BOSSES claim that working from home encourages staff to skive off and kills creativity as the country faces the possibility a second lockdown.
The chief executive of Next Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise blasted what he called “death by deck”.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
He claimed that slideshow presentations via Zoom or Google Meet had meant meetings had been transformed from “productive exchanges of ideas into boring, one-way lectures”.
Lord Wolfson also said another drawback of working from home during the coronavirus outbreak meant chance meetings and spontaneous conversations that could help productivity were missing.
He said: “At its best, an office can be a cauldron for new ideas and enhanced collaboration” but also admitted that colleagues were less stressed if they worked from home due to not having to battle the daily commute.
The chief executive of bank JP Morgan Jamie Dimon said there was a lack of “creative combustion” due to people not working in an office, according to The Times.
He claimed productivity at the bank, which has 16,000 UK employees, was noticeably lower on Mondays and Fridays.
Many though are already busy in the workplace with factories, shops, building sites and the hospitality industry having already returned.
A survey of 1,000 employers carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and published this week found 29 per cent felt home working had boosted productivity; 28 per cent thought it had reduced productivity; 37 per cent noticed no difference.
‘CREATIVE COMBUSTION’ MISSING
Workplaces that needed constant communication within large teams, such as project management, were seen as particularly hard hit by working from home.
One respondent said that an endless exchange of explanatory emails with colleagues took far longer than the time it would have taken for a face-to-face conversation.
Although another manager claimed the opposite, saying his staff were “just getting on with it”.
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the former boss of Virgin Money, agreed that working from home did stifle creativity.
She said: “It prevents those sparks that come from having a cigarette together or an informal cup of coffee.”
However she said that on the whole working from home was going well and had given up the London offices of her new company Snoop, to save on rent.
Robert Swannell, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer, spoke about the lack of “chance conversations, social interactions and snippets overheard that allow networks to truly flourish,” at a recent FT City Network conference.
Nick Train, a fund manager and cofounder of Lindsell Train, admitted this week that he was “losing the plot” working from home and missed “having a reflective, sobering cup of coffee with a respected colleague”.
Another concern employees have is that new recruits, especially youngsters, are not learning and improving on the job in the same way if they were in the office, where it is easier to pick up working practices and business culture from senior members of staff.
Paul Manduca, chairman of the insurance group Prudential, told the City Network conference: “Working from home works for a time within communities that know one another well but it is very hard to get to know and assess new employees unless physical interaction takes place.”
Concerns have also been raised that some employees won’t be able to work as productively from home as they may become distracted by childcare, or working in the confines of a small flat or even by the lack of air-conditioning in hot weather.
Employers have also expressed concern the impact isolation and loneliness may have on some of their staff.
Managers have also expressed concerns about the difficulty of monitoring staff and keeping them productive
Andy Golding, chief executive of OneSavings Bank, a mortgage lender with 1,400 employees in the UK, said: “It is difficult for managers to do the performance observations they would normally do in the office.”
He said everyone should be back in the office some of the time unless they are shielding or vulnerable in some way.
He said: “If someone has no real reason [not to come in], we would have to have a supervisory conversation. At the end of the day, that is the job they took.”
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.