How Gen Z are proudly shirking from home – and taking the economy down with them
“I observed one organisation where all the grads came into the office for a week, but the whole middle management team didn’t show up because they were working fully remotely,” says Ms Jörden. “After a few weeks, none of the grads wanted to come back, since there was no value in it for them.”
Mr Boys says hybrid working is likely to remain popular with older workers who have to balance care responsibilities, and who are more likely to have the space to set up a home office. “Middle-aged people are really gunning for home-working,” he says. “It’s a case of two groups’ interests working against each other.”
Laziness while working from home, while satirised by TikTok’s overwhelmingly young user base, is “cross-generational,” argues Mr Monk. “I do not believe anyone working from home works as well or as efficiently,” he says. “Abuse is rife – people nip out to the shop, or go for a coffee with their wife.”
The hybrid system, he adds, is unfair to younger workers who don’t know what they’re missing. “I know a few very senior well-respected fund managers who work from home all the time,” he says. “But they’ve learned their trade and they have big houses where it’s easier to do so. How do younger generations learn if their seniors are sitting at home in their garden offices?”
The negative effects of remote working – both on socialisation and on well-being – could prove disastrous for productivity unless a balance is struck, Ms Jörden warns.
Mental ill health costs the British economy around 5pc of GDP a year. “While productivity remains the same when working from home, the effects could be damaging for Gen Z long term, who could be working in this way for their whole career,” she says.
“There are skills young people need to acquire, and it won’t benefit organisations to hamper their development.”