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Thursday, July 29th, 2021, 3:35 am

Workers Should Never be Forced to Work in an Office (for Jobs That Can be Done Equally Well From Home)

Think of the environment, too (commuting should be minimised)

You can't defeat me: coming to the office; you; COVID-19

TWO years ago I took a train down south and traveled to the office, probably for the first time in about a year (usually that’s the interval to be expected, owing mostly to company Xmas parties; that annual ritual of socialising with colleagues). I did not know it would be the last time. Last July we shut down the physical office, due to COVID-19, without intentions of ever reopening it. There was not much practical use for it anymore (regardless). That was almost exactly one year after I went there to sign some papers. I started working from home around 2007. Back then there wasn’t much need for me (anymore) to have physical (face-to-face) meetings, so I could get stuff done from home and occasionally travel if a meeting was strictly necessary. It took another 13 years before that sort of ‘work style’ (or ‘lifestyle’) became sort of ‘normal’.

Companies which try to compel staff to return to the office or force people to get vaccinated risk losing that staff altogether. Some companies that planned to pull staff back in (where bosses can oppress them from behind their shoulders, physically/literally) keep pushing back the dates, seeing that COVID-19 isn’t going away, with new waves and/or variants showing a resurgence. Here in the UK we’ve totally lost control of the thing — a subject I’ve written about extensively in this blog lately.

Working from home, for my kind of job, makes sense. It’s a lot better for me physically and mentally. I’m close to our pet fish, I can cook proper food (not some junk), and I can dress as it suits me (for comfort, not looks). I bathe every time I need to (no communal showers), I have privacy when I take or make voice calls, and I can run in nearby parks, far away from busy centres of towns (where there’s no safe place to run — away from pollution and traffic).

I totally understand why those who invested heavily in office estate are panicking. But they took a risk by gambling the money on a future of so-called ‘open offices’ with very steep rents; let them suffer from their poor investments/decisions. Don’t compel workers to lower their standards of work (and living) to ‘retrofit’ someone else’s bad investments.

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