Workplace Forcing People Back to Office

I work in a large government agency. Staff have been working from home since May. It was recently decreed that everyone is expected to work from the office at least 60% of the time next year.

Management have ignored all the benefits that have become apparent from WFH, such as improved mental and physical wellbeing, saving time and money on public transport, increased flexibility, etc., all the while maintaining (if not improving) productivity and staying safe.

Practical matters such as staff needing to take crowded public transport back to work or caring for family members more vulnerable to Covid have been ignored.

Anyone else work for an organisation that likes to claim it's modern and progressive while being the exact opposite?

Comments

    •  

      Cannot have those pep talks anymore and cannot monitor their work remotely…

      I think it is reasonable to have a webcam (that can't be turned off) set up in their home office…

      •  

        Haha, wont go well.
        Will definitely bring this up as a joke today.
        In some meeting, requested (in BOLD) to have webcam ON but there is always an excuse.

    •  

      That's an HR issue. A manager can and should manage remotely just as they manage in the office. Do you manage in the office by staring at your staff like a lunatic? Or do you monitor their outputs? If you can't have pep talks with your staff going forward and you cannot monitor their outputs, then that's a work culture problem not a teleworking problem.

      •  

        with WFH, dont even know if they are even at their desk.
        outputs are monitored by delivery of tasks but that is lacking and the reason is, 'too busy with other things'

  • +8 votes

    If you don't like it, leave…

    I'm sure they can find someone a bit more grateful to have a job.

    • +3 votes

      You sound bad.

      +1

      • +3 votes

        bad ass…

    • +7 votes

      You can ALWAYS "find someone a bit more grateful to have a job". But their skills will be inversely proportional to their gratefulness.

      The talented will go elsewhere. If you want people to be grateful don't treat them like slaves and ignore their advice/requests, they will leave and you will fail.

      • -2 votes

        But their skills will be inversely proportional to their gratefulness.

        Yes, lets make stuff up now…

        Might as well state the opposite unless you can provide some genuine proof…

        • +2 votes

          It's basic logic, I don't need to provide evidence.

          The talented can quit knowing they will easily find another job at a smarter employer. They also won't be grateful, because they know their employer is more dependent on them, then they are a job with poor conditions.

          The untalented will be extremely grateful (they need the job), tell you what you want to hear (yes sir), do what they're told (go back to office), and hang onto their jobs for dear life because they know they will struggle on the open market.

          It common sense.. but keep pushing the return to the office narrative.

          Perhaps you could explain why we still need offices?

      • -2 votes

        The talented will go elsewhere. If you want people to be grateful don't treat them like slaves and ignore their advice/requests, they will leave and you will fail.

        Can easily find other talented people, maybe even better people, who don't act like divas, believe they are self-entitled and have a chip on their shoulder….

        •  

          Then why haven't you hired them?

          • +1 vote

            @field1985: Nobody who works for me ever wants to leave…

            • +2 votes

              @jv: That's because they know they lack the skills to get better jobs on the open market so they have to put up with your demands.

              That doesn't answer my question. If there are more talented people, why don't your hire them?
              You can't afford it? You are not profitable enough?

              A business should profit by adding talented employees (growing), not see them as an expense who need to be watched/controlled.

              • +1 vote

                @field1985:

                That's because they know they lack the skills to get better jobs on the open market so they have to put up with your demands.

                Nope, it's because they are happy.

      •  

        i have a theory, management nice, you keep all the efficient and non efficient people. If management tough, you lose the bad ones and also the good ones.

  • +1 vote

    See if you can make your office days more enjoyable. My team has no requirement to attend the office but we all try to abandon our families and come in on Tuesday and Friday to get some proper co-working and socialisation in. Friday is pub lunch and easy arvo day.

    I look forward to going in to the office!

  • +4 votes

    This is hilarious. Forcing people to come back to work? You were employed to be at the office in the first place.

    Too spoilt

    • +1 vote

      I know right, this thread is madness. Employers never agreed upon WFH, the pandemic required it. Now that it's safe it is 100% reasonable for them to expect you to return to a normal working environment. If your workplace doesn't offer that, it's on you to decide whether it's worth moving.

      • +1 vote

        I don't support OPs language but it's absurd to not explore, advocate for, and implement innovation where it is discovered. Put aside teleworking. Apply your lionising of and defence for the 'normal working environment' to any element of how a business conducts its affairs. That's stagnation. That's death thinking. That's the classic wobbling of the large firm creaking under it's own bureaucratic weight.

        •  

          I'm not saying we should not WFH, I enjoy it myself and it should become the new norm. But there's a lot of entitlement and resentment in this thread around workplaces conforming to personal preferences. Not every business will be ok with it, or have a % that people are after. And that's their right, as it is an employees right to choose where they want to work.

          •  

            @JSONBourne: Seeing your other posts I acknowledge my interpretation of your post does not represent your fully stated beliefs.

    • +4 votes

      Incorrect. People are employed to "do something". The something may require you being in the office - examples include a receptionist, dentist, data center technician, etc. Or it may not be dependent on whether you are in the office or at home.

      • +2 votes

        Oh ok, Sorry. He was employed to "do something" in the OFFICE he's forced to return to? Better? lol

      • +1 vote

        The something may require you being in the office…. Or it may not be dependent on whether you are in the office or at home.

        The thing is your manager may see it as part of your duties to be in the office to be in close proximity to your team for collaboration/team dynamics. What you're saying is subjective and as a manager I can very much see a different perspective on this.

        I'm all for a hybrid approach to WFH but 100% WFH is not reasonable for most jobs.

  • +5 votes

    WFH is not a right, it's a work BENEFIT. Some business will offer it, some won't. If you are not happy with your employers arrangements then it is up to you to find a role elsewhere. Your employer has a right to dictate whatever employment terms they like, and you choose whether or not that fits your own role requirements.

    People need to also be aware of the downsides of permanent WFH. Depending on the role you face a very real risk of being replaced or outsourced to someone cheaper. Perhaps this could be overseas, or even someone in Rural Australia willing to take the job for a lower salary. If you have no face time with your management and your role can be shifted to a lower salary, your boss may very well do that. Being in the office is very important to maintain relationships with management structures.

    • +1 vote

      Yep if you WFH and all you do is that low level processing job, you will be forgotten about soon…

    • +1 vote

      That first paragraph is a very one way street way of looking at business dynamics. As a manager of people I would be concerned that I was stifling innovation and thinking with such an attitude, for it would surely creep into every aspect of work, not just the 'benefits' but the work purpose and output itself. That said, yes there is a fine line with this. Encouraging feedback can lead to…well OP's attitude.

      Second paragraph, minus the last sentence, sure. Last sentence, for some people yes but ultimately that is a management skill issue.

      •  

        My point is not whether or not it's right or not. It's just that the business is the one who gets to dictate working location terms, not the employee.

        •  

          I guess it also depends on how important one is in the company.

  •  

    I know someone whose work is asking that they work in the office for 1 to 1.5 weeks a month, but the rest of the time is at home. I think that's pretty good.

  • +2 votes

    Office workers just don't get it. The manufacturing industry is being replaced by bots. The logistics industry is adopting more efficient ways to track goods and may someday have autonomous vehicles. The 9 to 5 office workers will be replaced by code or outsourced to cheaper mega call centres.

    Do what you've to do to keep your job or don't be a team player and be the first one out the door. Your choice.

    Have look at how supermarket checkouts have changed in a few years.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-16/end-of-checkout-dire-...

    •  

      Sure for a few items.

      I still goto the human checkout if I have >10 items. Nightmare to scan a trolley full and pack it yourself.

      • +1 vote

        If you read the article, the future is embedded RFIDs/Video recognition in stores negating the need for checkouts at all. Amazon is already trialing this in the US.

    • +2 votes

      Next thing you're going to tell me that they will replace bank tellers with automatic ones

    • +1 vote

      This isn't lost on me but I definitely agree office workers don't realise how they will be replaced by AI sooner than they think (ludditism and slow cultural change will be the only temporary brake).

      That said, this does not and should not mean that office workers must meekly bow down, particularly when this is a circumstance that can and should be win-win, not win-lose. OP doesn't make the case well, but the case can be made well.

  •  

    A certain broadcaster have offered WFH as a mean to drive down the daily rate by 20%…I reckon it's a good compromise for some who just cbf'ed turning up to the office besides the first week to sort out their access/building pass and grab their work devices.

  • +3 votes

    Agree. The pandemic has simply exposed inefficiencies in the work in office model when WFH can just as easily achieve the same outcome.

    Perhaps we need to rethink the 5 days work week model as well, and be like the progressive Scandinavian countries which are implementing the 3 days work week for their workers. Does the environment and our carbon footprint some good as well!

    It also have the distinct advantage of reducing unemployment rate if there's more employment to go around if they encourage job-sharing for at least those government jobs which are unproductive, if a shorter working hours becomes reality.

  • +2 votes

    We're about to move buildings as our lease is up and are actively looking for a smaller place due to Covid and WFH. All desks will now become a hot desk and you can come as go as required.

    •  

      Hot desk just to make it that much more covid friendly ??

  • +8 votes

    I also work in Government and having some staff working from home is a real pain. They seem to take ages to reply to missed calls/emails ect. I doubt most are working the full hours at home. Also supporting these people "working" from home costs a lot more than being in the office. Just a waste of tax players money.

    • +3 votes

      They're busy watching youtube/netflix and browsing OzBargain, obviously ;)

      •  

        The Pro's will browse OzB at work.

        I think I've even seen some people watching the cricket/UEFA cup…

    •  

      One agency have created a WFH helpdesk for example.

    • +2 votes

      they have to pay the office rent and then also increased license fees for all these virtual desktops.

      its good the OP is a hardworker. but as all organisations, everyone more or less abuses WFH. long breaks, sleep ins, big lunches. good old weight on space bar key to remain online.

      you were initially forced to wfh because it wasnt safe, not because it was better. its safer now.

    • +1 vote

      report em so mgmt can give a warning,
      they are expected to be on-call as if they were in office..

    •  

      Are you their manager? If so you need to improve your skills.

  • +7 votes

    I work for large multinational company and we have been back to work in the office fulltime for 3 months, 5 days a week! At an excutive level they made it a point, that we have to be the office if not visiting clients. I also just heard they want to make us wear ties work.

    I work in IT Sales and this old school of thinking has baffled me no end. Conisdering we do not need to be in the office at all to do our jobs. We have all the tools at our disposal to work from any location.

    We actually have less freedom now then before COVID.

    Hence why I am leaving. I accepted a new job this week!

  •  

    It's in line with government advice so I don't see a problem with it. Talk to your manager about your specific needs and why you need special consideration to work from home more often.

  • +1 vote

    For anyone wondering this sounds like the ATO

    • -2 votes

      Ironically the ATO is one of the more cost-ineffective government department around.

      If our unnecessarily complicated tax laws were simplified to a flat 20-30% tax rate for BOTH personal and corporate tax rates, there would be no complicated tax structures for individuals or corporates to practice tax avoidance, there will be less need for accountants, less honest mistakes, less tax fraud all around, most people would be happy knowing everyone else is paying their fair share of taxes, and 95% of the ATO would be made redundant.

      • +1 vote

        I like a spliff of whatever you're smoking, it's pretty good.

      • +2 votes

        Sure, lets institute a regressive tax that only benefits the wealthy, and pat ourselves on the back because those lazy gubmit workers aren't needed anymore

    • +4 votes

      If it really is the ATO then I want them to be 100% work from office.
      I don't want any confidential material leaking.

    •  

      Ironically some of their vendors (Leidos for example) told their employees to continue WFH till the end of 2021.

      Don't know if this position has changed since I've last heard about it.

  •  

    My previous employer decided to go back to the old office location about June, even though we are a remote support provider, they still seem it necessary to have us onsite for this role..

    They are stuck in 40 hour work weeks, think the idea of flexible hours is you can start and finish anytime between 8 and 6 as long as you work 8 hours a day, so it made sense they wouldnt think the work from home setup was worthwhile, can't monitor your subordinates if you can't see exactly how long they use the rest room or if they are also gasp reading a book.

    So glad I no longer work there ..

    •  

      harder for collaboration

      You might not need to reply on other or talk to them face to face, but others may rely on being able to talk to you face to face.

      I recall years ago when our office changed to open office, most hated it. But the collaboration capability was enormous. Most chats over email/online is just not as effective as face to face, especially when it comes to training/learning.

      And yes there are many slackers who need to be under the thumb for their own good

      •  

        We have offices spread across the country. All internal communication is video call through teams (this was the case prior to Covid, if I called someone in another room it had to be Teams video chat), so the collaboration aspect is moot, very little communication was face to face. All training, meeting, everything is done at the desk with your headset and camera, even if the person is behind you or next to you.

        It was a strange setup, I still don't understand the thinking behind it, but it set up for home office very well.

        They just love to control and micromanage, not a sign of a good happy and healthy work place.

        Slackers generally slack regardless, having them underthumb is just more work and effort to manage them. Bugger them off and replace with competent and professional employees instead. If you cant trust your employees, you're gonna have a bad time.

  •  

    Working at the University, We were told everyone back full time a few months ago.

  •  

    If only detecting job applicants like OP was easy. OP should stay working in government sectors. It's well known that it's harder to move from govt to private anyway, they don't want them.

    • +4 votes

      Whilst I agree to a point about your sentiment; I disagree to the generalisation because there will be always bad apples in any groups of people - otherwise we might as well all just be robots.

      One day when one or both of your parents go to a hospital because they have a life threatening situation - you will remember that the ambulance paramedics that transported them, the doctors and nurses that help your parents recuperate, the janitors that kept the hospital clean ….. they are the all government workers.

      The tax officer who checks your taxes. The medicare worker who processes your out of pocket claim. Your car registration is often checked after a certain age to make sure cars are safe for the roads so the brakes don't fail and hit you (private sector) worker. When your neighbour builds a verandah that reduces your privacy, these government workers will help you. When you decide to leave your partner, it is a government paid judge that deals with your future. These are all government workers.

      • +1 vote

        I agree. While there are lots of government workers that don't add value, there are plenty that do.

        •  

          Those government workers that do add value are almost 100% contractors brought in to actually do things right too, not employees. Which is great, because they can often terminate their contracts and start with you much faster.

          •  

            @infinite: Yep I’m one of those contractors. We’re held to a higher degree than employees so we have to perform or we’re out the door, which suits me perfectly and I don’t have to get involved in the office politics.

  • +2 votes

    Hahahaha. Government employees complaining about having to go to "work".

    •  

      Grow up. There are layabouts and hard workers in every sector.

      • -1 vote

        If you think the average government employee does as much work as the average private sector employee you are very ignorant.

        Not going to waste my time explaining the different drivers and fundamental difference between the two sectors. Go do some reading.

        • -1 vote

          If you think the average government employee does as much work as the average private sector employee you are very ignorant.

          Nice straw man you have there. Be a shame if I pointed out that I didn't say anything about averages. Do you honestly think it's fair lumping in all the hard workers with layabouts in the whole sector? You rely on the services these government organisations provide.

          Not going to waste my time explaining the different drivers and fundamental difference between the two sectors. Go do some reading.

          Actually you've proven you're not going to waste your time actually reading what I wrote and doing a bit of basic comprehension.

          You know absolutely squat about my knowledge of "the different drivers and fundamental difference between the two sectors." but you've proven you're a bigot when it comes to anyone in the government sector, eh sport?

          • -1 vote

            @syousef: Poor lad. Salty you didn't get past any private sector video interviews (or probably didn't pass psychometric testing) and had to settle for a government job hey? Enjoy ticking meaningless boxes in the public sector.

            Oh look at that, 4.45pm on a workday and you are commenting. Typical government employee knock off time.

            Ha! I rely on their terrible services. Yes because I have no choice. What kind of argument is that.

            Yes it is fair. Poor government employees, with the most secure jobs in the country (after maybe healthcare at the moment; and no, I'm not referring to hospital workers when I first said govt employees) complaining about having to go into work. If they were a private sector employee they would be more concerned about having a job to go to.

            You have proven you lack of knowledge between the sectors in your first comment.

            Enjoy your state of ignorance and your promotions based on service length instead of competency.

            • +3 votes

              @fd9: Why are "hospital workers" not public servants? The bulk of hospitals are publicly owned.

              Salty you didn't get past any private sector video interviews (or probably didn't pass psychometric testing) and had to settle for a government job hey? Enjoy ticking meaningless boxes in the public sector.

              Ah. The "I'm a recent grad and think I know everything about recruitment" comment.

              Enjoy your state of ignorance and your promotions based on service length instead of competency.

              You have never worked in the private sector yourself, have you? If you have, you must be early in your career to be making a statement like that.

              • -2 votes

                @Tyrx: Do you really not know why? You must not be very bright. 1) The OP said office and that's the type of work I'm referring to. Unless you think hospital doctors are now working from home too.

                I've worked in both actually.
                And unlike you I can give an unbiased appraisal about both.

                • +1 vote

                  @fd9: Stop backtracking. The context of the OP was office workers versus frontline workers. You were the one who drew the distinction between public and private, and made some weird claim that "hospital workers" should suddenly not be considered public servants. Primary care physicians aren't the only staff at hospitals, so it's silly to generalise "hospital workers" as being so irrespective.

                  I'm not going to engage you further though. The last statement you made ousts you pretty well for either not having life experience in the private sector, or not being high up enough for you to be making claims like that. There's significant differences between public or private organisations, but neither can take the high ground when it comes to being meritocratic.

                  • +1 vote

                    @Tyrx: "Context" of the OP was office workers.
                    Any intelligent person would compare govt office workers vs private/corporate office workers.

                    Only an idiot would compare corporate / private office workers with doctors who have studied for a minimum of 6 to 8 years depending on university.

                    Hence why I excluded public hospitals from the equation. Why are you finding that so hard to wrap your head around?

                    If you can't understand that there really is no point me conversing with you any further as it will clearly go right over your head.

                    Your whole argument ousts you pretty well as someone who doesn't understand logic, no matter which sector they find themselves in.

              • +1 vote

                @Tyrx: ironically, he replied before the "4.45pm" time. so i assume he lost his private job recently.. cos he would be on average too busy to go on ozb.
                poor guy, thought he could take on the private sector but got sacked …something about competency?

                • -1 vote

                  @astarman: Ironically, you seem to never have heard of shift work. Don't blame you for only having ever been in the single govt sector your whole sheltered life.

                  Poor 25 years of (no useful) service local council employees all coming to this thread to back each other up.

                  •  

                    @fd9: No sorry in the corporate world we only have work. No such thing as shift work.
                    Is your retail job hitting you hard ?

                    •  

                      @astarman: All that free time at your government office doing nothing, and can't think of anyone in the corporate world that leaves their office to go to site and works shifts. Keep thinking.

                      •  

                        @fd9: Just as much free time as you?

                        I guess a private call centre job is still considered corporate.

                        • +1 vote

                          @astarman: "No sorry in the corporate world we only have work. No such thing as shift work."
                          "I guess a private call centre job is still considered corporate."

                          I thought you said "No such thing"

                • +1 vote

                  @astarman: I was wondering about substantiated his shit talking was, so went through a couple recent comments where the user posted that she/she is currently a third year med student who already has done an engineering degree, and has "senior" friends. Basically a baby career wise - suspect that the user will find being a GP tough considering the attitude. You don't do that job for the remuneration.

                  •  

                    @Tyrx: So you read all the way through to my second page of comments (I thought you said "couple recent comments") on my profile (you must have such a fulfilling and busy life if the highlight is reading stranger's posts on the internet …oh wait), and still got the subject of the word "senior" wrong. The sentence I used that word in wasn't even that complex.

                    "I was wondering about substantiated his shit talking".
                    Thanks for the rent-free room inside your head.
                    I'm glad I could provide something stimulating for you to do during the day.

                    • +1 vote

                      @fd9:

                      must have such a fulfilling and busy life if the highlight is reading stranger's posts on the internet …oh wait

                      Comments are public and it takes a competent person a few minutes to go through them.

                      • +1 vote

                        @smartazz104: Say I thought someone didn't know anything about a particular subject, as the above commentators have claimed about me. Would I bother going through their comment history on other threads to read their posts (which I've claimed are uninformed). Doesn't make sense. I wonder who the idiot in the above situation actually is.

        •  

          Gov agencies make you do your job PLUS all the pointless red tape crap

  • +11 votes

    in years to come 2020 would be remembered as one of the best working years for some people
    I will miss it for sure. No 2hr return trip, more time spent with the kids, the flexibility of working from home, the savings from not having to travel or eat out.

    • +1 vote

      If WFH was to be permanent, even partial wfh. Salaries would need to be revised.

      Have you noticed that jobs in the city pay more than similar jobs in the suburbs? They take into consideration the travel time and costs for people to make it more attractive.

      •  

        That in itself should be more of an incentive for companies to move to a more wfh structure. I work for one of the largest corporation in oz and they are reducing the number of office spaces they occupy quiet drastically. The savings they have seen through not having to pay lease, power, cleaning, security and other overheads is huge. Costs of office space is one of the biggest expenses for any business. The lockdown has shown that the business can run successfully remotely which gave the push. So I am one of the lucky ones going forward who would see wfh more as the norm.

  •  

    Your lucky already back in 100% of the time for last 6 weeks

    •  

      Some people are 0% working from office and 0% wfh
      They must be the luckiest ones of all?

  • +6 votes

    I am disappointed how many people think he should be grateful for an office job, and if he does not like it, he should leave.

    • -2 votes

      Watch American Factory. Let us know if you change your mind on that statement.

      •  

        Why would the documentary change my mind?

  •  

    60% is probably on the higher end of what I expect to happen. 40% would be quite good with flexibility around start and finish times.

    I think in the near future teams will meet occasionally in hubs for that f2f collaboration but the shift will be wfh.

  •  

    I think you've got the idea wrong, it's only progressive when your company continue to service the lease to the landlord, progressively.

  • +5 votes

    Unfortunately government’s aim in doing this isn’t to increase worker happiness and productivity, it’s to shuttle business for restaurants in the city for lunch break lol. They just want money to come back to daytime dining.

    I think it’s a damn shame. A cultural shift towards more work from home has been just about the only “good thing” from covid. We should hang onto any flexibility we can grasp for as much as possible.

    I say this as someone who didn’t work from home once but I value the option and the flexibility at least being there, where it used to be a “never under any circumstances.”

  • +1 vote

    Yep same experience here. More interested in keeping cbd landlords happy. If things got bad here they might have actually transformed for the future but we got lucky……