YOU'D think a working man used to wrangling multiple children and juggling several partners might know to choose his moments.

Of course, Boris Johnson doesn't seem to be that great with keeping the peace, neither at home nor at work, so it's perhaps not so surprising the Prime Minister thought home workers might make for the decent butt of a joke.

When the PM suggested home workers might like to head back to the office having had "quite a few days off" there were many of us toiling in our living rooms or at our kitchen tables who had some very strong thoughts about where Mr Johnson might like to head to.

It's perhaps overly generous to assume the prime minister is a hands-on dad. He can't possibly be and still think that home working during the pandemic is an extended holiday.

What a display of hypocrisy, too, given that Mr Johnson and his fiancee headed off on holiday at the height of the crisis last year. He made sure he didn't miss out on respite while making snide comments about presumed lack of productivity.

Breaks are important and it is good for those in leadership positions to set a good example by taking holidays and eschewing presenteeism, so I have no issue with the PM's camping trip.

The fact that it doesn't occur to him that a great many people will not have been so privileged as to be able to afford to head off for a break away is what's irritating.

That, and the man's ludicrously short memory. As well as saying that staff have add "days off", he also said it was time to make "a passing stab at getting back into the office."

Does his memory not stretch back as far as last September when he wound up the entire nation of home workers by trying to chide us back into offices, the misstep made all the more glaring when compared to the Scottish Government's tack, which was that it was far safer for people to remain at home and no bullying of workers would be tolerated.

It is still not safe enough to return to offices, the virus is still at a delicate stage of suppression where we have to continue to take things slow and steady.

It's offensive joking but, worse, it's dangerous.

Yet again we can compare the prime minister and the first minister and find the former lacking in comparison. While Boris Johnson and the Tories are urging people back to business as usual, in Tuesday night's leaders debate, there was talk of what comes next with regards economic recovery and new working practices featured.

There was some back and forth about universal basic income - Douglas Ross the only politician against the idea - but Nicola Sturgeon very briefly dropped in a line about plans to trial a four day week.

It's not the first time the First Minister has mentioned the idea of introducing a four day week. In May last year, in response to a question in parliament from then-Labour leader Richard Leonard, Ms Sturgeon said that as part of Scotland's economic recovery, businesses should be looking at embracing a four-day week. These are, she said, "no longer things that we should just be talking about".

They aren't, and now's the time to stop talking and start planning.

Examples are being set elsewhere. Last month Spain agreed to go ahead with a four-day week trial, becoming one of the first countries in the world to do so. The Spanish government set out possible plans to support businesses by taking on some of the financial risk, such as covering costs at 100% the first year, 50% the second year and 33% the third year.

The benefits of a four-day week, crucially without a drop in pay, have been repeatedly proven. While Boris Johnson thinks workers are shirking unless they are in an office, working fewer hours actually increases productivity because staff wellbeing and health are improved. Fewer sick days are taken too.

There are environmental benefits as commuting is reduced.

A year into the pandemic and people are wrung out. They have been working and home schooling, cut off from in-person social supports and with vastly reduced opportunities for leisure.

Those at home have been putting in increased hours for no additional pay. And they're the lucky ones.

There is a widening gulf between the power of the worker and the power of the employer. For home workers there is talk of increased surveillance using computer software. "Fire and rehire" is becoming increasingly common, as highlighted by the current plight of British Gas boiler engineers. In February the Court of Session issued an injunction stopping Tesco from using the tactic on its staff.

In Glasgow, women who finally won an equal pay settlement against the city council are still, nearly two years later, waiting for a replacement job evaluation scheme to end discrimination in wages.

Opportunities for change are repeatedly discussed and highlighted but the chance to redesign and improve how we live can't be lost. We can't simply backslide into how things were before.

Some businesses are leading on these changes already. This week PriceWaterhouseCooper said it is giving employees far greater autonomy over their working hours - three days in the office, two at home, the ability to set their own start and finish times and the chance to knock off early on a Friday afternoon.

Nationwide building society has said staff can choose to work at home or in the office while BP says its staff they can spend two days a week working from home, if they choose. Choice is really key - plenty of workers will prefer to be in an office environment and flexible worker cannot be a cover for businesses to pass on overhead costs to staff.

Smart businesses will be integrating flexible working into contracts but this shouldn't be left to businesses to implement in a piecemeal manner.

The change has to be lead by government with legislation offering greater protection for workers and a move to flexible working and a four-day week as standard.

We need politicians to have a realistic grasp of how sectors of the workforce work and live, and what their priorities are in creating a quality balance between the two.

This is a vital time for an overhaul of working hours and workers' rights. It is not the time for ill-judged jokes.