Plans to move back into the office?

Previously, many high-profile business figures, including Lord Sugar, have made critical comments about remote working.  These comments have previously been met with backlash from both businesses and their workforces which have flourished under new hybrid working structures. However, it is thought that the tide may be turning amongst business leaders when it comes to this subject.

The Director-General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has told the BBC that “most execs secretly want all of their workers to get back to the office”. This comment comes at a time when online searches for ‘work from home jobs’ have hit their highest point in five years.

There is a clear demand for remote roles in the UK. The cost of commuting creates a strain on many people’s finances and, despite the desire to encourage employees back into the workplace, employers may have to consider attracting more flexible work-from-home or hybrid workers to keep up with the demand and to avoid losing employees.

However, as business leaders attempt to remain competitive in an increasingly difficult trading market, the need to juggle offering flexibility with the need to drive productivity is a difficult balance to secure.  Trade Union membership is on the rise and increasingly employees are aware that they may have a choice.  For those businesses encouraging back-to-the office working, there may be a need to be more innovative about what that looks like.  Starting with a shorter in-office working week will help.  Many businesses have stated the need for all staff to be in the office on particular days. Making those days interesting, collaborative and engaging will result in more enthusiasm for the continuation of the pattern.

It is also important to consult on any proposed change. If home working has been in place since the pandemic, the chances are it is now an implied contractual term – and changing it will require sensitivity, consultation and time to implement.

If you have any questions relating to home working or changing terms and conditions, contact 121 HR Solutions on enquries@121hrsolutions.co.uk

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