One shot of the kettle, another rummaging through the fridge – for Boris Johnson, it’s too tempting to work from home.
In a renewed appeal, the Prime Minister wants the country to return to the office and abandon remote working.
But is his argument for bringing the British back to office valid? And how do people who have been used to “WFH” for two years now feel?
Take the mill town of Burnley in Lancashire. It’s actually the second-best area in the UK to recruit for working from home, according to data released by Zoom earlier this week.
Since March 2020, the region has seen a 391% increase in the number of jobs that allow people to work remotely and they are being taken.
Dave Walker runs +24 Marketing. He has implemented a hybrid work plan for his staff and he says shifting most of his business to remote working has allowed him to attract staff from further afield.
That’s why he thinks the Prime Minister’s comments aren’t “forward-thinking”.
He told Sky News: “It really depends on the culture and if you have that strong, positive culture in the organization you work in, then your team working – wherever they are – will work hard and consistent and she will win ‘ don’t find themselves going to the fridge to eat more cheese.”
Although many of his employees are working from home, Dave still finds it “helpful to have an office”.
“We’re flexible and we have team days where everyone’s in the office, I think that really helps creativity,” he said.
“The work from home scenario, for us as a business, hasn’t been a big challenge. In fact, we’ve seen a lot of benefits.”
Boris Johnson believe staff are ‘more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas’ when they are in the workplace with colleagues, he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
He said: “We have to get back to the habit of going to the office. There will be a lot of people who will disagree with me, but I think people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas when surrounded by other people.”
He also thinks it will increase productivity and revitalize downtown areas.
The data, however, suggests that this may not be the case and that working from home is already proving its worth.
Indeed, Jack Kennedy, head of the economy at the job search site, told Sky News: “There are now more opportunities for people to stay locally and work on a hybrid basis. This really helps rejuvenate some areas that used to be suburban towns and don’t have I don’t see many visitors on the street during the day.
“I don’t think the office is dead, but we think remote working is a trend that’s here to stay.”
At Number 10 Downing Street, cheese and coffee may be a distraction for the Prime Minister when working, but landscape designer Rachael Gildert, who has been forced to open a home office because of the pandemic, says that ‘she doesn’t find herself “gravitating towards the fridge” when she is working.
She told Sky News: “I think I’m more productive when I’m working from home, I think my bosses think I’m more productive when I’m working from home. There are fewer distractions.
“I don’t see the need to go back to the office, especially in terms of productivity, work and being able to balance family life, I much prefer being at home.”