By July 4, 2012 Read More →

Boris doesn’t like home working!

CheeseAccording to The Daily Mail, Boris Johnson yesterday put his foot right in the Government strategy for more people to work from home during the Olympics. He apparently said ‘Some people will see the Games as an opportunity to work from home, in inverted commas. We all know that is basically sitting wondering whether to go down to the fridge to hack off that bit of cheese before checking your emails again. I don’t want to see too many of us doing that,’ He also declared ‘speaking personally, I think [home-working] is greatly overrated.’

While I don’t think for a moment he was attacking the millions of people who normally work from home, it’s a shame his thinking hasn’t moved on with the rest of us. In Chapter 1 of my book Work from Home, written four years ago, I quoted him saying in The Daily Telegraph in 2007 that ‘working from home is simply a euphemism for sloth, apathy, staring out of the window and random surfing of the internet’. I suggested then that his remarks may have been intended to provoke, but now it seems not.

His remarks yesterday were not very well put, but there is an underlying truth there – it’s no good expecting people who normally work in an office to suddenly adjust to home working without any preparation. They will need not only the technology and workspace setting up, but also some idea of the daily challenges and the strategies to deal with them so they don’t revert to cheese-eating and random surfing.

From my many conversations with home workers it seems that up to now we’ve all had to learn the hard way, through tough experience, until we find what works for us. That’s why I wrote my book and set up this site, to help people avoid reinventing the wheel.

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35 Comments on "Boris doesn’t like home working!"

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  1. Lisa Thompson says:

    Is it too soon to accuse BJ of being a cheese-eating surrender monkey? Seriously though, if you’re wealthy enough not to worry about meeting work targets (and for home workers that is usually getting to the stage where you can invoice a client) you’re not going to understand the mindset of those of us who don’t get paid a £0.25 million a year to rattle off a column of half-baked, random and ill informed opinions once a week.

    • Judy says:

      That sounds like the kind of gig I could do with, Lisa – where do I apply?

      • Lisa Thompson says:

        Daily Telegraph c/o secretive Barclay brothers, Sark. Let them know I’m also available for 500 words of I Don’t Know A Thing About This But Don’t Let It Stop Me Making A T*t Of Myself for a mere £249,999.99p per annum anytime. Will build a house of cheese with the proceeds. Then eat it.

  2. I remember when I used to work in Advertising & Design agencies I quite often elected to work from home as it was so much more productive. No-one ever believed me though, and I had to justify every penny claimed in the ‘WFH’ category when I logged any calls I made to clients. But I agree with Judy – it’s not fair to expect people to adapt to home working at the drop of a hat! And anyway, nothing wrong with cheese-eating and random surfing – as long as the work gets done, eventually. . .

    • Judy says:

      Mixing as I do predominantly with home workers, it’s always a shock to realise there are still people ‘out there’ who don’t get it. We’ll wear them down!

  3. Jennifer Connor says:

    Nice to read this Judy. Especially as my last full-time boss was of the Boris mentality. Actually, bizarrely, they are both quite similar – blond, British and of a certain generation. It was A Design agency like Christine mentions – and he was dead set against working at home. I think if you aren’t good at something, you assume no one else is. Ie – I behave this way, so will my employees. I found it hard in the beginning – and I still do find myself slipping up. For me, if I set goals or self-imposed deadlines & break-down my tasks a bit into steps, that keeps me going. This is a great site and I look forward to reading your ‘Home Audit’ next! Eeek!

    • Judy says:

      Jennifer, I think you’re spot on with your observation about bosses assuming their staff won’t be any good at something because they themselves are not. When I first read Boris’ ‘anti’ comments when I was researching the book I got a strong feeling that here was an extrovert who needed people around him and who had had some bad experiences working from home! Of course since then coworking and Jelly have come on the scene, so even people who want lots of contact can work from home successfully too. Boris even visited Central in Bloomsbury with David Cameron recently, but obviously the message hasn’t quite got through :-/

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