Commute Vs Remote

at

This morning.

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 and O’Connell Street Luas stop.

Meanwhile…

….responding to the government’s proposed working from home bill, Social Democrats Enterprise Spokesperson Catherine Murphy said:

“I was concerned, before the legislation was published, that the Bill would be tepid and underwhelming. Those fears have now been borne out. Instead of granting employees a right to work from home, the legislation is an employers’ charter which creates wide-ranging exemptions from the entitlement.

“For instance, a request to work from home can be refused if an employer feels there is a “potential negative impact” on quality of work or performance – not an actual or verified negative impact. These refusal grounds are so all encompassing, they make a mockery of the stated purpose of the legislation.”

Yesterday: Not Remotely Like A Right

Sam Boal/RollingNews

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38 thoughts on “Commute Vs Remote

  1. Mr.T

    A “right” to work remotely is a load of nonsense. One way or another, the employer has to be able to decide whether the job can be done remotely or not, otherwise you can have teachers etc demanding to work from home permanently. Like it or not, the employer should be the ultimate decision makers on what is viable or not re: remote working – and so long as the decision rests with them, the likes of Catherine Murphy will be complaining.

    If you want to remote work, get some leverage with another job offer. Dont go expecting the government to legislate for it – a huge can of worms yet to be opened with this law.

    1. Gavin

      Id agree its a conversation that needs to be had between employer and employee assuming both are reasonable. But the government floated this and harped on about it, now they are doing the opposite of what they proposed, so expect people to complain

    2. paul

      I do agree that employees should vote with their feet and move away from employers that have issues with what a lot of people have discovered to be a better work/life balance during the pandemic but something set in stone from our Government that can support employees in working remotely would have been nice. Calling it a ‘right’ doesn’t do much though.

      A job that pays ‘Dublin wages’ but an employee can can live somewhere affordable? Cutting out hours of commuting? Creating avenues for cutting out middle-management jobs that serve no purpose other than micromanaging people and bothering them? (That last one is from some of my friends who were delighted to be able to just do their job rather than attending endless meetings that cut their productivity).

      If there was a way to challenge an employers demand to return to the office with evidence of higher (or the same) productivity while working from home etc, I’d be in favour of that.

      Hospital employees like myself and other similar public facing roles like teachers are out of luck.

      1. SOQ

        Creating avenues for cutting out middle-management jobs

        There is problem number one- that group will push against home working because in some cases, it will make them redundant. The flip side is that while some people have worked better from home, some have being doing frig all, so I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution.

        But home working is an attractive feature of a job now and I expect that the hybrid scheme will win out which is IMO, the best of both worlds.

        1. Johnny-ny.

          Which category would you fit into yourself,or do you consider yourself fully gainfully employed in truth seeking,exposing all the lies and fake news ?

        2. paul

          that last one was not my point but to hear my friends talk, some of these middle-managers are already redundant. Others however are fantastic, setting up training opportunities, coordinating between teams where a one-team skillset doesn’t exist, encouraging new employees to get the best out of them, owning their own mistakes and celebrating their teams victories etc. A one size fits all solution doesn’t exist, as you say, but creating avenues for people to request to work from home and giving an employer legitimate cause to deny it are part of something that could become a solution.

          This list from the Government on reasons to deny such a request is fine as long as it can be challenged and even overturned.

          1. SOQ

            Personally I am not so sure that legislation is the answer because there is so many variables at play. And yes, some mangers adopted to the new environment while others found it more difficult. In my experience age plays a part, as older people tend to less willing to embrace tech but, not always.

            I know this is probably illegal but another factor is personal circumstances. Someone who has a child off sick for example is better working from home than not at all.

            And then there is the commute times. I have worked with people in Dublin who travelled from Limerick, Longford and even Leitrim every single day. I’ve known of people who travelled from Newry, Portadown and Belfast.

            For them, it is quite obvious that they would be more productive working from home, at least part of the time.

          2. paul

            Personal circumstances can be a good baseline gauge for content employees too which in turn can lead to a better employee. My neighbour now, because he can work from home, gets to have breakfast with his wife and kids, make their lunches, see them out the door and then head up to the attic to work instead of heading out at the crack of dawn when everyone is just getting up for a two and a half hour round trip commute each day. Even if the potential for such a radical and positive change is miniscule, it has to be worth trying and an employer is denies such a change for no good reason is not a good employer.

          3. Johnny-ny.

            So the legislation has absolutely zero effect on you then, thanks once again for sharing your opinions,but,does it affect your truth seeking mission ?
            Will you still be able follow one term tea party senator Johnson’s misinformation and propaganda campaign,the separatists in western Canada ?
            You link US and Canadian stories but have no understanding,on Saturday the US imposed new rules on truckers entering,it’s very little do with Trudeau.
            Yesterday a lower court ruling was overturned same day,but you only comment on partial stores that confirm your bias,what’s happening with your NY state court case ?

          4. SOQ

            @ Paul- I think there is going to be quite a lot of movement in the job market now as people revaluate their quality of life- and by life I mean family life not just their own, especially those with young families.

            More home working will mean more balancing out of property prices of course, as there are plenty of people working in Dublin who would rather not be.

          5. Johnny-ny.

            Just making something up,like omg thousands vaxed US truck drivers steaming towards the Canadian border to eh,ehm,suppprt the eh ehm anti vax Canadian truckers ?
            How disconnected from reality do you have be to even contemplate something so idiotic and dumb.
            Source ?
            Ah F off go look it up yourself.
            Grand so I keep an eye out for those thousands vaxed us truckers
            ….. no vax no cross.
            -totally wrong as usual on NY state court case.

          6. paul

            @SOQ I’ll be glad to see it. My job will always be patient-facing but hearing the stories of other people benefit from working from home are worth it. My neighbour, family, friends and complete strangers taking something valuable back from their employers, something hopefully gladly given by those employers. So many people driving themselves into the ground for their bosses benefit, a (hopefully) full wallet and nothing else.

            Does make me think of a short poem; “My boss makes a dollar, while I make a dime, that’s why I poop on company time” :)

          7. Niallo

            Again, well said, its like the scene in “office space” when john c mcginley was asking the middle manager.
            so what is it exactly, would you say, that you “do” here ?
            I for one have never been busier, more effective, and most importantly happy.

          8. paul

            @ Niallo I love that film. That scene has been divisive around people I know, some coming down in his side and others on the Bobs side. People I know in engineering (and from having briefly worked in site admin), there definitely needs to be translation between site and staff. That poor blighter just doesn’t explain himself.

            It did give him a WFH option in the end though :)

      2. Diddy

        Your commute would be a lot more comfortable if the office bro’s are off the road and out of busses and trains

        1. paul

          I will admit, the quieter trains were a blessing. Quite busy now. Was on the first train on Tuesday morning and the squeeze coupled with a guy repeatedly clearing his throat very loudly and spitting in his empty coffee cup made me think quite fondly of this time last year.

    1. scottser

      skeptik’s post yesterday summed it up pretty well, i think:
      ‘you have the right to ask me bollix’

  2. PointofOrder

    It’s a very frustrating position to be in, having worked without any problems from home for 2 years-all deadlines met and all work completed on time, to be ‘called back’ to the office.

    When 99.9% of my work is done on a computer, it doesn’t make any sense to be in the office just for the sake of it. Of course the odd trip will be needed & some people want to return, but for the love of God, just leave the rest of us alone.

    1. Broadbag

      Exactly this, if it worked for the guts of 2 years then why force an employee back into the drudgery of commuting purely for appearances or to have more ‘control’ over them, a happy worker is a productive worker.

      1. SOQ

        Just a point on the control aspect. There is a system which will take a screen grab of your screen every 5 seconds or so and then does an analysis to calculate the hours and minutes worked. It is used mainly for lower skill customer service type rolls- but still.

        So while you may have the benefit of no daily commutes, you are actually being monitored much more than you would ever be in an office.

        1. Broadbag

          That’s grim, but doesn’t reflect well on the company if found to be using it covertly, if they’re open about using it they may find it hard to attract staff.

          Trust is required but most should have at least a year’s data by now to compare productivity and if the results are positive they have no need for such Big Brother type measures.

          @Chris – my own work is highly unlikely to be outsourced due to the nature of it and the personal relationships at the heart of it, but it’s a fair point to a degree…however, you could argue working from home or in the office makes zero difference in terms of outsource-ability, unless the hypothetical employee is doing something unique and amazing in the office compared to at home, which seems most unlikely.

          1. SOQ

            Well companies like PayPal routinely record employee’s screens, so it is a practice- even in offices. I expect other banks do likewise.

            As for covertly, all machines need remote access software for tech support which is usually easy to flip into view only mode. Asking for your permission to take control of your laptop is a courtesy, not a technical necessity.

            There are rules around things likes CCTV in offices but I don’t think there is any regarding what is actually on the laptop. All data is owned by your employer after all and for security reasons, network administrators must have full access permissions on the local machine.

            But if it is done covertly then the last thing they would want is for employees to know, so they would most likely nit pick your work or heap on more, rather than produce the evidence they have.

            There other ways of doing it of course, like automatically backing up your browser history which will have dates and times etc.

          2. paul

            similar-ish in tone to Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’. Employer feels he owns the code his employees produce to such a degree that he doesn’t like his employees going home with his property in their heads in the form of memories etc. He takes measures.

            Another thread in the same novel is paying employees rubbish money in a crap economy with no options so the only people who stay MUST be loyal to endure such hardship so that loyalty must be tested at regular intervals.

            …might have to open that book up again.

    2. Chris

      Right, and how easy would it be for those companies to outsource your work to India? Its done on a computer after all.

      1. Mr.T

        That’s all been tried before, and the reality is either you compromise massively on quality, or you end up paying near equivalent prices for the “good” outsourcing.

        The lessons were largely learned from outsourcing 1.0

    3. goldenbrown

      PointofOrder out of curiosity…

      you had any serious discussions with your employer or the revenue yet regarding the taxation situation? or are you a contractor?

  3. :-Joe

    Yep, looks like having the right to work from home still means your a self-employed entrepeneur, or a tradesperson, carer working in other people’s homes etc..

    Varadker, und der F-f/g is in charge of it, so expect nothing good to come out of it intentionally… anytime soon.

    Just heard him waffling away again on the wireless that because of multinationals wanting workers to be in the city to make the city more livable, commuting will have to continue as usual..
    – Haha – what an absolute spoofer… A neck like a jockey’s bollox…

    Wait a minute.. Who elected this charlatan.. National vote at the ballot box or just his constituency?… Pff..idk?…

    Anyway, just go for jobs advertised as or allowing remote working, if it’s a dud then quit, rinse / repeat etc.
    Otherwise set up a business and learn how to spot-trade Bitcoin..

    :-J

  4. Micko

    A blended approach will be best. In the office for a few days and the rest at home.

    People saying they never want to go back to the office will probably have to face the fact that they won’t be getting promoted either and that they’ll miss out on opportunities. Which I’m sure a lot of folks will be grand with.

    Also, their jobs might get outsourced at some point to a cheaper country.

    There’s also the camaraderie of working as a face to face in person team. That can’t really be replaced. Plus the social element of chats in the kitchen, dodging the boss on a Friday – all that good stuff.

    But on the flip side, we couldn’t really continue with some people spending nearly 20 hours a week commuting and seeing their kids for an hour every night.

    That’s soul destroying stuff.

    A compromise will work best for most office workers. Giving them the freedom to choose.

    Incidentally, a pals office is trialing the whole 4 day week thing – so that could be coming down the road soon too.

    1. Johnny-ny.

      Hi Micko – what offices in 2022 have “kitchens” for chats ?
      When was the last time you worked in a office,say like a reasonable modern one.
      Did it really have a kitchen,was that for dinner at lunchtime……im I’m out then ever day,not a kitchen to be found for a good natter…

      1. Micko

        Yes Johnny. The location of the chat with a colleague is of course the most pertinent point in what I wrote.

        “Oooh and I wouldn’t gotten away with my diabolical lies about chats in kitchens if it wasn’t for you Doofy”

        Special Officer Doofy always gets his man. ;p

        https://youtu.be/SQ-RaBBspZg

        .

  5. NM

    Company commited to remote working during the pandemic.Only required to return to the office 1 day a week.Moved out of Dublin for cheaper rent.If one telecoms company can do that.They all can.

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