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back to article Work from home, find a new hobby, buy a fountain - UK.gov

Anywhere Working, the government-backed initiative to get us chipping in towards the cost of offices, now has a working website hub portal and advice on picking the perfect fountain. The scheme was launched in November by then-transport minister (and Lib Dem) Norman Baker, who's now been replaced by the Conservative Justine …

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Is this initiative...

...sponsored by Kleenex ?

I can see no other beneficiary.

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I assume you are joking?

The environment benefits, we don't use as much fuel, as much building space (not as many offices needed), as much road space, as many cars.

Companies save a vast amount of money - if I don't need to go into the office daily I don't need heated/cooled office space, office furniture, office phone, office electricity or enough wage to pay the horrendous cost of transport (bikes are not an option when housing near my work is prohibitively expensive, and there is no public transport that can get me the 30 miles in under 6 hours (both ways).

Kleenex might lose out as well from the lack of germs spreading colds around the office environment.

Frankly my day job could just as easily be done from home but this company - like my previous one - and the one before that - seem to think people only work if they are in the office - something that my typing here proves is not a failsafe!

In fact on the occasions I have worked from home I've been far more productive as well as cheaper.

And before anyone says about heating and lighting your own home instead of the office - for anyone with family at home having your office there doesn't make any difference to heating / lighting costs as the house will have some heating and lighting whether you are working there or not. Indeed even if all kids are at school and wife works then the lights are most likely off in your office during daylight hours (unlike the lights in your office - my desk currently has 6 strip lights illuminating it). The heating is most likely on in the morning and again in time for the kids arrival from school in the winter - so most of the day anyway. In the summer you will probably open the window rather than strike up the air conditioning. The ceiling of your home office is probably also lower than the one provided in the office block (not mentioning the 2' or more above what you can see an the 1' or more under your feet) and thus takes less heat/cooling anyway. Of course theres also the huge atrium and entrance hall most offices are faced with. And the traffic jams...

Lots of benefits but not for the UK governments fuel tax revenue, car companies, builders or light bulb makers.

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I'd love to work from home, but it's just a pity that those pesky items you buy in shops need some way of being manufactured and delivered. If only I had a fucking matter-transporter, so I could shove all of my stock, from my factory, into the shops, without having to drive a fucking large, fuel drinking van around all day.

Whats that transport minister? You want all comercial vehicles electric by 2018? Including the ones that need refrig / freezer units?

Fucking lol.

On second thoughts.. maybe getting all the commuters off the roads will reduce diesel prices, as we won't need as much. Ahh.. no that's right, once we happily pay the price, it'll never drop.. don't expect pump prices to drop from this.

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Anonymous Coward

Oopsy

'Ahh.. no that's right, once we *un*happily pay the price, it'll never drop.. don't expect pump prices to drop from this.'

There, fixed it for ya.

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@Dave 1 5

Sheesh - I was just talking about the wanking problem. Go easy :/

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Anonymous Coward

"items you'd buy in shops"?!

What the hell are you talking about - I get everything I need on-line, delivered by vans and couriers from central distribution depots.

Who the hell still goes to shops?!

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@AC

"Who the hell still goes to shops?!"

Women.

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Alan, I think you may have missed the point of the website mate, I've used it to help some of my colleagues work from home. Obviously it's not for everyone, as a teacher would have a hard time running a class room of students from home.

This has been very useful for my company, as we have a number of field based sales and marketing staff who feel that they have to travel into London to our head offices. This website has helped demonstrate how their time can be better used by working from home or making better use of flexible workspace locations.

All the best mate

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jai
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where do i sign up?

There's no need to convince the workforce that working from home is a good idea.

I'd happily switch jobs to one that would allow me to work from home.

If they are serious about this, they need to strongly target the employers to convince them to accept and encourage remote working. Currently, the view is that if you're working from home, then you're obviously skiving, "lying on the sofa and flicking yourself off to Trica" as the saying goes.

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Re: where do i sign up?

>Currently, the view is that if you're working from home, then you're obviously skiving

I don't think that is the main problem. The main probelm is that the status of managers is measured by the number of people they have under them. Take people out of the office and it looks as if they have nobody to manage. Once there's nobody to manage their job is in peril. I've had a number of jobs where at varying times my offical job title could have been "Senior Seat Warmer". Got to be senior, that way the manager feels more important.

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Anonymous Coward

ref:Tricia

so you do that too?

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Make it more expensive for the employer to have an office

Tax the employer per sqft of office space. That will encourage them to want to reduce it.

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Anonymous Coward

By cramming more staff into smaller spaces until we have worse working conditions and less rights than a battery hen.

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I wonder...

If they will make it humanly possible to claim the available tax reduction for working from home. Oh no, I forgot, that would be a useful thing to do so it's not going to happen.

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Alert

Tax reduction? We can't have that. If you are working from home then a portion of your home is now a commercial premises. That means you have to pay business rates on that portion. Oh yes, and full commercial rates for gas and 'leccy used in the performance of your commercial activities. And don't even think about putting out any waste in either your normal bin or the recycling bin. That's commercial waste, even if it's for recycling. You have to pay for a commercial rubbish collection for that.

And don't forget the cut the insurance company will require. Household insurance isn't going to cover business activities in the home,

Maybe we'll end up as a nation of self-employed contractors with no sick pay or holidays or employment rights. Oh, wait....

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> ... advice on picking the perfect fountain

I thought it was duck moats which they excelled at? Well, that and taking taxis everywhere. What we really need is practical advice on how to claim expenses from the public purse.

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While there may be transport savings...

... having large numbers of people work from home will cause a significant loss of business rates that will have to be recovered somehow. Probably by taxing people who work from home.

Anyone notice that one of the flexible "Anywhere Working" case studies is the London Symphony Orchestra? It's difficult enough getting an organ to synch up with an orchestra in situ, I can't help feeling the conductor's going to have a hard time when all the players are Skyped in.

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Anonymous Coward

I like home working

Let's be honest - if you aren't under a lot of pressure because of a big deadline, home working is often a skive. Last Friday I home worked; I completed the simple tasks I had to complete in the morning and went for a wee nap in the afternoon. Nobody was any the wiser.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like home working

I can do all that at work and don't have to pay for my own overheads. Plus, if I'm not feeling well I get more sympathy at work than I do at home.

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Devil

One place I worked claimed...

Claimed that they were interested in what work you delivered on time not where or how you did it. As long as your Friday tasks were all done then you acheived what was needed so who should care about the nap. What would you have done in the office - shuffled paper, read the web?

There are other people of course (including me) who when they run out of tasks go and see what else they can do. While I'm skiving on here my machine is busy programming my latest 'defect fix' for testing...

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All well and good except...

My employers are stuck in the dark ages. They pretend working from home is not possible unless it suits them.

Of course the other problem is train companies. With a yearly ticket, I pay whether I go in to work or not.

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Yearly Tickets

Then why don't you use it for other journeys ,or is it only valid at certain times of the day?I've had monthly passes but not annual passes.

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WfH

Let's see...I had to pay for high-speed broadband (and government rules limit how much I can reclaim). This is consumer grade and there's no SLA, I simply cannot afford a "proper" connection.

I have to heat the home all day (more CO2).

I have to run all the PCs at home (I cannot reclaim those costs).

I still have my motor vehicle (so that fixed cost is still there).

IMHO working from home is a net environmental and fiscal cost.

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There's always Starbucks...

Or whatever local free-Internet-and-expensive-coffee shop is nearby. Internet, heating, and electricity for the price of a cup of tea. Not good tea, mind you.

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Well, you could try asking your employer to contribute to the extra costs. Make sure you ask them about employers liability insurance while you're at it though.

And even if you don't get any cash from them, what is the cost of extra heating, comms etc. compared to the commuting costs you save and reduced costs of making a sandwich/coffee in your kitchen rather than buying them from some commercial outlet etc. Also less wear and tear on work clothes as home workers can sit in their underwear if they want. (Although I had a friend who did several days a week at home who found he had to put on a shirt and tie or his brain didn't reckon he was 'at work' - odd)

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@Pen-y-gors

I've already talked to my employer - they are blocked from doing anything more due to taxable benefits.

I have a very efficient mode of transport, it is half the price of public and (probably) less polluting. I never worried about jams. The monthly cost increase of the comms is about twice my monthly transport costs.

As for food, I always took a packed lunch.

I was more trying to point out that this site does not account for lots of factors and the assumption of "You're at home, you're green/saving" is facile, disingenuous and misleading at best.

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Anonymous Coward

Not really true

My employer pays me £135 p.a. (Inland Revenue agreed) for a teleworker's heating and electric allowance.

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@AC (why is it always a coward?)

I can only go by what I am told. The allowance I do get doesn't even cover the broadband.

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Are you serious

a) I bet you have the broadband anyway - and besides, just how much of the time do you need to be online rather than actually working?

b) It is not more CO2 to heat your small home office than it is to heat the huge volume of air that surrounds you at work - including that 1' under your desk and the 2' above the false ceiling that is higher than your home ceiling anyway, not to mention the massive 1m gap you have to walk down, your share of the fire escape and stairs... Anyhow, most people have their house at least partially heated most of the day for wives, kids etc. And don't forget in the summer you will open your window not put the air conditioning on.

b) The cost of running a PC in terms of electricity is pretty damned small - even if you can walk (shoe leather) or ride a bike (tyres, maintenance) I suspect the cost of that is dwarfed by your petrol(or diesel don't be smart) or bus/train fare.

c) True the fixed cost of having a car will still be there, but with lower mileage you can get cheaper insurance, with lower mileage the depreciation is less, the maintenance less, cost of tyres, oil, and of course the massive FUEL saving is there

d) You clearly haven't really thought the environmental cost through at all have you? As for fiscal - well the government will have to find a way of replacing that fuel duty and VAT you save, but iy is still cheaper for you if they bump your income tax up to cover the loss - for them to collect 200 in fuel duty means you need to earn 300 or so, for them to collect 200 in income tax you need to earn 200. (Bit like the reason to get rid of council tax).

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Blocked due to taxable benefits?

Cobblers is the best description of that. Having the tools required for work is not a taxable benefit - even if those tools are available at home.

If your transport costs really are that small then you are either miscalculating or you are walking to work. The packed lunch still requires you to buy a lunch box or bag to take it in.

The costs to the environment of you being in an office are still massively higher than the cost of you being at home due to the cost of the heating/cooling provided for the much larger volume around you at work than you will have in a house. Especially given the very poor insulation provided in most offices.

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WTF?

WfH...

Most people already have broadband at home...

Also no reason to run lots of computers at home, i just use a single laptop and connect remotely to servers at work...

You still have your car, but you won't need to buy as much fuel for it... I assume you still use your car for purposes other than commuting.

The costs of heating (or in the summer, cooling) and the negligible costs of powering the laptop are pretty minimal compared to the financial and time costs of commuting to work...

It takes me an average of 2 hours/day to commute, assuming theres no delays... It costs about £10 in train fares, and in exchange for that i get to sit on an uncomfortable train, followed by an office which is noisy, uncomfortable, full of distractions and forced to compromise on environmental conditions...

Here i am at 6pm commenting on this story, had i been commuting i would be sat on a train in a tunnel listening to music and staring out the window.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WfH

"Most people already have broadband at home..."

True, but that doesn't mean it's suitable to facilitate home working, e.g. living in the sticks and getting a connection marginally better than dial-up most of the time (despite supposedly being 2Mb/s), not really fast enough to be able to run RDP ...

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There's money to be made designing a productivity measuring app/device.

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Anonymous Coward

Nunhead - woo!

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WTF?

According to that...

I could benefit by £86k a year!

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Boffin

Running water?

"there’s nothing quite as relaxing as the sound of running water".

There's nothing quite so likely to make yo need to go for a pee every few minutes instead of working.

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Anonymous Coward

Since I live in Inverness, and my office is in Reading, I apparently save more than I earn each day!

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Anonymous Coward

If only the trains worked

if only the cheapest train ticket wasn't for the week, we'd be laughing. I have to go into the office a couple of days a week and I get stung for a full week

30 quid a day

90 for a week

rediculous

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Go

This is how to get people out of cars

If the Government had any sincerity in their desire to get people out of cars, stop trying to pitch public transport, it's as desireable as spending time in a public toilet on a Saturday night, and instead encourage employers to to implement truly effective home working environments. You'll reduce stress, wasted resources in people sitting in traffic jams, make the roads faster flowing (due to less traffic) and given the cost of public transport or fuel, it will probably be cheaper for the employee.

Maybe the way to do this is to give grants to get companies to adhere to a target (say 20% of all work done from home) and possibly penalise those that don't achieve a minimum standard (5 or 7%). Obviously in the case of manufacturing, shiop employees etc. this would not apply, but for most administrative and desk based work, I can see little reason why this would prove a technical problem, more a cultural issue for old fashioned bosses, and amployyes who want to be seen by their management.

Personally speaking, I worked from home full time for 6 years, and now work form home a couple of days a month, and far prefer it to working in an office, no travel, no distractions from banal conversations with others and a better working environment. Why would anyone reasonably want to maintain the office work paradigm?

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IT Angle

times is money

WFH :)

If I could do this 3 days a week Id save £2176 a year and 468 hrs a year just in commuting costs and time.

The ££ isnt that much a big deal but 9hrs extra time a week would be most usfull. Not to mention the fact I wouldnt have to get up at 5:30am to get in for 8am - Not being f*cking knackered every monring would make me hell of a lot more productive.

The problem is its seen as a skive, and to many people do take the p*ss

IT - Because almost everything can be done remotely

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Coat

List of hobbies?

Why are they linking to Wikipedia for a list of hobbies when we have the UK's own King Of Hobbies, Simon Quinlank.

For this hobby you will need a flask of weak lemon drink...

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Working from Home Rocks

I work from home, workspace macro keeps me logged in and working, great fun, though my contract is coming to an end and I have nothing to do so all's fair. In seriousness I have worked from home in my last 3 jobs and found that I work longer hours (without overtime) and actually get more done, best to use remote desktop instead of some shitty citrix portal...

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FAIL

furthermore

you don't have to put up with the office clown who tells you "he is funny", anyone thats ever and I mean ever said that is not ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re Furthermore

The worse office type is the one who spends all day going around telling everybody how busy they are. Belgians seem to do this a lot, especially to disinterested contractors. In fact the more disinterested you are the more they tell you, or maybe it just seems that way.

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Unhappy

even furthermore

you also have the people that say they are too busy and don't have enough time, scollops to that, just open thine gob and sort it out with your manager rather than moaning and going for coffee breaks every two seconds.

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Don't think I'd be as happy

Stealing my own toilet rolls.

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Anonymous Coward

As a manager I set someone a task with a date to complete it. I don't care if they spend the whole week in a pub as long as the task is completed on the completion date.

I know loads of people who work 12 hours a day but haven't done a days work in their life.

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Anonymous Coward

Telecommuting?

Tele-spending-half-the-day-w*nking-and-the-other-half-drinking-beer.

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Works for me

2 days/wk at home. Trouble is there is some pressure to be seen in the office so that the building looks full, else they might sell it off and make me commute further on the days I do go in.

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Meh

How many people in the UK are 'self-employed' working from home and yet get paid by the very same company month in month out. How do these companies and individuals get away with it? It's become a popular tax avoidance scam that allows companies shirk other obligations too.

But if it helps UK Plc promote itself as a country of flexibility.... because lets face it, we're unable to promote ourselves as a country of investment, or a country with a highly skilled workforce, or highly literate, or a country of graduates, or multilingual, or neutral, or decimal!!...Might be OK for some industries and skilled roles, but it's a grim thin end of the wedge for the lower paid.

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