There was a piece in the news today that a number of investment bank bosses would like to see an end to home working, and return to ‘traditional’ office life, once the pandemic restrictions are lifted. That may not affect very many readers of this ‘thought’, or their friends, or their families – and it may or may not be the right thing for that kind of business, how would we know? But it does raise a wider question about home working. Many people have had to do it over the past year. Some have welcomed the opportunity not to spend a large part of the day travelling to work (whether by car or public transport), with the attendant costs, and have enjoyed having more time with family or for themselves. Others have found it a fraught experience: trying to share the kitchen table, the computer/ tablet/ smart phone/ monthly allocation of broadband data with home-schooled children or partner; juggling work time with childcare time; and missing social interaction with colleagues (particularly in cases where they live alone). It worked for some but not for others. Businesses may have their own figures on how productive or otherwise home-working has been. Building back after the pandemic may well, and probably should, involve investigating the issue more fully: is it something to encourage, or not; if it is to be encouraged, what support do home-workers need; if it becomes a major way of working in the future, what are the implications for town and city centres, and what should be the response to that? We might not have the answers, but maybe we need to ask the questions of those who take the appropriate decisions – for the sake of our younger generations
Lord, ways of working, and the culture of work, have changed a lot over the years. Over the past year many have had to work from home. For some this has been an experience they have welcomed. For others it has been a nightmare. As we look forward to life after lockdown restrictions are eased, we pray for guidance for politicians and business leaders planning the way forward for the working environment – that in the future everyone may have the opportunity to find work fulfilling and rewarding, an opportunity to reach their potential, not a place for anxiety and stress
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