Sorry Stuart, But Times Change…

…and sensible businessmen change with them. Dinosaurs go into the tarpit.

Banks are shutting early, choirs are silent, many swimming pools lie empty while professional sport has become an eerie ritual for TV viewers only. The fact that so many are starting to embrace this shrunken life, even as we haemorrhage businesses and jobs, is truly dangerous.

And at the very heart of this zombie economy are the empty offices in towns and cities across the country, amid claims that working from home is not only viable for most white-collar workers, but somehow beneficial and more productive.

It is! Thousands of people have now discovered that. Good luck persuading them the genie has to go back in the bottle…

I disagree profoundly: to abandon our places of work is to make a catastrophic error. The economic arguments scarcely need repeating.

He tries the ‘oooh, you’ll have to have your heating on in winter!’ tactic, but that’s not going to wash if you’re saving several thousands of pounds a year on fares to commute, is it..? Particularly given what’s coming!

How does ol’ Stuart expect to whip workers back into the office if it’s going to cost them more as well?

Offices and their workers are, or rather were, the life blood of city centres which were already dying.

Then maybe this should be considered a mercy killing?

…after a lifetime in business, from Marks & Spencer to my current roles chairing a number of diverse companies, I can tell you that offices are important for other reasons, too.

They are social hubs where lifelong friendships can be made; they provide an invaluable educational tool to workers as a space where people can better themselves by watching, listening and learning from their colleagues; and they are places that buzz, full of creative energy and enthusiasm where ideas get sparked and developed.

None of those things is impossible to do remotely. Harder, yes. Maybe not as effective for everyone. But not impossible.

Rubbing shoulders with those who are more experienced is an important part of growing up.

One of the key ways that people advance is by learning how to connect and how to improve themselves.

You can’t do that looking at a computer screen.

Actually, yes. You can.

It’s not as easy, and it doesn’t suit everyone. But it can be done, and over this spring and summer, a lot of people have found out that it can be done.

There is a case to be made that there should be consequences for those members of staff who are not willing to return, whether that means a reduction in salary or removing other benefits.

He cares so much about Britain and the success of it’s business class. Doesn’t he, Reader?

The fee for this article has been donated to the Mvumi School, Tanzania.


12 comments for “Sorry Stuart, But Times Change…

  1. decnine
    September 7, 2020 at 10:10 am

    As the likes of Tim Worstall point out, the nominal wage for a job has to leave an adequate disposable income after all the costs of doing the job have been paid. For office workers, season tickets are among those costs. Take those costs away, and the market will adjust the nominal wage downwards to leave roughly the same eventual disposable income. People who are in the money now through homeworking should regard it as a windfall that won’t last; it’s not likely to be a new normal.

    • September 7, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Possibly, but the gains are likely to be greater time allowable to work.

      So shift workers can – should they want to – pull more shifts once free of the ‘dead time’ of commuting.

      • Mark
        September 7, 2020 at 6:16 pm

        Falling wages for former commuters. Would that be entirely bad? Maybe London (and other big city) commuters won’t be able to bid house prices up anywhere commutable by train so much.

        I’ve never commuted to London but in my almost 40 years of working (so far) I have had to do the journey at those times on a couple of occasions for reasons. Not having to go through that hell five times a week, year in, year out. Can you put a price on that?

        • September 12, 2020 at 7:16 am

          Good point!

  2. Voice of Reason
    September 7, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Many managers don’t like people working from home precisely because it shows that the managers are not as necessary as they claim.

    • September 12, 2020 at 7:16 am

      Also spot on!

  3. Valentine Gray
    September 7, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Its a Human Rights issue ( what little we have left) Drooler and his gang bought in SD, Lockdown self isolation and extra fascist powers to plod, so if a citizen wishes and is able to work from home he must be free to exercise that right or will the government bring in a new tax “The Home Working Tax” , Still have not met or heard of anyone with Covid in my area.

    • The Cowboy Online
      September 8, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      I’ve known some people who’ve had Covid. One of them was an old woman, the mum of one of my friends, who was in her 90s and she was diagnosed as having died ‘with’ Covid. Another of my friends was diagnosed with Covid and was in and out of hospital in less than a week, and this was someone who was recovering from a second bout of cancer and had a severely compromised immune system, so this is very much a disease that doesn’t appear to be as dangerous as is still continuing to be portrayed in the media. Someone else I know is a paramedic and we spoke last week. They said knowledge on how to treat Covid had much improved since the early days of the disease and it really isn’t causing the ambulance service, or the hospital, much concern anymore … and yet the media, and the associated public sector chattering classes, still push the narrative about how dangerous it is.

      • Voice of Reason
        September 9, 2020 at 12:40 am

        And yet the hospitals in New York, and now the large cities in Texas, have had to rent refrigerated trucks to store the bodies in.

        • September 12, 2020 at 7:17 am

          The stories just don’t add up, do they?

  4. Stonyground
    September 10, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    I suspect that the fact that this illness varies between having no discernible effect and killing you is part of the problem. They are testing people and finding lots of cases but the vast majority are not even ill. On the other hand, if you do get it there is a small but significant chance that you could die.

    • September 12, 2020 at 7:17 am

      It makes you wonder what we’d do in an outbreak of a seriously scary disease like Ebola, doesn’t it?

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