WFH vs Office

Which one do you prefer and why?

Didn't find your answer?

Morning everyone, 

Something different from self assessment, although I’m hoping you’re all still powering through.

I was reading a debate yesterday on someone who had gone to a job interview and found out  they would have to be in the office three days a week to build a better work culture. They were very against working three days in the office. 

With this in mind, what are your thoughts on WFH compared to working in the office? Do you enjoy working from the comfort of your home, saving time and money on commuting or are you more productive in the office and enjoy socialising with colleagues? 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Have a great day guys!
 

Replies (61)

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By JustAnotherUser
25th Jan 2024 12:41

Personal Preference plays a small part.

If you're a business owner and your team is local, lets say you want to build a certain culture when you feel face to face is better and its your company your way, you go ahead and hire however you feel best for your culture, your company.

If you're a global CEO and you're telling people to come into the office, just to then sit on remote calls as no one else works in the same office, but its X days or leave. You are an idiot.

To many people are going into an office for the sake of it and hearing no logical explanation why this is better for the company, only seeing the downside to them as a person.

I will never accept a 100% office based role again and would take a smaller salary if it meant more flexibility and trust.

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Replying to JustAnotherUser:
By Ruddles
25th Jan 2024 12:52

+1

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By the_drookit_dug
25th Jan 2024 12:54

Hybrid is the way to go. No need for 9-5 Mon-Fri in the office, however a degree of face-to-face with colleagues is desirable.

I'm happy with 2 days office and 3 days WFH, with flexibility as required.

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By Tom+Cross
25th Jan 2024 13:14

It does concern me that social interaction is a major factor, in all of these debates. which is often overlooked.

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By B Roberts
25th Jan 2024 13:39

I see a lot of comments on LinkedIn re: WFH, and 99% are similar to the opinions expressed so far in this thread (and anybody who disagrees seems to get shot down).

However, I have also noticed an increase in posts from people who want social interaction and there is a growing industry of flexible hubs where people can meet whilst working!

So, they want (demand) to WFH / hybrid, but are then looking for places to go to where they can be amongst people - why not just go to your usual place of work ?

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Replying to B Roberts:
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By Bobbo
25th Jan 2024 15:42

B Roberts wrote:

So, they want (demand) to WFH / hybrid, but are then looking for places to go to where they can be amongst people - why not just go to your usual place of work ?

Maybe their work colleagues aren't people they want to be amongst.

Maybe their 'usual place of work' isn't near their home so whilst they want to be amongst people, say over an hour's (or much more) commute each way isn't a price they're willing to pay for that.

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Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By JustAnotherUser
25th Jan 2024 13:55

we do plenty of social remote session, morning brews, games, simple face to face.

this is fine for us but I do understand some people do see social as physical

but social is not equal to physical

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By carnmores
25th Jan 2024 13:24

WFH is a malaise affecting society as a whole. I can't be bothered... I'm entitled to WFH... I don't feel 'well' i'll take a few days off for my mental heath...
we are becoming a nation of skivers and it is clear almost everywhere you look

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Missing in action
25th Jan 2024 13:33

Mental health is important.

WFH actually allows me to work when I'm not 100%. Had the flu recently and despite struggling on my feet, was able to lie on my sofa with my laptop and work to the deadline I had. Wouldn't have managed into the office, and doubt everyone would have welcomed my lurgy.

Plus disruption management is much easier when WFH. When I'm in the office I get so many people dropping by my office and stealing my time with unnecessary watercooler chat.

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Replying to Missing in action:
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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 14:56

That's WFH as a necessity though. Kids are ill. Boiler service due. Wardrobes being delivered between 8am and 4pm and someone has to be there.

It is very very different to WFH because i cant be bothered to go in and might fancy sneaking off early, or instead of paying nursery costs I'll keep them at home and make a token effort at working but it's ok because work still pay me full whack.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By 17RDR12
25th Jan 2024 16:12

All of your concerns are easily alleviated with proper WFH policies in place. No working whilst looking after your kids except in exceptional circumstances is quite a simple and fair rule, and it would be very obvious if people were doing that if you kept in touch regularly with calls and meetings

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 16:38

17RDR12 wrote:

All of your concerns are easily alleviated with proper WFH policies in place. No working whilst looking after your kids except in exceptional circumstances is quite a simple and fair rule, and it would be very obvious if people were doing that if you kept in touch regularly with calls and meetings

You mean place an extra admin burden on the employer to satisfy an already inefficient model? Or effectively spy on staff?

Sounds great.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
stonks
By WinterDragon
25th Jan 2024 20:19

Many of us work in intimate teams where we talk to the same group of colleagues every single day. It would be obvious in these scenarios and wouldn't necessitate spying on employees.

Banning WFH because of a few p***-takers is like keeping the whole class behind because of a few naughty students. I was fuming when I was kept behind afterschool because I had never done anything (most of the time).

If you think all of your employees would be p***-takers if given the opportunity to WFH then you hate your employees and they hate you.

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By Mr_awol
26th Jan 2024 15:25

We arent banning it. From staff surveys post Covid 100% said they wanted to work from the office rather than WFH, although they liked the option to WFH in 'emergency' situations like boiler being fixed, furniture delivery, car broken down, etc. Thats what we therefore encourage.

Some newer staff have worked at places where WFH on a whim is embraced. We are fairly flexible but it is fair to say that the reduced output from those staff is noticeable.

So we all get on and life is good - despite allegations of hate, or stone age attitudes from some ;)

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Replying to Missing in action:
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By lionofludesch
25th Jan 2024 16:26

Missing in action wrote:

Mental health is important.

WFH actually allows me to work when I'm not 100%. Had the flu recently and despite struggling on my feet, was able to lie on my sofa with my laptop and work to the deadline I had. Wouldn't have managed into the office, and doubt everyone would have welcomed my lurgy.

Yeah - but do you have flu three days a week?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By B Roberts
26th Jan 2024 09:03

lionofludesch wrote:

Missing in action wrote:

Mental health is important.

WFH actually allows me to work when I'm not 100%. Had the flu recently and despite struggling on my feet, was able to lie on my sofa with my laptop and work to the deadline I had. Wouldn't have managed into the office, and doubt everyone would have welcomed my lurgy.

Yeah - but do you have flu three days a week?

For 3 days a week, 52 weeks a year?

I totally understand the need for flexibility, if the kids are ill or if you are having a new carpet fitted - but surely they are the exceptions and happen once or twice a year.

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Replying to carnmores:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
26th Jan 2024 11:40

I'm informed by the font of wisdom that is breakfast tv that the government are contemplating the reintroduction of conscription.

(Apparently China has a huge standing army of millions, and it probably hasn't escaped your notice that on top of Ukraine and Gaza we're being dragged into another Gulf war. Panelists with an O-level in history might recognise that all the conditions for WW3 are in place.)

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By FactChecker
26th Jan 2024 14:01

Now there's a job which you really can't do WFH ... a bit like Doctors (albeit that's meant to save not terminate lives).

Oh, hang on ... apparently Doctors think they can WFH.

Late Newsflash (unfortunate wording): the army can now fight wars through remote technology like drones etc - so maybe WFH is on the cards for them too?

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
26th Jan 2024 15:53

I had a phone appointment with my quack only this morning! A quick chat, does it hurt when you laugh, and prescription issued.

All that gaming by Gen Y conscriptees would certainly come in useful. They could drop bombs on our WW3 opponents without ever having to leave their bedrooms. Maybe just go into the front line 2 or 3 days a week, to keep their work-life balance solid. Flexi-hours, of course.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Jan 2024 16:10

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

I had a phone appointment with my quack only this morning! A quick chat, does it hurt when you laugh, and prescription issued.

A phone appointment? Mrs Lion has had three face-to-face appointments at the surgery today. Still, I got the crossword done, along with several other puzzles.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
26th Jan 2024 16:59

lionofludesch wrote:

A phone appointment? Mrs Lion has had three face-to-face appointments at the surgery today.

That must have taken all day!

lionofludesch wrote:
Still, I got the crossword done, along with several other puzzles.

Boredom drove you to the kiddies' toys corner?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Jan 2024 17:12

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

A phone appointment? Mrs Lion has had three face-to-face appointments at the surgery today.

That must have taken all day!

Yep. Completely wasted day.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By FactChecker
26th Jan 2024 18:58

Ah, gotcha ... "three face-to-face appointments" as in 3 separate (and no doubt not contiguous) appts. At first I thought she'd been summoned to face some sort of 3-person panel, which sounded threatening.

Last time that I had even 2 on the same day (they all think they're specialists, not GPs, so only deal with one aspect of your symptoms!), I lost it ... and held an open auction in reception ('what am I bid for this fine specimen of a patient, slightly worn but still going strong ... available in 10 minutes, 9 minutes, 8 ..').
I was seen within 2 minutes by the first GP and immediately afterwards by the next. It felt like bad manners, but not as much as their attitude did.

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
27th Jan 2024 13:00

FactChecker wrote:

Last time that I had even 2 on the same day (they all think they're specialists, not GPs, so only deal with one aspect of your symptoms!)

Heh heh! The way to get seen quickly in our surgery is to telephone whilst queuing to see the receptionist, who prioritises telephone calls over a people queue.

Our GPs aren't specialists, just particularly condescending; think Graham Chapman's "That's what we doctors call... a tiger bite"!

So "my symptoms feel like double pneumonia" is met with "how would you know what that feels like" (work it out, Sherlock. Or read my medical record).

"I'll prescribe an alternative antibiotic, as you're allergic to penicillin." No amount of argument would convince my GP that I'm certainly NOT allergic to penicillin. My daughter is though: that's what we non-doctors call a clerical c*ck-up.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By FactChecker
27th Jan 2024 13:38

Your solution at the surgery reminds of a tale I was told recently about a woman (sole diner) who was fed up at being ignored by the waiters in a fancy NY restaurant.

She got out her mobile and phoned the number for 'reservations' ... "No I don't need a table, I already got one of those - but some service would come in handy!" - and lo and behold a flurry of waiters arrived.

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By Mr_awol
29th Jan 2024 11:26

That used to be similar to my tactic with sky, mobile phone providers, etc.

Want to buy something? Call the cancellations department as they can do better deals. Want to complain or cancel? Phone the sales department as they answer the phone quicker......

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By HowLongIsAPieceOfString
25th Jan 2024 13:45

Work from home all the way for me. I moved roles when my last employer made hybrid working mandatory (hardly anyone went to office when it was optional). I now have a permanent wfh role and could not be happier. We work collaboratively using Teams calls and we are regularly in touch. We do still have an office and drop in for socials but probably once a quarter at most.

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By 17RDR12
25th Jan 2024 14:04

This "more productive in the office" thing is the biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard. Ok, when I am at home I may take 15 minutes out of my day to load my washing machine or empty the dishwasher, but that is nothing compared to the time lost looking at pictures of colleagues' holidays, children, grandchildren and cats, or general gossip.

Then there is the time lost to commuting. If I am working from home I will generally be working from the moment I finish my breakfast to the moment my partner comes home from work with my daughter. If I am in the office I will do the minimum hours required to maximize the time I can spend with my family.

If employees are dossing off at home watching TV and laying in bed then they clearly do not have sufficient workload and are likely doing equally as much time wasting in the office, just slightly less overtly.

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 15:02

You are an exception to the rule i feel though.

If i were an employee, saving an hour each way commuting, I would almost certainly do in excess of core hours just to make sure nobody could accuse me of doing less then i was paid for - let's say i did an extra hour a day, i would be effectively paying the cost of WFH inefficiency by making up the time, but still end up 'better off' by an hour due to the time saved commuting. Win-Win.

I'm not convinced that is how most people do it. They see it as saving two hours commuting, plus saving half hour or so by doing the washing etc in work time.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By 17RDR12
25th Jan 2024 15:50

If employers notice a reduction in output from employees then they can ask the question. I have seen nothing to convince me that this is actually the case. The sort of people who will bunk off at home are not suddenly going to develop a faultless work ethic in the office, they will just chat or scroll the internet or play Solitaire all day, looking busy.

If you don't trust your employees to actually do the work you are paying them for then why did you hire them in the first place?

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By 17RDR12
25th Jan 2024 15:54

Mr_awol wrote:

Ylet's say i did an extra hour a day, i would be effectively paying the cost of WFH inefficiency by making up the time, but still end up 'better off' by an hour due to the time saved commuting. Win-Win.

It's a big assumption to say that a 'WFH inefficiency' exists, and employees are under no obligation to work more than their contracted hours just to appear productive to bosses from the stone age who don't trust them

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 16:44

No. It's a big assumption to say WFH is 'more' efficient - because there's no logical reasoning for it and it goes against the stats.

We have surveyed staff, and monitored KPIs. It is patently obvious that WFH is less efficient and in our experience leads to lower quality output to boot.

I'm not saying people should feel obliged to work longer to appear productive. I'm saying that i, personally, would take a little hit to make sure i retained the overall benefit and ensure that my hypothetical employer didn't lose out from something that only really benefitted me and could be taken away (or progression restricted) if they weren't getting value for money. I suppose it's just a mentality thing - the doers and the WFHers

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By lionofludesch
26th Jan 2024 18:00

17RDR12 wrote:

Mr_awol wrote:

Ylet's say i did an extra hour a day, i would be effectively paying the cost of WFH inefficiency by making up the time, but still end up 'better off' by an hour due to the time saved commuting. Win-Win.

It's a big assumption to say that a 'WFH inefficiency' exists, and employees are under no obligation to work more than their contracted hours just to appear productive to bosses from the stone age who don't trust them

Not being trusted might lead to the Spanish Archer. As might not being productive.

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By mbee1
25th Jan 2024 14:43

Our default is WFH. We downsized the office space and we have room for 3 or 4 desks although we have access to more space if we need it. All the technical staff WFH and the admin team go in on a rota basis. We had a couple of new starters last year and all staff have helped train in the office on a rota.

No one wants to work from the office permanently and we no longer have fixed hours. Subject to the needs of the business staff can work when they like as long as the work gets done. Staff are happier and productivity is through the roof.

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Replying to mbee1:
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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 15:06

mbee1 wrote:

Staff are happier and productivity is through the roof.

What about standards?

(genuine question, although posed in a provocative manner).
Staff coming from such fully flexible environments are rarely as good coming in (to us) as those that have always been office based. Review processes are harder in your model and the staff i have encountered have had little to no review of their work. As such i can only imagine the qualify of the stuff that went out the door!

That said, automation, 'efficiency' and monthly subscriptions have replaced a quality service in an alarmingly high proportion of firms over recent years anyway so maybe nobody cares anymore.

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By kestrepo
25th Jan 2024 14:45

You would expect a surgeon undertaking an operation on a patient at home to be struck off but equally would not want them completing their paperwork in theatre! No I haven't started home surgery..... but this was the argument that won me round a few years ago. Find the right place at the right time for the right task. I do find some tasks are more suited to the relative quiet of a home environment while other duties are better matched to the hustle and bustle of an office.

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stonks
By WinterDragon
25th Jan 2024 14:48

Earlier in the year my only colleague (and father) went on leave for a planned op. I had no need to be in the office yet I still found myself more productive here than if I had stayed completely at home. I like reduced office hours and arriving late-morning rather than joining the commuting rush but having a quiet room with my computer setup in hyper-productive mode is more desirable (to me) than my home setup with a smaller desk, a flashing gaming keyboard and a hyper lightweight mouse so I can nail those headshots of an evening.

Yes I do unload the washing machine when at home for convenience but its no different to when I walk around the building to clear my head or go and gossip with the buildings receptionist at the office.

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By Mr_awol
25th Jan 2024 14:52

Depends entirely on whose viewpoint you want, and the role involved.

If i were an employee with the ability to swerve targets or fiddle performance metrics, I'd probably want to WFH more as the employer pays for the inefficiency. Unless i wanted to get ahead, in which case I'd work hard and push myself.

We offer some WFH and those that have worked that way in other firms previously represent the highest uptake of the flexibility. They are also the ones working on cases that stay in progress the longest, and who tend to take more hours on jobs. It isnt too bad when you are overstaffed or have surplus capacity elsewhere but when it's all systems go the WFHers stick out like a sore thumb.

If i were running a call centre I'd probably not care (apart from potential data security) where staff were as the impact on their efficiency would be minimal and their accountability (availability for calls etc) could be easily monitored.

If a candidate were wanting to be 100% remote without good reason and/or had a strong aversion to attending the office I'd see it as a red flag.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By FactChecker
25th Jan 2024 16:20

"If i were an employee with the ability to swerve targets or fiddle performance metrics" ... but why are you assuming that is the norm?

In my experience of operating various hybrid models (some staff permanently WFH, some permanently office-based and most on a mix depending on the nature of their work that day) - all of which pre-dated Covid by nearly 20 years and therefore helped enormously when it arrived - the vast majority of staff take a professional pride in their work and in their relationships with clients.
Those few that didn't quickly stood out like a sore thumb and were promptly dealt with (appropriately through escalation of support then discipline and if necessary termination).

So look it as not merely suiting your staff (where it also suits the nature of their work obviously), but as a litmus test to see if you've made the best hiring choices!

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By carnmores
25th Jan 2024 17:32

AND another thing... the WFH brigade will be first in line demanding a pay rise etc on the grounds that they are more productive. Bah humbug

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By adam.arca
25th Jan 2024 20:30

A few random thoughts:

Personally, I’m anti WFH. I much prefer the obvious separation and the better work / life balance which flows from that given by an office.

I find it interesting, and indeed telling, how strident and defensive many (but not all) pro WFH become when presenting their case. It’s happening on this thread and I’ve noticed it on previous similar threads.

We have to accept, though, that WFH / hybrid is here to stay. So, the really interesting question for me is whether in the long run the best practice which has been mentioned, and which you would think professionals would be good at, will drag up the god awful standards demonstrated by the Revenue’s version or whether employee pressure (after all, who doesn’t want to work less?) will eventually ensure the latter wins the war and drags standards down into the sh*tt*r across the board for everyone.

Personally, I’m not optimistic. My son is making his way in the profession and has had some very good training (not least from us, he says smugly). But his comments about some of his co-workers, especially those who have only ever worked WFH or hybridly, exactly mirror the point that Mr AWOL is making.

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By 17RDR12
26th Jan 2024 11:19

adam.arca wrote:

I find it interesting, and indeed telling, how strident and defensive many (but not all) pro WFH become when presenting their case. It’s happening on this thread and I’ve noticed it on previous similar threads.

People want to maintain a massive improvement to their quality of life, what a shock.

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By adam.arca
26th Jan 2024 13:32

So you're admitting to being strident and defensive, then?

I'm not denying that you think it is better for your lifestyle.

Nor am I contradicting your assertion that you're more efficient.

But it's not me you need to convince, is it?

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Replying to adam.arca:
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By 17RDR12
26th Jan 2024 14:59

adam.arca wrote:

So you're admitting to being strident and defensive, then?

I'm not denying that you think it is better for your lifestyle.

Nor am I contradicting your assertion that you're more efficient.

But it's not me you need to convince, is it?

No, but I would be if my employer tried to take away my ability to WFH

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By lionofludesch
26th Jan 2024 15:44

The expression "me, me, me" springs to mind.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By 17RDR12
29th Jan 2024 10:54

lionofludesch wrote:

The expression "me, me, me" springs to mind.

Yes, my primary consideration when choosing an employer is myself and my family, what is wrong with that?

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Replying to 17RDR12:
By Ruddles
29th Jan 2024 11:09

17RDR12 wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

The expression "me, me, me" springs to mind.

Yes, my primary consideration when choosing an employer is myself and my family, what is wrong with that?


Nothing. But when your secondary and tertiary considerations are also ...
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Replying to 17RDR12:
RLI
By lionofludesch
29th Jan 2024 11:38

17RDR12 wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

The expression "me, me, me" springs to mind.

Yes, my primary consideration when choosing an employer is myself and my family, what is wrong with that?

Lots. It's why you don't see many long service awards these days.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By 17RDR12
29th Jan 2024 13:56

lionofludesch wrote:

17RDR12 wrote:

lionofludesch wrote:

The expression "me, me, me" springs to mind.

Yes, my primary consideration when choosing an employer is myself and my family, what is wrong with that?

Lots. It's why you don't see many long service awards these days.

That would be because employers are too short sighted to give proper pay rises and opportunity. Ambitious employees will move on if not challenged and remunerated adequately, that is not something to criticise.

"Long service award" indeed. 15 years of being underpaid rewarded with a £200 gift voucher if you're lucky

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Replying to 17RDR12:
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By Mr_awol
26th Jan 2024 15:11

Nothing wrong with wanting a better quality of life. I'd love everyone to work less - but they'd have to earn less. That is how it works. Unfortunately there are a lot of you who dont see that.

Round this way the last year or two has shown a skills shortage in the profession leading to employers (including us) paying more than we would have before, for staff that are less productive than they were before. Some of that has been offset by fee increases, some by reduced profits, some by the partners working harder/doing more ourselves.

Ultimately though, there is a limit. It is also fair to say that if employers are having to pay top money for staff that offer less output because they want to WFH 'for a better lifestyle' then it is only a matter of time before those same employers decide that if they're gone pay someone to do a half arsed job 50 miles away, they might as well pay a hell of a lot less for the same standard of work 5,000 miles away. Then the WFHer will be moaning about the offshore outsourcers 'tekking all of our jobs'.

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