts, but it seems to me that you are conflating many job roles.

              "we want you to do *less work*, while still achieving the output we care about" sounds like the workers are actually using their knowledge to create products. These people are not permitted to schedule meetings in person or on zoom, also the management above them does not care at all about their "output" .

              " the job of your team is coming up with the *next* great product." is not a team that will be creating a product, but is a team which always measured time in meetings as productivity.

              " the remote workers have completed the work in pipeline, while shirking the *responsibility* to ensure their company has an ongoing business " seems like you are blaming the pit ponies for the mine's unfavourable contract negotiations with its customers.

            4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              Interesting that people are downvoting. Years ago I was a member of one of those groups (bit like LinkedIn) can't remember its name but get together for lunch and help each other, I was also invited to another one that I didn't join. Most were there trying to sell themselves to the other members or get leads for business. Most were extolling the work from home approach. Most didn't have much work. They didn't like my viewpoint that managing people working from home on a none piecework basis was hard.

              Piecework is fine - you know what you're paying for and what you've got.

              Piecework is rarely possible with standard office jobs. Coding might be different but how many, especially of the downvoters, would be prepared to negotiate a price for a piece of work AND then deliver it for that price?

            5. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Scheme

              "A lot of people *themselves* mistake activity for productivity,"

              An interestingly inaccurate summation. I know several people who have worked from home very effectively since the 2020 lockdown. All of them are actually working longer hours (including the now redundant commute time), all of them are meeting and exceeding targets. Shirking? Are you Elon Musk?

            6. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scheme

              "A: No, you got all the *lines of code written* that we asked for. But does that make a great product? Remember, if all we wanted was the screenful of code that we asked for, we could have had that done in India at half the price. *Your Job is not writing lines of code*. Your job is making a great product."

              This tells me you've zero knowledge of how "great products" are created.

              It's literally written by a person (or two) who actually can code and know what needs to be done... and they need to work without interruptions. it's called the 'creative process'.

              Genuine MBA-type who believes it's "just lines of code". Just like a building is just pile of bricks (steel beams and glass nowadays) and economy is just numbers in the books.

            7. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scheme

              "Please stop arranging (time-slotted) Zoom calls for stuff that could have been sorted in an eight minute face-to-face chat."

              Strawman argument, no-one sane does that when instant messaging has been a thing since Digital Equipment created phone (IIRC) for DECNet, in early 1980s.

              Anyone with a computer has had some form of IM since IRC was invented, in late 1980s.

              In common of all of those: No need to be in same room.

        2. Timo
          Big Brother

          Re: Scheme

          We used to call those people, typically management, "carpet testers".

          Because they'd make a lap around the office being really visible and asking brilliant and thoughtful questions (and generally taking a headcount) before returning to their office and shuffling papers around. They'd repeat their carpet testing laps after lunch.

          And maybe right about quitting time, to make sure that everyone saw that they were there until the end of the day. Doing whatever it was they did.

          Also I find being called into the office a nice break from all the work. I get in about 8:30, take a long lunch, catch up with people during the day, and then leave by 4:30pm. And that currently seems to be longer than many of my coworkers who ditch out earlier than that.

          When I work from home I'm typically working by the same 8:30 but take nearly no lunch break, then work straight through to about 6:00pm. So my in-office days are shorter, even counting the commute!

        3. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Scheme

          Many years ago I worked at the German inland revenue for a few months. In the postal department. Their job was to open letters and put them into piles to send them to the right people.

          That was three or four people 40 years ago when everything was done by mail. They were the only people in the whole office opening letters. Today, you could take one man or woman, a fast scanner and a good address book, and no problem. All letters in the right email.

      2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        I think maybe some of the readers here don’t understand irony.

        Huh? What do you mean?

        1. Montreal Sean

          Re: I think maybe some of the readers here don’t understand irony.

          I've never understood you.

          1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

            I’ve never understood you.

            Calixa Lavallée, of course — why do you ask?

  4. MiguelC Silver badge

    One of the clients I work for did a Tesla (or is it an Elon?)

    During the pandemic the company sent everyone, except for some 'essential' IT people, home. Then they vacated one of their two main buildings. Then, come last year, they mandated 100% back to the office, with the ensuing chaos that having only half of the original space for more or less the original number of employees meant. They then mandated all contractor to keep working from home, forbidding on site presence - while forgetting that some of them were part of the 'essential' ones... More then one year later and they still haven't got it all figured out!

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      ditto -

      My corporate IT bods have a 'global back to the office' policy neatly ignoring the fact that the various building management departments around the world now have documented proof they don't need to provide all of IT with expensive desk space to get the same level of support and have adjusted the available space into call centre operations.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      This is very common! Even with hybrid working, a PM decides that a team will come to an office on a certain day, then it turns out there is nowhere to sit and meeting rooms are all occupied...

      Some businesses adopted booking systems, but that doesn't work either as peeps are making bookings just in case. Then you come in, some rooms are empty but you can't get in as they are booked ;-)

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        To be honest, bookings of meeting rooms has been a problem ever since there were meetings rooms to book.

        Nobody has found a proper solution for that yet, unless there is someone authorizing the booking and, even then, it can still go wrong.

        1. theOtherJT

          The solution is an office general secretary who's job is to actually administer this sort of thing.

          "No, you can't have a meeting room on that day. There aren't any available. I'll call you if one comes free."

          "There are only 4 people in your meeting, you can't have the conference room. You can have meeting room C since it only seats 5 anyway."

          "I've moved your meeting from room A to room D because we've got a client presentation that needs to use the video conferencing facility, and you are only having an internal meeting."

          This person knows who works here, knows what all the facilities available are, and knows who they can piss off by moving their meetings around and who they can't.

          Sadly jobs like this have been long since removed in the never ending drive for increased profit efficiency.

          1. KBeee Silver badge

            We had a lady that looked after conference rooms etc. After a year or so she became very protective of them, they were "her turf".

            It got to the stage where if she wasn't there you couldn't use any of the rooms, including if she was away for 2 weeks holiday she'd take the keys with her, or would hide them somewhere in the office without telling anyone.

            The manager ended up telling us to drill the locks out to gain access. She wasn't pleased when she got back from her holiday.

            1. theOtherJT

              As with all things, it is of course important to hire someone who isn't really bad at the job.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              She wasn't pleased when she got back from her holiday.

              Hopefully she was only back long enough to return her badge and collect her P45, or equivalent.

        2. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          >> bookings of meeting rooms has been a problem ever since there were meetings rooms to book

          I was contracting at a national newspaper once when we turned up to our booked meeting room to find that someone else had double-booked it. Instead of provoking an argument, the office manager simply upgraded us to the 6th floor corporate meeting room used by the chief executives.

          We spent the meeting lounging around on the sofas, feet up on the vast mahogany desk, helping ourselves to the soft drinks fridge and fiddling with a remote control that magically 'frosted' and 'unfrosted' the glass walls.

          Talk about being upgraded to First Class...

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Mr Dabbs> and fiddling with a remote control that magically 'frosted' and 'unfrosted' the glass walls.

            Was that the executive khazi by any chance?

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Nobody has found a proper solution for that yet,"

          Challenge accepted.

          Make meeting rooms chargeable against project budget. Then auction off the slots.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Meeting rooms are people

            At our office* meeting rooms are people, they appear in Outlook. So when you book a meeting you add the meeting room just like adding other attendees. Choose a time on the calendar when everyone and meeting room is free. Create meeting sends out email invites and marks the calendar with the meeting. No double booking, no management needed.

            *Well when we had an office ours was closed during the pandemic and we now all work from home. Company saw how much they were saving getting rid of the office and its data center (consolidated into a data center at another company site who still have to go into the office).

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "Make meeting rooms chargeable against project budget. Then auction off the slots."

            Marketing will book them all in perpetuity. Or the BOFH will create an "ebay sniper" to always get the best one (and re-directing the invoice to marketing)

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              They'll do that until they run out of budget. Limit the budget*. when they relise they're wasting it they'll start flogging off some of their slots. Money - real or virtual - puts a value on a resource. If the resource has no price you end up with the tragedy of the commons.

              * This doesn't have to be a financial budget - you can have a virtual currence allocated to projects and departments.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Why would Marketing ever run out of budget? :-)

        4. Emir Al Weeq

          I once worked where meeting rooms were booked in blocks of 30 mins. Any room unoccupied at 5 or 35 past the hour was deemed as available and could be used without booking.

        5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Nobody has found a proper solution for that yet, unless there is someone authorizing the booking and, even then, it can still go wrong."

          Didn't IBM try to solve that with a 15minute timeslot patent?

          The pre-booking thing can be solved by having the booking system email the person booking the meeting room EVERY DAY informing them the booking will be cancelled unless they re-confirm the booking. This will annoy those who habitually book rooms and not use them or those who forget to cancel bookings, and act as a reminder to not book so far in advance that you forgot why you booked it in the first place. At least until the BOFH quickly writes an automated confirmation reply script.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My shop sold off floor space and used the savings to buy everyone ( not IT bods of course! ) new shiny kit. They gave away all the furniture to anyone who wanted it, we all got nice new 28" monitors and Aero chairs ( they even chartered a company to drop off kit anywhere in the country! ). A couple of my colleagues have now moved out of the south-east and up north to where the house prices are dirt cheap by comparison, company still has no issues. Company has no intention of going back to full office presence, so now we're all free to come and go as we wish, we only have one office floor and enough seats to hold about 40% of the staff on any given day if all seats are booked. Only a handful now have permanent office desks, the rest of us just book a desk a day or two before, take the lappys in and hook up. The company even has a psychiatrist on hand you can book to discuss any mental health issues with working from home, pretty cool.

      Funny, pre-COVID I hated WFH, I couldn't get my head in the right space and did spend most of it staring out the window or writing pointless docs. When it was foced to WFH I learned how to use kit and apps and now I'm more productive than every before, not so good I do now work an extra 6-8 hours a week more than I used to as I have nothing better to do each morning now I'm not wasting time hanging around train stations, so I just log in and take advantage of the quiet to get stuff done before the masses log on and start raising calls.

      All power to my shop, I love 'em!

    4. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Long before covid...

      One of my clients had an open plan hot desking office, where, if you arrived after about 08:45 for any reason, you usually couldn't find a desk for the day. They had a 'clear desk' policy as well, so if you had a desk you had to lock your day's documents away in the desk pedestal, so you were unlikely to ever find them again unless you broke the policy and hid them somewhere else. Then they decided they had some 'spare office space' and rented half the floor out to another company. So you had staff of two companies operating in an unsegregated open plan space. They put a barrier up to segregate one 'particularly sensitive' section, but unfortunately the communal meeting rooms were behind the barrier as well, so staff of both companies had to cross the barrier to use them.

      I believe this is called 'planning for efficiency'.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Long before covid...

        Friend of mine told me how he slipped into WFH before the Covid. So after the company hired some contractors they realised that they don't have enough space for everyone. My friend was one of those essential bodies that had to be in the office. Unfortunately, due to where he lived, he was never able to make it in before 9 am, so by the time he was in, all seats were taken. The PM came up with an idea that they took seats from the kitchen and got the workers to squeeze a bit more. One day, during the lunch break, my friend took the seat from the kitchen to the quite remote area of the building where back in the day people used to smoke. There was a small table with dead plants (that's how remote it was, even cleaners wouldn't go there) and so he installed himself there. After a couple of days of working from there, he started joining stand ups remotely rather than coming to the group. Few more days passed and people started forgetting that he is the essential one who needs to work in the office and so he stopped coming to office. After a month his PM was like "Whoa that's crazy, I though you were in the whole time?". Then Covid happened and to this day he never set his foot in the office again.

      2. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: Long before covid...

        "clear desk policy"

        There was an office where it was strickly enforced that you could have either one photo on your desk, or one small houseplant.

        One bloke put a photo of a houseplant on his desk.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Art!

          Ah! This is not a houseplant! The Treachery of Images!

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    https://youtu.be/tSY1VnNUJzQ?t=56

  6. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    And the award for ...

    I think my work from home office chair would win "Most gaffer tape"

    1. Contrex

      Re: And the award for ...

      I recently retired. At the start of the pandemic we were all sent home with a Lenovo laptop, mouse. keyboard, 24" monitor, headset. My boss said 'anyone got any problems with this?'. I said my home chair that I'd paid £75 for at John Lewis was falling apart. He said "we'll put your office chair in the back of my car'. £400 Posturite. When I came to retire, he said 'any ideas for your retirement present?' I said 'the chair'. He said, 'Oh, I can just write that off. What else would you like?' So here I am sitting comfortably.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: And the award for ...

        Let me guess, you were the chairman of the company?

        1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

          Re: And the award for ...

          It's a Dabbsy piece, so

          Chairman of the board / bored

          with utube link to video might be more appropriate

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: And the award for ...

      At the start of COVID, my office had a stable of maybe 20 Aeron chairs with blown out seat mesh. They were a custom color, so no replacement mesh available. These chairs had sat, unused for several years. I checked Amazon, they had medium size black (only) replacements for $250 each. As I was going to be WFH for the forseeable future, without a chair, I helped myself to one from the stable, ordered a replacement seat from Amazon, and spent 30 minutes at home replacing the blown out seat. The next two years were much more comfortable.

      I have since retired. The chair is still comfortable.

  7. Mr Sceptical
    Happy

    who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

    Feedback from one of our clients during lockdown - IT productivity increased, Sales team decreased.

    Looks like IT could focus on real work while the Sales team didn't have anyone to badger to urgently fix their missing icon issues...

    Some clients are tempting staff back with free meals where they had a paid canteen previously. Ones who already did that spent lockdown refurbishing offices to even swankier levels but still have hardly anyone in.

    We've gone hybrid for the long term, vacated half our office space and now coming in for the day feels like a novelty rather than the daily grind into Waterloo.

    Did have to implement a desk booking system to prevent everyone piling in one day of the week, but occupancy is still only 1/3 over the week.

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

      Ditto at my place, they sold off space, gave us all the office kit if we wanted the nice chairs and kit, we had meeting room booking system in place so they just beefed it up to books desks.

      We've had sick days drop off to almost nothing now, last person off sick must have been 18 months ago when a few caught covid. Projects are getting done in what seems like record time now, and rather than people only being around 9-5, when you look you can usually find people logged on from 7-7 most days as without the commute people are using the quiet times at either end of the day to get the stupid odds and sods jobs done so proper work gets done during the work day.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

      Some clients are tempting staff back with free meals where they had a paid canteen previously.

      Genius idea. Spend 2 hours in public transport just to get a "free" meal that someone arbitrarily chooses.

      I mean for the prices of the train tickets alone, you can get some fresh organic veggies, some nice meat from a local market etc and then up your cheffing skills making what you like, not what people in the office like in general.

      Nobody can make Pico de gallo the way you do for yourself.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

        "Luncheon vouchers" are or were a thing, you could eat in any nice restaurant, if there was one.

        Using them to pay for "personal services" is... something I haven't experienced. And do you bring sandwiches then?

      2. tezboyes

        Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

        Still trying to even get our paid canteen back, despite working on an industrial estate with 10 microwaves between about 800 people (if everyone had to be in all the time) 600 seats and 400 parking spaces.

        There is.a Greggs 10 minutes walk up a hill ...

        Common sense, logic, care for staff, yeah clearly none of those apply to "leaders" - see The Psychopath Test.

        1. CuChulainn Silver badge

          Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

          Ah! The 'office microwave'. Usually a cheap 600 watt job.

          When someone decides to put something in a container the size of a breeze block in it and it takes 30 minutes to heat (with repeated interventions to stir it). When everyone has virtually the same 45 minute break period. With up to 20 people wanting to use it once they realise others have started doing so.

          Or when someone likes fish.

          Or when someone leaves something in too long and so bestows the odour of whatever they cremated to anything anyone else reheats for the next six weeks.

          And a device which NO ONE ever cleans because the office cleaners aren't responsible for it (and you wouldn't trust them even if they were).

          1. ske1fr
            Mushroom

            Re: who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

            Argh! The faighin* who insisted on cooking mackerel in the office microwave, oblivious to the rest of the office having to smell their righteous oily fish lunch! I'm so glad for WFH, and for retirement! Shudders at the olfactory flashback...

            *I'm on holiday, you do the Google Translate

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

    What about the c**t who's unable to silence his bloody smartphone and has every single social network notification enabled ?

    It's like a morse message going ALL DAY LONG !

    I'm sure I'm not the only one to highly despise him.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

      I did not know "most boomers" was spelt "c**t".

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

        To be fair, most "boomers" are now in their 70s. Meanwhile, us gen-Xs are sitting here with popcorn watching the boomers and millennials fighting it out over which of the two generations has the most innate sense of self-privilege. Personally, I'm rooting for the millennials, because the boomers are the ones who screwed us over as well. I'm still waiting for the average house price to miraculously fall back to four years' average salary.

        1. Ordinary Donkey

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          Nobody tell them that the youngest Westminster MP is already a post-Millennial.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          "Us gen-Xs" did at least as much as the boomers to screw up the environment (remember all those cheap flights back in the 90s?), the economy (do you own your own home?), the political environment (the average age of the current cabinet is about 50, just sayin'), and the internet (all that crufty legacy code so full of exploits? - that was us, that was).

          We're the generation that's running things now, we don't get to blame the boomers any longer.

          And you know what? - in about 40 years' time, the millennials' grandchildren will be rounding on them too. "How could you be so stupid?", they will say. I don't know what they'll be talking about, but there'll be something so stupendous, so overwhelmingly important, so obvious that everyone should have seen it coming before. It's the way of history.

          1. Helcat

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            Thing is: Us boomers were lied to, and at first we believed those lies, then realised they were lies and tried to warn the Gen-X and Millennials, but we weren't believed. Mostly because we didn't know what the truth was at the time, but the Gen-X and Millennials did.

            Only the Gen-X are now realising they were lied to, so the truth they knew actually wasn't true, and the Millennials won't listen because the Millennials know the truth and the Gen-X don't...

            Screwing up the environment is ongoing, and is based in greed, and those responsible will sell you the lies to hide the damage caused until they've moved on to something new at which point they'll tell you the damage was 'them people over there'...

            It's ever ongoing. Lies told to make money, eh? Who would have guessed that'd be the case...

          2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            And you know what? - in about 40 years' time, the millennials' grandchildren will be rounding on them too. "How could you be so stupid?", they will say. I don't know what they'll be talking about, but there'll be something so stupendous, so overwhelmingly important, so obvious that everyone should have seen it coming before. It's the way of history.

            I think it will depend on the country, but for two countries I am pretty sure what that something will be, Brexit and reversal of Roe vs. Wade.

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

              Nope, both much too high profile in their own time. When the Boomers were young, the hot topics were things like sexual liberation, nuclear apocalypse, popular beat combos, communism. Those aren't the things they're being blamed for now.

              It was the Boomers who won Roe in the first place, and took the UK into the Common Market, but somehow the millennials don't seem inclined to thank them for it.

              If I had to guess, it will be something that comes out of either China or Africa.

              1. John D'oh!

                Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

                "If I had to guess, it will be something that comes out of either China or Africa."

                Coronavirus and monkey pox... Coronapox?

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            "We're the generation that's running things now, we don't get to blame the boomers any longer."

            You always blame the previous generation. No matter what. After all, the Tories are still blaming Labour for the ills of the world 12 years after Labour were last in power. Labour, right up to the day they got kicked out, were still blaming the ills of the world on the Tories after 13 years in power. So long as there is an "us and them", it's will always be the fault of "them". On the other hand, if it wasn't for the idea of naming things with twee and cute names like "boomers", "Gen X", etc, there may not be an "us and them" to blame because everyone, of every age just blends into a mishmash.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

              "No matter what. After all, the Tories are still blaming Labour for the ills of the world 12 years after Labour were last in power."

              To be fair the aftereffects of Brownomics were pretty severe. BoJo has had the gift of a pandemic and now a war to make it hard to allocate due blame for his own policies.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

                ...and Labour had to deal with the end result of Thatchernics and Majornomics and each party had over a decade to implement their "solutions".

                I'm not saying either side was right or wrong here. Just that both sides had a long time to deal with the so-called "disasters" the previous government created and they only ever plan for a single term in government. Few politicians instigate long term plans because they know they may not be around to reap the praise.

                Thatcher had the Falklands as a distraction. Blair had Iraq. Bojo had/has a pandemic.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

                  Brown as PM had an economic meltdown which he inherited from the policies of the chancelor of the previous PM, that chancellor being himself.

                  1. Mooseman Silver badge

                    Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

                    "Brown as PM had an economic meltdown which he inherited"

                    Er, Brown had to deal with a rather large international banking crisis - it's become a reliably inaccurate trope to blame labour for that.

        3. Dr_N Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          Loyal Commenter> sitting here with popcorn watching the boomers and millennials fighting it out

          Here, something for the weekend.

        4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          Boomer here.

          Thanks to St. Reagan, I now get to worry about Social Sexurity running out of money (simple solkution: remove the cap on taxable income).

          We put men on the moon, invented computers and The Internet, but we also polluted the planet and failed to maintain kur infrastructure.

          We're not perfect, but we aren't malicious. And, to be fair, we, like you, are at the mercy of the politiciams and the fools who vote people like Reagan and Trump into office.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            "Boomer here."

            I was born right at the end of what is defined as a "baby boomer" and the beginning of Generation-X. I'm confused as to whether I should be entitled or blaming myself for the ills of the world. I guess the reality is that this highlights just how ridiculous those labels are. Almost as stupid as star signs defining personality traits.

          2. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            If you're in the US I'd argue you're f*&^ed in general. The choice you get is either senile old man who doesn't seem to understand 90% of what he's talking about or a loudmouth orangutan in a suit. Before that it was a (not quite provably but obviously corrupt) career politician with a husband famous for cheating on her while POTUS vs. the same loudmouth orangutan. The more I learn about the US political system and it's current state the more I'd argue the US is pretty much f*(^ed no matter who you vote for. There are no good choices and the US economy WILL crash at some point, taking down a lot of the rest of the world economy with it.

        5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          To be fair, most "boomers" are now in their 70s.

          How long are such "generations" supposed to last? AIUI these are the cohort born 1946 or later so they're mid-70s or younger. That puts the majority in their 60s.

          Being slightly older my own definition is one whose musical tastes were defined by the Beatles, their contemporaries and successors. In restrospect I think I've always had more in common with those 10 or more years older than those just a few years younger as exemplified by the cousins on one side of the family vs the other.

      2. Contrex

        Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

        "I did not know "most boomers" was spelt "c**t"." - I did, and I'm a boomer.

        1. eldel

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          I resemble that remark.

          Signed a boomer who is pig sick of the fuckwits that think screwing up a planet is a virtuous act and are now hell bent on screwing up the political system for their own short sighted advantage. That's without considering the theocrats that are turning the US into a radical christian theocracy - and they have a habit of exporting their crap.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            "and they have a habit of exporting their crap."

            Sudden increase in protests outside hospitals that perform abortions, especially in NI since last week.

            Interestingly, only NI has a right to abortion. In the UK it's for "medical reasons" and why two doctors must sign it off, to back each other up if it comes to a court case.

    2. Sp1z

      Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

      Contact IT (or if you're in IT), get the MAC address of their phone, apply policy to traffic from their phone to social sites and limit bandwidth to about 0.5kb/sec. Enough to keep it going (slowly) but not enough to drop it back to 3/4G. That should make the notifications less frequent.

      Alternatively take the phone and smash it with a hammer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

        > Alternatively take the phone and smash it with a hammer.

        One way I use to handle people who would frequently leave their *mobile* phone on their office desk and we would be treated to 15 or 20 minutes of repeated horrible ring tones as someone kept trying to get hold of them - left a mug on their desk with their mobile inside it and a post-it note on the outside saying "next time the mug won't be empty!"...

        They generally took the hint. Of course that was before mobiles started to be water resistant/proof.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

          Reminds me of a Dilbert strip

          Cow-orker: Has anyone seen my mobile phone?

          Alice: I don't know, was it large, annoying and flushable?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

            "I don't know, was it large, annoying and flushable?"

            https://dilbert.com/strip/2003-07-04

            Good one, indeed.

            OP

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

        Back in the day (when all phones still had (easily) removable batteries) the standard was to remove battery and leave next to the phone on hte desk., Repeate offenders had some all all parts dropped in their bin.

        Of couse now that (nearly) everything has a sealed battery, your suggestion...

        Alternatively take the phone and smash it with a hammer.

        is a good alternative. or if you want to give them some hope dump it in a pint/mug of water (especially if not a waterpoof model).

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

      Or the guy who decided to eat for breakfast his left over garlic bread from yesterday and he didn't have time to brush his teeth, thought a mask will do...

    4. tezboyes

      Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

      How about the whole fracking team that don't know how to silence the beep of every single message, and they keep messaging each other.

    5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

      Annoying cellphone, 600W microwave? Seems like the solution is obvious.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "so I loiter and get on everyone's tits that way instead..."

    Sort of my dream job. Where do I apply?

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: "so I loiter and get on everyone's tits that way instead..."

      You're lucky, I had to sit through a H&S all day meeting to learn why such sex harrassment was not tolerated. "Look but don't touch" evidently includes telekenesis. *Sigh* =-j

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deliver us from office keyboards

    When working from home I invested in a proper clicky keyboard, and now back in the office I forgot just how terrible mushy low-profile Dell membrane keyboards are.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

      When working from home, I also invested in a proper clicky keyboard. I used it for about an hour before my wife (who is working in the same room) threatened to insert it into a normally exit-only orifice.

      I then invested in a keyboard with cherry red MX keys, not cherry blue ones. However, I use that for my personal PC, and not my work laptop, which is fine to use with the old cheapo (but still mechanical) i-rocks K10 with knock-off switches.

      1. David Robinson 1

        Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

        I have a few spare Model M keyboards in the loft if you want to borrow one. She'd be begging you to go back to the clicky keyboard after five minutes.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

          If those are UK ones, they are now worth a fortune. I mean, hundreds!

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

        Agreed - you'll rip my Dell SK8115 from my cold, dead hands.

      3. DaveB

        Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

        From my contracting days I learnt that its best to own your own keyboard and mouse attached to your work PC. That way your keyboard and mouse can be the same as home keyboard and mouse.

        If you accept the "Company standard" keyboard, purchased for $25 from IBM then expect RSA to develop in your hands over time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

          A colleague developed RSI in his hand. The H&S people did the regulation checks and recommended new keyboard/mouse equipment for him. Two years later he retired - and the equipment still hadn't appeared.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

      "I forgot just how terrible mushy low-profile Dell membrane keyboards are."

      Even worse, desktops supplied with the default standard keyboard, unless purchasing/procurement choose something better, are basically larger laptop keyboards these days. Bloody horrible shite!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Timewasting

    WFH has made be very aware of how much time I waste when in the office!

  12. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    I'm reminded of this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9jEuHbB0GQ

    also kudos for the best description of Boggy Rees ever!

  13. John Styles

    Lazy and passive aggressive

    It is worth noting that a F o I request revealed that Rees-Mogg only actually put 3 of those notes on desks

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Lazy and passive aggressive

      He most certainly did not.

      A gentleman wouldnt go around putting notes on desks himself

      Putting notes on desks is a task for the under-butler's scrivener

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Lazy and passive aggressive

      And how many were put on his desk?

      "Sorry you were out when we visited. we look forward to seeing you in the office very soon. With every good wish, the people working there"

  14. Franco Silver badge

    Contractor here too, so WFH was a common thing for me long before pandemics, largely because when you're working on big projects that are too many contractors and not enough desks. I've often had to explain to PMs though that I DO need a build area if they expect me to work on desktop refresh projects, as although initial testing can be done on VMs, BIOS settings and drivers need to be tested on the actual devices they are intended for.

    After one particularly long and tedious explanation of why I needed space and an example of every device that was being used in the refresh project, I was told by the head of department that he liked working with contractors because "they speak truth to power", a prime example of the God Complex Dabbsy talks about. My request is a requirement of the task they have engaged me to complete, but they frame it as if it's a civil rights issue.

  15. disgruntled yank

    JRM

    A cabinet member going around dropping notes on civil servants' desks does not fit my notion of government efficiency. But perhaps it was a Brexit opportunity.

    (I am old enough to remember the founding of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, then its fission into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Education Department. And I have wondered about the steady growth of US cabinet posts. But the UK seems to have carried it all farther.)

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: JRM

      News Anchor: The Government seems to be getting bigger with every passing year. Has it gone too far? After the break, we speak with the Minister for Steak and Kidney Pudding.

      [after Ronnie Barker, credit where it's due]

  16. FatGerman

    Duty of care

    I'm pretty sure employers in the UK still have a duty of care towards their employees. During the period when numbers of people in the office were restricted and masks-wearing away from your desk was mandatory, I made regular trips in without incident.

    Since the removal of restrictions on numbers, I made 3 trips to the office. Caught covid on the third, almost died, and still have symptoms. So I will now be staying at home.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Duty of care

      In capitalist societies, employees have the legal duty to care for their employers...

    2. WereWoof

      Re: Duty of care

      Coming next, an interview with the Minister for Administrative Affairs/

  17. CuChulainn Silver badge
    Happy

    BC (Before Covid), But...

    while rubbing elbows with that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

    Stop it! You're giving me flashbacks!

    Although my severance from the rat race predates Covid by some years, my last memories along those lines are:

    The jerk next to me who used to slurp his coffee (and any pot he was eating out of) and laboriously lick out the mug/pot and spoon every time he finished something.

    The jerk opposite who had a nervous tic of sorts, and hummed all the time at a frequency only elephants, perhaps a couple of species of large sea mammals, and me could hear.

    The jerk opposite (but a bit to the right) who made and ate sandwiches at his desk and ate noisily (often in front of customers) with the table manners that even wild pigs would be ashamed of. He got butter, fruit juice, and anything else on his hands all over his screen, mouse, and keyboard - and I was the department IT fixer-upper who had to sometimes... touch it. God, that time his mouse froze and I opened it up to clean it... And he also had catarrh and would frequently make that guttural snorting sound to try and dislodge it.

    The jerkess in the next block of cubes who was a buyer and spent 90% of her time on the phone. Specifically, on speakerphone. She'd dial a number and it would 'ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring...' until the line went dead, but refusing to accept no one would pick up she would just hit redial. In fact I knew several buyers over the years who did that. I think they had agreed a special code with the people they called not to pick up for at least two complete ring cycles so everyone else in the offices at both ends could see how in-demand they all were.

    That same jerkess who, on the occasions she left the office to attend a meeting, would empty a complete aerosol can of Impulse on herself, which would then get into the air handling (not air-conditioning) and get recirculated every fifteen minutes for the rest of us to savour.

    The jerkess in my own set of cubes who slammed drawers and cupboards all the time. After discovering it was annoying, she did it on purpose and followed each event with a simpering '[giggle]... so-o-rry'.

    Thank God I am self employed now.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: BC (Before Covid), But...

      The advantage of wired mice is that you can get your scissors, cut of their tail, and tell the employee to find someone who will buy them a new one.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...rubbing elbows with that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day."

    Poker players have a saying "If you sit downat a poker table and can't spot the sucker, it's you". Something similar applies to working in an office. If you can't spot the annoying guy, you're it.

  19. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    I hate my office

    And want to work from home....... but it does have its rewards...like my crummy office chair with the blown gas cylinder inside that slowly drops you to the floor

    However... a quick visit to the toolroom and some hot metal bashing later I have a collar that goes over the cylinder and holds the chair at the correct height.... only thing to remember is to sit down slowly because theres no 'give' in the chair anymore.

    And then I have Tuesday off.. whoopee ... well a doctors visit anyway........ and my estwhile colleague opposite whos noticed my chair is no longer wonky, and his is, decides to swap the chairs over, and then finds out there are worse modications to an offfice chair than duct taping an airhorn to it......

    Hes been off for 3 days now with a 'bad back'

    The war goes on

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate my office

      > only thing to remember is to sit down slowly because theres no 'give' in the chair anymore.

      > Hes been off for 3 days now with a 'bad back'

      Once you start to notice, it's amazing how many people seem to be incapable of actually lowering themselves gently into a chair.

      1. herman Silver badge

        Re: I hate my office

        Hmm, lots of people (including me) have a back problem which can cause their back, stomach and leg muscles to lock up as soon as they try either sit down or get up. It is especially annoying to get in/out of a car when that happens.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I hate my office

      a quick visit to the toolroom and some hot metal bashing later I have a collar that goes over the cylinder and holds the chair at the correct height

      McMaster-Carr: shaft collars, two-piece

      https://www.mcmaster.com/shaft-collars/shaft-collars/construction~two-piece/

    3. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: I hate my office

      "decides to swap the chairs over"

      I had something similar - my chair was knackered, leaned to the side and sank gracelessly to the floor every few minutes, so I eventually prised a new chair out of the management (a whole £40 worth). Colleague spots my new chair, and helps himself to it, then raises a complaint when I simply nicked it back a few days later....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social hour

    Or should that be "social day" as pretty much the entire day-in-the-office is consumed by people sitting around talking about anything but work.

    I make a point to get absolutely nothing done that day, and so does everyone else.

    Anon for obv raisins.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tone deaf/brain dead management

    I have the fortune to work for a north american company.

    They have requested that all staff, worldwide, work from the nearest real office.

    This, despite the fact that some staff have it IN THEIR CONTRACTS that they work from home.

    Clearly there will be a stampede out the door to other employers. It's already started.... and they aren't even changing their mind.

    It is bonkers......

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Tone deaf/brain dead management

      That one seems simple enough - if their contract states wfh, then contracturally their home is a real office.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tone deaf/brain dead management

        You would think, but they seem to think they can override it - which we know they can't.

        The problem now is that the staff, like me, have collectively decided that there are better places to be... and there are.

        The company will now reap the whirldwind of ill-will

  22. Manolo
    WTF?

    We're not all British

    Would you expect people who do not know who Jacob Rees-Mogg is to know how Bertie Wooster looks like (OK, link provided), Sir Percy Blakeney sounds like and what Theakston's Old Peculier is?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're not all British

      Spotted the bloody colonial!

      1. hplasm
        Meh

        Re: We're not all British

        "Spotted the bloody colonial!"

        I'm sure the have T'internet in the colonies.

        (I'm not sure they know how to use it...

      2. Manolo

        Re: We're not all British

        Wrong. Continental.

      3. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
        Go

        Re: We're not all British

        Just to add another impenetrable allusion, perhaps "He's from Barcelona..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're not all British

      Google is American. I've heard it can be used to find information on things you are ignorant of.

      1. Manolo

        Re: We're not all British

        Or you could write articles that do not necessitate your audience to use Google thrice per sentence.

        And no, I'm not Murican.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We're not all British

          "Or you could write articles that do not necessitate your audience to use Google thrice per sentence."

          It's called widening your audience's horizons. Even better if you hyperlink to a relevant explanation.

          Vocabulary was tailored to the probable lowest common denominator then it would be like the Bristow cartoon about the UK tabloid press leader. "Con-cor-de was fly-ing - over the moun-tains".

    3. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: We're not all British

      Sir Percy Blakeney, like Bertie Wooster, is a literary fictional character. I understand how Americans wouldn't have heard of the "Jeeves and Wooster" books but I thought the Scarlet Pimpernel was generally well-known. Theakston's Old Pec is dark beer that tastes as if someone put half a kilo of sugar in it.

      A kilo is a unit of measurement.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: We're not all British

        "Theakston's Old Pec is dark beer that tastes as if someone put half a kilo of sugar in it."

        Given the average US beer, I doubt they'd notice or know why it was odd...

      2. notyetanotherid

        Re: We're not all British

        > Theakston's Old Pec is dark beer that tastes as if someone put half a kilo of sugar in it.

        Not sugar, treacle (molasses, for leftpondians).

      3. MJI Silver badge

        Re: We're not all British

        A kilo is a prefix to multiple units of measurement

        kilometre

        kilovolt

        kilepascal

    4. The Northerner Up North

      Re: We're not all British

      Rees-Mogg is an idiot - but a very clever idiot - his 'image' and everything he does is carefully crafted. He's after Boris' job (understandable now covid is out the way), and in a world where image is king he's pretty much cornered market in the Tory camp.

      A man with a plan - and he's been working on it for years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We're not all British

        ..and Johnson has exposed the weaknesses in the checks & balance etc mechanisms that a potential dictator could drive a coach and horses through them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We're not all British

        > Rees-Mogg ... He's after Boris' job

        Just 12 days later and your powers of prediction are exposed!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back to the office or not

    Well last month it was 2 to 3 days a week mandated at the office. We rebelled.

    Now it's once a month with the offer of a large home office allowance.

    One of our big customers pointed out we were still delivering where almost everyone else was not so why break something that seems to be working.

    I have to admit could do with fiber but that's not arriving any time soon and 4G actual upload/download is worse than fttc here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to the office or not

      "Well last month it was 2 to 3 days a week mandated at the office. We rebelled."

      Living in France and working in Switzerland, the so called "frontaliers" or "pendulaires" in French Swiss, here.

      Due to France being highly anal retentive for social taxes, the company now forces us 4 days per week in the office.

      I'm sure my wallet and the planet will appreciate the commuting ...

      It has not yet lead to severe attrition, but I'm expecting any other such colleague to start considering other options ...

  24. Ashto5

    Jacob Reese Mogg

    JRM

    Is the current minister for

    “Returning to Dickensian Values”

    1. Huw L-D

      Re: Jacob Reese Mogg

      Pre-Dickensian, surely?

  25. herman Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No Work Visa Required

    I live in Slovakia and got a job next door in Austria. Since I could not get a visa for Austria, I ended up permanently working from home, which saves me from a 240 km commute every day. The reason I could not get a visa is totally bizarre - I need a birth certificate in a format which is not available from my country of birth.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: No Work Visa Required

      That's a bit weird. With somewhere pretty large like Bratislava on the border and Vienna barely 40Km away, I'd have thought there would be a quite a lot of cross border employment. Especially as both countries being not only EU members but part of Schengen, Freedom of movement and all that goes with it. I wonder if this is more related to some low-level bureaucrat[*] not knowing the rules and no one bothering to push it?

      [*] At either the government or employer.

      1. herman Silver badge

        Re: No Work Visa Required

        There are lots of cross border workers, but for someone who is a citizen of a third country and who was born in a third world country, and emigrated before mundane things like birth certs were computerized, it is not easy to make Austria’s officials happy. I also applied for a new birth cert more than a year ago - still waiting - don’t think I’ll ever get it. There are not many gov employees in that country who can read and write and since I’m not a citizen they have no motivation to do anything anyway.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: No Work Visa Required

          Ah, right, thanks for clarifying. It wasn't obvious to me that your phrase "country of birth" at the end meant somewhere other then Slovakia where you live. Now it makes sense.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No Work Visa Required

        If you are a non-EU citizen with Schengen residency then you can spend 90/180 days in other Schengen countries for tourism purposes only.

        An employee who has to work on site without having residency in the country they're supposed to be on site in would be pretty easy to spot.

        An EU citizen of course has no such problems, they can easily obtain residency in the other country or get cross-border worker status.

  26. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Been WFH since mid 2017

    I started working from home around August 2017, with trips into the office meaning a 150m round trip... So it was once a month to begin with, then once every 2 months... then once every 3 months.

    Then the pandemic hit... I've not set foot in the office in about 30 months now.

    A few months ago, I had a 'conversation' with my employers about brining me back in to the office... I asked what moving expenses they would be offering if I had to sell and move closer... or what compensation package I'd get for renting a place near the office.

    The quickly shelved that idea... much to my relief... and it had nothing to do with me stating quite bluntly that if they forced the issue... I'd walk.... and I'm literally their best employee... I do a little more work than anyone else does... because I've figured out a way I can semi automate some of my tasks.

    Couldn't do that with people constantly hovering around and looking over your shoulder... and if they knew I'd kinda reduced my hrs in this way... they might want a pay cut. :)

  27. ske1fr
    Holmes

    The title will be inevitable

    I cannot imagine ReSmog drinking anything so non-U as ale. More of a "pass the port" shirley?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title will be inevitable

      The Communion wine?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even IT companies tend to spec their staff PCs for typing letters. Apart from the higher management who get the latest wizz-bang laptops that they rarely open.

    Trying to get a decently powered desktop for my large data crunching was almost impossible. My home PC did the job nicely until procurement by-pass wheels finally ground slowly to a conclusion.

  29. Daedalus

    The trouble with Jacob

    Mr. Rees-Mogg (I can't quite get rid of the memory of Private Eye calling his father "William Rees-Mogadishu") has zero claim to aristocratic birthright. His father may have been educated at Charterhouse and Balliol, but his maternal grandfather drove a lorry and sold cars.

    He reminds me of a friend reading Philosophy at college who really embraced the boating blazer, flannels and straw hat, with a monocle no less, but whose father made a living selling dodgy "adjuvants" to older gentlemen eager to keep their mistresses happy (or at least to get their money's worth). Sadly, those spoilsports in Brussels ruined the family business and Bertie, not his real name, was seen modelling for ad campaigns touting diet pills. I believe Bertie was also fond of exotic cheroots consumed via a cigarette holder.

    Pity Jake didn't suffer a similar fate. What were the voters thinking? He'd never have made it in Wigan.

    I should also mention another hard case, with monocle and plus fours, who followed the aristo formula and took to the cloth, presumably because he could not inherit or join the military. I think he might even have been pastor to someone well known.....

  30. Twanky Silver badge

    Remote working...

    Or as we used to call it in the 90's. 'Working'.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I met an ex-colleague in a Starbucks cos his office was full

    A manager of technical types, his team was WFH but-within-30-miles-of-the-office *long before* the pandemic. It had started because having clients around the world often meant the team shifted their hours forwards/backwards and they found it more productive in the long run. They'd come into the office for design things and a beer-in-the-pub once in a while but it was ad-hoc. Everyone was happy. Pandemic arrived and they just carried on as they were.

    He jokingly asked me to his office for lunch, so I agreed and met him in a Starbucks, where he was forced to work because his office was full.

    Senior management had decided that everyone needed to work from the office for "company culture" 3 days a week. Initially adults were allowed to choose their own days but it wasn't giving the senior management the power trip they wanted so they were forced to come in Mon-Wed.

    This became a blanket rule. No exceptions. Even those pesky tech types.

    So, one dreary spring Monday, all 50+ tech peeps turned up with no-where to sit because the company had grown numbers but not floors, desks or chairs. It was, apparently, chaos. Senior management hid in the board room while middle-managers spoke of "Dunkirk spirit". The overflow ended up in coffee shops, pubs, a few co-working spaces and so on.

    That was 6 months ago and senior management still demand that everyone comes in; the technical types just ignore it and carry on as they were. No-one seems to notice. It was ever thus.

    I japed with my ex-colleague why he was in given all his meetings were on zoom and all the people who need to talk to him are remote and he just shrugged and paid for lunch on the company ticket!

  32. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "We had mini-desks to allow more staff to fit on each floor, jammed together like badly fitting jigsaw pieces. We shared phones, not because we didn't have enough of them, but because there wasn't enough desk space for one each. There would occasionally be fights over who had to use up their desk to accommodate the phone."

    Britain in a nutshell. Quality of life issues, but not even knowing that it could be oh-so different. Brexit will help permanent this mentality. I guess Brits will eventually evolve into hobbits (just very fat ones). Bit like it used to be in the Victorian days for the working classes due to malnutrition.

  33. The Northerner Up North

    Had the ability to work from home since 2005. Broad band was a but limited back in the day but generally only felt the 1mb down and 0.4 up when connecting to vm's around the world.... ...it was, well sluggish to say the least... ...But things got a lot better with fibre...

    The problem with employers who want staff back in the office is twofold - 1) managers needing to 'manage', 2) the long-term rents on buildings. A lot of companies will be looking at the company structure following covid and will be asking the obvious question - do we need all these managers when most staff WFH for two years with little supervision? A lot of middle managers will be sweating over the coming year.

    The second point speaks for its self - where companies didn't have the business sense to renegotiate its rental agreements during covid and many are still paying stupendous rents on buildings with nobody in them - so bodies on site please we need to justify the cost. Simple as that.

    The fallout from this going forward will be a change in the job market that offer hybrid working as standard - This will filter down into employees forced back into offices - eventually.

  34. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    JRM

    'In case you are not familiar with Jacob Rees-Mogg, imagine somebody ..

    And having an intellect that causes him to leave a physical note for somebody who is not only clearly working somewhere else where they'll never read it, but would probably rip their own heads off rather than meet JRM.

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