Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Working from home on the front line


JACOB Rees-Mogg has urged ministers to order civil servants to stop working from home and ensure offices are at ‘full capacity’ following the ending of Covid restrictions in England. TCW Defending Freedom contacted some of those who have preferred to spend their time working from home.

MW holds a senior position in procurement at the Ministry of Defence. He works from his cottage in rural Dorset but asked us not to divulge his exact location. ‘Working in Whitehall was incredibly stressful. It was easy to make mistakes. For example, the wrong sort of gun was ordered for the Warrior upgrade by a colleague who was under pressure for forgetting to buy the office syndicate’s Lotto ticket. The mix-up cost £400million but we would have won £52. We were also constantly bombarded with requests from politicians to spend money in their constituencies. As a result, we now have two aircraft carriers that are about as much use as a trebuchet in a proper war. It’s nice and quiet here and I can get on with ordering bombs for the Saudis and missiles for Zelensky. Another advantage is that it won’t bother me unduly if Putin sends a cruise missile into my old office.’

PT is employed as a resettlement officer at the Home Office. She works from her home office in a yurt near Hastings. ‘In many respects this is the best location for someone in my position. On my daily bike rides along the coast I can get a better idea about the influx of poor refugees on the local beaches. When I get home I can then search on Google for suitable accommodation in pleasant rural locations for these desperate young men. Before I finish for the day I usually have a Zoom meeting with my colleagues who are planning to thwart the ridiculous scheme to send an unlucky few of these immigrants to Rwanda. Now that I’m around all day my goat, Tinkle, has never been happier.’

DL works for the DVLA in Swansea. ‘Truth to tell, I find it difficult to work from home. My computer keeps crashing, I drink too much and I miss the office banter. I have tried to get into work several times only to be told to go away because of the Covid. I feel sorry for people who are waiting months for their test but the upside is that we get a bonus if we can delay people from being allowed to drive. I don’t think they want people to drive because of global warming or something. I wish the coal mines were still open.’

JY is employed by the Department of Education, which has the lowest number of staff working in the office. ‘I have always loved the Dordogne and when the chance came to work from home we immediately decamped on a permanent basis to our holiday home. Not for me the sweaty armpits on the 7.30 from Dorking to Waterloo or the thought that Jacob Rees-Mogg might suddenly tower above me to check who is sitting at their desk. 7.30 is the time Rupert will be grinding the coffee beans, the mimosa will be releasing its beguiling scent, and the nearby Boulangerie Descamps will be opening its shutters. London is a frightful place full of foreigners with bad breath. I am counting the days until I get my enhanced pension in three years.’

The Foreign Office is another department with very low office presence. Sir BR is a senior civil servant who is now mostly to be found in Chipping Norton. ‘It is regrettable that so few of my colleagues are at their desks but it means it is pointless my trooping into London every day. I do have regular phone conversations with my counterpart in the State Department and he gives me the low-down on what our policy is on any given matter. Regrettably, I need to take video calls from Liz Truss but she has not yet noticed that I dim the lights and play Wordle or on-line Scrabble whilst she prattles on.’

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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