Major companies have begun to adopt hybrid and blended working methods in an effort to entice their workers back into the workplace after the end of the days of work from home.
While major banking firms said they would be ‘fully’ re-opening their workspaces, the likes of HSBC and JP Morgan said they would be maintaining their ‘flexible’ working arrangements which have proven popular among employees since the onset of the Covid pandemic.
Some said that they will encourage more people to work in the office, and to do so more frequently. This is done to boost the city’s many businesses dependent on commuter traffic.
Business leaders also urged government officials to offer discounts on train tickets and create sophisticated marketing campaigns that encourage commuters to use the trains. A London retail manager said employees should be “encouraged, motivated” to return to their jobs and not just’simply ordered.
This comment seemed to be Boris Johnson’s thinly disguised criticism. He today directed Government employees to return to their offices “as soon possible” in an effort to set an example for the rest of America after WFH was scrapped.
Whitehall, Central London and Central London appeared quiet as rush hour traffic decreased by only one percentage point compared yesterday and just six percent compared to the week before.
It was as MailOnline found that none of the top companies polled today claimed they will be returning to fully packed offices anytime soon.
Although major banks stated that they would be ‘fully’ re-opening offices, JP Morgan and HSBC claimed they would maintain their flexible work arrangements. These have been popular with employees ever since the onset in the Covid pandemic.
Leaders in business urged government officials to introduce train fare discounts as well as sophisticated marketing campaigns to encourage workers to commute again. (Pictured, London Underground on January 20, despite WFH being removed.
The poll was conducted by YouGov among more than 1,600 BBC employees in September. It found that over half preferred to work at home, while 70% said they wouldn’t return to full office jobs.
Hybrid working is gaining popularity in large companies. They say that they will keep flexible work arrangements for staff, but some stated they would encourage more employees to the office.
Vodafone stated to MailOnline it encourages staff who work in our blended working models to make contact with the office at any time. HSBC said it’s making arrangements for employees to return to their offices as part of its hybrid working arrangements starting today.
MailOnline believes that Google’s guidance for working at home is going to remain the same through January. JP Morgan will likely revert back to the way things were prior to Plan B. That was when each person spent at least one day in the office per week on a team-by-team basis.
Fidelity International CEO Anne Richards told Bloomberg: ‘We will be encouraging more people to come into the office… It’s a pleasure to be physically back in the office starting next week.
Goldman Sachs Group will be asking more staff to return their desks to Citigroup and Man Group Plc. KPMG, on the other hand, is encouraging clients-facing employees in England to return for at most two days per week. It also plans to implement a similar policy in Scotland or Wales.
Bloomberg was told by a spokesperson from Man Group that the company expects its staff to spend more time at work. Citigroup also told employees to make it a point to be present three times per week.
EMEA Chief Executive Officer David Livingstone, and U.K. Head James Bardrick stated in an email yesterday that they are now free to convene in their offices and are more able to create the collaborative energy on which Citi thrives.
Although it’s not the return of pre-pandemic capabilities, an influx in high-earning bank workers will provide relief for city-center businesses that rely upon their rush hour commuter trade.
Meanwhile, Chris Hirst, global head of creative at French advertising agency Havas which has 11,500 staff worldwide, told BBC Radio 4 that his company will be ‘fully reopening’ its London office from Monday – before hinting that WFH may be available to those who want it, adding: ‘We’ll be talking to those people individually and finding solutions that work for them.’
Zurich insurance employs 4500 people in Britain. The company is ‘excited’ about welcoming staff back into its offices but John Keppel, the chief operating officer, stated that staff will continue to hybrid work.
In September, a YouGov survey of over 1,600 BBC workers found that more half preferred to work from home for at least part of the day. However, 70% believed full-time offices would never come back. (Pictured : London Bridge commuters on January 20, 2022).
Whitehall, Central London and Central London appeared quiet as rush hour traffic rose only 1% compared yesterday and only 6% compared to one week ago (Pictured at Westminster’s empty streets on January 20, 2022).
According to him, Wake up to Money aired the following: “We had an open working policy before the pandemic. But [Covid]All of us were suddenly experiencing both the rewards and the drawbacks. And we have learned so much. Most employees will have some flexibility in their work future.
According to a spokesperson, Deloitte seems to be doing the same. “We are continuing to follow the government’s guidance in all devolved nation. Our people can access the offices of Deloitte England from anywhere in the world.
“Our UK hybrid model of working means our workers don’t have to stay in an office for certain days. We give our people freedom to work when, where and how they like in the long term.”
MailOnline also heard from a Sainsbury’s spokesperson: “Our offices remain open, and our employees continue to work flexible.” Our colleagues will find it enjoyable to return to the office for collaboration as well as having the option to work from home.
Lord Stuart Rose (chairman of Asda, former boss at Marks and Spencer and Argos) praised the decision to end WFH guidance.
He said, “It is unbelievable that a country has to be at home, being controlled by the government because they fear this virus.”
“It’s something that we must now accept.”
Changes in WFH guidance are good news for city center businesses. This includes bars, restaurants, and cafes that rely heavily on commuter trade, which is almost entirely dried up over the past few months.
The City Pub Group announced Thursday that they expect ‘consumer trust and therefore demand to increase once workers return from work’, while the Gym Group indicated it believes demand will’show additional improvement’.
Matthew Fell is the chief policy director of CBI. He stated that “Blanket work from home guidance has had significant negatives for city center trade in sectors like hospitality and retail.”
To get these customers back, the business leaders asked the government to offer a short-term discount on train fares and launch a campaign reminding people about the advantages of living in London.
The capital’s business groups have called for the leadership of staff from Government departments, saying that a return by civil servants is a’very positive’ thing and would like them to return in greater numbers.
Alexander Jan is the Chairman of the Central District Alliance. This alliance represents business in areas such as Holborn, Bloomsbury and other bustling parts of London. He told MailOnline, “People must be motivated, and not just ordered to get back to central London.”
It would be positive to see others return. However, all workers should be assured that the journey back into work will be smooth.
“There needs to be greater security when funding our transport network, such as ensuring train service levels are maintained, and possibly the introduction of incentive like half-price season tickets for six month, in order for people to change their lifestyles for the better.
Ruth Duston, chief executive officer of South Westminster Business Alliance said that seeing civil servants returning would not be sufficient to revitalize the workforce.
MailOnline was informed by her: “We have London’s highest concentration of civil servants, government departments, in Whitehall, Victoria. We would like them all to come back to London in greater numbers. However, this will not reenergise our capital.
“This recovery is driven by private sector collaboration with the public sector to make London attractive to workers and encourage them to return.
“A strong message from the government, championing the UK’s only international city, would be a great leader as we see the economy rebound.”
Hannah Essex, the British Chamber of Commerce’s co-executive director, stated today that a “hybrid way of working” is here to stay and government must work together with businesses, communities, and councils to find new ways for our cities to thrive.
MailOnline asked if government employees had returned to work and a Home Office spokesperson confirmed that he is still WFH.
He declined to confirm if he had received email instructions from Whitehall senior mendarins directing civil servants to return to Whitehall.
He stated that during the pandemic guidance had specifically discouraged civil service workers from “coming into office under any circumstance.”
The revelation comes after a Tory adviser said that they went into Whitehall this week to see two departments. They should be more tough.
The Department of Health and Social Care declined to confirm if employees have returned to their offices. The FDA union represented civil servants and a spokesperson did not confirm if the mandarins were instructed to return in.
Sajid Javid from Health said that the department was unable to accommodate all staff because of insufficient space.
When asked if he expected to have 100% of Civil Service employees back at the Department of Health, he replied that he didn’t.
“We don’t have 100% at all times, but people who were working remotely during Plan B are slowly coming back to work. We want to make sure that they do so in the safest way we can. Plans are in place to allow them to come back to work and work from their desks if they did that before.
Today, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman posted: “It’s insulting that the PM said back to work’ while everyone has continued to work hard from home and at the office. It’s strange that Tory ministers can lecture private business on running their companies.
According to an FDA survey, 97% of civil service workers want the ability to remain at home following the end of the pandemic. One minister last October stated that they were leaving because they wanted to save food and money for travel.
In September last year, Treasury civil servants were allowed to work at home for an indefinite period. Every government department has the right to decide how hybrid work should be managed.
Johnson stated that WFH guidelines would be dropped and school mask rules would be eliminated as soon as possible.
The restrictions that apply to public transport and shops, as well as Covid cards for accessing nightclubs or large events and other barriers will be lifted next Thursday.
Also, the law requiring Covid users to isolate their bodies will be permissible when the regulations expire March 24, or possibly sooner.