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To feel WFH has had its day a bit?

493 replies

Seaswimminginwinter · 23/09/2022 06:10

Bosses think workers do less from home - bbc article

My job doesn’t lend itself to WFH but I have noticed on nearly every thread on here about WFH, people insist that they are more productive. However, I have to admit that this doesn’t match with my experiences. But I am one person so maybe I’ve been unlucky, except this article is quite interesting about perceptions.

I also think it changes homes and areas. My own DH is WFH today and it is my day off, meaning I will spend it feeling as f I am I the way in my own home. Homes aren’t meant to be offices.

I get there are advantages but overall I don’t think it works well at all.

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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GingerWit · 01/10/2022 22:03

Seaswimminginwinter · 23/09/2022 06:10

Bosses think workers do less from home - bbc article

My job doesn’t lend itself to WFH but I have noticed on nearly every thread on here about WFH, people insist that they are more productive. However, I have to admit that this doesn’t match with my experiences. But I am one person so maybe I’ve been unlucky, except this article is quite interesting about perceptions.

I also think it changes homes and areas. My own DH is WFH today and it is my day off, meaning I will spend it feeling as f I am I the way in my own home. Homes aren’t meant to be offices.

I get there are advantages but overall I don’t think it works well at all.

If it doesn't work for you, fine, but your statement is sweeping.

Since WFH, I'm have had two job promotions. I've gone from AO to HEO. I moved from my office to WFH for an office in my department, hundreds of miles away. I now work for a team spread across the UK.

My work productivity has exploded. When I worked in the office I hated the people, the atmosphere, and the job role. I now love my job role, but I would need to sit in the same office prior to Covid...with the people I hate, when I hybrid work. I barely get anything done in the office.

I work with vulnerable people who need me to be productive. People at risk of suicide.

You can't see what these people are or aren't doing. If these bosses think people are falling short...pretty sure a lot of people would have lost their jobs? Bosses have access to worker systems, stats, can see if they're still at their desk because Teams will either be green or yellow.

Speaking as a Social Scientist - I want evidence. Show me statistics. Alas, statistics is not a correlation for everyone else doing the same thing. You will have lazy people in an office, to.

I just think some people will believe any click bait trash the media posts. Drama brings numbers, dissent gives them a scoop to report them. I bet half these journalists are writing their articles from home.

What you know and what you're told are two different things.

Let's not be jealous that some of us work hard enough to be trusted to continue WFH.

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QOD · 28/09/2022 18:26

Actually had an in office day this week. Bloody loved it
interestingly we were told that we now have over 50% turnover in new starters within 3 months of going live (contact centre) as they can’t cope/learn/bear it

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JassyRadlett · 28/09/2022 14:10

Outstanding post @Hearthnhome

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housemaus · 28/09/2022 10:02

Truth is those that do very little while wfh, would have done very little when in the office.

Exactly.

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housemaus · 28/09/2022 10:01

I've been remote working for years, long pre-pandemic. I've always found it better, and my business has largely seen the benefit of it - but there's certainly some people it doesn't work as well for.

If you're reasonably diligent and trustworthy enough to get stuff done, you'll do it wherever you are. Some people have really thrived - those (like myself) who need absolute silence to work effectively, our more introverted staff members, people who do intensive work who don't need team input. Others find it okay and use it mostly for days when there's something bringing a parcel or whatever. Others have chosen to come back to the office full-time as they prefer the atmosphere.

So I think it depends on the type of person you are, the type of work you do, and what the office culture is. We have an outcome-based culture (so no clockwatching - I couldn't care less if someone works, from home or the office, for 6 hours rather than 8 in a day as long as the work is done), and a fair few people who work in relatively niche, single-person teams, so it works well for many of us. For businesses which require a lot of collaboration it might be harder, for people who need to get up and out of a morning or see others it might be harder, for companies which demand to-the-minute working it'll inevitably seem less successful/harder to track.

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Friarclose · 28/09/2022 08:39

WFH has been a miracle for me and my family. It means I get more sleep, we can have a dog now, I'm on top of my housework and thanks to not having to spend 2 hours a day on a bus, I spend a lot more time with my DC and am home for bath and bed time. It's changed my life. I hybrid work so I still go to the office 2 days a week but 2 instead of 5 has made the world of difference.

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Hearthnhome · 28/09/2022 08:01

That article has no data to back up the drop in productivity.

Its a survey based on peoples feelings with no data to back it up. And it’s not surprising. I have been in many jobs where wfh was possible and company heads wouldn’t allow it for a whole host of spurious reasons, which essentially came down to ‘I don’t trust my staff to work if I can’t see them’. That has always been a bad business decision. From employee well being to missing out on good employees because their disability requires wfh, it’s not good.

Bums on seats does not ensure productivity. At work most people chat and get distracted. Make a brew for everyone, stop by a few desks on the way, have a chat in the kitchen and come back 20-30 mins later. And these are not ‘learning moments’ or work chats. The ones who find anything to do but their work. The ones who disappear every morning for half an hour to go the toilet. Assuming you see someone at their desk, at various points of the day and assuming they are productive has always been poor management. It’s like bosses who assume those still at their desks after 5pm, are more dedicated than those that leave, are also usually wrong.

Truth is those that do very little while wfh, would have done very little when in the office.

So while people insist that employees who say they are more productive at home must wrong because bosses say different, you can’t say which is correct. the vast majority of the time, both are based on feelings. I would suggest and employee who is wfh or hybrid and wants to remain so, finds a way to back track productivity.

The only way you would know is if you tracked productivity and had actual measurables before and after. We did. 2 teams In head office saw a drop on productivity. One immediately and they came back into the office in weeks and productivity went back up. Another teams productivity didn’t drop until mid 2021, at which point it was managed to try and see an improvement. That didn’t happen so they came back in around October 2021. The rest of head office has remained hybrid.

My boss wasn’t overly keen on wfh before the pandemic. But he realises one thing. That forcing people back full time will lead to good staff going to competitor who is offering hybrid. He accepts the data and while he probably would prefer to see more people in more often, he gets the work place has changed.

All these bosses that ‘feel’ their staff are less productive but still doing wfh or hybrid recognise the same. While people often say ‘it ultimately up to the employer’ and ‘bosses say productivity has dropped so it must have’ these people don’t realise if both goose things were true, people would be back in the office.

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PerfectlyPreservedQuagaarWarrior · 28/09/2022 07:53

Believeitornot · 27/09/2022 22:02

Have you ever seen a survey done of employers? On WFH? I haven’t. I have only see the squealing platformed by certain newspapers who want people to work in offices. It’s a new kind of culture war.

It is indeed, which doesn't actually help anyone.

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Believeitornot · 27/09/2022 22:02

Seaswimminginwinter · 26/09/2022 18:44

Why cowardly? What could I add, do you think?

Its not quite unanimous at the vote, although it’s definitely leaning to me being UR which is fair enough!

But TBF a lot of these ‘I’m MUCH more productive!’ posts aren’t shared by employers, and people insisting it’s brilliant because they can do their washing and pick the kids up - that’s kind of the point!

Have you ever seen a survey done of employers? On WFH? I haven’t. I have only see the squealing platformed by certain newspapers who want people to work in offices. It’s a new kind of culture war.

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JassyRadlett · 27/09/2022 10:51

But TBF a lot of these ‘I’m MUCH more productive!’ posts aren’t shared by employers, and people insisting it’s brilliant because they can do their washing and pick the kids up - that’s kind of the point!

How do you define 'employer'? And of course you only hear from those who hate it and make a big song and dance in the media...

I've had two large teams that have had measurable productivity improvements and where the organisations improved turnover with increased (and in one case full) WFH. In my current team, we've established with data that hybrid (with 1-2 days in the office a week, but managing those days well as core days, and not a random free for all) is optimal for our productivity.

My first question of any employer making those claims would be to ask what their productivity rates were before and after homeworking? A good number won't be able to answer because they don't actually mesure productivity properly. It's all about the feels.

Half the issues with home working productivity seem to be issues with management capability. Any manager or management system that can't deal with people doing fuck all because they don't have someone breathing down their neck is a failed system.

I do think full WFH is probably suboptimal overall, allowing for variations in what different jobs need, but then I think full on-site working is equally suboptimal. Managed hybrid feels like the future standard for office work, with variations for roles that can only be done in person and those that are best done fully remotely (and remember there have been lots of fully remote jobs for years...)

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Seaswimminginwinter · 26/09/2022 18:44

SleeplessInEngland · 26/09/2022 11:34

The cowardly OP has fucked off, but it looks like the sentiment on here is fairly unanimous.

Why cowardly? What could I add, do you think?

Its not quite unanimous at the vote, although it’s definitely leaning to me being UR which is fair enough!

But TBF a lot of these ‘I’m MUCH more productive!’ posts aren’t shared by employers, and people insisting it’s brilliant because they can do their washing and pick the kids up - that’s kind of the point!

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OooPourUsACupLove · 26/09/2022 17:33

Indeed I can see your point, however, some people do like to socialize with their families/other friends and the colleagues they get along with and with whom they share similar life values.

I'm not sure you do get my point. Restricting your social interaction to only people you get along with and share similar life values is definitely great for ones immediate personal comfort but, I think, not good for wider social cohesion if it becomes the new normal. And long term, a more divided angry society is going to be bad for everyone.

I'm not saying you must only socially interact with colleagues. That would be weird. I'm saying never socialising (in the widest sense) with people you have not personally selected is also not a great choice, both for individuals and for society.

We don't build tolerance and resilience by avoiding things but by facing them.

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Crikeyalmighty · 26/09/2022 11:43

@SleeplessInEngland because the mumsnet demographic tends to suit WFH, older, established, with kids.

My son who is 24 had a terrible first year of WFH. In a shared house surrounded in his room by up to 20 laptops at a time.

He has changed jobs since for a hybrid role- part client site, 1 day at company office, 1 day at home and now has a flat with just 2 of them

WFH def not right for many people, really depends on role, personality, and whether you need much support

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QOD · 26/09/2022 11:38

gatehouseoffleet · 26/09/2022 11:35

We need to mentor younger colleagues not leave them isolated working from their bedrooms

This was the case during the first lockdown. It is not the case now. If you don't want to work from home, or don't have the space, you can either go into the office or use a co-working hub.

Remote working does not mean sitting in a tiny bedroom somewhere.

In your workplace maybe
if I want to go into our satellite office I can. But it’s random people from non phone based jobs and no one related to my role. No one there to help me

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Explaintome · 26/09/2022 11:38

gatehouseoffleet · 26/09/2022 11:35

We need to mentor younger colleagues not leave them isolated working from their bedrooms

This was the case during the first lockdown. It is not the case now. If you don't want to work from home, or don't have the space, you can either go into the office or use a co-working hub.

Remote working does not mean sitting in a tiny bedroom somewhere.

Yes, but those young people aren't getting any mentoring if all the experienced staff are happy in their snug little world at home, having previously benefited from others helping them in the workplace.

There's not much to gain from going into work if no one else is.

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gatehouseoffleet · 26/09/2022 11:35

We need to mentor younger colleagues not leave them isolated working from their bedrooms

This was the case during the first lockdown. It is not the case now. If you don't want to work from home, or don't have the space, you can either go into the office or use a co-working hub.

Remote working does not mean sitting in a tiny bedroom somewhere.

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SleeplessInEngland · 26/09/2022 11:34

The cowardly OP has fucked off, but it looks like the sentiment on here is fairly unanimous.

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gatehouseoffleet · 26/09/2022 11:33

3Blues · 25/09/2022 11:45

@orangeisthenewpuce Certainly doesn't work with me, I'm always contactable. WFH tech means I am also contactable on both my personal and work phone if I do need to leave my desk during work hours. As I said, it does not suit everyone, but it certainly suits me 😉

I had a job where we had a telephone helpline and I was the helpline, there was nobody else. If I worked from home, I let the office know when I was going out for lunch etc so they could field my calls, but I carried my phone around with me when I was at home. I did have to take calls when in the shower or on the loo a couple of times!

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RedAppleGirl · 26/09/2022 11:27

'All that said, I also don't think a life without irritants is necessarily good for our long-term social and mental health. Rubbing along together is what knocks off our sharp edges'.

Indeed I can see your point, however, some people do like to socialize with their families/other friends and the colleagues they get along with and with whom they share similar life values.
Regular Company-wide events are an unnecessary demand on time. Depends on the life stage. I can understand new entrants and those with no other outside interests welcoming the events. Birds of a feather tend to flock together. Peer pressure should be left back in the schoolyard. For some WFH has enabled them to keep clear boundaries between work and home life in a social sense. It has actually been quite a revelation for this expected overt socializing to have been silenced for a while.

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OooPourUsACupLove · 26/09/2022 09:05

We socialize as a team, however, some and I are aghast that company-wide enforced events have begun again. It's irritating.

I'm not talking about enforced socialising so much as the casual conversations at lunch or the tea area walking, walking between meeting rooms, maybe entertaining a visiting colleague - exactly the things many posters see the lack of as a WFH benefit. Maybe seeing a colleague carrying an instrument case and ask them about it, that sort of thing. Maybe seeing someone has started in another team and wandering over to say hi and finding out you have an old friend in common. Maybe seeing a younger woman is getting talked over and catching up with her later to see how she is feeling and off that conversation connecting her to a mentoring program.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if WFH leads to more enforced social events as companies try to replicate the relationships that arise organically in person.

All that said, I also don't think a life without irritants is necessarily good for our long term social and mental health. Rubbing along together is what knocks off our sharp edges.

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RedAppleGirl · 26/09/2022 08:17

OooPourUsACupLove · 25/09/2022 18:36

I agree hybrid works best.

I work in an industry where people are generally able, motivated and conscientious (and very well paid). The issue for us isn't that we don't trust people to work when they are WFH, it's that they can end up working very capably and committedly on the wrong things.

What we do is complex and fast changing, and we often rethink our plans and targets as we learn more. We need to check in with each other a lot to make sure we all still understand what we are aiming for and that changes have been picked up by everyone. In person it's very easy to notice that someone's spiralling away from the rest. When everyone's remote and all you have is their presence or not as a thumbnail video on a call or a presence in the team chat, not so much. The amount of communication that a split second of eye contact can give from someone who is saying nothing in a meeting is amazing and that is literally impossible to get via Zoom.

I'm not saying fully remote teams can't have strategies to plug the gap, but they all require extra time and effort compared to what happens invisibly and all the time face to face.

Ironically, IME the team members who most feel they don't need to be in the office are the ones who most do, because they are the people most likely to make assumptions about the work without discussing with the team. The people who think it's important to communicate and cross check will tend to find ways to do that remotely as well, but they also tend to be the people who value hybrid time in the office exactly because it makes that two way flow of ideas easier.

Of course in a global organisation I've had plenty of times when I've been working with people I can't get together in person and we do make it work, but that is also why I know from my own experience that even teams who perform well without ever meeting face to face perform even better when they have.

One other, separate point...even if employers and employees decide full WFH is the best model for work, or employers are forced to accept it to retain talent, I have major concerns about what it does to society. A few people (not I think on this thread, but on others) see one of the benefits of WFH being that they don't have to spend time with people they work with but wouldn't choose as friends. I think it's really important that we do spend time with people who don't tick our boxes of people we respect, maybe even tick boxes of people we'd actively disrespect, because that's how we gain a more nuanced, less prejudiced view of the world. I've learned so much from the people I have worked with over the years in the gaps between the work and I worry that a society that already filters its entertainment, news and online world will become even more polarised if WFH allows it to filter workplace relationships as well.

We socialize as a team, however, some and I are aghast that company-wide enforced events have begun again. It's irritating.

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RedRiverShore2 · 26/09/2022 06:53

Probably also depends on where you live in relation to work, my office was about a mile away so WFH was definitely more expensive especially in the winter, DH used to cycle into work as he enjoys cycling and found that WFH had a detrimental effect on the amount of exercise he got as he was missing the 20 miles cycling a day, going out on his bike after work wasn't the same as it didn't have the same purpose and ate too much into the evening

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LondonQueen · 25/09/2022 22:43

It works but you need a dedicated room with a door that closes at the end of the day.

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notacooldad · 25/09/2022 22:41

Quite a few of colleague who were quite vocal about wanting to wfh have now changed their minds and asking for more office based hours. They dont want to use their heating or hot water etc throughout the winter months. Cant say I blame them.

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PerfectlyPreservedQuagaarWarrior · 25/09/2022 19:50

Cameleongirl · 25/09/2022 15:33

Although I also see @PerfectlyPreservedQuagaarWarrior ’s point about wfh opening up opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have them. It’s not a one size fits all situation.

Exactly it isn't, and I don't think it's possible to have a sensible or valid discussion on the issue if everyone isn't prepared to acknowledge that. The starting point has to be that different work models suit different people and roles.

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