James Dyson Slams UK’s New Flexible Working Policy As ‘Staggeringly Self-Defeating’

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  • Sir James Dyson has slammed the UK’s plans to extend employees’ rights to work from home.
  • Writing in The Times, the billionaire said the policy shift is “economically illiterate and staggeringly self-defeating.”
  • Without control over where employees work, companies like Dyson will hesitate to invest in the UK, he said.

Sir James Dyson thinks the UK’s plans to allow employees to continue working from home are “staggeringly self-defeating.”

“The government talks loftily of the UK being a ‘science and technology superpower’ while doing everything it can to achieve the exact opposite,” the founder and chief engineer of multinational technology company Dyson wrote in a December 8 commentary piece for The Times.

Under new legislation, workers in the UK will have the right to request flexible working arrangements even on their first day of work, per a December 5 press release from the UK government. This policy shift falls under the government’s plans to make flexible working the default.

However, such a move — which comes during a global recession — is a “misguided approach” that will “generate friction between employers and employees,” Dyson wrote.

Without control over where their employees can work, “high-growth, ambitious companies” like Dyson — which has 3,500 employees in Britain — will hesitate to invest in the UK, the businessman added.

“We have seen from our own experience at Dyson during periods of government-enforced working from home how deeply inefficient it is,” Dyson wrote. “It prevents the collaboration and in-person training that we need to develop new technology and maintain competitiveness against global rivals.”

The billionaire also took a swipe at the legislators who were in favor of the reform, writing that the policy was “aided by the many civil servants who enjoyed working from home, despite the shockingly bad public service they often provide and their terrible track record of delivery.”

Dyson, who’s currently worth an estimated $15.4 billion, is not the first business leader to rally against flexible work arrangements for employees.

In August, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon pushed back against remote work, saying that it “slows down honesty and decision making.”

In November, just two weeks after taking over the company, Elon Musk sent a 2:30 a.m. email to Twitter staff, requesting them to return to the office for “a minimum of 40 hours per week.” 

Dyson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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