Caller 'annoyed' by Rishi Sunak 'pushing for old normal working'

3 August 2021, 16:15 | Updated: 3 August 2021, 16:24

A home-working caller tells Shelagh Fogarty he is "annoyed" that the government is "pushing everyone to return to the old normal" of full-time office working.
A home-working caller tells Shelagh Fogarty he is "annoyed" that the government is "pushing everyone to return to the old normal" of full-time office working. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Tim Dodd

A home-working caller has told Shelagh Fogarty he is "annoyed" at Rishi Sunak and the government more broadly for "pushing everyone to return to the old normal" of full-time office working.

The conversation comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said young people can get a boost to their careers by being back in the office.

Mr Sunak told LinkedIn News he had visited Scotland last week and spoke to young people in the financial services sector.

"I was telling them the mentors that I found when I first started my job I still talk to and they have been helpful to me all through my career even after we have gone in different ways," he said.

"I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom."

Rob in Portsmouth, who works from home as a project manager, told Shelagh: "I'm a fan of working from home. I've had three Zooms today and they work just as efficiently as if I was in the office.

"I've not noticed any significant downturn in efficiency. If anything, it's probably more efficient.

"What does annoy me is Rishi Sunak and the government pushing everyone to return to the old normal full-time in the office, which is what they seem to be doing.

"If the government does push people to go back full-time in the office, the next thing that's coming down the line is global warming, and they're saying we want people to fly less, to travel less etc.

"Next year, if they're serious about what they're saying about climate change, then they're going to be pushing it all back down again."

Read more: 'It's safe to go back to the office,' minister tells LBC after Rishi comments

Shelagh then said that managers have to assess what is favourable for their business when it comes to smart working.

"Yes, but the government pushing them in a particular direction is just going to distort that," Rob replied.

"During lockdown I was reasonably lucky - I'm the only person in the house, I'm lucky enough to have a study. The people I felt would've had a miserable time with it would be people who are trying to work and have kids at home etc.

"The government could put into place measures like community hubs where people can work rather than on the kitchen table at home, but not have to commute into central London for instance. And all that would go towards getting towards where they want to get with climate change."

Read more: UK 'unlikely' to ever return to Covid-19 lockdown, professor suggests