Following the end of the home-based advice, the banks lead the way back into the office.

  • The return of offices is a major focus for large companies.
  • Staff have been recalled to offices by banks, accounting firms, and advertising agencies.
  • Most have accommodated days of virtual working into their pre-Covid patterns

Yesterday, after Boris Johnson abandoned work-from-home guidance, businesses giants started calling their employees back to the office.

Large banks, advertising firms and insurers announced plans to return to the office – although most said flexible working arrangements would remain in place.

Big Four accountancy firm KPMG said it ‘welcomed’ the end of the Government guidance and told staff in England to come into the office at least two days a week.

Investment bank Citi sent a note to staff highlighting the benefits of office working, including that they are ‘better able to generate the energy and collaborative spirit’ it thrives on.

The company advised workers that they should return to their desks at least three times per week and take regular tests.

HSBC said to Daily Mail that their staff began returning to the office yesterday

HSBC claimed that staff returned to their offices yesterday. Standard Chartered, however, asked for employees to return to work starting on Monday. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs also stated that they plan to return to office work.

Havas, a French advertising agency with 11,500 staff worldwide, told the BBC it would ‘fully reopen’ its London HQ from Monday. Chris Hirst, of Havas, told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Many of our employees really do want to come back, but there are some people who are nervous. We will be talking to those people individually and finding solutions that work for them.’

Insurance firm Zurich said it was ‘excited’ to welcome staff back but most would continue on a hybrid basis.

As hospitality managers highlighted the negative impact that work from home can have on local bars, restaurants, cafés, and shops in central cities, these announcements came.

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord said high streets have ‘severely lacked’ much-needed footfall.

And UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the sector needs the support of communities ‘more than ever’.

‘The removal of working from home guidance in England is a huge boost for hospitality operators, as they started 2022 low on cash after a second cancelled Christmas, deep in debt after two years of restricted trading, and facing soaring costs on so many fronts,’ she added.