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(Metro)   Is flexible work becoming a nightmare?   (metro.co.uk) divider line
    More: Obvious, Employment, full-time work, flexible working, Good Work Plan, Kirsty Holden, first time' attitude, initial requests, Estate agent Alice Thompson  
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1259 clicks; posted to Business » on 24 Oct 2021 at 12:48 PM (4 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-10-24 10:52:17 AM  
Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.
 
TWX
2021-10-24 10:59:33 AM  
Not for me it isn't.

I design, implement, troubleshoot, and maintain computer networks.  At the workplace I have basically have to have an office because I have equipment and tools that need a home, and no one wants a million bucks in network equipment and fiber optic troubleshooting tools in a "hotel office" accessed by other people.

However, the bulk of my job involves performing maintenance and troubleshooting tasks on network equipment management consoles, which are typically accessed via SSH.  As long as I can reach the network and then reach the devices, I can do that aspect of my job from basically anywhere.  I can even VPN-in on a cellular hotspot if I'm not near a wireless network I control or trust.

Obviously if I have to deal with equipment or cabling then I have to go in, but those are thankfully somewhat rare occasions.
 
2021-10-24 11:03:46 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
TWX
2021-10-24 11:10:56 AM  

Pocket Ninja: Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.


Sufficiently large organizations may have little if any actual interaction between HR and staff in other departments, who may not even be at the same site as HR.

Individual departments have a lot more to do with interpretation of policies.  At my workplace some of the systems-support folks lost their offices because they're working from home so much that the need to accommodate anyone happening to come in on a given day meant their offices became those flex-spaces.  This did not make these people very happy.

So if you don't go in to the office often enough then you're at risk of this happening.  Go in frequently and you get to maintain your office space.  Have a LOT of materials to store for legitimate work purposes and you get to maintain your office space, even if you're not constantly there.

As far as I know, the bulk of the HR policy basically states that for those employees whose jobs make them eligible to telework, they need to be able to come into the office within ninety minutes of being summoned during their working hours, and if they have tasks that require being on-site to perform, they need to manage their time to come in for those tasks.  For many months I was basically coming in one or two days a week and handling schedulable on-site work for those days, with the odd day where an emergency or outage would require my direct hands-on attention.  Over the past few weeks I have been onsite four days a week because that's what's been needed.  With our pending hiring of some junior-level staff to do field work I'll likely be able to telework three to four days a week again soon.

Basically as long as we're productive and can be reached, no one seems to mind too much if we're at home or at the office, and we're free to choose which based on where we feel we need to be in order to be productive.  There are times I have gone in even for things I could do remotely if I felt that distraction at home was going to prevent me from being as productive as I I felt I should be.
 
2021-10-24 11:24:42 AM  
Different people have different working styles. Not everything has to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
 
2021-10-24 12:05:28 PM  
Our company is going to 3 groups - must be in office, is never in office (remote) and flexible. 90% of the company will be flexible. Flexible is "in the office 1-3 times per week".

We're a software company, so we can do this pretty well, especially since we make a product that actually makes (remote) work better and easier.

I was hired in July 2020, and I've never visited an office. I met my team for the first time, for beer and whatnot, only last week.  We also hired 6,000 people last year.

I will have to make the 30 minute commute about 1x or 2x per week, instead of the 5x a week I'd been doing the last 30+ years.

I'm OK with this new remote thing. I wish that more people could do this.
 
2021-10-24 12:25:53 PM  
I am never going into an office again. WFH for life, baby!
 
TWX
2021-10-24 1:01:52 PM  

JustSurfin: Our company is going to 3 groups - must be in office, is never in office (remote) and flexible. 90% of the company will be flexible. Flexible is "in the office 1-3 times per week".

We're a software company, so we can do this pretty well, especially since we make a product that actually makes (remote) work better and easier.

I was hired in July 2020, and I've never visited an office. I met my team for the first time, for beer and whatnot, only last week.  We also hired 6,000 people last year.

I will have to make the 30 minute commute about 1x or 2x per week, instead of the 5x a week I'd been doing the last 30+ years.

I'm OK with this new remote thing. I wish that more people could do this.


Work from home seems to have been coincidentally timed well with the vehicle shortage.  A lot of the kinds of jobs that allow some kind of flex or work from home are connected to employers with specific offices in central locations, meaning that a lot of the emploees have disproportionately long commutes to go to those offices.  This means that many of the people that formerly put a lot of miles on their cars aren't having to do so much of that.

This isn't to say that everyone with a service-job works close to home, but depending on the nature of the employer, an employee might be able to work at a location that is close to where one lives because of the sheer number of available locations to work at.  An employee in those circumstances might still have to go in for every shift, but that commute might only be a few blocks or a few miles depending on the density of the area.
 
2021-10-24 1:11:59 PM  
No.

Next question.
 
2021-10-24 1:14:10 PM  
Ive worked from home for over a decade. My suggestion for people working from home that are not used to working from home:

- Have a specific work desk, the work never leaves the desk. But you do, right at 5 (or whenever your schedule ends)

Of possible:

- Have a specific work phone and/or work computer that never leaves your work desk.
 
2021-10-24 1:19:11 PM  
I was forced to go into an office every day through the pandemic then just sitting at a computer, and being turned down on my requests to work from home, even only a couple of days a week. Then last week, "hey you're remote now, take home a couple of monitors and a docking station" I can only say fark going into an office, and fark my previous manager for making me go in during the pandemic. If you don't physically need to be at a location to physically touch your work, there is no need to work in a damned cubicle.
 
2021-10-24 1:19:45 PM  
Only for corporate real estate investors.
 
2021-10-24 1:20:03 PM  

TWX: Not for me it isn't.

I design, implement, troubleshoot, and maintain computer networks.  At the workplace I have basically have to have an office because I have equipment and tools that need a home, and no one wants a million bucks in network equipment and fiber optic troubleshooting tools in a "hotel office" accessed by other people.

However, the bulk of my job involves performing maintenance and troubleshooting tasks on network equipment management consoles, which are typically accessed via SSH.  As long as I can reach the network and then reach the devices, I can do that aspect of my job from basically anywhere.  I can even VPN-in on a cellular hotspot if I'm not near a wireless network I control or trust.

Obviously if I have to deal with equipment or cabling then I have to go in, but those are thankfully somewhat rare occasions.


I love it. I can take a walk, go run errands, live my life and still get my work done. And like you, my job consists of logging in to remote machines, although I am running tests designed to break high-end servers and mainframes, instead of make things work well. When the pandemic started we assembled a team of people that wanted to remain onsite, and they fill our tickets to move things around, run cables or set up SAN luns. I now have no reason to drive into my office where I did exactly the same as I do from home. They are making noise about getting us to come back in, and that might be a deal breaker for me...no I don't want to sit in traffic in Austin for 2 hours everyday for no good reason....
 
2021-10-24 1:26:26 PM  
One size does not fit all. My wife seriously needs to go back to the office. There isn't enough social activity at home and she has trouble with the work/home boundary. Also the commute is good for her to calm down before coming home.

Also I want the house back. Solitude.
 
2021-10-24 1:26:47 PM  
For me, it is not, however, on my last project the Managing Director was the lead and he was the most irresponsible and scattered person I've ever worked with. He needs an office and structure and probably a demotion and a micromanager. It was a nightmare.
 
2021-10-24 1:27:21 PM  

Bukharin: Have a specific work desk, the work never leaves the desk. But you do, right at 5 (or whenever your schedule ends)


That's probably pretty tough for the majority who got bumped into remote work unexpectedly. I've been doing it forever, so it's been on our minds for buying our last couple of houses. I've had proper workspace in each, but it is also my personal computer area too. So it's still a very blurry line about work vs personal time & use.

I've also not minded access to work at all hours. At times, this has meant well over 40 hours per week, but mostly it's just great flexibility. I have a very good employer, and was eager to make the arrangement work. So they shared in the benefits of my non-commute (and relocation). But this does take a little personal discipline and a non-abusive employer is a big advantage too.
 
2021-10-24 1:31:14 PM  
According to the article, no. Many UK employers are failing/refusing to implement it in accordance with the law. However, that does not make it "a nightmare" across the board just because companies in the UK hate their employees so much that they'll break the law to avoid allowing flexible work.
 
2021-10-24 1:42:02 PM  
As a software developer I can do 99% of my work from home, and I couldn't be happier.  Every other month or so I go to the office when there's actual hardware I have to dink around with, and that's cool too.  I get to say Hi to coworkers that I haven't seen in a while, see how the neighborhood has changed, that sort of thing.

But to say that flexible work is a nightmare is propaganda that only a corporate dickweasel that works for a company like metro.co.uk would try to spread.
 
2021-10-24 1:43:08 PM  
I am using flex work to see what retirement will look like. I do what I want.
 
2021-10-24 2:00:31 PM  
I can do my entire job from home (VMware/server admin) unless there is a need to go in to replace a piece of failed hardware. We recently went back to a hybrid schedule where I'm in the office one week and then working from home 2 weeks. That's not too bad, and I'm only 14 months away from retirement
 
2021-10-24 2:14:46 PM  
Anyone but me find it ironic that a freelance writer is writing and article about the joys of working in the office?
 
2021-10-24 2:18:47 PM  
I'm currently WFH and for the most part, I like it. However, there have been a few situations in the current contract where a couple of hours of real Facetime would have helped. Not enough to justify a real office.
 
2021-10-24 2:21:21 PM  

deeproy: No.

Next question.


To elaborate - yes, no, and maybe.
Depending on variables.
 
2021-10-24 2:21:52 PM  
This article was written by CEOs who are mad that they cannot monitor their workers to ensure they aren't doing unproductive things.

They would also prefer if you would clock out when you go to the bathroom, or when you have to walk to the copier. That time between machines is precious, and they noticed a few of you not sprinting between them.
 
2021-10-24 2:39:15 PM  
What's that thing about headlines that are questions?
 
2021-10-24 2:45:46 PM  

TWX: JustSurfin: Our company is going to 3 groups - must be in office, is never in office (remote) and flexible. 90% of the company will be flexible. Flexible is "in the office 1-3 times per week".

We're a software company, so we can do this pretty well, especially since we make a product that actually makes (remote) work better and easier.

I was hired in July 2020, and I've never visited an office. I met my team for the first time, for beer and whatnot, only last week.  We also hired 6,000 people last year.

I will have to make the 30 minute commute about 1x or 2x per week, instead of the 5x a week I'd been doing the last 30+ years.

I'm OK with this new remote thing. I wish that more people could do this.

Work from home seems to have been coincidentally timed well with the vehicle shortage.  A lot of the kinds of jobs that allow some kind of flex or work from home are connected to employers with specific offices in central locations, meaning that a lot of the employees have disproportionately long commutes to go to those offices.  This means that many of the people that formerly put a lot of miles on their cars aren't having to do so much of that.

This isn't to say that everyone with a service-job works close to home, but depending on the nature of the employer, an employee might be able to work at a location that is close to where one lives because of the sheer number of available locations to work at.  An employee in those circumstances might still have to go in for every shift, but that commute might only be a few blocks or a few miles depending on the density of the area.


That describes me right there.  I used to drive ~350-375 miles-per-week, commuting to work and home with errands on Friday evenings (groceries, etc.).  I have driven roughly 4,000 miles since October 2020 with zero desire to return to the office.  I tell everyone the following reasons I love working from home: better coffee; no commute; HVAC environments is better handled; no one's stinky food emanating from the kitchen (breakroom); and, cats are better office companions.

The only people who keep railing against remote work are the micro-managers or the ninnies who have to use the office as their social circle.
 
2021-10-24 3:15:34 PM  
My manager and a coworker both contracted COVID at the same time.  Had I been in the office I would have been exposed to both of them as one is in the cubicle across the aisle from mine and the other is in the cubicle that "guards" the entrance to the room we are in.  So, no thanks.
 
TWX
2021-10-24 3:18:32 PM  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: That describes me right there. I used to drive ~350-375 miles-per-week, commuting to work and home with errands on Friday evenings (groceries, etc.). I have driven roughly 4,000 miles since October 2020 with zero desire to return to the office. I tell everyone the following reasons I love working from home: better coffee; no commute; HVAC environments is better handled; no one's stinky food emanating from the kitchen (breakroom); and, cats are better office companions.

The only people who keep railing against remote work are the micro-managers or the ninnies who have to use the office as their social circle.


My commute is only 20 miles roundtrip and it takes me only 30 to 40 minutes a day, so 100 miles and 150 to 200 minutes a week, but not having to deal with the frustration of traffic alone makes it worthwhile.  Plus I don't have to get up quite as early in the day to start my work and I can see to my family's needs in the morning.
 
2021-10-24 3:19:10 PM  

saywhonow: This article was written by CEOs who are mad that they cannot monitor their workers to ensure they aren't doing unproductive things.

They would also prefer if you would clock out when you go to the bathroom, or when you have to walk to the copier. That time between machines is precious, and they noticed a few of you not sprinting between them.


You made the mistake of thinking that the article title and its contents were related. I got through a majority and didn't see a single instance of it being a nightmare, but trying to get permission to work flexibly was a nightmare.
 
2021-10-24 4:38:44 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.


While that's somewhat true (I've found a lot of people who talk about how much structure holds them back and how they're self starters are really just people that don't want any accountability and don't get shiat done,) there are also some jobs where you need to have dinner structure. Not all jobs fit the flextime model. Legal secretaries and admins, for example, probably need to be at work wherever the lawyers they work for are at work. So while the typical Fark low level code monkey can turn in their spaghetti code at any hour of the day so long as it's in on time, someone who's job it is to support someone else has to be available when that someone else needs them.
 
2021-10-24 5:31:48 PM  
Fark Office Workers are a whiny bunch.
 
2021-10-24 6:29:46 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.


except the article is about none of that.

the actual story is about employers making "flexible" work schedule as hellish as possible for employees.
 
2021-10-24 7:38:18 PM  

SpaceMonkey-66: [Fark user image image 225x225]


There seems to be a lot of concerned articles about how much workers miss commuting to their cubicles, facts and statistics be damned.
 
2021-10-24 9:27:45 PM  

wax_on: One size does not fit all. My wife seriously needs to go back to the office. There isn't enough social activity at home and she has trouble with the work/home boundary. Also the commute is good for her to calm down before coming home.

Also I want the house back. Solitude.



Amen
 
kab
2021-10-24 11:29:18 PM  
Answer:  No.  Next question.

/If I have my  way, I'll never commute to an office again.   What an incredible waste of valuable time.
 
2021-10-24 11:51:40 PM  

Another Government Employee: I'm currently WFH and for the most part, I like it. However, there have been a few situations in the current contract where a couple of hours of real Facetime would have helped. Not enough to justify a real office.


We've been on max telework since Mar 2020.   I was in a zoom call the other day, and of the 7 people participating, i was the only one who had worked inside our building....not since the pandemic, EVER.   And technically I haven't since being hired for the job i was in.   I was a contractor for a long time before that, took another job (where again I never saw the inside of their office) and them came back to this job as a permanent employee when the came to me on bended knee and a hatful of cash.   I think it proves that for many jobs the office is UTTERLY unnecessary.  I'm currentlylaying a $350,000 bet right now that a daily commute is a thing of the past (and we'll be in the office a max of 2 days a week going forward)
 
2021-10-25 4:29:16 AM  
Is flexible work becoming a nightmare?   Well yeah.
 
2021-10-25 5:34:45 AM  

Pocket Ninja: Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.


My company just renamed their HR dept the "People and Culture Dept".  You can call it whatever you want. You're HR and your job is to protect the bottom line of the company. Not the people, ever.
I'm honestly looking for a new job. Maybe something openly cold and unforgiving like the postal service.
 
2021-10-25 8:00:57 AM  

omg bbq: Pocket Ninja: Some people need rigid structure and constant supervision to succeed in a business environment. For them, flexible work environments and telecommuting will always present real challenges.

Other people do not need those things at all, and in fact chafe at their presence. They tend to succeed when allowed more freedom to design their own work environment.

A competent HR department will have structures in place to enable both types of employees the means to succeed in a work environment that fits their needs and keeps them fully accountable.

Of course, I just used "competent" and "HR department" in the same sentence so this post has officially gone entirely off the rails into the realm of utter fantasy.

My company just renamed their HR dept the "People and Culture Dept".  You can call it whatever you want. You're HR and your job is to protect the bottom line of the company. Not the people, ever.
I'm honestly looking for a new job. Maybe something openly cold and unforgiving like the postal service.


At my last company, they made a big deal about renaming HR to "Human Capital," because "our greatest asset is our team" or some such. All I could think every time I heard the speech was "Yes. You are a capital investment to the company. And, like all our capital investments, we can replace you like a farking chair."
 
2021-10-25 10:35:11 AM  
I don't know, I've never been offered it.

Jerks.
 
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