'You spend an awful lot of time making coffee and forgetting what you’re doing': PM says home working 'does not work'

Johnson says his experience of working from home mainly consists of "walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop"
Boris Johnson says his experience of home working involves making lots of coffee. Photo: Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

13 May 2022

The prime minister has snubbed calls to end the "culture war" on civil servants working from home, saying the office environment is more effective.

Boris Johnson said working from home "doesn't work" and called for a return to the workplace to “drive up productivity”, in an interview with the Daily Mail.

It comes after Johnson announced that he wants to cut more than 90,000 jobs from the civil service in the next three years.

The PM described his experience of working from home as: “You spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

He said he thinks people working more from the office will help to drive up productivity and “get our city centres moving” during the week.

“We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office, getting into the workplace,” he added.

“There will be lots of people who disagree with me, but I believe people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas, when they are surrounded by other people.”

For months, ministers have spoken out against civil servants’ hybrid-working arrangements. Government efficiency minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has been especially critical, urging ministers to ensure officials make a "rapid return" to offices, as well as suggesting jobs should be cut as the civil service is not providing “value” for the taxpayer. 

And the government left an employment bill which would have "made flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to” out of the Queen's Speech this week, another sign that home working is not under the favour of Johnson's premiership. 

Read the most recent articles written by Tevye Markson - Civil service strikes: National Highways action to coincide with train walkouts

Share this page