'Nothing gets done' | Alan Sugar hits out at WFH again. Are firms starting to agree with him?

Alan Sugar hits out at WFH again. Are firms starting to agree with him?

Lord Alan Sugar has never shied away from the office vs WFH debate.

Ever since remote and hybrid models surged in popularity during & following the pandemic lockdowns, the host of The Apprentice has frequented Twitter with outbursts about workplace flexibility.

In May 2022, he reacted strongly to news that PwC would give staff the opportunity to take Friday afternoons off during the summer months, to aid in their wellbeing and contribute to greater flexibility in working structures.

However, whilst many reacted positively to the announcement, it seems to have incensed at least one business leader – The Apprentice star and business magnate Lord Alan Sugar.

Upon reading the news, Lord Sugar took to Twitter to share his frustrations at both PwC, and the greater flexibility on when and where work takes place in the post-pandemic working world.

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“This is a bloody joke,” he tweeted. “The lazy gits make me sick. Call me old fashioned but all this work from home BS is a total joke. There is no way people work as hard or productive as when they had to turn up at a work location.

“The pandemic has had a long lasting negative effect,” he concluded.

He followed this up in September by branding people who work from home “lazy gits” who should be sacked for not returning to the office.

He posted a series of tweets claiming people were “watching golf and tennis at home” instead of working, and that remote workers should be paid less because of their savings on travel costs.

The rant came in response to a tweet suggesting that the UK Government was considering selling off some of its Whitehall offices, valued at £1.5billion, which have been left empty due to the number of civil servants still opting to work from home.

“Lazy gits watching golf and tennis at home while they supposed to be working. We the tax payer are paying the [sic]. Get them back to the office or fire them,” he ranted.

Work doesn’t get done from home, claims Lord Sugar

You’d think by now, Lord Sugar could rest safe in the knowledge that his feelings about modern working practices were well known. But just for good measure, he’s launched another rant against remote working, just to be absolutely certain that people know he’s not a fan.

The Daily Express now reports that Sugar has admonished hybrid employees once more, claiming they are ‘exploiting’ employers.

"The annoying thing, as far as I’m concerned, is the exploitation of the working-from-home syndrome," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Express, adding: "The truth of the matter is, you have to work with your people in your office. That’s why you have offices, right?"

Finally, he reportedly told the Radio Times: "Of course it bloody matters (where you work from).

"There’s all this bulls*** about working from home – what difference does it make if the job gets done? Well, it don’t bloody get done, it’s as simple as that."

Are more firms starting to agree with Lord Sugar?

Lord Sugar’s previous attacks on remote working have been met with backlash, from both businesses and their workforces which have flourished under new working structures, and this time will surely be no different.

However, when it comes to the thoughts of top bosses, the tide could be turning, if one expert’s comments are to be believed.

Tony Danker, Director-General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), told the BBC recently that most execs secretly want all of their workers to get back to the office.

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Speaking to political correspondent Nick Robinson, Danker said the "whole world of work is totally gone crazy”.

"You ask most bosses, everybody secretly wants everyone to come back into the office," he said.

"I just don't think that's going to happen overnight. I think we are all coping with this...but we're going to be talking about this for a few years."

Demand for remote roles hits five-year high

Despite the possibility that most firms are crying out for their employees to get back to the office, online searches for ‘work from home jobs’ recently hit their highest point in five years.

Experts at Financial-world have analysed Google Trends data to reveal the five-year high spike in searches, spiking by 123% this month alone. The increased interest in moving from in-office positions to those that are home-based comes amid strikes and the continuing cost-of-living crisis in the UK.

Google Trends data also reveals that searches for ‘hybrid roles’ are also at a five year high in the UK, exploding by 614% this month when comparing to December searches.

Coordinated industrial actions, namely train strikes, have been rife in the UK as living costs remain high and workers demand fairer pay. With no assurances that these train strikes will stop in the future, a work-from-home role becomes more enticing to workers who wish to save time and money on commuting.

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According to a recent survey reported on by The Guardian, 62.5% of 597 managers across the UK believe that working from home boosts motivation, and three-quarters believe that it increases productivity. Flexible working is becoming increasingly more widely accepted and this is reflected in online searches for such roles.

The volume of searches for ‘work from home jobs’ is estimated to be 72,000 per month in the UK. There are also currently 45,257 work-from-home jobs listed on the Indeed job site.

A spokesperson from Financial-world commented on the findings: “There is a clear demand for remote roles in the UK. The costs of commuting and the time spent doing so is proving to be a strain on many people's finances and a stressful situation to navigate among strike actions and spikes in fuel prices. Employers may have to consider welcoming more flexible work-from-home or hybrid workers to keep up with the demand and avoid losing employees. It will be interesting to see if more companies opt to offer flexible work conditions in the future.”

Lord Sugar Image - Flickr User - TaylorHerring

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Comments (1)

  • Bork
    Wed, 1 Feb 2023 12:34pm GMT
    I wonder where Lord Sugar is getting his data from in order to form his opinion that "nothing gets done" at home, or... "don't get done" as he so eloquently put it. According to UK Labour Productivity reports, productivity was around 0.9% higher in Q3 2022 than a year ago (Q3 2021) and also around 1.0% higher than before the pandemic in Q4 2019, despite more people working from home than ever before.

    Or, could his contention be that his employees can now just switch their screen off when he goes off on one of his unsubstantiated crazy rants?

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