Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Sir Bob Jones: Government departments excesses the working from home fiction

A week back I had lunch with two of the capital’s best known citizens.

At one stage the subject turned to the working from home nonsense and we enjoyed ourselves citing examples we personally knew of various “working from home” shysters busy building a new deck, on the golf course and so on.

This was old hat being a frequent discussion point in the capital, and for all I know, everywhere else, with people citing examples they knew of friends or acquaintances allegedly working from home only working building a garage or whatever.

The government is simultaneously trying to eliminate the huge amount of public service fat in the form of excessive staff and unnecessary activities, all a legacy of the last government which will go down in the history books as the most incompetent ever. Meanwhile they’re simultaneously coping with Departments such as Immigration, which have built up a huge backlog of candidates awaiting processing. The connection with the “working from home” fantasy is clear.

But don’t take my word on the working from home lark, rather a number of American universities have in recent months produced their research findings on this subject. They ranged from 18%-22% in recording drops in output.

So too the private sector, a well-known case being Elon Musk who a year or so back in his typical style, informed his 100,000 plus employees that from the following week they had the choice of working in the office or working for themselves, he cared not where as they’d no longer be working for his company. They all duly returned.

Our employment laws desperately need an overhaul as they’ve gone far too far in supposedly protecting workers, such as forcing employers to fork out huge compensatory sums because their boss upset them over some trivia.

About a dozen years back, Mark Hourigan, the owner of the Wellington Bayleys Commercial franchise instituted a rule when he employed female secretaries, that he wouldn’t pay sick leave on Mondays or Fridays. That’s since been made illegal.

But any employer will tell you that many of his female staff are only sick on those days, to achieve a longer weekend. It’s certainly the case in my company’s offices, here and abroad. I refer of course to the more menial receptionist and the like jobs. Women in senior positions are always responsible, their jobs are more interesting thus they enjoy them and have no incentive to feign sickness on Mondays and Fridays.

In Wellington for example, we have three women doing senior employee tasks who like their male equivalents can sometimes be found in the office in the weekends, catching up on their backlog.

One government Department that needs to go is Woman’s Affairs, created as a sop to Roger Douglas’s radical market economy reform backlash from his traditional, now bewildered lefty colleagues in the late 1980s.

I treasure the memory of television showing a reporter around their new offices by the new Departments boss. It revealed numerous middle-aged, large ladies sitting before empty desks. At the end the reporter asked what the Department was going to do and received the priceless answer they didn’t know but had written to various organisations asking for suggestions. Talking about this to Sean Plunket last week he revealed he was that then young reporter.

A year back the office building housing them came on the market. We were not interested for a couple of reasons, one being its location.

But reading the sales brochure I noticed their presence in an astonishing amount of space, so a couple of our chaps asked the selling agents to show them through the building.

Unsurprisingly, the Department’s floors were empty, understandable as with nothing to do they might as well stay home, only don’t call it working.

Before the last election David Seymour listed them and another pointless Department, a large-scale utterly useless occupant in one of our Auckland buildings we’d inherited when we bought it, as two Departments he wanted abolished.

It hasn’t happened for as a coalition partner he must have the largest partner’s agreement and I suspect the Nats might not be in it for fear of being branded anti-women.

Sir Bob Jones is a renowned author, columnist , property investor, and former politician, who blogs at No Punches Pulled HERE - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

All very well Bob but I'm sure, from my observations over 50 years of working, that there are many men who prefer Mondays and Fridays to be "sick". Not to mention the ones who get away with swanning off and avoiding work where possible and expecting a female colleague to pick up the pieces.
In my case landing a debt collecting role where no work had been done by the previous male debt collector for six months.
So lay off on slagging the women please. It's sterotyping and even you might agree that stereotypes are a lazy way to be right. We are all flesh and blood and all prone to human failures so why pick on women. Mysogynist?

Anonymous said...
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Robert Arthur said...

Many citizens utilised the sickness or disability benefit (or whatever called) to train for working from homes. Remarkable accomplishments in the field of active hobbies and home construction have been acheived by persons off work with bad backs, keyboard syndrome, and many other elusive ailments. Now they do not ven need an excuse to be at home.

On the other hand Bob has a huge vested interest in office work. From a part home worker I have observed I am sure hours per day directly applied to the firm are considerably increased. Wth considerable savings in other costs by both parties. The fostering of a company team approach probably more difficult.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago I worked in a retail store with a young man who was conveniently always sick on the day before or after his rostered 2 days off. I can assure you Bob that type of behaviour has nothing to do with being female.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir Robert. Subject Working From Home.

Sir, if you think that we, here in New Zealand, have a problem with the topic of your article, then good Sir, you need to 'cast your eyes 12,000 miles and/or kilometer's toward the United Kingdom', and look at what the Civil Service of the UK have been doing, since - 'dear Boris Johnson, decided to place the Country into lockdown? - thus every Civil Servant, decided they could work from home and still do. And what is most interesting, is that the current PM does not care/ nor shows any interest in correcting said problem.