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Screen Shot 2021 08 20 at 4.26.46 PMDyson call: "Go
Back to Office!"

Competitiveness will
suffer from WFH wave


Workers must be "unequivocally" told by Government leaders to return to the office or the US/UK will fall behind its global competitors, top international innovator Sir James Dyson has warned. "Sharing of knowledge is imperilled by the isolation of a WFH culture borne out of Covid contingency plans," he wrote.

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Screen Shot 2021 08 20 at 4.27.12 PMWriting for The Telegraph, the businessman said the "chances of the next generation will suffer" unless the Government ends the culture of working from home.

Rival countries are "forging ahead" of the UK because staff were encouraged to come into work, the Dyson founder said, adding that ministers must send British workers "cocooned at home" back to the workplace.

"The Government is eagerly filling sporting arenas, music festivals and nightclubs; now it must take the less popular decision and unequivocally lead people back to offices and workplaces too," Sir James (pic right & above)wrote.

"Britain's competitors have kept forging ahead, maintaining higher workplace attendance despite the pandemic. In a fast-paced global world, teamwork, collaboration and rapid learning are vital – Britain's competitiveness and the chances of the next generation will suffer if the workforce remains at home."

His intervention comes after Boris Johnson last month called for a "gradual return to work" rather than a "rush back to the office en masse".

Last summer, Downing Street ran a campaign urging people to return to their workplaces but abandoned it when the second Covid wave took hold. Ministers have no plans to repeat the campaign this year, it is understood.

According to a recent ONS survey, 36% of employees believe they will spend the majority or all their time home working in future.

Screen Shot 2021 08 20 at 4.35.14 PMIn his article, Sir James accused ministers of making "glib statements" about the benefits of working from home, suggesting there was "little evidence" that the practice was safer for staff.

"Each generation has a responsibility to develop the next. Likewise, younger people have much to teach older generations like mine. This sharing of knowledge is imperilled by the isolation of a work from home culture borne out of pandemic contingency plans," he wrote.

"We risk creating a two-tier workforce with those at home becoming less and less effective, leaving those diligently attending the workplace to drive the business forward." 

He claimed the Dyson team would never have been able to design a ventilator at the height of the Covid crisis if staff had not been working face-to-face.

"Projects like this could never work with people cocooned at home," he wrote. "A successful workplace is somewhere for everyone to come together, in our case engineers, scientists, data and IT experts, marketeers, lawyers and finance professionals. It requires focused working combined with bursts of interaction, often unpredictable.

"At the start of the pandemic the Prime Minister, in ordering people to work at home, removed from firms the right to determine how best to organise their own teams. He should restore that right and do everything possible to lead Britain back to the workplace, unpopular though that might be with a proportion of the population."

 

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