As I write this blog from my home office computer, the rather sad truth hits me. I will always be in a minority – home working will never take on. Not because it can’t – we all know the infrastructure is there but because our culture seems to want to suffocate the life out of it until it will breathe no longer and, the silent army are forced to turn up in the office with a shiny new suit on.
There are two reasons for this dawning realisation – firstly a new survey commissioned by the City and Guilds which suggests that a third of managers having a lingering desire to monitor their employees to make sure they are working. In essence if they can’t see them they just can’t believe they have the strength of character to be working.
And the second reason is a recent rant by controversial MP Boris Johnson on working from home and the transport system. Johnson who likens employees to baboons – said: “Working from home is simply a euphemism for sloth, apathy, staring out of the window and random surfing of the internet.”
It simply doesn’t work, according to him – home workers do nothing but down bottles of wine by lunchtime and generally chug along in ‘snooze’ mode.
Home working, he says, will never catch on because essentially we, like baboons, have a need to congregate “on some special kop or crag”.
Where is the sense in all this? Where does the fundamental belief come from that seeing is believing. Why can’t managers step away from micro-management? It strikes me that getting our heads round the presenteeism obstacle is just one step too far. And could all this suspicion of the home working brigade be creeping into … dare I say it .. a new form of discrimination?
I’d like to hear your views on this increasingly interesting issue – what will the world of work look like in 30 years – will we be congregating like the baboons that Johnson is so fond of or tapping away at our keyboards from far flung destinations? And if that nirvana is reached will we ever be able to let go of the need for social interaction for work purposes? For the latter, I’d agree that we probably won’t. It’s an interesting one – share your thoughts by posting your comments below.
Best home working wishes,