Just when I thought maybe nobody in business would ever again be prepared to put their heads above the parapet and say staff who work from home are less productive than office-based colleagues
Just when I thought maybe nobody in business would ever again be prepared to put their heads above the parapet and say staff who work from home are less productive than office-based colleagues, it was great to see Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group back my stance.
Work from Home ‘Fraser Fridays’ to end due to low productivity
During the pandemic the company controlled by the Sports Direct billionaire introduced ‘Fraser Fridays’ allowing office-based staff to work from home on the last day of the traditional working week.
But it seems the experiment has gone bad, and the company has made an evidence-based decision to bring staff back to the office five-days a week.
In a memo written by Fraser’s COO, David Al-Mudallal wrote, “Too many examples of people or teams not being contactable when they need to be and colleagues who via their social media profiles are demonstrating they’re not treating Friday as a working day”.
Other businesses need to stand up and tell the truth about WFH
The thing that surprises me the most is why others in business aren’t saying similar things in public when I know that in private business owners and senior managers and pulling their hair out with the frustrations of trying to get their people back to their desks and back to pre-Covid levels of productivity.
We all know the problems in the Civil Service is experiencing with so many refusing to return to regular office work, and nobody seems to have a problem accepting that backlogs for new passports and drivers’ licences are the product of this situation. So why is there such reluctance to tell it how it is in the private sector?
And the situation is pretty dire in the wider business world too with 9.9 million UK staff working from home between January and March this year compared to 4.7 million in October to December 2019.
And attitudes would seem to have hardened against returning to the office with one in three UK office staff still working from home part of the week, and fewer than one in 10 saying they would be prepared to return to their desks full time.
Does Fraser Group’s bold move signal a fight back for UK PLC against Zoom doom
Perhaps this move by Fraser Group will signal a fight-back for the business world that will turn the tide back to employers returning to a situation where they feel they can decide where and when their staff work.
This is long overdue and hugely necessary because while productivity has suffered what we have seen so far is nothing compared to what lays ahead if we keep going on this course.
I say this because over the Covid years we have been getting by on teams forged (and trained) in the years before the pandemic. But I fear the training of new workers in a Zoom-based environment will not produce such high-quality results