Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Working Hours

From our Swindon Correspondent:

From the BBC

While the study did not cover the period of the pandemic, WHO officials said the recent jump in remote working and the economic slowdown may have increased the risks associated with long working hours.

“We have some evidence that shows that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of hours worked increase by about 10%,” WHO technical officer Frank Pega said.

The report said working long hours was estimated to be responsible for about a third of all work-related disease, making it the largest occupational disease burden.

I was talking to someone about this study, and yes, there’s about another 4 hours per week worked when people work from home.
But that isn’t really our working hours, is it? It’s the time from leaving the house, catching a bus/driving a car, sitting in traffic, walking to the office and so forth, having your day and doing the same on the way home. Unless you’re 20 minutes away from your desk, you’re doing more working hours (and if you’re less than 20 minutes from your desk, you’re probably not going to work from home, because who cares about a 20 minute daily commute?).
If you’re travelling an hour to the office, you’ve reduced your working hours by 6. And saved yourself from the cost and unreliability of Southern Rail. And you no longer have the risk of frottage on the Circle Line. You can make sandwiches and lattes at a fraction of the cost of Pret a Manger and not have to put up with people bothering you with their marathon sponsorship forms (although I’m sure that a virtual version of this will appear at some point).
(Editor’s note. To back this up the normal time use studies place commuting time firmly in work time. Where it should be of course)
5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

I’ve worked full time at home since 12 March 2020 and saved myself at minimum of three hours a day of commuting time into London. So that’s over 33 days of sitting in traffic, on a train, the tube and walking to work – plus the saving of the transport costs.

Even with the lifting of restrictions, it’s not looking like my company is going to be operating on the old basis.

Andrew M
Andrew M
3 years ago

All the awkward social elements of office-work have gone for a year, and few people have missed them. I particularly liked Mencius Moldbug’s characterisation:

Jane comes by your desk with birthday cake. It’s the birthday of Zoe in HR. She offers you a slice. You tell her you’re on a strict keto diet. Jane raises an eyebrow and gives you a look.

You eat the cake.

Five minutes later you receive an email asking you to give £5 for the cake.

Full thread:

3 years ago

So the World Health Org. (the World not being an organism and not having a Health) views work-at-home as a health risk, associated with higher productivity (implied by more hours). If this owes to stress, what about the stresses of lower productivity and pay? And shouldn’t the key be the non-medical question, “Is it worth it?”

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

Yet we’re still spending £100++ billion on a new line to relieve ‘congestion’ (which was a dubious claim, even pre-Covid). Hard to explain, unless you follow the money.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x