Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Can a pint be hard work?

I came across this last night:

"A survey by 02 has found that two out of five workers in Britain spend four hours or more a week working from places away from the office, with pubs and coffee shops particularly popular. In total, Britons spend 131 million hours a week working from coffee shops, and 8% of those working outside the office do so from the pub."

With the right to ask (and be refused) flexible working hours being extended to all employees, could pubs gain a new place in the world of work? Instead of lunchtime or after-work drinks, might we see pub-going actually taking place during the working day?

I can't see it myself: this is a story written specifically to provide a startling headline. Drinking during the working day, even during the employee's own lunch hour, is increasingly frowned upon, and I doubt that employers would want their business to be conducted via all those insecure free Wi-Fi connections in places such as pubs and coffee shops, nor risk beer being spilt on work laptops. So that's that: I don't see this being a route for pub salvation.

However, if I'm wrong and it does take off, it would be something of an unintended consequence for the government, and it would really annoy their mates in Alcohol Concern. So not all bad then.

The article in AOL Money is here, assuming you're sufficiently interested.


  1. As a self employed contractor, I have had jobs that involve working from home, though unfortunately not the current one.

    It's great depending on your need for social contact. I enjoyed it but even so a couple of afternoons I shifted from my home office (spare room) to somewhere that had the buzz of people around. I found a local coffee shop had free wifi, a local spoons & the local municipal library were places you could sit for an afternoon of a change of scenery. Maccys is a bit too chaotic.

    I wasn't a big customer. A couple of cups of coffee and full use of the wifi. I doubt it's the saviour of the pub. In some cases it's a transfer of costs. But these places are empty and heated on a tuesday afternoon so I guess my presence was of no great cost to the companies providing it.

    Of greater interest in those jobs was the once a fortnight trip into the client office. As all on the project team were contractors on the same gig, we did our meeting then had a long lunch in the pub. Something I find is more or less verboten in the modern workplace. I guess people felt the need for the office day to be more social after all the days at home.

  2. The stat that two out of five workers spend some time working outside their normal workplace seems completely incredible unless it actually includes client/customer premises. A plumber will spend most of his time away from his base, but he's not going to be in the local Costa Coffee.

    Maybe the survey was confined to London media hipsters ;-)

  3. It's not acceptable in the US apparently but I didn't know that going for a pint at dinnertime is frowned on here too now.


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