WFH 3 days a week

Will have a load of consequences. Will it:

1. see the end of the conventional rail season ticket - surely there will be huge pressure on the railways to come up with something different (if they havent already - i cant be arsed to check but i dont think they have)

2. see the end of Pret and similar - presumably if the cities are less populated

3. see a decline in absence from work for sickness - both from fewer incidents of close personal contact to the fact that everyone knows that loads of sick days are just - can't be arsed to come in days

4. see the end of the business lunch, work drinks and the shutting down of hundreds of bars / restaurants in CBDs

5. see the end of CBD based gyms. Your £60 a month or whatver you pay is going to look even worse value when there are only 2 days a week when you could go if you wanted to. 

6. see a change in what you can claim for as a work expense. At the moment we are funding the lighting, power, internet, coffee / tea, toilet roll consumed in work time when wfh. Will there be a change in what could be considered tax deductable if related to work?

7. see people wanting to be in the office on fridays as everyone knows fridays are a skive day so being present on a short day is easier - but also - in big places, will anyone know if you actually dont turn up for weeks on end as long as you are billing like a duck?

8. make the office christmas party even more awkward to the extent that it isnt banished forever - as you will hardly know anyone 

9. banish the suit / tie once and for all. 

Or will we all just drift back into normal?

Whaddya think? Me, i have no idea. but probably / possibly to most of the above. 

The young free and single will want to go out to work; comfortable middle aged wont. Execpt maybe for a business lunch, perhaps the boozy business lunch will return when you can just slink back home afterwards.

Re the railways, yes and also hopefully bring about the end of the peak fare racket where they can rinse you for having to get to work on time. It isn’t just about the number of days in, people won’t come in for 9 anymore if they don’t have to.

You love to see it. Fvck the train companies, they are an utter disgrace and successive governments have done nothing about it.

 

End of suit and tie please. What a ridiculous thing to be doing in 2021.

Comments below in bold. HTH

 

1. see the end of the conventional rail season ticket - surely there will be huge pressure on the railways to come up with something different (if they havent already - i cant be arsed to check but i dont think they have)  YES

2. see the end of Pret and similar - presumably if the cities are less populated  DOWNSIZING BUT NOT ELIMINATION

3. see a decline in absence from work for sickness - both from fewer incidents of close personal contact to the fact that everyone knows that loads of sick days are just - can't be arsed to come in days YES

4. see the end of the business lunch, work drinks and the shutting down of hundreds of bars / restaurants in CBDs POSSIBLY BUT PEOPLE MIGHT SPEND MORE IE TREAT THEMSELVES WHEN THEY DO GO

5. see the end of CBD based gyms. Your £60 a month or whatver you pay is going to look even worse value when there are only 2 days a week when you could go if you wanted to.  YES

6. see a change in what you can claim for as a work expense. At the moment we are funding the lighting, power, internet, coffee / tea, toilet roll consumed in work time when wfh. Will there be a change in what could be considered tax deductable if related to work? YES

7. see people wanting to be in the office on fridays as everyone knows fridays are a skive day so being present on a short day is easier - but also - in big places, will anyone know if you actually dont turn up for weeks on end as long as you are billing like a duck? YES

8. make the office christmas party even more awkward to the extent that it isnt banished forever - as you will hardly know anyone  NO, PEOPLE WILL CRAVE IN PERSON EVENTS

9. banish the suit / tie once and for all. YEAH

the train thing - presumably fair will rise because the season ticket con basically funds the railways, so they will need to make the money somehow - unless they can't otherwise put the prices up. This one will be political because presumably if they have to offer a new type of ticket that hammers their revenues they are going to want something in return. 

Bring back British Rail. In its full glory including InterCity and Red Star Parcels. 

There was an interesting alt on PM about this today. The HR director from above made the point that if it’s done in an unstructured way you could end up with women WFH more (as they have more caring burdens), men being in the office more than them and then finding two years down the road that your pay gap has increased and female promotion has tailed off. 

My shop is going to make juniors do four days a week in the office so they’ll be going out after work.  I’ll also be up for beers with whoever is around on any day I’m in and my firm is already planning drinks events.

A lot will come back. Don’t forget lawyers are generally insecure overachievers so if a client wants a meeting in the office on a wfh day they’ll come in. If certain others are in they will want to be in to suck up. Then the next person will think ‘x is in so I’d better go in’. I think in reality we’ll see a bigger degree of returning to office than people think. I think it’d be wise to defer longer term premises decisions a bit or there won’t be enough office space. Not saying it’ll be same old but not convinced people suddenly ‘discover’ wfh in a year. I mean, where have they been for the last 10?

The HR director from above made the point that if it’s done in an unstructured way you could end up with women WFH more (as they have more caring burdens), men being in the office more than them and then finding two years down the road that your pay gap has increased and female promotion has tailed off. 

This is already happening.

2 fairly senior men in my dept (managing associates, approx 9-10 yrs PQE) - let us call them Sam and Dave - have said that they will keep working full time, while their wives, who are also in commercial law and similar PQE, will go part time to 3 days and look after the kids. Sam and Dave are both on the partnership track.

I think full time vs part time is a different issue. But if Wfh vs not wfh becomes a differentiator a lot more people will be fvcked 

Deffo go in every Friday. Train cos will just run fewer and slower trains I think. Be careful what you wish for.

But I personally can't stand is the staggering hypocrisy of a few (male) partners I work with who bang on about the importance of being in the office all the time, how remote work is an aberration, How juniors need to learn from seniors by being physically in the office with them.

When in fact pre-pandemic these partners were in the office perhaps one or two days a week, and they spent most of their days either WFH or in meetings/pubs/bars with clients and counterparties. Needless to say juniors never got invited along.

Parsnip - can’t see how hiking the fares will help, the trains are already empty. The only solution is to nationalise and cut capacity to reduce the overheads. 

 

Re train fares TOCs now only run a service. They don't pay a leasing charge but are able to keep all profits. Therefore it is the govt directly that is losing money. I expect part time season tickets are mega difficult to implement because TFL probably can assume most people can't be arsed to game the system (e.g. sharing payment cards used for price capping), whereas people will for more expensive journeys. Given irregular patterns you need some sort of virtual punching for each journey. People will also arbitrage them for one off trips or leisure travel. 

I expect the best you can hope for is capped peak day returns so instead of £75 return that will be £60. 

City centre takeaways and restaurants will all close. Gyms might start opening in suburban areas and charge more for "all access" passes to cover lost trade. 

I can't imagine returning to the office even 2 days a week. It would be awful. Once a fortnight max for me. 

Dunno why the train cos don’t sell carnets. They do on the continent. Most people CBA gaming the system. 

I’m currently trying to persuade my entire team to move to Newcastle and we can all just work from there and set up a satellite office from a wing of one of our huge mansions (that we’ve bought for £50k)

Because of the ludicrous layers of fares. Walk-up peak fares are big money spinners for train companies. I'm sure they'd happily sell you a 10 for 9 book of those. The reason they do it on the continent is because they accept that public transport is a social good so are prepared to forego some cash to make it work. 

TBH anywhere on the East Coast Main Line would be a good location for a satellite office. Spend the HS2 money on making that Edi to London in 3 hours and fast cross country trains from e.g. York to Liverpool and Sheffield to Cardiff. Nobody would want to live in London as it is objectively a shithole that people delude themselves as lovely to excuse working all hours to live in a flat the size of JB's pantry in Newcastle. 

My train co does carnets but they are a bit gash. Get 10 for the price of 9. I still have 8 in the car which I'm hoping are still valid.

Anyone who only does fee earning is ultimately disposable, tbh. Lawyers aren't special. 

Firms who have their creatives in the office will outperform those who don't. 

Everyone else can be on short-term contracts. 

rather theoretical OP, since for the vast madge of P’s, 3 day p/w wfh is just not going to happen.

Last time I checked being creative as a solicitor tended to get you in trouble with the SRA.

The comment about "short term contracts" is an interesting one - because in my view, law firms can only make money if they have the people on hand to undertake the work. Its high risk for them to think they can buy that expertise in for large or complicated projects on a short term basis. Clients want to know who will be doing their work when bids for work are made - and the danger in adopting this model is that for larger projects a firm will not be able to sure that it will be able to deliver if its lawyers are on short term deals. 

I always look with suspicion when jobs are advertised as a FTC. Not maternity type cover jobs, but other jobs. It makes me thing that they organisation is crap, does not care about people and is making a lame attempt at trying to circumvent some employment laws. Its not a good look. 

In the legal sector we ought to now be making a concerted effort to go completely paperless. I haven’t received a letter in the last year, and only a few have been sent into my office and then scanned and emailed to me. Most of those were letters from the court which arrived about 2 months after they were sent. There’s no reason at all now why courts cannot email court orders. Maybe the only exception needs be trial bundles, but even they could become paperless if the judge and advocates were allowed to use computers. They could even have a projector in the court room and go through documents together.

Err trial bundles are paperless, at least in the High Court. Probably in the CC too.

basically deedy property stuff is the last home of paper right?

No court has ever told me to go paperless, except in remote hearings in 20/21. I must have missed the letter that said that because it was posted to an address that nobody attends.

It's the litigators in my firm fighting going paper light or paperless.  There's a pile of post on my desk but most of it will go straight in the shredding sack having been scanned already.  Even the Land Registry is now taking electronic signatures which has persuaded some of my older colleagues that they don't need mountains of paper any more.