Boris Johnson issued a renewed call for people to return to the office, saying that working from home didn’t work, and that when he tried to do so he became distracted by making coffee and eating cheese.
The prime minister said employees were “more productive, energetic and full of ideas” when in the workplace with colleagues.
He said, “My experience working from home is that you spend a very long time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, you get up, and you walk very slowly to the fridge, and you cut a little bit of cheese, and then you walk a lot and go back slowly to your laptop and then you forget what you’re doing it.”
He added, “We need to get back to the habit of getting into the office. There will be a lot of people who disagree with me, but I think people are more productive, energetic and full of ideas when they are surrounded by other people.”
In the latest figures from Transport for London, London Underground use at the start of May was below 70% of levels seen in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced many to work from home.
Businesses in city and town centers were hit hard by the subsequent collapse in turnout, which has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels even though the government asked workers to return to offices more than three months ago, after the Covid-19 wave hit its peak. by Omicron variable.
“[Returning to the office] It will get our city centers moving on weekdays and it will be good for mass transit. Johnson told the Daily Mail, “A lot of companies that have been going through a tough time will benefit from this. He is reportedly considering a campaign to try to bring back the over-50s into the workplace.”
The government continued to criticize the civil service for continuing to work from home. Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told The Telegraph that he suspected employees were working only three days a week.
He previously walked around government departments leaving notes on empty desks, saying, “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon. With all good wishes, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.”
Rees-Mogg said employees were working from home on Mondays and Fridays because they “believe the work week is shorter than it really is.”
“One can only doubt the desire to work from home on Mondays and Fridays,” he said, adding that he believed employees were working from home when sporting events take place or the weather is better.
Johnson also criticized the civil service for what he claimed was a “post-Covid Manana culture”. Ministers have publicly blamed widespread homework for the backlog at the Passport Agency and DVLA, and the Telegraph reported this month that in one government department, only 30% of employees on average were in their offices on any given day.
It was reported this week that the prime minister had ordered 91,000 jobs to be cut in a cost-saving operation, with unions warning they could vote on a strike over the plans.
Representatives of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) unions will meet with government officials early next week.
Mark Sirotka, general secretary of the union, which represents about 180,000 public sector workers, said: “Our members are in shock. The first they heard about these cuts was when they were announced in the media telling you everything you need to know about the government’s opinion of government employees. civil service.
“Our national conference will discuss in 10 days a coordinated strike action. If our members were not angry before, they are now, and rightly so.”
He added, “We will fight for every job in the civil service. Not just on behalf of our members, but on behalf of every member of the public who depends on the services they provide.”