Daily Mail urges ‘workshy’ to get back to office, after praising journalists for working from home

PUBLISHED: 12:05 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:15 05 August 2020

A masthead for a former edition of the Daily Mail. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

A masthead for a former edition of the Daily Mail. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

The Daily Mail has continued its war on those working from home, urging ministers to issue “an unambiguous call for workers to get back to the office.”

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The newspaper has published an opinion column accusing civil servants of being “workshy” and “wrecking the recovery” by avoiding their usual workplace during the pandemic, despite the guidance only changing this week from using their homes.

“Whitehall workers are among the worst offenders when it comes to failing to get back to work,” complains columnist Ross Clark.

He claimed that they had failed to “set an example” with “many civil servants appear too frightened to step across the threshold”.

Hitting out at BBC reporting, it said the broadcaster had helped spread fear, making them not as “productive at home”.


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The columnist said he suspected that many “may be using the virus as an excuse to work from home indefinitely”.

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The opinion piece concluded: “The virus hasn’t gone away. But it is high time that office workers stopped hiding on their sofas and returned to their desks.

“And if that is to happen, the civil servants must lead from the front.”

But the same news team weeks before, in the British Journalism Review, praised its operations for regularly producing “brilliant paper” from home which was both “challenging, informing, intriguing and entertaining in equal measure”.

“And all this without a single soul in our newspaper office. So how have we done it? A large part of the answer is, of course, technology,” wrote the newspaper’s managing editor Alex Bannister.

He continued: “Ask any of our journalists, and they’ll tell you they are working harder than ever just now.

“But the proof of the pudding is that, after deploying 200 laptops, 74 monitors, 71 keyboards, 33 Mifi devices, 16 Slack channels and 15 dedicated Zoom rooms, the Mail is not just surviving, but thriving.”

Yesterday the prime minister himself appeared to contradict his own message, by heading to his countryside of Chequers to work.

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