The business secretary has defended Boris Johnson’s remarks that he is distracted by making coffee and “hacking off” cheese when working from home.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the Prime Minister said his experience of remote working involved a lot of time making coffee, walking to the fridge and “forgetting” the task at hand.
When quizzed on Johnson’s comments on the Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said “the majority” of people “would be more effective working in the office.”
Johnson had told the newspaper: “My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, 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.”
A mass return to the office would “help to drive up productivity” and “get our city centres moving in the weekdays,” as well as benefiting public transport, Johnson said.
Speaking on Sunday, Kwarteng defended the comment as “an entirely reasonable thing to say.”
“[Johnson’s] making a point, very vividly, that people’s consternation – his concentration and our concentration – isn’t as focused perhaps at home than it would be at work,” the minister said.
“Many people say they work much better, in a much more focused way, in the office. I don’t know about the details of hacking a small piece of cheese or anything like that,” Kwarteng added.
It comes as Whitehall officials have come under renewed pressure to make a healthy return to their desks in recent weeks.