Certainly the Minister of Government Efficiency must ensure that the civil service harnesses as much of the national talent as possible and meets the spirit and letter of the Equal Opportunity Act, not returning us to the factory hours of the 19th century (Jacob Rees-Mogg says civil servants must return to office on April 19).
Traditional set-ups favor men, especially at the top. The rigors of the traditional work day make it difficult for parents (often women) to re-enter the workforce until their children are old enough for paid childcare. For some the cost is so prohibitive that it greatly delays their return.
There are other groups that we don’t consider to be enough, such as caregivers, who can lead lives beyond their responsibilities if they are allowed to act more flexibly. Then there are the medically weak, left behind and marginalized as there are no longer enough mitigations against COVID infection.
The career prospects of those who are not visible in the office may be spoiled, but for those who are not even in work, promotion is far away. Working from home gives many people without Mr Rees-Mogg’s privileges the opportunity to contribute to the economy in a financially viable way and ensure their economic independence.
Ride, Isle of Wight
Jacob Rees-Mogg wants civil servants to return to office because not doing so hurts the economy of the city centres. What does that have to do with where they spend their money? Why shouldn’t they support their local shops? Are civil servants expected to build city center shops on their own? What about the added pollution and traffic congestion, added stress, and loss of family time due to travel? Here’s an idea: Pay them in tokens they can only afford in certain stores, like the Victorian mill owners modeled themselves.