It’s not working

Monday 27th July 2020

This from the FT : ‘managers at Credit Suisse and Citigroup are struggling to persuade some senior traders to come back over the summer because they’ve become too comfortable working from their homes in Surrey or the South of France.’

Well of course they have. What would you prefer – crushing onto the tube to Canary Wharf or having a gentle stroll to the patisserie with the laptop next to a nice cafe au lait? No contest. Their bosses, of course, are none too happy since these lucky people are not within easy reach, and might be also enjoying themselves.

Not so the minions, who may well be still ‘in touch’ but Zooming from a crowded flatshare in a none too salubrious part of the capital, property prices being what they are, can’t be much fun. But more than the discomfort , they’re lacking the essential experience of the ‘office’. Going out to work is about joshing, joking, showing off, being told off, fancying another worker – or not , telling jokes, playing pranks, learning the ropes, copying what the best of the slightly more experienced do, sucking up to the boss . ( Actually my wife has just read this and thinks that behaviour may just have been me.) But it’s essentially about growing up.

Let’s not be too hasty to ditch the commute for the WFH. And let’s not forget that cities themselves have always given a form of freedom to those whose place of birth was small-town and narrow minded. Laptop life is no substitute for the coming-of-age of working and rubbing along with strangers . That’s how you and the economy grow.


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