Returning to the office

Often a company will put these on as a thank-you to staff. Just as often, not being at such events puts a black mark on your HR record. Been there, done that, got the criticism.

The current mrs_mush hates those with a passion and never goes, can't stand the compulsory 'team building' away day with evening meal. Fortunately her boss is a good egg and whenever the subject of a team event is raised will smile as the current mrs_mush reaches into her desk drawer and pulls out a pack of index cards and asks her boss to pick one. On turning it over it will have the excuse that will be used, ranging from 'I'm on my period' to 'I'm taking the cat to have IVF', or even 'It's mush_dads funeral'

Oh, and the reason as to why she gets the pass out so easily:
 

Mbongwe

War Hero
She worked from home and was always on the road. That’s very different to working from home.
You mean you'd "allow" your employee to be at home before they set off for their working day on the road !

You don't half talk some BS, @bobthebuilder

Bob's bluffing blue-chip bullsh*t's baffled 'Bongwe's brain!
 
You mean you'd "allow" your employee to be at home before they set off for their working day on the road !

You don't half talk some BS, @bobthebuilder

Bob's bluffing blue-chip bullsh*t's baffled 'Bongwe's brain!
No, it’s not bluffing. There have always been people who work from home or wherever they can on the road and who don’t, or very rarely, go to the office. Companies have always trusted employees to work remotely; it’s nothing new. But that’s not the same as having your staff working full time at home.

If a job can be done at the worker’s house, it can be done anywhere. I see a lot of Australian small businesses now who offshore significant work to the Phillipines. We do it; our customer support services are all offshored at about a third of the pay rates of employing locally. I can get three educated, highly effective team members for the price of one.

A decade or so ago, offshoring was the province of big business and Indian call centres. Now even a micro-business like mine can access well educated and motivated staff offshore and employ them on terms that are far more effective for the business.

Jobs that can be done at home are jobs that's are highly at risk of either automation or offshoring. Beware of what you wish for.
 
A family member with health issues had WFH set up at start of KF, it soon became known that the large company soon saw this as a way of cutting overheads, they moved to a smaller building that was never going to be big enough.
She is monitered even to the the extent that my lad had to go and let someone in to fix the dishwasher, unlike MOD WFH where i'm let to believe the odd wiggle of the mouse can work.
She now does week in week WFH,

I don't think many people have considered the 'so what' of WFH becoming the norm - it is inevitable that company's will start using software to monitor staffs actual time at the keyboard and/or other control methods.

It is simple human nature, that bosses will want to actually 'boss' - particularly at times of company or personal stress and all sorts of bright young things in Asia and Silicon valley will be rapidly writing software to sell to company's 'to improve the efficiency' of WFH workers output

- I remember when I was at 39 Regt RA and we were updating the secure comms fit on the MLRS and I jokingly told one of the planks that as part of the fit a video camera was going to be installed in the cab so that the seniors could monitor what the crew were upto 24/7 - the rumour swept around the Regt in a matter of a few hours with much panic and I actually got 'summoned' to RHQ for 'a chat' :)

- just imagine what would happen if you were a fulltime WFH worker and your pc was fitted with a live feed cam!
 
There’s no fun quite like forced corporate fun.

I applied for a global company with it's UK HQ based around Readin a few years back. I did my homework, and saw that Glassdoor was littered with reviews about forced company events in your own time and how you were viewed if you didn't partake.

When I had my interview, the HR drone made a big play about Company togetherness, social events, team cohesion and other pointless buzz words. It pretty much felt like there was a whole load of validity in the online reviews.

If anyone has seen the Emma Watson film The Circle, you'll get where I'm coming from
 
I don't think many people have considered the 'so what' of WFH becoming the norm - it is inevitable that company's will start using software to monitor staffs actual time at the keyboard and/or other control methods.

It is simple human nature, that bosses will want to actually 'boss' - particularly at times of company or personal stress and all sorts of bright young things in Asia and Silicon valley will be rapidly writing software to sell to company's 'to improve the efficiency' of WFH workers output

- I remember when I was at 39 Regt RA and we were updating the secure comms fit on the MLRS and I jokingly told one of the planks that as part of the fit a video camera was going to be installed in the cab so that the seniors could monitor what the crew were upto 24/7 - the rumour swept around the Regt in a matter of a few hours with much panic and I actually got 'summoned' to RHQ for 'a chat' :)

- just imagine what would happen if you were a fulltime WFH worker and your pc was fitted with a live feed cam!
From last week's Economist

How a new age of surveillance is changing work​

Look out: your boss may be watching you​


20220514_LDD002_0.jpg

May 13th 2022
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Workplace surveillance is nothing new. The dark Satanic mills of 18th-century Britain had supervisors to crack the whip. Shops have long used cctv to monitor customers and staff, and some factory and warehouse workers have had to face the humiliation of timed toilet breaks. Still, if you enjoy the comfort of a white-collar job, you may be stunned to learn just how much you are being watched.
Listen to this story. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android.

Calls and emails are monitored using ever more advanced software. Artificial intelligence (ai) is taking the snooping to new levels, tracking everything from Zoom-call rictus and twitchy keyboard strokes to the consistent note of irritation in your voice, in an attempt to assess your productivity and judge your state of mind.
Surveillance is rising because work-from-home policies mean that employers are keen to keep tabs on their remote workforce. Before the pandemic, around one in ten of the large businesses asked by Gartner, a research firm, had spying software. Within three years it expects the share to reach 70%.

Bosses also have ever-expanding amounts of data at their disposal, enlarging the digital footprint that can be monitored. Widely used software such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams or Slack can tell managers what time you clock in or how many calls you join on their platforms. Employee badges fitted with motion sensors and microphones can alert bosses if someone is loafing about. The blurring boundaries between work and home mean that video surveillance and other intrusive tools are barging into workers’ personal lives, social-media accounts and private devices at all times of the day.
The law is scrambling to adjust. In the state of New York employees subject to electronic monitoring must be told in advance, under a new law introduced on May 7th. Connecticut and Delaware require similar disclosures. California is considering new laws to strengthen privacy protections for workers, including a ban on digital monitoring without prior notice. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation establishes some basic rights for staff. Yet it is still early days and the technology is advancing fast. As a result, most firms are only just getting their heads around how much remote work is likely to remain permanent. A clear boundary between embracing new technologies on the one hand, and protecting workers on the other, has still to be drawn.
There are perfectly legitimate reasons for surveillance at work. Many jobs require monitoring for safety, security and compliance. Investment banks’ traders are tracked to prevent insider dealing, and the decisions of social-media moderators are traced and recorded to ensure consistency and accountability. In the same way that companies collect data on customers’ behaviour in order to improve their products, so professional employers are using monitoring tools to measure the productivity and engagement of their most important resource: their people. In the future such tools could help spot bad posture, root out bullying, and identify and share best practice among staff.

Yet it is easy to see the pitfalls. There is a long history of those with power abusing those without in the name of compliance and efficiency. In the most extreme cases, 20th-century despots ran vast informant networks, and some slave plantations in America and the West Indies kept tyrannical work records.
Today’s workers are not indentured, obviously. But many studies link excessive individual surveillance to higher levels of stress. And if algorithms trained on biased data are used to make more decisions, the odds of discrimination will rise. One analysis found that ai systems consistently interpret black faces as being angrier than white ones.
What to do? As law and practice evolve, some principles should govern workplace surveillance. Individuals must be fully informed, as the New York law provides. Some firms now disclose monitoring methods in the fine print of their employee handbooks, and specify what data managers have access to. But that is no substitute for consistent, easily understood information for staff—so they can decide how to behave at work, and whom they choose to work for.
Employers should have a legitimate reason for surveillance. Although the boundary will take time to establish through case law and precedent, this is vital to ensure that monitoring is proportionate. Firms should not have access to employees’ private devices, provided they are not used for work. And significant decisions made by algorithms should be subject to appeal and review by human beings. Establishing clear guidelines is not easy, but qualms over the potential abuse of surveillance will grow. It’s time to start drawing some lines.
 
I don't think many people have considered the 'so what' of WFH becoming the norm - it is inevitable that company's will start using software to monitor staffs actual time at the keyboard and/or other control methods.

Homer sorts that out at 2.55 in this clip
 
Jobs that can be done at home are jobs that's are highly at risk of either automation or offshoring. Beware of what you wish for.

Most of my colleagues are performing detailed technical design work. project management, and general management from home. None of that is open to automation.

The offshoring has been coming back home as senior management have eventually accepted that qualifications and experience as stated may not actually mean the same thing. Taking India by way of example, you are employing people who are prepared to work permanent backshift, i.e. 14:00 to 23:00 local time, the ones you really want are those whose skills enable them to demand normal office hours - which doesn't suit a UK employer or their clients.

The cultural attitudes to accuracy and integrity may be taboo subjects, but their effects can be crippling.
 
Most of my colleagues are performing detailed technical design work. project management, and general management from home. None of that is open to automation.

The offshoring has been coming back home as senior management have eventually accepted that qualifications and experience as stated may not actually mean the same thing. Taking India by way of example, you are employing people who are prepared to work permanent backshift, i.e. 14:00 to 23:00 local time, the ones you really want are those whose skills enable them to demand normal office hours - which doesn't suit a UK employer or their clients.

The cultural attitudes to accuracy and integrity may be taboo subjects, but their effects can be crippling.
I’m seeing the opposite happen. Businesses are setting up PMOs offshore and are building their own tech teams, often in some pretty weird places.

We don’t have the backshift issue here, but we do have a desperate shortage of technical competence at the same time as we’ve got vast infrastructure projects running and have had almost no inward skilled immigration for two years. Even before that, skilled immigration was massively curtailed by the end of the 457 visa.

I think it would be hard to find any full service engineering or tech business in Australia that isn’t offshoring work. I can think of several major programs here that are being almost entirely managed offshore.

The cultural issue doesn’t exist IMHO. It’s a management issue.
 
Education minister seemingly unable to add-up; too many bodies/too few desks.
Managers unable to get people to do their jobs without technological spying or bullying them back to the office aren't doing their job properly.
Better training, recruitment, processes...better pay & conditions!
Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut:

 
hmm. I've been working for three different organisations now within the public health sphere since all this kicked off - in the first, we were sent home around a fortnight before WFH was made mandatory and I never went back into the office (even my laptop was collected by courier at the end of the contract) and in my current position I've never been in to the office once, never met any of the team in person and we have people spread up and down the country.

in the first and the third cases, we've been trusted to get on with things and it's paid off, particularly in my current position. using Teams to communicate is at this point no different than turning to the person next to you and asking their opinion on whatever. people are motivated and interested, the managers couldn't be happier with everyone, they don't micromanage and anyone swinging the lead is rapidly pinged and have a quiet hint dropped to them. followed by a much less quiet hint if the first isn't taken.

in the second case, we had a horror of a middle manager who was insisting people came in (despite several members of staff repeatedly having to explain to her they'd been told to shield by their GP) and other petty niggling and micromanaging, leading to a haemorrage of staff, and they still haven't recovered.

if you had the choice in the matter, what are you going to pick?
 

Mbongwe

War Hero
No, it’s not bluffing. There have always been people who work from home or wherever they can on the road and who don’t, or very rarely, go to the office. Companies have always trusted employees to work remotely; it’s nothing new. But that’s not the same as having your staff working full time at home.

If a job can be done at the worker’s house, it can be done anywhere. I see a lot of Australian small businesses now who offshore significant work to the Phillipines. We do it; our customer support services are all offshored at about a third of the pay rates of employing locally. I can get three educated, highly effective team members for the price of one.

A decade or so ago, offshoring was the province of big business and Indian call centres. Now even a micro-business like mine can access well educated and motivated staff offshore and employ them on terms that are far more effective for the business.

Jobs that can be done at home are jobs that's are highly at risk of either automation or offshoring. Beware of what you wish for.
Believe me, I know that people who wish their jobs to be remote run the risk of wishing their jobs away (offshored).

What I was getting at is that you still seem to equate an employer "letting" their employee start their day at home before going on the road, with paying someone to work at their home. If you don't see the difference, I won't argue with you...
 
Believe me, I know that people who wish their jobs to be remote run the risk of wishing their jobs away (offshored).

What I was getting at is that you still seem to equate an employer "letting" their employee start their day at home before going on the road, with paying someone to work at their home. If you don't see the difference, I won't argue with you...
Im confused. I’m arguing that there is big a difference between an employee who works from home (or wherever they start their day) and an employee who works at home.

You now seem to be agreeing with me!
 

Mbongwe

War Hero
A decade or so ago, offshoring was the province of big business and Indian call centres. Now even a micro-business like mine can access well educated and motivated staff offshore and employ them on terms that are far more effective for the business.
That’s very different to working from home. To me, if a job can be done at home, I’ll look to outsource or employ overseas. I have a Canadian supplier to my business who develops products in Israel, manufactures in India and has support staff in the Phillipines.
As for your correction, when I slice off, I always clear it with the CEO and let the majority shareholder know!
@bobthebuilder Your story's got inconsistencies as per my bold above; you're a a micro-business which has a CEO, a majority shareholder, and outsourced suppliers / workers in Canada and the Philippines?! :rolleyes:

Your approach can't be that effective if with all of those overheads you're still only a micro-business:clap:!

Please lay off the big-timing and the BS, you make some interesting points but effectively you're still just running a cottage industry which isn't comparable to the multitude of big businesses on which which you comment.

Otherwise I may have to deploy a bobthebullshi**ter sobriquet!
 
I applied for a global company with it's UK HQ based around Readin a few years back. I did my homework, and saw that Glassdoor was littered with reviews about forced company events in your own time and how you were viewed if you didn't partake.

When I had my interview, the HR drone made a big play about Company togetherness, social events, team cohesion and other pointless buzz words. It pretty much felt like there was a whole load of validity in the online reviews.

If anyone has seen the Emma Watson film The Circle, you'll get where I'm coming from

And yet if you have a team you do get on with and the team bonding is in work time doing something fun like shooting or go karting, you actually look forward to it

But I get your point plenty of places I've worked at had HR on hand to try and make your life hell, and micromanaging managers that you want to avoid in what little free time you have
 
I’m seeing the opposite happen. Businesses are setting up PMOs offshore and are building their own tech teams, often in some pretty weird places.

We don’t have the backshift issue here, but we do have a desperate shortage of technical competence at the same time as we’ve got vast infrastructure projects running and have had almost no inward skilled immigration for two years. Even before that, skilled immigration was massively curtailed by the end of the 457 visa.

I think it would be hard to find any full service engineering or tech business in Australia that isn’t offshoring work. I can think of several major programs here that are being almost entirely managed offshore.

The cultural issue doesn’t exist IMHO. It’s a management issue.

I used to worry about offshoring overseas, and whilst it is an issue for youngsters getting their foot in the door, it's had little impact on job hunting, IR35 seems to have been more of an issue in reality

There seems to be ever increasing demand for IT skills, so even with offshoring there is still a skills shortage
 

anglo

LE
That’s very different to working from home. To me, if a job can be done at home, I’ll look to outsource or employ overseas. I have a Canadian supplier to my business who develops products in Israel, manufactures in India and has support staff in the Phillipines.

@bobthebuilder Your story's got inconsistencies as per my bold above; you're a a micro-business which has a CEO, a majority shareholder, and outsourced suppliers / workers in Canada and the Philippines?! :rolleyes:

Your approach can't be that effective if with all of those overheads you're still only a micro-business:clap:!

Please lay off the big-timing and the BS, you make some interesting points but effectively you're still just running a cottage industry which isn't comparable to the multitude of big businesses on which which you comment.

Otherwise I may have to deploy a bobthebullshi**ter sobriquet!
He will come back, he likes to have the last word, your last sentence is right, by the way :)
 
That’s very different to working from home. To me, if a job can be done at home, I’ll look to outsource or employ overseas. I have a Canadian supplier to my business who develops products in Israel, manufactures in India and has support staff in the Phillipines.

@bobthebuilder Your story's got inconsistencies as per my bold above; you're a a micro-business which has a CEO, a majority shareholder, and outsourced suppliers / workers in Canada and the Philippines?! :rolleyes:

Your approach can't be that effective if with all of those overheads you're still only a micro-business:clap:!

Please lay off the big-timing and the BS, you make some interesting points but effectively you're still just running a cottage industry which isn't comparable to the multitude of big businesses on which which you comment.

Otherwise I may have to deploy a bobthebullshi**ter sobriquet!
There’s no inconsistency; but perhaps you missed my attempt at humour. I am the CEO and majority shareholder…...and I’m not an overhead as I’m not an employee. If I skive off (as I am doing now) I loose!

I used the UK definition of a micro-business as Arrse is a predominantly UK audience. That is one that employs from 0-9 people. We employ 7. There is no turnover limit specified on a micro-business specified UK; there is in Australia and we are well beyond it. Here we are classed as an SME.

We may be a micro business (UK term) but we’re most definitely not a cottage industry; we’ve developed valuable IP, we’ve raised solid investment in the markets and we sell across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. We are also far from being a business with high overheads; in fact, the opposite. We are very lean precisely because we can and do use technology to reach to places to get stuff done quickly and cheaply without the overhead of a local wage bill. We go to suppliers that a micro-business simply couldn’t get a decade or so ago.

Our Canadian supplier is an SME (UK definition). And yes, he does use a lab in Israel for product development (as do we), he does contract manufacture in India and he operates his global support from The Phillipines (as do we).

I can think of multiple Australian SMEs that operate the way we do with complex supply chains reaching in to Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia etc etc for complex stuff. I can also think of many that commission their research and / or product development overseas, particularly in Israel which is a hotbed of ideas. My view is it’s easier and definitely cheaper to build a supply chain like ours offshore than it is here in Aus.

BTW, in the ten years between leaving the Army and founding, I held senior corporate roles in two large US blue chips (50k plus employees) in the UK, US and here. Without being arrogant, I reckon I’ve got a pretty broad business experience on which to base my opinions.

IMHO we’re on the edge (probably deep in) a fourth industrial revolution which is going to decimate the traditional white collar middle management roles that largely make up the WFH cohort. A lot of big businesses are seeing themselves being dislocated by small, lean, innovators. I’m in an environment where we use tech to connect people and businesses seamlessly at a time when many organisations have only just worked out how to connect with their staff at home.

Last comment; forgetting the futurist view, we’ve really no idea what the long term effect of WFH will be. The productivity gains that people claim are really team level gains, that may or may not deliver long term shareholder value. Businesses that are realising cost savings from downsized offices are doing so in a post-Covid recessionary world where they are in zombie mode and have to make savings. I’m unconvinced that we’re seeing the real picture.

There’s a reason why Apple, one of the worlds most creative companies, wants its staff back in Cupertino.
 

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