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

Younger Remote Workers

From our Swindon Correspondent:

From City AM

The current messy hybrid working compromise risks creating a generational divide. Many older workers will continue to stay at home while younger workers, keen to escape their flat-share or their parents’ kitchen, will come back into the office.
People keep on making this mistake about remote work, because they’re comparing the current lockdown-ish world with the pre-Covid world. Working from home is a bit of a downer because there isn’t a lot to do, but the post-Covid world will see cafes and bars back to normal.
Without all that standing on the tube, you get a couple of hours of your life back. That means you’re in the pub at 17:32 with your actual mates rather than people you are polite to at work. Or doing a tango lesson, playing squash, going to a movie. There’s going to be new opportunities from all of this from time and wealth spent on railways being available for other things.
And if you’re really smart, you won’t be in a shared flat, because you’ll have moved to a cheaper place.
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Craig
Craig
1 month ago

Personally I have this enormous sense of ‘loss’ about the amount of time I spent commuting, away from my children, the amount I spent on childcare. Indeed given my excellent state of health, I am now realizing that being in these offices stuck with people for hours on end was what was giving me all of those colds I would get. Now you go to the grocery store, a restaurant or the gym, sure, you can get a cold there, but if you see sickness you can get away from it. “And if you’re really smart, you won’t be in… Read more »

John Galt
1 month ago

And if you’re really smart, you won’t be in a shared flat, because you’ll have moved to a cheaper place.

Or a cheaper country even.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Galt
Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 month ago
Reply to  John Galt

I think Our Man in Swindon has in mind that most jobs will still require occasional visits to the office, be it once or twice per week, or per month. Which would be tricky from a small Caribbean island, however attractive that prospect might be.

John Galt
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Sure, but you could still move to the Isle of Man and cut your tax bill in half (been there, done that from 2009 – 2012), since doing so covered the entire cost of housing and travel plus some. My monthly savings were substantial compared to similar accommodation in the Home Counties.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 month ago
Reply to  John Galt

“80,000 drunks clinging to a rock” isn’t quite the Caribbean.

John Galt
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

So the saying goes, but while the Isle of Man might be 40 years behind the times, for many of us that is more valuable than all the tea in China. Personally, I enjoyed my time there and would return if circumstances permitted.

bloke in spain
bloke in spain
1 month ago

I foresee a surprise ahead for desk jockeys. Sure, enjoy your working-from-home idyll why you can. You do realise you’ll soon be competing with the entire world for your job? And the competition may not even be carbon based. Most desk jobs are merely rules based distributed data processing. The majority of the “work” is the various nodes communicating with each other to coordinate the effort. That university education simply gave you a set of intellectual tools to manipulate data. Expert systems could do it quicker cheaper. Without you in the office championing your own cause, alternatives are going to… Read more »

Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
1 month ago
Reply to  bloke in spain

“Most desk jobs are merely rules based distributed data processing.” I’m not sure how much I agree with that in, in terms of the west now. For one thing, if you can define someone’s job solely by rules, you can turn that into software. And the stuff that has little training has already been outsourced. Both offices and manufacturing in the UK are now about creative work, craft and problem solving. Dumb jobs have been offshored or automated. Like Apple have call centres in India and factories in China. What do they do in California? Engineering, design, software, marketing, PR,… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
1 month ago
Reply to  Bloke on M4

AI rules based expert systems are always going to be behind the curve. A CLF (carbon life form) has to design the machine learning and do the coding. When a SLF (silicon life form) is smart enough to do that for itself, CLFs will become completely redundant.

Chester Draws
Chester Draws
1 month ago

And yet in NZ most people are finding that working from home is simply tedious. It wears thin very quickly. Offices are almost back to normal.

The rule that if anyone says “this time it’s different” is something to bet against still applies.

People are social animals. No amount of rationality will change that. (I’m not social, but I see that I’m the small minority.)

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 month ago
Reply to  Chester Draws

How many Kiwis are looking at a 3-hour a day commute, or pay £5k for the privilege?

jgh
jgh
1 month ago

“university education”
Sorry, had to stop laughing for a moment there.

PJH
PJH
1 month ago

I rather think a quick look at the author of the piece is in order, and may explain why they’re rather in favour of the old status quo, and getting people back into the office.

“Andrew Carter is chief executive of Centre for Cities”

To quote from their website:

We produce rigorous, data-driven research and policy ideas to help cities, large towns and Government address the challenges and opportunities they face – from boosting productivity and wages to preparing for the changing world of work.

Spike
Spike
1 month ago
Reply to  PJH

In other words, “We produce ideas we claim are rigorous and data-driven that can be spun to flog our clients’ self-interests.”

(If boosting productivity and wages is a goal of these governments, oughtn’t they pry us away from the CT so we might go write for pay?)

John B
John B
1 month ago

‘…  risks creating a generational divide. Many older workers will continue to stay at home while younger workers, keen to escape their flat-share or their parents’ kitchen, will come back into the office.’

There is always has been a generational divide. But younger people don’t stay younger people forever, they become older people in due course. Younger people of course will go back to work it is where they make friends, meet future partners, learn to socialise, learn skills, get wider experience. Then, older, they will be just right to work from home.

Do journalists ever go out?

Last edited 1 month ago by John B
Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
1 month ago
Reply to  John B

One of the problems with a lot of talk by journalists about “how offices are” is that it’s pretty outdated now. This is what offices were like before the late the 1990s, when people worked in the same company for a decade. When almost no-one was made redundant. People would invite their workmates over for a BBQ, all go to the pub on a Friday night, go clubbing etc. Some of that was even expected – it was about being part of the department, and loyalty mattered like it just doesn’t today (both ways). Things like longer commutes, drink-drive laws,… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
1 month ago

Why is the younger worker in the picture carrying a brick? Who wears a watch these days?

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