Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boris Johnson: homeworking a euphemism for sloth

Boris Johnson won't make any friends in the homeworking and shedworking communities with his latest foot/mouth pronouncement. Writing on his own web site, he asks why people insist on commuting to work despite the many obvious inconveniences. Among the choice quotes are:
"Working from home is simply a euphemism for sloth, apathy, staring out of the window and random surfing of the internet: and that is why it is so imperative that we get the transport system of this country moving. What with all those trips to the kettle and the television, and keeping the central heating on, I am not even sure that staying at home is the eco-friendly option."

He also claims that: "The office is the natural habitat of Homo sapiens. It is the place we like to go during the day, just as baboons choose to congregate on some special kop or crag." His argument is that the office is vital because we go there "to groom and to socialise. We find that we need the tension and the jokes, not to mention the acrimony and the rivalry and the tears, and frankly no amount of electronic interchange is a substitute for that ability to gossip and plot."
Here he is again on homeworking.
"Instead of crashing into the shower and getting on with the day, you find that you linger, unshaven, for too long over the newspapers; and you find yourself so sunk in consequent gloom that you decide to fortify yourself with another cup of coffee, and a quick squint at BBC News 24, and then you conclude that you really must hit the desk. And as you drift towards your workstation, your eye is caught by some title in your bookshelf and you settle down to read and - bang - by the time you look up, the morning has gone. Deprived of that vital stimulus of competition, your mental flywheel is hardly turning, and why should it? There is no one to impress, no one to intrigue against, no one to worry about; and that is the real problem with working from home."

It's worth reading the whole thing. He's completely wrong, but he writes entertainingly. Incidentally, his name is actually Alex Johnson.


  1. Boris Johnson tries to give the impression that he is a strong, forceful personality, but in fact he depends on the approval of others or he wilts like a tender flower. His comments show that he has no inner reserves and no real commitment to his work. Not good in a politician I think.

  2. I couldn't agree more Chris. Here's what I wrote on his site as a comment:
    "Very nicely written as always, but completely wrong on almost every count. The numbers of homeworkers is soaring, all studies show that productivity of homeworkers is higher than those in traditional offices and that they are also happier and healthier and, on the whole, have better life/work balances. The increase in those working from garden offices underlines the fact that they are also greener - your garden office can have a green roof, solar panels, and requires almost no heating. The office is simply not our natural habitat - until the Industrial Revolution the majority of people worked from home and we are now seeing a move away from that factory-based phase. There are so many clich├ęs in this article that it's impossible to list them all and comment on them - suffice to say that these might be things that you do when working at home, but I think you'd have difficulty finding anybody else who shared these problems. Somebody gave you 4/10 earlier. I'd give you 10 for style, 0 for content since there's no research whatsover done on the subject."

  3. Anonymous10:41 PM

    but i thought..... oh; it can't be.

  4. Anonymous8:11 AM

    We have written a response to Boris 'Alex' Johnson and will be publishing it on our site later today.

    And thanks to the real Alex Johnson - Editor of this lovely site - for also suggesting that we invite Boris on to our next podcast to defend his homeworking views.

    We will be doing just so!