'Five-day office week will become the norm again'

I think they’re underestimating peoples will to continue flexible work/personal life style working

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“If you’re in the office on a Monday but someone else is in the office on a Wednesday, then you’re starting to miss out. Or, if your colleague is in the office and having a meeting with your boss and you’re not there, all of a sudden that changes the dynamic again.”

Called piss poor planning if that happens

“The reason for that is, one of the benefits of being in the office is having interactions with other people, coming up with new ideas and sharing information.”

An alternative view on this:

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Largely… I think companies will wait to see what everyone else is doing before reacting.

My work for example, they want us back in… but are buckling to saying we can do 4 days in the office and 1 at home.

Ultimately at the end of the day… if our competitors offer a better package, they’ll change… or say… “this is what we do… or there’s the door”

Ultimately I think most will end up back in five days a week.

A lot of middle managers won’t be able to help themselves and will revert back to wanting to see everybody in so that they can feel ‘in control’ - eventually enough will do it that it’ll become expected to be back in the office again.

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I’m lucky because my work was already moving to a hybrid/hot desking model (partly because mergers and building changes have meant we don’t have enough desks).

Consequently, there’s very little pressure so far too be in the office at all (although I imagine I’ll go in a couple of times a fortnight).

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I get that distributed working does not suit every business and does not suit all employers but there is no denying it suits more people than it disadvantages

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That article was really interesting, thanks for posting it.

I agree that it makes more sense to not have “in the office, all the time” as a default any more, when there is no evidence it makes people more productive and it does waste a huge amount of time in commuting. If done right, a smaller office for those times a physical space would be useful, and less pressure to be in all the time, would work out well for both the business and employees.

There has been no actual reason to be in an office all the time for about 20 years now, as ever since most “office work” has been done via computer it could theoretically have been done anywhere. It’s just there has been little need for management to question it until now, and middle managers like it. I think the tide is turning.

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This is the big issue, this and small businesses with MD’s that have control issues.

Agree & disagree

Before we can make this the norm, we need a legal enshrined right in employment law that A) forbids employers from approaching us outside of work hours and B) a right to disconnect

Merging our working / home life is the best way to end up with the Japanese problem of 過労死 (death by overwork)

This. Colleague of mine flew back to Romania recently, getting vaccinated there and him and his wife are hitting the road travelling and working as they go

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I agree with you but I would also add that employees need to stand up for themselves and say no. I

I have one employee who I have to physically lock out of systems to prevent him from signing in and working. It’s a two way street that with a little consideration from both sides could work without legislation.

When I was an employee I had no issues telling people I was on lunch or had finished work and wouldn’t reply until the morning

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Know plenty of people who… once they step outside the office, switch off the company phone.

I personally didn’t take part in my department what’s app group… because fuck what’s app and that’s what zoom is for…

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Employees shouldn’t feel any pressure to work outside of their working hours but equally employers shouldn’t be villified as a group for the bad behavior of a few.

I wouldn’t want to see legislation to effect this because it takes all the flexibility and options away from legitimate times when both parties agree it’s needed.

Look at the working time directive. Every company I ever worked for handed me an opt out when I signed my contract.

Personally I feel this is too blunt a tool. Whilst I largely work to a reasonably fixed schedule, I want flexibility in my working schedule, due to having family. But I cannot have that if either my employer can’t contact me outside some defined “working hours” or if I cannot message/email colleagues when I catch up with my work late at night (not expecting a response until the next morning).

I am in a very priviledged position where I can (and have) told my boss I won’t reply to your messages outside working hours, unless it suits me. I recongise a very large number of people are nowhere near such a position, and we probably need to do something for them. But I don’t think throwing the baby out with the bath water is a great solution.

Thanks to my immense privilege I switch of slack and work email notifications outside my working hours, and everyone knows that they should not expect a response “outside working hours”, keeping in mind that occasionally my working hours are shifted from theirs. My boss worked until late last night yesterday. Sent a dozen slack messages. But as my notifications were off, he knew not to expect a response. At the same time, because he knew my notifications were off, he could send those messages knowing I’d pick them up as and when I have time.

Forcing a “don’t contact outside working hours” would remove the ability to work flexibly, which is arguably one of the biggest advantages of remote working (for some of us, anyway).

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-01/return-to-office-employees-are-quitting-instead-of-giving-up-work-from-home

I would certainly very strongly consider resigning if I was forced into the office more than once or twice a week again…

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