The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has stated that employees may quit their jobs if they are not allowed to return to offices and forced to work from home full-time.
As many companies are evaluating how to proceed with hybrid working later this year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has expressed his opinion that forcing staff to adopt full-time remote working could encourage them to quit.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Sunak stated that employees “may vote with their feet” if forced to work remotely and move to a different company.
Mr. Sunak further continued to outline the positives associated with office working:
You can’t beat the spontaneity, the team building, the culture that you create in a firm or an organisation from people actually spending physical time together.
Echoing comments made by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, the Chancellor also expressed his view that in-person working is essential for younger workers.
He raised questions surrounding how graduate recruits starting their first job from home will “know [their] peers…[the] culture of an organisation, the mentors” which are ” important for career development”.
This is not the first time Mr. Sunak has spoken out in favour of a return to the workplace, noting its effect on city centres. Mr. Sunak expressed sadness over walking around London where “life has disappeared”. He further added that he is “desperate” for the “vitality and creativity” to come back to cities and he is a “big believer” that it will.
However, it is unclear whether this opinion is shared by the workforce. A new report by Walters People, which surveyed 2000 professionals, found that over a fifth (21 per cent) of companies state that they are considering a complete move to full-time remote working.
Of this number, over two-thirds (69 per cent) of managers claimed that they saw an equal if not an increase in productivity levels since remote working became mandatory.
This view was echoed by the professionals surveyed with almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) wanting to continue to work from home at least half of the time post-pandemic. Over half (54 per cent) stated that, as a result of working from home, their mental health has improved whilst 45 per cent reported a rise in productivity.
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.