Something that Bloke on M4 likes to talk about:

I would expect there to be, in the post-Covid-19 economy, much more home working, perhaps part time and part in the office, than we had at the beginning of this year. Not because our technology has suddenly leapt forward, but because we have now had a taste of how the new way might work and, who knows, we might even like it.

Put into slightly more formal terms, it’s the coordination problem. As to who might benefit from more home working, one idea:

As to who will really benefit from this, my bet would be on the chimney pot pub. We humans are, after all, primarily social beings and once we are not getting our gossip at the water cooler, something will have to take its place. Why not that ancient grand hub of a British community, the pub on the corner?

18 thoughts on “Elsewhere”

  1. For me, I go to the local cafe to work a few days a week. Some nice Spanish girls in there, and you have the odd chat with people. Sometimes, the same faces.

    Some co-work spaces have after work events, with drinking and games, and I wonder if that’s why they’re popular. You still get the same sort of human chat all day, and get pissed with people you know, but without the long commute…

  2. Mr Ecks,

    “Are there enough of them still in business?”

    One type of pub that’s still doing well is a well located pub in a business area. Like the Three Guineas, the pub next to Reading Station is busy from around 5-7 every day, and heaving most Friday nights. People finish work, go to the pub, have a few pints and then get on the train.

    It’s the “locals” pubs that got really hit because if there’s 4 of you and 2 keep having to go outside for a smoke, it totally sucks. You might as well just take it in turns to meet at each other’s houses. You have that option.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Some co-work spaces have after work events, with drinking and games, and I wonder if that’s why they’re popular. You still get the same sort of human chat all day, and get pissed with people you know, but without the long commute

    That’s what WE’s business model boiled down to when you cut through the crap.

  4. I like working from home but the solitude can get a bit much sometimes. Friday is, or was, a regular work from pub day. Half a dozen locals with laptops and a pint. We’d all have a bitch about our weeks in between emails and phone calls, swap a bit of expertise occasionally and generally have a reasonably productive but sociable afternoon. I’ve often thought that struggling village pubs providing basic service like decent Wi-fi, power outlets and some spreading out space for a bit of paperwork might do rather well on the teas coffees and sandwiches on an otherwise quiet weekday lunchtime. Of course the Fridays do have a habit of morphing into a monstrous early doors session but that ain’t a bad finish to the week.

  5. Off-topic but I see Spud has been out and about visiting his local Tesco despite having had the virus and despite there being reports of recontagion.

    Such reckless abandon!

  6. And yet HMG presses on with HS2. Is it really just stupidity or are there bribes involved?

    This is Britain, dammit! We don’t do brown envelopes stuffed with €500 notes. But see us right and, after you’ve finished at the ministry, there’ll be a nice non-exec directorship with a well-padded expense account – nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Ask Andrew Adonis, if you don’t believe me.

  7. Compelled working from home will shine a light on the practice for businesses. Some will see it is a better way. Many won’t.

    My last 3 years of employment was at home. The boss realized that the vast sums she was paying to house us in an office building could be replaced with internet service and a phone at home. Worked out will for us. But we were just one case out of many. You can’t generalize from our experience.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    Off-topic but I see Spud has been out and about visiting his local Tesco despite having had the virus and despite there being reports of recontagion.

    Such reckless abandon!

    He’s over 60 and although he’s lost a bit of weight he doesn’t look very healthy. He really should be social distancing getting a neighbour or friend to do his shopping.

    On second thoughts, given the way he treats people he’s probably been socially ostracised.

  9. I can work from home, but it largely sucks. Some of that is client dependent. I should be back in New Jersey now, where the hotel bar serves nice beer at least. It is honestly, with this client, the low stress option to commute to the US. Weekly. Deal with them from here is a pain in parts I didn’t know I had.

    My normal commute is 15 minutes by bike.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    My normal commute is 15 minutes by bike.

    I read something quite a few years ago that that was about the ideal commute time. The theory was that it gave you enough time to switch from home to work mode and then back again in the evening.

    It could be why some people have difficulty working from home, they can’t easily do the switch.

  11. Yes I’m missing my commute time, usually me and a good book, explaining to the family that now you have clocked off you are going to put your feet up and read for 45mins doesn’t really work

  12. The bestest thing about working from home was that I’d fall out of bed, start a pot of coffee, and login. Up at 6:30, on the clock at 6:35. I’d get my 40 hours in by Friday morning, at the latest.

  13. Home working difficult as too many distractions. Remote working would be better as still leave home & go to office; underused local Libraries, Churches, Community Centres etc provide rent by hour/day cubicles/offices


    +1 the EU, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May, Boris unwanted train set should now be binned. Covid debts provide excellent face saving reversal opportunity to bin “don’t contradict/embarass previous PM/MPs” farce. Osborne had perfect opportunity to do this in 2010, but chickened out, will Sunak be stronger?

    Not looking good

    …Mnuchin’s rescue for business has proved such a triumph that the US Treasury has run out of money and gone back to Congress for more.
    When Trump claimed that $70 billion (£57 billion) of loans to small businesses had already been made, there were loud guffaws. What we now know is that the scheme for small enterprises operated through the Small Business Administration, with the loans made by hundreds of commercial lenders across the country, has been a roaring success.
    The $350 billion set aside was exhausted in less than two weeks and a further 700,000 SMEs are waiting on Congress to approve new funds.
    The key to getting the money out was Mnuchin’s insistence that applications be processed on one side of A4 and all the normal credit checks set aside with the government taking on the risk of cheats and bankrupts.
    Similarly, deals have been negotiated designed to keep connectivity alive with airlines granted a generous bailout.
    The contrast with the UK, where the banks are patting themselves on the back for getting just £1 billion of small business loans out of the door while the sector and its self-employed owners sink into the mire, could not be more stark.
    Trump may be crazy but the efforts of his business and financial team put those of Sunak and our own banking pygmies in the shade

  14. they generally used left-hand drive cars to do so wasn’t a good idea either

    No, Sweden planned the change from left to right and only sold LHD cars domestically for many years before changeover

    +1 for using Nordic not Scandinavian

  15. In the last decade I think I’ve only had six months of working from a fixed office. Everything else has been site work, where I’m based at home. A week in Worksop, then a week in York, then a week in Catterick, then five different sites in Hull, etc.

    The upside is that I can usually set my own times. “Hello, I’m due on your site tomorrow, I’ll aim for about 10am after you’ve done breakfast and before you start lunch.” (when I was doing catering offices). “I’ll aim for 9-9:30 after the morning rush” (when I was doing GP practices).

    The downside is not knowing who else is on the team – some jobs I don’t even know how many employees the company has – and eating on the hoof at service stations and some days five/six hours of driving. And those few sites where there was a team and the team leader declared that a 7:30am start was ideal “to get everything done so we can get out before 1pm”.

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