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Will we simply return to a presenteeism work culture?

(148 Posts)
Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 11:47:10

With Covid restrictions being lifted I wonder will people continue to question the way they work and the need for them to be in their workplace 5 days a week.

Obviously there are many jobs which cannot be done from home. But there are also many jobs that can be, either part time or full time. Also not everyone has the living conditions that make it easy to WFH.

But there are so many workers being forced into long daily commutes when it's not necessary. So many communities dying a death because no one is around during the day or has the time or energy to get involved at evenings and weekends. So many children being dropped to childcare at 7.00am and not being collected until 7pm.

I really hope the next few months don't see a blind return to a working model that is so impoverishing to community and family life.

Namsnanny Thu 20-Jan-22 11:57:44

Sorry I dont see it in the same light. So far as I understand only those with decent salaries and a home big enough, will benefit.

Kim19 Thu 20-Jan-22 12:04:52

Hopefully this working from home experience will have enlightened many people as to what is necessary and desirable to achieve a balanced work and play lifestyle. Enforced practice sometimes raises awareness of alternative lifestyles.

Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 12:09:08

Namsnanny

Sorry I dont see it in the same light. So far as I understand only those with decent salaries and a home big enough, will benefit.

I know lots of people on average salaries and living in average houses who were able to work from home and enjoyed doing so. Also WFH means you can buy cheaper houses in less popular areas because you don't have to take a daily commute into town into account.

Hithere Thu 20-Jan-22 12:12:34

Don't think so, at least in the US.

My company is already hiring people that for the role, disrespective of their place of residence.

It works very well

1summer Thu 20-Jan-22 12:12:46

I don’t think its simple though. My son lives in a flat on his own and has worked from home for nearly two years and absolutely hates it. It has had a massive impact on his mental health, his company has recently recognised this with many other employees aswell so a couple of months ago he started to work one day a week in the office. He likes doing this but his floor would seat 50 people and only about 5 people come into work on his day at the moment. With the news yesterday he hopes he can return to the office at least 3 days a week.

Baggs Thu 20-Jan-22 12:13:34

My husband got a new job in the autumn of 2019 before we had heard of Covid19. It was already going to be a WFH job with occasional visits to the main office situated over 300 miles away.

So no, I don't think total "presenteeism" will become so much of a norm as it was. Evidently things were already changing and covid just bumped a lot more people into WFH all of a sudden.

Hithere Thu 20-Jan-22 12:14:43

Forgot to say my company gives us a choice of working from home, hybrid or office. Our call.

M0nica Thu 20-Jan-22 12:15:30

I thought 'presenteeism' was people staying at work longer than required, even though they were not doing much, just to be seen there late.

I think there has been a massive rethink around working at home during the pandemic. Employers were always suspicious of it in the past because they thought the employee wouldn't actually work. As a result a lot of employers are rethinking how best to configure work hours for the benefit of employer and employee.

Working at home has many downsides. A lot of office work, especially as you get higher up the tree, relies on employees knowing each other, chatting when passing, putting their head around doors and saying something.

Both my AC have complained about the problems homeworking causes. DS did not meet a new work colleague he needed to work with for 6 months. Yes, they had zoom and email and phones, but it is not the same. DD changed jobs and didn't meet anyone from her new employer for three months.

DD also lives alone and only working from home is very isolating and can affect peoples mental health.

However both have employers who are happy for them to mix and match. DD leans to getting back to the office as much as possible. DS would prefer a more flexible response.

I see no reason to believe that working practices will all go back to the way they were pre-COVID. Employers know that they can trust their employees to work at home and can also benefit from smaller premises with fewer people in the office each day, with all the concomitant reduction in costs.

Baggs Thu 20-Jan-22 12:16:15

Just read 1summer's post and yes, some people hate wfh, my daughter included. Even though she could wfh now she prefers to go into the office and does so. It keeps sections of her life separate which matters to her.

Namsnanny Thu 20-Jan-22 12:21:58

As with everything it will suit some. It just seems a bit optimistic to my mind.

Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 12:25:16

I agree there shouldn't be a one size fits all work model. But that's what has been happening up to Covid. No matter what type of work you did the majority of employers wanted you sitting in the office for a set number of hours everyday.

The way we work has changed drastically in the past 30 years or so, yet we have been clinging on to a model that was appropriate decades ago, when technology was far less advanced, mothers stayed at home with their children, houses near towns and cities were affordable on average salaries and we didn't know much if anything about gas emissions and global warming.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 12:39:37

Not everyone works in an office; this system may work for those who can work from a laptop, a phone but I doubt that it is the majority.

A hybrid system seems ideal for those who can wfh but how many can? And is it a more efficient way of working?

Jaxjacky Thu 20-Jan-22 12:45:29

I started working from home occasionally in the late 1990’s corporate IT company. In my last post before early retirement 5 years ago I worked from home or in the office as appropriate for a local authority. I quite liked the mix.
I think many more people and organisations will be changing the old model, there is now a dearth of new, empty office buildings. However I don’t believe you can combine most jobs with childcare or other commitments at home, but commuting time may well be saved or reduced.

GagaJo Thu 20-Jan-22 12:47:23

Namsnanny

Sorry I dont see it in the same light. So far as I understand only those with decent salaries and a home big enough, will benefit.

My house is not big. Plus my DD and DGS live with me, so I have to work from my bedroom. I have a small desk but it's cramped.

Still preferable to a commute and the germy hoards every day.

Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 14:37:42

Jaxjacky

I started working from home occasionally in the late 1990’s corporate IT company. In my last post before early retirement 5 years ago I worked from home or in the office as appropriate for a local authority. I quite liked the mix.
I think many more people and organisations will be changing the old model, there is now a dearth of new, empty office buildings. However I don’t believe you can combine most jobs with childcare or other commitments at home, but commuting time may well be saved or reduced.

Before Covid parents who were allowed to WFH usually had to have child care arrangements in place. However the absence of a commute meant children were in creches or with childminders for much shorter periods.

Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 14:44:35

Callistemon21

Not everyone works in an office; this system may work for those who can work from a laptop, a phone but I doubt that it is the majority.

A hybrid system seems ideal for those who can wfh but how many can? And is it a more efficient way of working?

It depends on your job and your personality
Some people have jobs that involve long periods of data input, research, writing reports and letters, and can just as easily do this part of their job at home as in the office. Others work in jobs that involve a lot of collaboration, on site organising etc and need to be in the office a lot.

Some people are self motivated and enjoy working alone. Others need structure and support and would find it difficult to do their job properly at home.

But for the many whose job lends itself to remote working and who have also demonstrated that their quality and output hasn't suffered, why force them back to a long commute and rigid hours?

BlueBelle Thu 20-Jan-22 14:53:53

Unfortunately working from home can be a pain for many as your haven from work loses its escape quality you need to turn a room into an office, it is there to remind you of work morning noon and night and the temptation to just make this quick call or change those notes is ever present even when ‘off duty’
You need heating on all day which you wouldn’t normally use and as the prices go up not so good, you use your own computer
You lose the office (or workplace) friendships, support, laughs, jokes it’s just not the same online
You will have more temptations the neighbour comes to the door, the washing needs hanging out, the kitchen and food is beckoning you
The obvious pluses are if you had a long or difficult commute previously

Pepper59 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:17:42

I hope those that are able, do go back to the workplace. In my opinion since the Pandemic/working from home, customer service has been awful and I think Covid is used as an excuse for an awful lot.

Baggs Thu 20-Jan-22 15:20:07

you use your own computer

This can't be assumed. Some companies provide computers for wfh.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:20:10

Beswitched

Callistemon21

Not everyone works in an office; this system may work for those who can work from a laptop, a phone but I doubt that it is the majority.

A hybrid system seems ideal for those who can wfh but how many can? And is it a more efficient way of working?

It depends on your job and your personality
Some people have jobs that involve long periods of data input, research, writing reports and letters, and can just as easily do this part of their job at home as in the office. Others work in jobs that involve a lot of collaboration, on site organising etc and need to be in the office a lot.

Some people are self motivated and enjoy working alone. Others need structure and support and would find it difficult to do their job properly at home.

But for the many whose job lends itself to remote working and who have also demonstrated that their quality and output hasn't suffered, why force them back to a long commute and rigid hours?

I'm not so daft, Beswitched, that I need an explanation about various different working conditions and people's personalities.

Did I say anyone should be forced back into a long commute and rigid hours?
I don't think I said that at all.

Bluebelle
You make some good points. This was especially so during lockdowns when both parents could be working from home and children were at home but doing schoolwork. Fine if there are sufficient separate rooms for all but not so good if a parent is on a conference call at the dining table and someone else wants to make a cuppa, the dog is barking because there's a delivery.

According to the ONS, 37% of UK workers worked from home for some of the time during 2020, up 10% from pre-pandemic.

Therefore, one might conclude that it is probably not feasible for the majority of workers.

GagaJo Thu 20-Jan-22 15:23:09

I'm my DGS's childcare while his mother works. Entirely my wish, but obviously, I still need to work. My work tends to come in 'clumps' of time, so he is left to his own devices for those 'clumps' which is OK about 80% of the time, but occasionally, when the clump hits a toddler grump, it's a nightmare!

Screaming in the background of an online lesson is NOT good.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:28:08

That reminded me of some interviews with scientists, politicians and others being interviewed on tv and a child would wander into view, asking questions and chatting. 😃

Beswitched Thu 20-Jan-22 15:29:53

And I'm not so daft Callistemon that I needed you to point out that not everyone works in an office.
However I just accepted it as part of a conversation and replied in kind.
No need to be so rude and snappy.

Callistemon21 Thu 20-Jan-22 15:38:09

I wasn't at all rude or snappy.
You obviously didn't read my original post properly.