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Weather reports should be used to analyse when civil servants work from home, Rees-Mogg suggests

By Kate Devlin
Reuters

Civil servants should beware – and perhaps embrace rainy Mondays – after a cabinet minister suggested the government would be checking if work from home rates spiral during good weather.

Jacob Rees-Mogg also hinted that officials would consult lists of sporting fixtures, 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 that he did not believe the current working from home system was working.

He said that in his experience it involved "getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing".

The prime minister added that he believed in the “workplace environment”. “And I think that will help to drive up productivity. It will get our city centres moving in the weekdays. And it will be good for mass transit. And a lot of businesses having a tough time will benefit from that," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

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

"I do worry that the desire to take off Monday and Friday is an indication that people think that the working week is shorter than the reality is,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “If people were working from home, and saying that Tuesday was the main day they wanted to work from home, and they were always in on a Monday, you may feel that it genuinely fitted a convenient pattern of work. One can’t help but be suspicious about the desire to work from home on Mondays and Fridays."

Officials would look at weather patterns and the dates of big sporting matches when analysing the data, he suggested.

While current figures looked at attendance on a weekly basis “we are going to need to look at it on a daily basis," he said. "And we’re going to have to compare notes with the Met Office. Because we’ve got the evidence on Mondays and Fridays, we need to have the evidence on Lord’s Test matches and all that."

The government has outlined plans to cut 91,000 jobs from the civil service to return the headcount of staff to 2016 levels.

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Dive Deeper:
Jacob Rees-Mogg declares war on ‘three-day week’ for the Civil Service
Working from home is being used as an excuse for long weekends, says Cabinet minister in charge of efficiency
Boris Johnson says cheese and coffee can distract when working from home
PM calls for return to offices, saying it makes staff ‘more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas’
Boris Johnson says he gets distracted by cheese and coffee while working from home
The PM said his ‘experience’ demonstrates that employees are more productive in the office
Saturday morning UK news briefing: Today's top headlines from The Telegraph
Your 5am headlines from The Telegraph's news team
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Let them eat cheese… working from home is here to stay
Boris Johnson can criticise working from home all he likes – the evidence is that greater flexibility can equal higher…
Boris Johnson blasts ‘WFH’ culture amid plans to axe 91,000 civil servant jobs
Boris Johnson said cutting down on remote working would boost productivity and revive the UK’s town and city centres
Get all your news in one place