Home workers need the 'fizz and excitement' of an office, says Jeremy Hunt 4 months ago

Home workers need the 'fizz and excitement' of an office, says Jeremy Hunt

"You need a bit of office banter"

Jeremy Hunt is the latest Tory MP to try to encourage people to spend vast sums of money commuting to their office to sit around people they don't necessarily like to be (probably) less productive, not to mention put themselves and other people at greater risk of spreading the coronavirus, in the name of saving the economy.

The former health minister appeared on Kay Burley's Sky News programme on Wednesday morning, speaking about the challenge the government faces in getting people who've spent the past six months working from home, back to the office.

"Do you think the government did too good a job, when it comes to lockdown, in that people thought: 'If I stay at home I'll live, if I go out, I'll die.' And now they don't want to send their kids back to school?" Kay Burley asked, without a hint of irony.

"When the instructions were clear about staying at home - and they were very clear, people complied," responded Hunt.

"But we're also very inventive and creative and I think people found it was much easier to work from home than they perhaps thought it would be.

"That's why it's proving a bit more of a struggle to get people to go back to work because people obviously find it's a lot more productive if they're not having to commute."

Yeah, to be fair Jeremy, people have found that. So how should be respond to this discovery? Should we reconsider how dependent our economy is on commuters spending money at coffee shops for a sliver of joy before their working day begins, having got up at 6am because they can't afford to live within a reasonable distance of their office? No?

"The problem is all those jobs in city centres that depend on people going back to work," Hunt said.

Citing his own business experience, he added: "There's a creativity you get, a buzz, in an office, which you don't get when you're doing meetings over zoom.

"There's only so long you can work remotely before you lose the fizz and excitement that you get in a good workplace.

"I think people will want to go back to work eventually and I think it happens soon.

"In any creative industry, you need that buzz of being near people, you need a bit of office banter, a bit of fun. A bit of change from the home environment," he said.

Hunt has worded this very carefully, "go back to work" implies that working from home encourages workers to slack off, when quite the opposite is happening.

But the message is clear. Go to the office. Fuck the NHS. Save Pret a Manger.