Use weather reports to analyze when officials are working from home, suggests Rees-Mogg

Civil servants should be wary – and perhaps embrace rainy Mondays – after a cabinet minister suggested the government would check whether work-from-home rates are skyrocketing in good weather.

Jacob Rees-Mogg also hinted that officials would check the lists of sports fixtures. It comes as the government steps up its campaign to convince tens of thousands of civil servants to spend more time in the office.

On Friday, Boris Johnson said he did not believe the current work-from-home system was working.

He said that in his experience, it involved “getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, cutting a little piece of cheese, then very slowly walking back to your laptop and forgetting what you were doing”.

The Prime Minister added that he believed in “the working environment”. “And I think it will help increase productivity, it will get our city centers moving on weekdays. And it will be good for public transport. And a lot of businesses going through a tough time will benefit,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Mr Rees-Mogg said the figures showed many civil servants working from home on Mondays and Fridays, describing the pattern as suspicious and implying that not everyone was working a full five-day week.

“I fear the desire to take off on Monday and Friday is an indication that people think the working week is shorter than it actually is,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “If people were working from home and saying Tuesday was the main day they wanted to work from home, and they were still there on a Monday, you might feel like that really fit a practical working pattern. You can’t keep from being wary of the desire to work from home on Mondays and Fridays.”

Officials would look at weather conditions and dates of major sports matches when analyzing the data, he suggested.

While the current numbers looked at attendance on a weekly basis “we’re going to have to look at it daily,” he said. “And we’re going to have to compare notes with the Met Office. Because we have the evidence on Mondays and Fridays, we have to have the evidence on Lords test matches and all that.”

The government has presented plans to cut 91,000 civil service jobs to bring the workforce back to 2016 levels.

Maria D. Ervin