Ministers are calling on the government to end working from home guidance introduced by Plan B in an effort to boost the economy, especially in city centres deprived of vital commuter custom. The current restrictions, due to expire on January 26th, include guidance to work from home and a requirement for mask wearing in some indoor settings, and will be reviewed by the government in two week’s time. Boris Johnson has previously stated that he hoped to return to something “much closer to normality” by the end of the month.
However, while this rhetoric paints a picture of a workforce keen to get back to ‘normal’, significant issues remain – with the ONS indicating that job to job moves are at a record high, driven by resignations, not dismissals. Consultancy and accounting disruptors, Theta Global Advisors reveal landmark research shows that more than half (51%) of British workers have worked better from home, and 41% believe a rush back to the office is a poor strategy choice on the part of their management teams.
A national study commissioned by Theta Global Advisors dissects the newly emotive measures that define productivity in the workplace that explain why companies should be delicate in their wooing employees back to the office through empathetic, flexible approaches:
41% of workers in the UK agree that their employers are not managing correctly post-pandemic
Over a quarter (27%) of Brits agree that a lack of empathy from their employers post-pandemic is resulting in their being less inclined to work hard for them
40% of Brits agree that given their experience over the last two years, their employer forcing a strict return to pre-pandemic office norms would hinder their performance
A quarter (25%) of Brits agree that despite working effectively over lockdown, their employer still doesn’t trust them to work flexibly or from home
(Research taken from a poll of 2,069 and nationally representative as per the British Polling council)
Chris Biggs, partner at consultancy and accounting disruptor Theta Global Advisors comments:
“Attitudes to the future of work have affirmatively shifted, and to ensure people are at their happiest and most productive, flexibility is needed in both where and when they work. Freedom from the office must also mean freedom to go to the office to account for different experiences, priorities, and conditions. New policies will account for substantial differentiations in employees’ experience of working during Covid-19. However, greater flexibility is still needed to account for different experiences and resources on a case-by-case basis. Working environments are looking like they will never return to what they were in 2019, changing very much for the better.
“As such, while employers and ministers may instinctively want to see their staff back in the office and for work to go ‘back to normal’ as soon as possible, this is not necessarily the strongest or most sensible approach. Working culture and expectations have changed, and if approached with empathy and flexibility, will result in a far happier, more productive workforce delivering work of a higher standard than before Covid-19. Employees have proven they can be effective when given flexible options or working from home, and employers need to respond to this with trust and structured flexibility approaches allowing employees to alter as necessary.”